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Burned Dreams: Chapter 14


I walk into the library and look at the tall, wooden bookshelves covering every wall. The first time I entered this room, I was amazed by the number of leather-bound tomes filling the beautiful, vintage shelves. Each bookcase is arranged to hold books of a similar color.

It didn’t take me long to realize that the books weren’t there because my husband liked to read, but because they made the room look good. Rocco loves having cocktails served here for his friends so they could ooh and ahh upon seeing the lavish space. The only thing that matters to my husband is what people think. Without houseguests, the only visitors to this room are me and one of the maids who clean the library twice a week.

Alessandro told me he’ll wait for me here at six, but it’s ten after according to the clock on the left side of the room, and he’s nowhere in sight. I have no idea why he asked me to come here. Deciding to return to my room, I turn around and collide with a wide male chest. I tilt my head up and up until I meet Alessandro’s gaze.

“Sorry I’m late,” he says. “There was an incident.”

“An incident?”

“One of the guards choked on his food last night. Nino came to bring his replacement.”

“The guard is dead?”

“Very much.” Alessandro nods, then walks past me, heading toward the big window overlooking the garden.

I blink, staring at his retreating form. Alessandro’s appearance is always very formidable, regardless of what he wears. It’s not just his size, which does have a big impact on the overall impression. It’s the combination of his silence and cold aloofness that cling to him like a second skin. Even in navy-blue sweatpants that hang low on his hips, and a white T-shirt that stretches tight over those wide shoulders and enormous back, Alessandro looks like he’s capable of wrestling a dozen men without breaking a sweat. As I admire his muscular body, he approaches the window and pulls the curtain over it.

“Less than two hours before the staff arrive,” he says looking at his wristwatch. “We better start.”

“Start what?”

Alessandro stops right in front of me. “Your first self-defense class,” he says, and before I have time to process that statement, he wraps both of his hands around my neck.

I freeze. He’s not hurting me, and his hold is mostly loose, but I still can’t move.

“Free yourself.”

I stare at him.

“Now, Ravenna.”

“You’re more than double my weight,” I mumble.

“Closer to triple, probably, but that’s not important. I’m not asking you to knock me out. Just to get out of my hold.”


He bends, closing in on my face. “Because knowing you can escape will help you keep your cool. And getting free will allow you to take control of the situation.”

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Alessandro’s hands remain around my neck, and I like them there. “Even if I free myself from Rocco’s hold, he’ll catch me, eventually. And it’ll only be worse then.”

“Look at me.”

When I open my eyes, Alessandro moved even closer, his forehead almost touching mine.

“I already told you. Your husband will never put his hands on you again.” He’s so near I feel his breath on my skin. “This is not about Rocco. It’s about you, Ravenna. So, you don’t ever feel helpless and can always protect yourself. Now, try to get out.”

I regard him—his scowling face and those dark-blue eyes, then wrap my hands around his wrists, pushing them to the side. Nothing happens. Not even an inch of movement.

“You are competing strength for strength with me,” he says. “Most men will be larger and stronger than you.”

“So, what then?”

“Fight against my weakest points. My thumbs.” He lifts his right hand off my throat and places it at the top of my head. “Step back with your right leg. Then bend.” He pushes my head down and guides it under his left arm. His grip on my neck disappears. “You’re free.”

“Your hold was loose.”

“It won’t be next time. Again.”

His fingers come around my throat again, but his clench remains lax. “Leg. Bend. The whole body, Ravenna, not just your head. Again.”

I keep practicing, but only a small part of my brain is concentrating on the actual move. The rest is too focused on Alessandro’s hands on my neck. His fingers in my hair as he guides me when I don’t dip low enough. The closeness of his body.

“Do you need a break?” he asks after the twentieth or so time.

Yes. No. I’m not sure. My brain is foggy, and I’m not certain if it’s from repeating the same move over and over, or because of him being so close. I think it’s the latter. And I want more of his touch.

“Let’s do it a few more times,” I breathe out.

Alessandro nods and places his hands around my neck. I don’t make a move to bend. Instead, I lift my hands and wrap my fingers around his wrists. Or try to, at least. His wrists are thicker than my ankles.

