Authors: Beverly Preston
“Where are you from?” Giovanni
“I live in Colorado
Tracy grew up in Las Vegas
and moved to Colorado for college. After residing in the infamous sin city, when it came time for college she choose Colorado. Not only did the Centennial State lead the way in eco environment, opening the door for employment opportunities in Business Management, but it was the mecca for outdoor activity. Her family vacationed on the slopes every winter.
She still considered
Vegas home even though she hadn’t lived there in years. Her older brother John and his wife Shayla were starting a family of their own and recently purchased the house Tracy grew up in from their mom. Her mom and stepdad owned homes in California, Colorado, Greece and Bora Bora. JC loved the freedom and jokingly referred to her and Tracy as homeless couch surfers. Tracy found the displacement unsettling at first, but relaxed into her own space, purchasing a condo nestled between the slopes and school. She divided her time between working at the college library and school studies.
“What part of Italy are you from?”
“Central region. You’ve been, yes?”
” She admitted regrettably. “My—“ She opened her mouth, but refrained from dropping the names of her stepdads’ best friends, Benny and Lisa Levi, who lived in Tuscany. When it came to Hollywood’s hottest celebrity couples, the Levis ranked at the very top of the A-list. Tracy always made the effort to keep her mother’s new last name, Clemmins, and any association with the Levi family on the down low. “— mostly I’ve been to Venice and Rome. I’m not a big wine drinker, so I didn’t make it to the central region.”
abruptly at a bend in the sidewalk, staring down at her in surprise. “You don’t enjoy wine?”
med a bit under his stunned expression, feeling as if she’d just disclosed a huge flaw, the worst of Italian sins.
I enjoy a sweet wine occasionally. I just don’t drink much.” Her defensive tone became lost in a small sigh watching him ease out of his jacket. The shrug of each defined muscle captured her attention, bringing a warm tingling awareness to her chest.
Taking the glasses
from her hands, he lined them up beside the bottle atop a short dilapidated wall made of lava rock and crumbling mortar. Giovanni draped his neatly tailored jacket over the pumice surface worn rough from years of harsh ocean environment.
A startled squeak escaped her throat as he gripped her around the wai
st, graciously hoisting her to the ledge of the wall. Sitting atop his jacket, she held to his shoulders for balance, marveling in the solidity of his frame.
A moment of
stillness passed between them, kindling a hum of energy.
His thumbs drew a slow
circle over her ribs before dropping his palms to the top of the stone wall and gracefully hopping over. Her head tilted to the side getting lost in the vision of his muscles flexing beneath the fine material of his dress shirt.
“You simply haven’t experienced the perfect wine, Amore Mio.” His voice, low and
tender, carried over a cool moist breeze.
She spun on her bottom, letting her feet dangle on the other side of the wall.
A piece of her long dark hair swished in the wind, snagging on the crystals adorning her mask, pulling her out of her giddy daze. “A little presumptuous don’t you think? Amore Mio?”
anding before her, Giovanni’s heated stare fixed on her mouth as she uttered the words My Love. His finger hesitantly traced the edge of her mask, grazing her cheek, untangling the loose strand. Subtle yearning building like an arc of electrical current, their eyes held a little too long. His light grey eyes smiled behind the black façade, accentuating his aura of sensuality.
“A man can hope,” s
he heard him whisper as he lifted her from the wall.
heart thud heavily and she dropped her reserved grin toward the ground.
beneath her feet turned to crushed lava as they continued toward the point. Taking caution not to twist an ankle in the course sand, she slowed her pace. Giovanni laced his fingers through hers for support. Typically she would be put off by the hasty gesture, but she found his touch bolstering.
a corner near the end of the bluff, lush green colors on the eastern slope of the island ignited as the deepening red sun set lower in the sky. Tracy gasped with excitement. “Stop! Wait let me take a picture.”
bent forward allowing Tracy to take the camera from his neck. His face so close she felt his exhale at her temple. Her fingertips made contact with the smooth skin beneath his collar and she paused relishing in the heat. Chemistry hung between them sending a responsive flutter of cognizance straight to her center.
ing away from his gaze, she immersed herself in the view. Taking a shaky breath, she inhaled and held, snapping a few shots. “It’s so vibrant.”
Si`. The Greek have some of the most extraordinary terrain in the world. They’ve been cultivating since ancient times. The fertile volcanic soil is prime for vineyards and olive groves.”
The trail narrowed and she followed behind, letting him lead the way.
With each twist and turn the caldera rising from the Aegean Sea took on further complex shading and depth, becoming more and more breathtaking. He went on to talk about Greek wineries, admiring their distinct limestone soil and unique microclimate favored for local grape varieties.
could barely pay attention. Much to her own surprise, she was much more interested in the view of his shoulders tapering perfectly to his trim waist than the facts he rambled off. So submerged in the smooth sexy tone of his voice, by the time he got to low rainfall and moderate fertility, she snickered quietly, running smack right into him.
Startled, Tracy let out a faint squeak as her palms flew to his well-defined pecs. “Ooops.”
Giovanni caught her by the wrists. “Last stop. We’re almost there.”
Her lashes fluttered, squirming slightly at their full bodied contact.
Tracy swallowed hard. “Last stop,” she agreed.
Having the routine down pat, he bent so she could remove the camera from his neck.
