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Stolen Touches: Chapter 8


I’m browsing the soap aisle when the phone in my pocket vibrates, indicating an incoming message.
09:23 Bianca: Angelo just told me. What the hell were you thinking, going to New York? I can’t believe you lied to me! Are you okay?
I sigh and hit the microphone icon to record a voice message. Bianca and I usually text each other since she can’t speak, but it would take me half an hour to type everything I want to say.
“I’m sorry for lying to you, twinkle toes. I’m okay, I guess. Still trying to come to terms with the fact that everything I’ve worked for is all just . . . gone. Did you know I delivered a baby in a parking lot earlier this month? It was scary, Bianca, but at the same time it was the best feeling ever. Salvatore said I can’t work anymore. That controlling son of a bitch . . . Just a second.” I turn to face the mountain of a man who’s standing a few paces behind me. I thought Salvatore was strange, but this guy beats him by a mile. He didn’t utter a single word on the way here.
“Alessandro, right? Do you mind?” I motion with my hand for him to move away. “I’m trying to have a private call here.”
My bodyguard takes one step back and crosses his arms, regarding me with a piercing black gaze. I roll my eyes and continue.
“About Salvatore. I’m so mad at him!” I whisper-yell into the phone. “We’d already met. Salvatore and me. Three times. He never told me who he was, and I thought he was just a guy, you know? I only realized who he was when he came to my place to sign the marriage papers yesterday. I liked him, Bianca. I really liked him. We went on a date, kind of, and then he ended up being the fucking don of the New York Family.”
I take a chocolate-scented body wash from the shelf and sniff it.
“I’m not sure what I think of him. I hate him for making me marry him and ruining everything I had planned. If I could turn back time, I would never have come here. But part of me still kind of likes him, and that’s making everything so much more frustrating.”
I put the chocolate wash back—too sweet-smelling—and pick up one with a coconut scent.
“Looks like someone’s trying to kill him, so I’m saddled with four bodyguards. Four! I’m in a fucking supermarket with four guys in dark suits trailing behind me. Jesus. Talk about taking someone’s life and turning it one-eighty in twenty-four hours. How’s Mikhail? Lena? How are you? Does your back hurt? I miss you, honey. I’m sorry for lying to you, but trust me, I’m paying for it with interest.
I send the message and head to the cash register, with Alessandro trailing after me and another bodyguard following a few yards behind. The third is standing in a corner, observing the space. The fourth guy stayed out front by the entrance. What an overkill. What if I decide to go jogging? Would all four of them come along, snapping at my heels?
This morning, I caught Salvatore as he was leaving and told him I had to go to the hospital to hand in my resignation. He said it was already handled. Handled! As though it were a subscription to a fucking online magazine and not my life’s dream! What am I going to do now? Maybe, I could find some small private hospital to finish my residency and work there. It wouldn’t be as much of a high security risk as working in a big hospital like St. Mary’s. Yes, that would work perfectly.
* * *
“No,” Salvatore says and returns to his meal.
“What? Why?”
“They wouldn’t allow bodyguards to accompany you in a hospital. Any hospital.”
“They can stay outside.”
“Not good enough.”
I put my fork down and take a deep breath. “What do you expect me to do all day long?”
“You can do whatever you want.”
“I want to work.”
“Anything except for that.”
I have this maddening urge to wrap my hands around his neck and squeeze. “I’ll go nuts with nothing to do. I can’t live like that.
“I’ll give you some funds. Start a charity or something.”
“A charity?” I gape at him. “I sew wounds and insert catheters. I have no idea how charities work or how I’d even set one up.”
“Google it.”
Google it. Great. “Why did you insist on marrying me?”
“I’ve already told you. I have my reasons.”
“Will you share those reasons with me?”
He looks up at me, those piercing amber eyes sending laser beams directly into mine. I want to look away, but I can’t.
“No,” he says and goes back to his dinner once again. “We’re going to an auction next week. There is a painting I’m planning to buy. Do you have a dress?”
“I’m not going anywhere with you, Salvatore.”
“Yes, you are.”
“I said no.”
“It doesn’t matter what you say, Milene. I want you to come with me, so you’re doing so voluntarily, or I’ll be dragging you. It’s your choice.”
I grip the fork in my hand and lean forward until my face is right in front of his. “Fuck. You.” I sneer.
He watches me for a moment, then his hand shoots out and grabs my chin before I can move a muscle. “I will, cara.”
I lean away, escaping his tender hold. “Keep dreaming. You’re not coming anywhere near my pussy.”
I might be wrong, but it seems like the corner of his lips curl upward a little bit. “If you don’t have a suitable dress, Alessandro will take you to buy one. I don’t want you going in that short disco-ball creation you wore at the bar. You need something that will cover your ass this time.”
“Oh? So you ogled my ass?
“Of course I did,” he says, picks up his plate and carries it over to the dishwasher.
I watch as he walks away toward the private part of the penthouse, enjoying the view of his backside in charcoal dress pants, despite my better instincts. That ass is sexy as fuck, and it goes perfectly with his narrow waist and wide shoulders. I don’t remember ever meeting a man who wears suits the way Salvatore does, as if he were born in one. He’s seriously hot and . . . Stop, damn it! As handsome as he is, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s an asshole. I’d better remember that.


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