Once a Ferrara Wife(3)

By: Sarah Morgan

With the pilot standing nervously behind her and all the passengers absorbed in the unfolding drama, she lifted her chin and stepped through the open door.

The sudden punch of heat was a shock after the chilly fog of London. The sun blazed down on her, spotlighting every reluctant step. Her heels clunked on the metal and the only thing preventing her from falling was her death grip on the rail. It was like descending into hell and he waited on the tarmac like the devil himself—tall, intimidating and unnaturally still, flanked by dark-suited security men who waited at a deferential distance for his command.

It was so different from the first time she’d arrived here, full of excitement and anticipation. She’d fallen in love with the island and the people.

And one man in particular.

This man.

She couldn’t see his eyes, but she didn’t need to see them to know what he was thinking. She could feel the tension—knew that he was being sucked back into the past just as she was.

‘Cristiano.’ At the last moment she remembered to inject casual indifference into her tone. ‘You didn’t have to break off from closing another mega-deal to come and meet me. I wasn’t exactly expecting you to hang out the welcome flags.’

That hard, sensuous mouth flickered at the corners. ‘How could I not meet my dear, sweet wife from the airport?’

After two barren years it was a shock to be face to face with him. But the bigger shock was the fierce hunger that burned in the empty pit of her stomach, the deep craven wanting she’d believed had died alongside their marriage.

Despair hit her because feeling like this felt like a betrayal of her beliefs.

She didn’t want to feel like this.

Cristiano Ferrara was a cold, hard, unfeeling bastard who no longer deserved a place in her life.

No, not cold. Automatically she corrected herself. Not that. In fact it might have been easier had he been cold. To someone as emotionally cautious as Laurel, Cristiano with his volatile, expressive Sicilian temperament had been dangerously fascinating. She’d been seduced by his charisma, his blatant masculinity and by his refusal to let her hide from him. He’d dragged an honesty from her she’d never given to anyone else.

Now, she was grateful for the extra layer of protection provided by the sunglasses. She’d never been good at revealing her thoughts to anyone. She’d always protected herself. To trust him had taken all her courage, which had made his careless betrayal all the more shocking.

She didn’t see him move but he must have gestured because one of the cars drew up next to her and a door opened.

‘Get in the car, Laurel.’ His icy tone wrapped itself around her body and acted like brakes. She couldn’t move.

Laurel stared into the interior at the luxurious evidence of the Ferrara success story.

She was supposed to climb inside without question. To follow his wishes without question because that was what everyone else did. In the world he inhabited—a world outside the limits of most people’s imagination—he was all powerful. He decided what happened and when.

Mistake number three had been coming back, she thought. Her anger, held tightly inside for two years, gnawed at her insides like acid.

She didn’t want to slide into the car with him.

She didn’t want to share that small, enclosed space with this man.

‘I feel sick after the plane journey. I’m going to walk around Palermo for a while before I go to the hotel.’ She’d booked somewhere small that would never appear on the Ferrara radar. Somewhere she could recover from the emotional demands of this wedding.

The breath hissed through his teeth. ‘Get in the car or so help me I will put you there myself. Embarrass me in public again and you will regret it.’

Again. Because of course she had done exactly that. She’d taken his masculine pride and smashed it into pieces and he’d never forgiven her.

Which suited her fine because she’d never forgiven him, either.

Never forgiven him for abandoning her when she’d needed him most.

She couldn’t forgive or forget, but that didn’t matter because she had no desire to rekindle their relationship. She didn’t want to fix what they’d broken. This weekend wasn’t about them, it was about his sister.

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