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Apologies for being a little bit late with this post, it should have gone live last Friday, but I got caught up writing a story……
You guys are amazing. I’ve had readers here and on my Facebook asking for the ‘sneak peeks’ to be made into a book. *CC’s eyes grow big* Omigod. What the hell are all y’all like? I write these totally out of my head without editing etc. To turn them into a book will take lots of work and the scenes will change, too. So I’m not promising anything, but let’s see how we go. Thing is, that on Facebook and my blog I can’t write ‘real’ lurve scenes. I need to close the bedroom door. Anyhow, here’s the next slice of Ludlow life. (You guys kill me, seriously, you do. And I say that with love.)
BRONTE AND NICO IN THE FAMILY ROOM OF THE DOWER HOUSE.
*Dinner time. Family time. The gang’s all here, except for… Nico strides through the door in his dark business suit looking for all the world like an ad for GQ. Immaculate. Sexy. Hot*
“Sorry I am late,” he says, and dumps his laptop bag on the couch, shrugs off his suit jacket, his silk tie, rolls up the sleeves of his pristine dress shirt. He walks to the sink to wash and dry his hands. Then he moves to the high-chair to kiss his baby girl, and a Sophia who yelps when he gently rubs his five-o’clock shadow on her soft cheek. Next he scrubs his knuckles on the top of a grinning Luca and Tonio’s dark curls. Last, but not least, he grabs Bronte in a big hug, pops a kiss on the tip of her nose. And misses the way her emerald eyes narrow as she takes a sniff of his neck, then a deep inhale. She sits back and studies him very hard as he takes his seat at the table.
*Bronte serves the food, her mouth a tight hard line. Nico chats to the kids*
“Had a good day?” he asks Tonio who is settling well into his new school.
Tonio nods as he digs into pasta with meatballs. He swallows. “Si. I have been picked for the football team. I’m playing on Saturday. Can you come?”
“Of course.” Nico lifts a wine bottle, pours himself a glass of Chianti from his own vineyards. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
“Can I come, too?” Luca pipes up.
“Si,” his papa says and sends him a wink.
“I don’t wanna watch stupid football,” Sophia says as she nibbles on her pasta. “I’ll stay home with mama.”
Nico shrugs. “Nessun problema.” He turns to a silent Bronte, and frowns when he sees her set face, and cool green eyes. “That okay with you?”
“Fine,” she mutters.
*He blinks because he hasn’t been married to this woman for nearly seven years without understanding that when it comes to his wife ‘fine’ is a tricky word, especially in that particular tone. A tone that means, ‘I’m so far from fine I’m gonna poke your eye out with a white hot needle and fry your puny brain.’ OR ‘You’re so deep in excrement and don’t even know it.’ Nico receives the message loud and clear that it appears he’s in trouble. He racks his brain, discounting forgetting their wedding anniversary or her birthday (as if), and came up with… nada*
“You okay?” he asks, sends her a cautious smile, and receives a stony face in return.
She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes as she looks around the table at their four offspring.
“Fine,” she says in a tone that brings a cold sweat out on Nico’s brow.
*Okay. She’s said ‘fine’ twice. This is bad. He’s forgotten something vital. Even the kids have gone quiet, picking up the you-are-a-dead-man vibe. Tonio gives Nico big what-the-hell-have-you-done eyes. Nico sends him an I-dunno shrug in response. The rest of the meal passes off without a knife being thrown or the world as Nico knows it coming to an end. Two hours later the kids are bathed, brushed and in bed. Except for Tonio. He’s reading Nico a chapter from Moby Dick*
“Does the whale get him in the end?” Tonio asks Nico.
“Wait and see.”
“I bet it does,” Tonio says as he closes the book hands it to his papa. He cosies beneath the comforter, and Nico gives him a big hug and wishes him night-night.
*Still mulling over Bronte’s strange mood, Nico showers, changes into his favorite tatty jeans, soft long sleeved thermal, and in bare feet pads into the family kitchen to look for her, and have a clearing of the air. Whatever he’s done, he’ll fix it. Bronte’s sitting at the table with her laptop open. The hand holding a pencil tap, tap, taps the table in a rhythm that tells him she is not a happy bunny*
“Wine?” he asks her as he makes his way to the vast stainless steel American fridge.
“Not for me,” she says. The tone, icy, has his brows rise as he takes his own sweet time to study her face. Hmm. Someone has a stick up her ass. He pours himself another Chianti, all the while pondering on what it was he’s done that he doesn’t know he’s done. And comes up empty, except for the distinct flutter of irritation uncoiling in his gut.
“Are the clipped responses and cranky face your version of Chinese water torture?” he asks, not bothering to hide his annoyance.
Her response is to toss down the pencil, sit back in her chair and fold her arms, while her eyes bore holes into his. “When were you going to tell me Elena Rocas is back?”
