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Stolen Touches: Chapter 10


I grab the remote, turn on the TV, and flop myself down onto the big couch in the middle of the living room to channel surf. Nothing catches my eye, so I leave it on the Food Network, where some guy is making homemade pasta. I grab a throw pillow to place under my head and stretch out.
Four days. I’ve been holed up in the penthouse for four fucking days with absolutely nothing to do, and it’s really getting to me. The only people I see are Ada and Salvatore. Ada doesn’t talk much. She pays me lip service occasionally to ask whether I need anything, then goes straight back to work. I hate cooking, but I was so desperate for something to do earlier I asked if she’d like any help with lunch. Ada looked at me as though I’d offered to gut the neighbor’s dog. I guess she caught the sight of me frying eggs this morning when I almost set the kitchen on fire. It was an accident! I left the pan on the stove and went to chase Kurt, who was scratching his claws on the carpet in the living room.
And then, there’s him. My dearest husband. The bane of my existence. All those mysterious looks he gives me. Casual touches I pretend I don’t like, but secretly enjoy. The excitement that overwhelms me every time he walks through the front door in the evening. It’s making me insane. I don’t want to feel those things for someone who’s basically smashed my life to smithereens.
Yawning, I turn down the TV volume and close my eyes. Last night I dreamed about him kissing me, then woke up abruptly and couldn’t make myself go back to sleep because I kept thinking about him. It seems like my fate is to spend my life sleep-deprived. Before, it was because of work. Now, it’s because of him.
“Damn you, Salvatore Ajello,” I mumble into the pillow.
I’ve just dozed off, when I feel a light touch along my jaw, moving up the side of my face and tracing my cheek toward the lower lip. I reach out to shoo away the cat, which enjoys toying with me while I sleep, but instead of the soft fur, my fingers wrap around a strong male hand. My eyes snap open.
“Feisty, even while sleeping,” Salvatore’s deep baritone voice booms as he looks down at my hand still holding his. I let go immediately and jump off the couch, intending to hightail it out of the room. The moment I turn away, Salvatore’s arm reaches out to grab my waist, pulling me back against his hard chest.
“Let me go,” I mumble.
The arm around my middle tightens even more. His breath is warm on the side of my neck as he bends his head to whisper into my ear. “No.”
I close my eyes and inhale deeply, trying to ignore the butterflies fluttering in the pit of my stomach. It appears my whole body is suddenly charged with electricity, simply from being near him. As I open my mouth to tell him to go to hell, his lips kiss the side of my neck, and I barely manage to stifle a sigh.
“You didn’t join me for breakfast this morning,” he says into my ear. “Are you avoiding me, Milene?”
“No,” I lie. Of course I’m avoiding him. Being attracted to a man you hate is torturous.
“Oh, but I think you are.” His grip around my waist intensifies, while his other hand moves to wrap around my neck. “Tell me, cara, does my presence affect you?”
“Yes,” I say while clenching my teeth. My skin itches all over as if a low current is steadily overwhelming my nervous system. My body is a live wire, but my head is spinning in confusion as I try hard to block out the image of him naked. “Every time I see you, I have an urge to launch a blunt object at your head.”
“So violent . . . I thought Mafia princesses were sweet-tempered by default. Demure . . .”
Salvatore’s lips continue to graze my skin, and I find it really hard to keep my composure while his soft touch tingles the fine hairs on my neck.
“Sorry to disappoint. You got the short end of the stick. Maybe you should send me back to the shop since you’re not satisfied with what’s under the hood.”
Suddenly, he turns me around so I’m facing him and gripping my chin, tilts my head up.
“You’re not going anywhere, Milene.” His lips gently brush against mine as he speaks, and I fist my hands to stop the powerful urge to pull his mouth forcefully onto mine. “Night, cara.”
He releases my chin, turns away and leaves without turning back.


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