Marlina didn't giggle or fall all over herself to get his attention. She wouldn't wear short skirts and low-cut blouses, hoping he'd look her way. But she would watch him. He'd caught her a few times, and she would quickly look away, her cheeks turning pink. The women he was used to never blushed. They weren’t shy about anything. He couldn’t explain it, but he liked the fact that he could embarrass Marlina. It was refreshing, and it turned him on a lot.
After their kiss under the tree that summer afternoon, he'd been hoping to do more than kiss later that night; a horny teenage boy and all that. Sadly, her mother took her back to America that very evening. As time passed, he lost hope of ever seeing her again. After she married he was certain he’d never see her again, but he was wrong. She was back, and his destiny was now. No one seemed to be sure of how long she was going to stay, but he was going to do his best to convince her Italy was her new home.
Gabriel couldn’t help but wonder what sort of man was stupid enough to let a rare gem such as Marlina get away. Not that he wasn’t happy that her dumb ass husband let her go, he was. The way he saw it, her ex’s loss was his gain. He just knew an idiot like that would’ve done some substantial damage to her self-esteem because men like that always did. He just didn’t just how bad that damage was.
Over the years, he wondered about the woman she’d grown into, and he wished he were there to see it. He always imagined what she looked like as a grown woman, but his imagination paled in comparison to the sexy woman sitting in front of him. As his eyes roved over her beautiful body, he eyed the neckline of her dress, which dropped low, showcasing her large, supple breasts. As his gaze lowered, he sucked in a sharp breath at the sight of her puckered nipples pressing against the tight material. He imagined himself pushing down the neckline of her dress until her perfect peaks came into view, allowing him to skim his teeth over those hard nipples before sucking them into his mouth. His cock twitched, and he had to force himself to get a grip on himself before he groaned out loud.
“Gabriel? Gabriel?” Marlina said, snapping her fingers in front of his face.
He jerked his gaze up to her face. “Che cosa?”
She laughed. “Did you hear anything I just said?”
Laughing himself, he shook his head and reached across the table to take her hand in his. “Mi dispiace, no.”
She arched a brow and smirked but didn't pull her hand from his. “No?”
He shook his head, running the callused pad of his thumb back and forth over her knuckles. “I got lost in my thoughts.”
Her smile slipped and her gaze dropped from his. “Oh.”
She didn’t have to tell him what she thought he was thinking about because her face told him plenty. The look on her face was disappointment. She tried to smile, tried to keep up the illusion that she was still happy.
“I was thinking about the last summer I saw you,” he admitted.
She didn’t look at him, only stared down at her plate and attempted to pull her hand from his. “It was a beautiful summer,” she said in a low voice.
Tightening his grip on her hand, he held it firmly, letting her know that he wasn’t letting her go anywhere. “Our first kiss in particular.” He kept his voice low and seductive knowing he’d get her attention.
Her gaze jerked up to his and he grinned. “W-what?” she stammered as red spread up her neck and across her cheeks.
She was embarrassed. Interesting. He liked it.
“Our first kiss,” he repeated.
“Our only kiss,” she whispered.
He shook his head, lifting her hand to his mouth. “No, I don't think so,” he muttered, stretching out her fingers but still holding her hand firmly.
She nodded. “It was.”
“Maybe back then.” Lowering his head, he kept his gaze locked on her and brushed his lips across the tips of her fingers. “I intend for there to be many more in our future.” Gabriel watched as her chest rose and fell more rapidly, her pupils dilating. Oh yeah, she wanted him, she’s just unsure of herself, he thought to himself in excitement.
“You do?” she asked, the shock evident in her voice.
Seductively, he sucked the tip of her index finger into his mouth. Lust hit his gut hard causing his pants to tighten against his swollen cock. He watched her as he wrapped his tongue around the slender digit, flicking the tip of his tongue across the pad. Slowly, he slipped her finger out of his mouth. “Many more,” he whispered.
Taking a deep, shaky breath, she glanced away from him and cleared her throat. “Gabriel,” she said, bringing her gaze back to his, “are you trying to seduce me?”
He laughed. She had more nerve than he thought. Hmm, just thinking about her extremes of shy and audacious behavior turned him on even more. Everything about her intrigued him, which also meant he needed to step up this little seduction dance he'd been doing. “Do you want me to seduce you?”
Laughing, she pulled her hand from his grasp. “Maybe that's a question best answered at a later date.”
At that moment, the waiter returned with the appetizers he'd ordered. He could've kicked the guy; of all the times to be interrupted it had to be right then––when she was finally flirting back. Maybe it was a good thing. Anticipation could go a long way in building the sexual tension between them.
“Grazie,” he told the waiter as he began to plate out their appetizers. Gabriel stared at her as he laid his napkin across his lap. She smiled brightly up at the waiter as he placed some cheese, prosciutto, and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil onto the small serving plate in front of her.
Gabriel couldn't help but smile as he watched the man soak up the attention Marlina was giving him. She was completely oblivious to the power of her beauty when he offered to bring her a taste of the house specials to help her decide what she wanted for dinner. He knew many women who could do the same thing, but they’d always known what they were doing. Marlina on the other hand, she had the man eating out of her hand and didn’t even know it.
The girl he’d known grew into a beautiful woman who was a contradiction on every level. Which only made him want her more. After having lost her so many years ago, Gabriel was determined to have her, not just for a night, but forever. She may be leery, but he was a patient man, who knew all about seduction. In the end, he always got what she wanted. And he wanted Marlina more than he’d wanted anything in his life.