The Medici Mistress

By: Clare Connelly

“I think we should eat.”

Annie regarded him thoughtfully, through her clear green eyes. “That would be a novel change.” Her lips quirked into a small smile as she studied his low slung jeans and exposed chest.

“Yes. I realize we’ve been existing on a diet of sex and brie cheese for days, but perhaps we should bring actual food into the equation.”

“Well, it’s important to keep your strength up,” she mulled impishly, setting her tea aside and moving languidly towards him.

The whirlwind of the last few days had been life altering for Annie. After he’d chased her down and caught her just as she was entering the tube station, her world had begun to shift completely. He’d convinced her that he’d spoken hastily. That there could be a future for them. He didn’t know enough to speak in absolutes. It had been all she’d needed to hear.

“And yours, my beautiful Signorina.”

She nibbled the flesh at the base of his neck, running her hands over his back. “Of course, if you really want to eat dinner, you should probably stop walking around in a state of very, very sexy undress. It’s utterly distracting.”

He sucked in a deep breath. His body was alive with need for her, but his mind was focused on something else. Getting to know the temptress who had captivated him so completely. “Is there anything you don’t eat?”

“I’m a vegetarian.”

He looked at her, scandalized. “Seriously?”

“Yes. What’s wrong with that?”

“I’m sorry. I was wrong. This can have no future. How can I be with a woman who does not appreciate a good piece of fillet mignon?”

She shook her head with mock severity. “And how can I be with someone who eats dear baby animals?” He ran his fingers through her hair, and she shivered at the contact. “I suppose I’ll learn,” she murmured, staring into his dark eyes.

There was so much he wanted to say, but common sense prevailed. He hadn’t even known the woman for a fortnight, and he owed Carrie an explanation before things became much more serious with Annie.

“Dinner,” he said seriously.

“Whatever you want.” She smiled up at him. “I trust you.”

And she did.

This was no simple request for pizza or Chinese. Not for the famous Giacomo Medici. He called down to Concierge and requested a selection of meals from a famous Michelin restaurant in Soho. Their dinner arrived in less than an hour.

“You really do not know how most people live, do you?” Annie mused, watching as he lifted stainless steel lids off fine ceramic plates, as though it were no more interesting than opening a store bought cereal box.

He raised his eyebrows. “You think I’ve always lived like this?” He gestured to the lavishly furnished apartment.

“I don’t know,” she said, stricken, as she realized how little she really knew about this man. She knew how his body responded to hers, and what he loved her to do to him, and what he loved to do to her, but beyond that, he was rather a mystery. “Haven’t you? Always lived like this, I mean?”

“Not at all.” He opened a bottle of wine and poured two glasses, then handed one to her. “My family had no money. I grew up never knowing where my next meal would come from. I’m the first person to admit my wealth is rather ludicrous, given my humble origins.”

“I had no idea.”

“No. Not many people do. I have been described as unusually private.”

“Tell me about yourself, Giac,” she implored, leaning forward with her whole body.

He speared a courgette fritter with his fork and lifted it to her lips. She took a small bite, her eyes holding his.

“What do you want to know? I will tell you anything,” he promised, amending, to himself, that there was only one subject that was off limits. Carrie.

“Your childhood. Start there, and we’ll work our way up to the present day.”

The subject brought him little pleasure, but sharing with Annie had become an addiction. “Well, let’s see.” He lifted a vegetable gyoza and placed it on Annie’s plate. “My father was never in the picture. He broke up with my mother when she discovered she was pregnant.” An emotion, brief but intense, flashed across his face. “I grew up in a small village, outside of Firenze. Being uno bastardo was still seen as something to be ashamed of. My mother, certainly, was made to feel a failure for my very existence.”

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