Wild Cat(2)By: Christine Feehan
As if she had ever in her life turned him down when he asked her for something. She was rarely at the house. She had been in boarding school most of her life and then college, but she treasured her times at home with him. He was her only living relative. It was just Antonio Arnotto and his granddaughter. The two of them.
“What would that be, Nonno?” she asked, trying to sound stern. She knew she failed when the laugh lines around his eyes crinkled. She sank down onto the arm of his chair and ruffled all that silver hair again.
“I want you to take a case of my best reserve to a friend. His birthday was last week and I forgot to send a gift around. My beautiful granddaughter delivering it personally will make up for this mistake, no?”
She laughed. “It seems you have a lot of friends with birthdays and anniversaries you forget until your granddaughter comes home.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m not getting any younger, Siena, and you might start thinking about marriage and babies. Come to think of it, Elijah isn’t married, and he’s not getting any younger. He’s quite good-looking.” He winked at her.
She bit down on her lower lip to try to keep from blushing. Just the mere mention of Elijah’s name set her heart pounding and her stomach whooshing a slow somersault. He was good-looking. Hot. Gorgeous. And way out of her league. She wasn’t going to tell her grandfather that.
“Stop being a matchmaker. You’ll get your babies in due time, I promise.” Maybe sooner than he wanted if her body didn’t stop with the meltdown-frantic-for-sex-now routine.
She’d taken to looking at her grandfather’s bodyguards. And his number one man, Paolo, the man her grandfather dreamed of having her marry. Paolo watched her all the time. He always had. His gaze burned through her. He was good-looking and always very polite to her, but she knew he was a hound dog. He went through women, and word was, he wasn’t very nice about it. She’d heard rumors from some of the maids and the cook that he ruled his women with an iron fist. She wasn’t hooking up with him, even though she knew he was more than willing.
“I’m not getting any younger,” he repeated, patting her hand. “Be a good girl and deliver the wine for me. Give Elijah my best. Tell him not to be such a stranger and to drop by once in a while to see an old man.”
“I will, Nonnino,” she murmured and kissed the top of his head.
The hair on the back of her neck stood up and her stomach tightened. She knew without turning her head that Paolo Riso had stepped into the room. He was all roped muscle and fluid grace, and for such a big man he moved in complete silence. She knew he was very intelligent, and her grandfather relied heavily on him. She had always gotten along with him, even liked him when she was younger, but the last few years she’d visited home, he made her very uncomfortable.
She turned her head and forced a smile. His eyes were on her. Gleaming. Watching. Hooded. Holding secrets. Secrets she was certain involved her – none of them good. He was very close to her grandfather, and her grandfather treated him as he might a son. She wanted to love him for that alone, but instead, each time she came back home, she found herself becoming more and more uneasy around him.
Not like her grandfather’s second-in-command. Alonzo Massi made her entire body tense, shiver even, with revulsion. The man’s body was massive with ropes of muscle, and he was just plain scary. His eyes were always following her around, and he appeared as cold as a snake. She wasn’t certain what kind of job he actually did for her grandfather, but she was fairly certain it had nothing to do with the winery.
“Hey, Paolo.” She gave him a smile. She was very good at smiling and making it seem genuine. “How’s it going?”