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The Italian's Pregnant Mistress

By:Cathy Williams

The Italian's Pregnant Mistress
Cathy Williams

       CHAPTER ONE




ANGELO FALCONE lay sprawled on the massive bed. Hectic, prolonged  love-making had left the sheets half trailing to the floor and the rich  burgundy damask quilt lay in inelegant disarray at the bottom of the  bed. They had not bothered to shut the curtains and moonlight flooded  the room, streaking across the heavy furniture in the room and lovingly  illuminating the highly polished patina of wood.

He had properties in New York and Paris, but this apartment in Venice  was by far his favourite. In every way it soothed his senses, with its  unashamedly decadent opulence. It was the very opposite of the soulless  minimalism that New York did so well.

And, of course, this was where he usually met her. Francesca Hayley.

Right now she was squinting down at the floor, trying to identify  something she could put on amid the tangle of discarded linen and  clothing that had been tossed in a pile in their mutual haste to touch  one another.

He smiled at her thwarted efforts.

'You do this every time, Francesca,' he said with amusement in his voice.

'Do what?' She looked briefly at him and her whole body went hot under  the lazy caress of his gaze. Crazy. She had met him thirteen months ago,  had written him off as just the sort of wealthy playboy Italian she  should steer clear of, and had continued to put up a determined fight  until his charm, his wit, his perseverance had succeeded in crashing  through her defences. It hadn't taken long. A little over a month.

'Insist on getting dressed as soon as you climb out of my bed. I like to see you naked. Why the need to cover up perfection?'

'I hate it when you say stuff like that, Angelo. I'm not perfect. No one  is. Perfection doesn't exist.' She looked at him, stupidly shy in the  face of his lingering appraisal. Perfection did exist. At least,  physical perfection. Angelo Falcone embodied it. He was six foot two of  dark, well honed, powerful male and what made him even more impressive  was that his physical beauty was allied to a keen, restless  intelligence. Together they formed a dangerously irresistible mix. She  told herself this at regular intervals. It stopped her from harbouring  unreasonable expectations.

'I beg to differ.' He folded his arms behind his head and continued to  watch her. She was every red-blooded man's dream. A model without the  shape of a stick insect and with a brain that often made him wonder what  the hell she was doing in the superficial, fickle world of fashion.

'I still need to find some clothes.' She poked around the pile on the  floor with one slender foot and gave up. 'I'm going to get something to  eat. Do you want anything?'

'Come back to bed, Francesca.' He patted a spot next to him. 'You are  quite capable of catering for my every appetite without getting me  something from the kitchen to eat.'

Francesca grinned. 'Oh, dear. Is that the best cliché you can come up with?'

'Cliché? What cliché? I meant it.'

He was almost at her before she even realised that he was sprinting out  of the bed, and she spun round and headed straight out of the door  towards the kitchen, shrieking as she felt him closing the distance  between them. No time to switch on any of the lights, but then no need  either. Every curtain was pulled back, allowing the bright night sky to  fill the open spaces of the rooms.

Angelo caught her from behind, but he didn't spin her around to face  him. Instead he buried his head in her hair, breathing her in, wanting  her more than he could remember ever wanting anyone in his life before.

Initially, he had decided that their frequent separations, when he was  away on one side of the world and she was modelling on the other side,  would be a good thing. Relationships, he had discovered, were prone to  becoming stale. The first flush of lust very quickly gave way to the  tedium of the predictable and there was no greater death to a  relationship than predictability.

Not so with her. He missed her when she wasn't around. Lately he had  found himself sitting in on meetings during which his mind had been at  least half preoccupied with thoughts of when he would be seeing her  again.

'We need to talk,' he murmured, wrapping his arms around her. 'I'm only  going to be here for three nights, then I fly to New York for two days'  worth of meetings, then on to London.'

Francesca felt the familiar flutter of disappointment, which she kept to herself.

'What are your movements? Any chance that one of your shoots might  coincide so you could be with me in the States?' Did that have an air of  pleading about it? He hoped not. Pleading was not his style. Nor, for  that matter, was asking someone to accompany him on one of his business  trips. Women had always been a background presence to his work life, but  the thought of another week without her while he rushed all over the  globe was not a thrilling prospect.                       
       
           



       

Francesca disentangled herself from him and switched on the kitchen light.

'No chance,' she said, with her back to him as she opened the fridge  door and looked inside for something wholesome and quick. She had  arrived at the apartment several hours before him and had had a chance  to stock up on a bit of food. Still not looking at him, she now  extracted some cheese and tomatoes.

'Right.'

'Not that I wouldn't love to, Angelo … ' She was staring into the bread bin, which was bulging with some delicious Italian bread.

'Your work schedule is even more hectic than mine,' he said, keeping his  voice light. 'I wish you would look at me when I'm talking to you.'

'I can't look at you and slice bread at the same time.' She paused and  turned to face him, though. 'I really wish I could come with you,  Angelo. I'd love to see New York with you, but you know you would be  busy working anyway. We probably wouldn't have much time together. And  you're right, my life is too hectic.' She shrugged and smiled ruefully.  'But then, I'm twenty-four. If I can't cope with hectic now, when can I?  Not to mention the small fact that I have to earn a living.'

'Do you?' He paused, letting the significance of his question fill the  silent space between them. Then he strolled over to where she was  busying herself with the bread and cheese and turned her round to face  him. 'You hardly lead a wildly extravagant lifestyle,' he murmured,  cupping her face with both his hands and bending down so that he could  deliver one of his wickedly seductive kisses. When he finally drew back,  that brief spurt of anger he had felt at her refusal to accompany him  on his trip was replaced by the satisfaction of knowing that this woman  was utterly his. He touched her and she melted, and that was something  he found intensely pleasing.

'I know you have your little apartment in Paris, but you rent that. So where does your vast fortune go?'

'Vast fortune is a bit of an overstatement.' The conversation was  drifting into waters best left uncharted, and she eased herself out of  his embrace. Tellingly, her body was still tingling in response to his  kiss.

'Is it? I thought models only got out of bed if they were guaranteed shockingly large amounts for the effort … '

Francesca laughed.

She had a laugh that was infectious. It had been one of the first things  Angelo had noticed about her. Standing in her little crowd of head  turners, that rich, warm laughter had singled her out as the only one in  touch with reality, with a sense of humour. And when she laughed she  always tilted her head back slightly so that her long, straight dark  hair rippled almost down to her waist. He caught her hair in his hands  and curled his fingers through the silky mass.

'Are you telling me that I'm wrong?' he asked.

'I'm telling you that you're a dinosaur when it comes to snippets of information like that.'

'I'm thirty-four. A sensitive age. A man could be offended by a  description like that … ' He kissed the side of her neck, trailing his  mouth along her shoulder blades while his free hand moved to caress one  full breast.

Francesca could feel him hard against her and she moaned softly. When he  lifted her fingers and began licking the taste of tomato and cheese  from them, her moans became louder.

Not fair! How did he possess the ability to make her dissolve like this?

'You taste good.' He made appreciative noises that sent her senses  reeling. 'Course, I can think of other places that would taste good as  well, apart from your fingers. My appetite at this moment extends beyond  bread, cheese and tomato … '

'Angelo!'

'Happy to oblige.' With that he ran his flattened palm over the firm  lines of her belly, down to her thighs, nudging them open so that he  could rub exploring fingers along her throbbing womanhood. Yes! Wet and  waiting for him, and that felt so good.

He turned her to him and kissed her, a long, tender kiss that seemed to stretch into infinity.

After all these months their bodies had become attuned to each other  but, for all that, there was no less of the shocking excitement whenever  they touched.

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