“We’ve already established that approach won’t work, Ravenna.”

“I remember,” I say and hold his gaze. Alessandro’s eyes move down to my lips. God, I want to feel his lips on mine again—so much.

His hold of my neck relaxes, and his hands move up to cup my face in his palms. His expression is completely unreadable, utterly contrary to the dangerous look in his eyes. By all appearances, he seems unperturbed at having us so close to each other, but I see the truth in his burning gaze. My heart rate doubles under that stare. Those dark-blue orbs look like they want to eat me alive—a big, hungry, wild cat ready to pounce. And I wouldn’t object.

I slide my hands up his forearms, feeling the taut muscles under my palm. He shifts his stance, and my heart skips a beat.

“Let’s try something else,” he says abruptly. The next instant, I find my back plastered to his front, his arms locked around me. “This is called a rear bear hug. What would you do?”

I shake my body left and right, but it doesn’t budge his purchase. His arms stay tightly wrapped around me.

“I’m bigger and stronger, and in a position of advantage with no weak points you can exploit. I’m controlling your whole body. You need to make it harder for me. What should you do?”

“I don’t know,” I say.

“Open your stance and drop your weight. Yes, like that. Now, you can stomp on my foot. Or hammer me in the balls.”

I look at him over my shoulder. “Why not try that first?”

Alessandro bends his head until his mouth touches my ear. “Because by widening your stance, you’re making it harder for me to throw you on the floor and pin you down.”

I know he won’t hurt me, but being defenseless should frighten me at least a little. It doesn’t. Instead of being scared, I bite my lip and lean back onto his chest, imagining what it would be like to be pinned under that body. Would it feel like in my dream?

Alessandro buries his nose into my hair and inhales. His hold grows tighter, but it’s only his left arm that’s encircling me now. His right hand is slowly drifting over my yoga shorts down my stomach, and lower still.

“I don’t understand how a woman could fuck me up so badly, Ravenna.” His palm slides over my mound and presses onto my pussy, making me gasp. I want to turn around so much, but his embrace is too vigorous. “Years of planning. Ruined.”

Fingers caress my pussy. Hard. The thin fabric of my shorts is barely a barrier. Wetness pools in my panties. I widen my legs and grab at his forearm, grinding myself against his hand. Alessandro’s mouth moves to the side of my neck, biting the sensitive skin.

“From the moment I set my eyes on you, you invaded my fucking mind like a plague, Ravenna,” he says next to my ear and places a kiss underneath it. He’s angry. Frustrated. I can hear it in the tone of his voice, and it’s completely at odds with the gentle way his lips nibble at my skin. “Scrambling my brains so I can’t even think straight anymore.”

I moan when his hand grabs at the waistband of my shorts, pushing them down together with my panties. His palm glides back over my mound, and I feel his finger at my exposed core, sliding between my folds. Slowly. So slowly it feels like a punishment.

“I dream about you,” I mewl, bending my knees and trying to get more of his finger inside me. He presses his hard cock to the small of my back, and I shiver at the contact. “I know it’s wrong, but I can’t make the dreams go away.”

His finger slides deeper into me, and then he adds another, stretching me. “Tell me about your dreams, Ravenna.”

“It’s always you. Taking me. Possessing me.”

A deep rumble leaves his throat, and in the next breath, I feel his tongue on my skin. “How?”

“In every way possible,” I choke out.

Alessandro’s body goes still and, for a few moments, the only movement I can feel is the rise and fall of his chest at my back. He curses. His teeth skim my throat as his hot breath ghosts over my skin, making me tremble. Withdrawing his hand, he spins me around, and I find myself pressed with my back to the wall.

“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” he says as his hands grip my ass, lifting me. His voice is raw. Strained.

I wrap my legs around his waist, taking his face between my palms. “I know,” I say and press my mouth to his.

He bites at my lower lip, pulling it between his teeth, sucking at it while his cock nudges against me. My fingers shake as I slide them over his short hair, as does the rest of my body. I’ve imagined how this would feel for so long, and it’s beyond my wildest dreams. We’re only kissing, and I’m already close to combusting.

