The Mediterranean Billionaire's Blackmail BargainBy: Abby Green
Alicia felt her own eyes start to water and she furiously blinked to keep it out. Her throat swallowed convulsively. This had to be a dream but the presence of the other two men grounded her in reality. Fantastic reality. Unreal reality.
Dante took her chilled hands in his. ‘Please tell me it’s not too late.’
Alicia shook her head, her eyes watering in earnest now. She didn’t know what to say, where to start. Her heart felt fit to burst and she was overwhelmed that he was here, saying the words she’d longed to hear. Maybe she took too long to speak because Dante’s face got bleaker and bleaker.
He rose like a dark demon, his face stark with pain. ‘I won’t let you send me away. If you meant what you said last week, then you can’t have—’
Alicia reached up and put a hand over his mouth. She smiled tremulously through her tears. ‘I’m trying to tell you that it’s not too late.’
The relief and sheer joy that crossed Dante’s face made her feel even weaker. He pulled her up, holding her high, and she put hands on either side of his face, pressing small kisses everywhere. It was frantic and impassioned. She could vaguely sense movement near them and it was only when she pulled back that she noticed the photographer snapping feverishly, the reporter taking notes.
She wrapped her arms tight around his neck and pressed her face into it, breathing his scent deep. It was like coming home, like a balm to her ravaged soul. She whispered in his ear, ‘Do you think they could leave now?’
She felt him nod, his voice was low and husky. ‘I wanted to make you believe, to show you that you could trust me.’
Alicia smiled a watery smile and pressed another kiss to his lips. Then he turned and spoke to the men. ‘OK, that’s it, you’ve got your story. I don’t need witnesses for the next bit.’
Alicia couldn’t believe he was putting his heart on his sleeve so publicly. For her. He pulled back to see her face, momentary tension in his body, and Alicia revelled in it. Shyly she smiled, her eyes on his, telling him everything he needed to know.
He was about to slide the key in the door when Alicia noticed something.
‘Mrs Smith’s milk!’
Dante rolled his eyes and lowered her down his body slowly. ‘If we go and get milk for Mrs Smith, then can I ask you to marry me?’
She nodded happily.
The bemused paparazzi sent a shot of Dante D’Aquanni and Alicia Parker walking hand in hand to the local corner shop to get milk around the world. And, less than twenty-four hours later, the story broke of a winter wedding to take place at Dante’s Lake Como villa.
Three and a half years later…
Dante picked up the cuddly toy from the floor of the hall. He stopped with one foot on the bottom step and looked around. A buggy stood just inside the villa’s main door. The detritus and evidence of a young person lay everywhere.
A young person and now an even tinier one.
His heart swelled as he looked up the stairs and started to climb. To think that he had ever thought he couldn’t experience this, would have denied himself this. The love and fulfilment of a soul mate, a family…
He shivered inwardly at how close he had come to shutting it all out.
Just then his wife appeared at the top of the stairs. She was doing up the buttons of her dress. She smiled and he felt an answering one rise up from his feet as he unconsciously speeded up. She looked a little tired, a little plumper around the middle, her breasts were bigger from nursing, and he felt that ever present desire surge through him as strong as the first time he’d ever kissed her. He could truly say he’d never seen anything or anyone more beautiful.
When he reached her he bent and effortlessly plucked her off her bare feet and into his arms. She looked up and rolled her eyes in mock irritation as he strode down the hall to their bedroom.
‘Dante D’Aquanni, when will you stop carting me around like a bag of potatoes? I have two feet, two legs…’
The door shut behind them and all that could be heard for some time was the sound of low voices, muted laughter, growing passion and then blissful peace. At least for a while…