Foregoing the gesture, she left the strap hanging around his neck. Cautiously, she snuggled the blade of her shoulder to his chest. A small unsettling feeling came over her resting against him for steadiness. The window of opportunity for the perfect picture would soon begin to fade with the setting sun, yet she found herself lingering longer taking in his sunny scent.
brushed loose strands of her long mane over her shoulder, stroking her hair, sending her pulse into an all-out frenzy. “We need to hurry, Amore Mio.”
assertive voice dripped with sweetness making her insides coil with nerves and pleasure. Uncertain if it was the allure and mystery of wearing a mask, or his sultry disposition, she found his mouth so damned appealing all she wanted to do was kiss him. That’s just ridiculous. You’ve only known him for a little over an hour.
He clasped her hand and
she flinched a little. Her breath quickened forcing herself not to pull her hand away. A sexy perceptive smile lurked at the corners of his mouth, idly taking in each detail of her masked face.
” She nodded, managing to not pant.
His pace quickened as the sun hung above the vast horizon
of water daring to drop at any moment. Rounding the last corner, the trail dead ended straight into a rockslide preventing them from reaching the point.
!” Her eyes closed and shoulders dropped in frustration. Tracy felt Giovanni’s long fingers coasting down her shin. Her eyes flew open shoving at his shoulders, but he refused to budge. “Hey! What the—“
He stood in front of her
hinged at the waist, working the clasp of her heel. His triceps molded against the length of her thigh as he bent her leg at the knee. Glancing over his shoulder, Giovanni tossed her a gorgeous haughty grin, stifling any further complaints. Cradling her ankle, he slipped the heel from her foot. “What? Are you worried?” he teased.
Teetering on her toes in the coarse sand, Tracy
clung to his back, wine glasses in hand, for steadiness. He tapped her other calf, encouraging her to lift her foot.
Well, yes.” Her heart pounded hard and fast. Worries regarding the perfect sunset seemed to take a backseat to not blurting out Yes, I haven’t had a man’s head near my thighs in far too long. “How are we gonna get to the point now?”
stood, crossing his palm over his chest as if she had just broke his heart. “Have a little faith.”
Gently gripping her chin between his thumb and finger, Giovanni lifted her chin with a little jiggle. “If it were easy, all the tourists would take over—“ he paused keeping the identity a secret.
“But the sun—“
Giovanni curled a finger beneath the strap of her purse, removing it from her shoulder and lowering it to the ground beside her heels. He eased back into his jacket and retrieved the wine glasses, wafting his hand toward the imposing boulders. “I’ll be right back.”
Bottle and glasses in one hand, he
scaled the boulders with precision as if he’d done it a dozen times. Immobilized by the strain of his thighs, Tracy’s mouth hung open watching his long legs carry him to the top in a few long strides. When he crested the ridge and his gorgeous assets were out of sight, her mouth snapped shut and she swallowed. “Holy moly he’s hot.”
Barefoot, she paced at the bottom of the rubble, nervously m
assaging the lobe of her ear. Her lack of control completely out of character, but she was beginning not to care what was on the other side of the boulders or if she missed the sunset. Drawn to him like a magnet, she just wanted him to come back so she could soak in his gorgeous smile and sex appeal.
He returned, descending partway down and extending his hand. “
No one is here. Take my hand.”
She stared at his
long fingers turned tan from sun. Without hesitation she placed her palm in his and began to climb.
Nearing the top, s
he peered down at their shoes on the ground below. “What about our things?”
Leave them.” He laughed, deepening the lines near the edge of the narrow black metal surrounding his eyes. “That way no one will bother us. It’s a segnale…a sign, telling anyone who comes to go away. That this place is taken.”
“I don’t t
hink our shoes are going to prevent people from following us.”
He assisted her through a crevasse and over the last boulder.
“This place is e` il punto di partenza per gli amanti.”
His Italian accent slipped over her like crushed velvet.
Searching her mind for the translation, her brows tugged together tightly. Her mouth fell open in stupor. “You brought me to Lovers Point?”
thoughts turned sporadic, frustrated with herself for lowering her Italian man-whore guard. “Seriously? If you think—“
I assume nothing,” he assured, cupping her jaw in his palms. “Now, close your eyes.”
Her lips parted to ramble of
f a list of concerns. First and foremost, that she wasn’t about to fall for his suave tactics. But when she looked up to complain, billowy clouds of grey lined by inky black irises, bore down on her with a somewhat amused challenge, humored by her protest.
common sense didn’t abandon her, allowing her body’s spontaneous reaction to prevail. She blinked repeatedly, somehow forcing her eyes closed. Taking in a deep breath, she stretched her neck to one side then the other followed by a shoulder roll.
Her eyes flew open.
’s left eye pulled into a keen squint and the lines at the side of his mouth held firm. Layers of heat flourished through her veins, each sending an unfamiliar emotion straight to her heart. Chill bumps over her flesh. Tracy had never felt the desire to step on someone’s toe and kiss someone all at the same precise moment.
down her uncertainties, she closed her eyes. Her breathing turned unruly like the crashing waves of the surf pummeling the shoreline. Giovanni tugged on her wrists, carefully guiding her a few more feet. He stopped on top of a flat rock. A cool rush of air whipped across the front of her body, bringing much needed relief to the fire gathering beneath the fabric of her dress. He angled her toward the sea. “No peeking.”
released her wrists. She wobbled a little throwing her arms out in front of her for balance. Silently, he circled behind her. She felt the slight pressure of his warm hands follow the curve of her shoulders.
“Open your beautiful blue eyes, Amore Mio.”
The scent of him mingled with the salty air. Tracy twisted toward the sound of his breath. Her eyes remained shut tilting her face upward half hoping to feel his lips on hers.