“Do you know why I’m here? Doing this job?” he asks as he trails kisses down my neck. His voice is gruff. There’s an accusation in his tone.

I slide my hand between our bodies, undoing the string on his sweatpants, and release his cock.

“Why?” I blurt as I feel the tip of his hard length at my entrance.

Alessandro trails his lips along my chin to my mouth and stops once he reaches his aim.

“I came here to exact revenge on your husband,” he says into my lips as his cock slowly slides into my dripping center. “And you were my payback, Ravenna.”

There is so much resentment in his words. I should feel threatened. He just confessed his plan to end my life, but both my body and my mind ignore that uttered fact, too enthralled on claiming his lips.

Alessandro pulls out, then thrusts back in—to the hilt, pressing his body to mine. The air leaves my lungs as my walls spasm around his length. He doesn’t move a muscle, just stands there with his body pinning mine, his cock nestled inside me.

“I hate you, Ravenna Pisano,” he barks in my face, slamming into me one more.

The air escapes my lungs in short breaths, my vision blurs as tremors rock my body. I grab onto his shoulders and scream while he drills me as if he wants to etch that statement on my bones. But I let go and ride the waves of pleasure.

“Tell me, Ravenna,” Alessandro’s hoarse voice says next to my ear midthrust. “Does your husband fuck you like this?”

I tilt my head and sink my teeth into his neck. “Why do you care?”




“Why do you care?” she whispers, and I feel those words wreak havoc in my head.

Why do I care? A thunderous sound rolls through the back of my mind as another massive chunk falls off the fortress I’ve created. I try to catch it, return it, but the piece only crumbles into nothingness.

“Answer me!” I roar into that angelic face, flustered and bathed in sweat.

I need to know. Just the idea of that asswipe having her like this is driving me insane. The verdict on my sanity is still undecided.

Ravenna’s hand grabs the back of my neck, her long nails digging into my skin.

“Rocco is impotent,” she bites out. “He never could . . .”

My body goes stone-still for a moment while my brain processes what I’ve heard. Fucking Rocco Pisano has never had her. I tangle my fingers in the long black strands at the back of Ravenna’s head and bottom out in her pussy. Ravenna gasps, and I crush my mouth to hers, swallowing that sweet, sweet sound of her pleasure to save it for myself.

Keeping her head safe by cushioning it with my hand, I pound into her, finally collecting on weeks of frustration and sleepless nights she’s subjected me to. I tell myself that my relentless pace is a punishment. Hers? Mine? I want to ruin her for making me betray my vow. Destroying everything I’ve lived for, for the past eight years. I will myself to believe it, all while a raging storm rages inside my mind. My fortress shakes and numerous fragments fall from its structure, casting aside the shards of my revenge. So fucking many, that I will never be able to collect and put them back in place.

I keep pumping into my raven-haired angel—a woman I vowed to kill—repeating the same mantra in my mind.

I hate her. Hate her.

Yet still, I can’t make my hand move from behind her head, can’t risk her getting hurt in the slightest, as we burn in madness.

Ravenna squeezes my arms, her nails digging into my skin as she trembles in pleasure. I quicken my pace, staring into her face. Sweat slides into my eyes, making them sting, but I don’t consider wiping it away, I don’t even dare to blink. I have to see her when she comes. The need to witness her undoing is primal and unrelenting. Ravenna arches her back, an ecstatic scream leaving her lips, as her pussy clenches around my cock. And with one last thrust, I bury myself into her and roar as my seed fills her. The sound is guttural and broken, a cry of triumph and defeat at the same time.

Closing my eyes, I press my forehead to hers. What have I done?

Soft, sinful lips touch mine. Warm breath fans my face. I return the kiss, even though it’s the last thing I should do. I can’t help it. Every stroke of our tongues, every small bite—heaven and hell at the same time. Pleasure and pain.

A part of me wants to stay like this forever, with her in my arms. But another part, it screams in anger, calling me a traitor. The battle for supremacy rages inside my soul, shredding it apart. The pain is almost physical, holding me in its grasp until one of the sides finally takes the win.

I release Ravenna’s hair and move away from her lips.

“This won’t happen again,” I say, lowering her to the floor.


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