A mafia princess. A cold mafia enforcer. Fake marriage, fake vows…real feelings. It’s all about to get very messy.
The call from my uncle and the heightened threat against me has me on edge, and I am more than happy to return to our hotel room and order room service.
Once back in our room, Damen orders himself a steak, and me a sandwich and side salad, at my request. I don’t feel like a proper meal, and I can nibble at this. I’m too worried about what the damn letter means, and too upset at Damen’s change of persona, as silly as I know that is.
One moment he’s flirting with me, the next he’s back to being the stoic protector and enforcer I first knew.
We eat the food when it arrives in silence, and Damen even turns on the TV in the living area and channel surfs before settling on a news program. After about fifteen minutes of this, I sigh and stare out of the window.
“What’s wrong?” he asks.
Is he dense? “This is weird. We were getting along, friends … flirting, because don’t deny it. And now you’re cold as ice.”
“I’m worried; my head’s gone into work mode.”
“Do you get like this with your girlfriends? Bet they love it.”
“You’re not my girlfriend, Maya.”
I stare at him for a moment, and it all wells up in me. The fear, the notes, the anger at my father— both of them; the one who treated me like shit for years, and the sperm donor who denies I’m his publicly. My ambivalence toward my mother is mixed in there too, but it all comes out in a burst of temper aimed at the dangerous and huge man sitting opposite me.
“No,” I yell, standing. “I’m your damned wife.”
I pick up my salad bowl and throw the contents at him.
As soon as I’ve done it, I regret it. He sits there, salad leaves decorating his shoulders, dressing dripping down his shirt, and some sliding down his neck. For a moment he doesn’t even blink. Then he’s moving. His chair tips back, and he’s coming at me. I panic and run. Where, I don’t know, as there’s nowhere to go. I head for my room and as I reach the door, he’s on me.
He propels me inside and flattens me against the wall with only his hand on my chest holding me in place. He isn’t hurting me, but his strength is astonishing. I can’t move forward, and I damn well try. He’s pinned me in place with only his palm. Like a butterfly stuck to a board, I can only flap my arms about as I try to move.
I’m breathing hard, and so is he. His face is harsh, cruel even, but still handsome. His eyes don’t match his stony features; they are blazing, on fire with anger, but something else too. The heat between us is once more fanned to life, snapping at my skin, making me buzz with it. I’m sure he feels it too. Convinced something this powerful surely can’t be all one sided. My nipples pebble against my silky top and his heavy-lidded gaze dips slowly down.
This is off the charts attraction levels.
It’s not like my silly game with Alesso, where I used to crush on him, while he smiled pleasantly at me. With Damen there’s something there, some charge between us. It’s probably why, when I look back, I chose Alesso to take my frustrations out on, because I always knew, deep down, that anything with Damen would be too dangerous. Too much.
“Just when I think you’re nice, you revert back to stuck up, obnoxious princess mode,” he seethes.
“Okay, I shouldn’t have done what I did, but you need to know, it wasn’t about being stuck up. That was about being pissed off and angry at always getting dismissed. And I’m no princess! You know nothing about me.”
“I know enough, Miss-Thousand-Euro-Shoes. And I didn’t fucking dismiss you. My job here is to protect you, keep you safe; not to flatter your ego or make you happy.”
“There’s more to me than shoe shopping. And if I’m so vacuous and repellent to you, what was all the flirty-flirty the last few days? All the lingering looks, the shit you said to me in my kitchen back in Greece after you saw me … the … you know?”
I flush, unable to bring myself to repeat the filthy things he whispered to me then.
He lets go of me and starts pacing, raking his fingers through his hair impatiently. “I don’t know.”
His demeanor is not angry, almost resigned. “It’s stuff I shouldn’t be doing, and it’s going to stop. It’s not fair on you, and I can’t protect you if my head’s not in the game. This between us, it’s … it can’t be. Your father.” He pauses for a moment and looks right at me. “Your real father, Stamatis, will turn me into a eunuch if I do what I want to do with you.”
So, he does want me.