*Elena Rocas was Jacob Del Garda’s ex-personal assistant. And Bronte is not a fan. Neither is he. Nico blinks once, stares into space for at least ten seconds. He shakes his head*
“I have no idea what you are talking about. I haven’t seen that woman since she was thrown out of my office.”
*Bronte rises, stalks to stand up close in his personal space. Her chin jerks in a way that makes his body hum, in a good way. She’s seriously pissed off with him, for something he most definitely has not done, and for some weird reason, it turns him on. Little devil*
“Then how come I can smell her on you? Only one person I know wears JOY and that’s Elena Rocas. AND her lipstick color is on the collar of your white shirt. Careless of her,” Bronte snarls.
*Nico again racks his brain. The only woman he’s had direct contact with today is a famous actress who’s a VIP guest at Ludlow Hall. She’s booked a three day break to use the Spa facilities. She’s beautiful, and not a day under seventy years of age. AND it appears his beloved wife is jealous. A frown creases his brow. Doesn’t Bronte know he’d never look at another woman? Haven’t they been down this road before? He rubs the sudden ache in his flat belly. Didn’t the love of his life trust him?*
To be continued………
Hehehe, do you really think I’d do that to you?
Yes, I would.
But I won’t……
NEXT EVENING at The Dower House
*Our favorite loved-up couple are not speaking to each other, much to the amusement of their children. Nico is home early from work. He’s showered, shaved and changed into his comfy jeans and another long sleeved thermal. His feet are bare*
“What did I do?” he asks Bronte as she clears the table. The kids are sitting in their chairs and watching them like big-eyed hawks, in a way that makes him send them an irritated frown. Isn’t it time they were in bed? Bronte lifts baby Eve from her high chair.
“Why should I have to explain why I’m upset with you?” she asks in a snippy voice. “The fact you appear not to understand WHY just proves to me you’re not even sorry for what you did.” She walks out with the baby.
*The kids eyes are glued to his face. Does anyone have THE first clue what is going on with her? No? Neither does Nico. Poor sod. He gives her a couple of hours to cool down. He sips a glass of Chianti and tries to work out what has just happened. Two things are clear: 1. Bronte is still mad with him. 2. He has no idea why she won’t let him explain himself about the lipstick on his collar. By the time he’d got to bed last night, she had her back to him and appeared sound asleep. Maybe he’d made a mistake not to wake her and clear the whole thing up? Sighing, he checks the locks on the doors, the windows, turns off the lights and heads for their bedroom*
“The perfume and lipstick on my collar belong to Evelyn Rice, the actress, she’s staying at The Hall for a few nights,” he says as he locks the bedroom door. Bronte is sitting on the top of the bed in jeans and T-shirt. Her arms are folded and she wears a face like a smacked ass.
“Well, why the hell didn’t you tell me last night? Why let me fume all bloody day for no reason?” she demands, her cheeks pink with what looks like embarrassment. Good, he can live with embarrassment.
“Because you deserve to suffer,” he says with steel running through his tone. She sends him big sorry green eyes.
“I’m not the same woman you fell in love with,” she says in a low voice filled to the brim with regret. “I’ve changed. These days I can’t do sex on demand. Hell, I can’t even find time to slap on make-up or style my hair… Now we’ve got the kids I can’t even sleep naked anymore and I WANT to sleep naked… I’m no longer ME. I’m a wife, a mother, a business woman, with no time for me.” She buries her face in her hands while Nico frowns as he watches her. “Oh, God. I’m such a selfish cow.”
*Nico moves to sit on the edge of their bed, sips his wine as he mulls over her words. It’s pretty clear all work and no play makes Bronte a grumpy girl. It’s also clear his wife needs a break. In one way she’s right. She does work too hard. In another way she’s dead wrong because she’s so beautiful she doesn’t need cosmetics. Plus, she’s a wonderful wife and mother, who apparently loves to sleep naked. Why did he not know this? He places his wine on the bedside table. He stands and studies the way she’s lying on her side, curled up in a ball like a little girl. At this moment she forcibly reminds him of Sophia. He bites back a grin at her little yip of surprise as he grabs her ankles and yanks her down the bed*
“What are you doing?” she gasps, and slaps at hands that are working fast unbuttoning her jeans to drag them off her ankles along with her panties. Her T-shirt comes next, and then her bra. Her hands clutch her girls. Her eyes go big as she watches him strip. “Are you crazy?”
“Si. Crazy for you.” He slides into bed, pulls her against his hard length. “You are right. I like sleeping with you naked. Tomorrow we will burn all your sleepwear.” When her jaw drops, he roars with laughter. Then he kisses her soft mouth.
*One thing leads to another… (use your imaginations)….. Later, much later…*
“You don’t trust me,” he begins, determined to clear the air.
*Bronte’s sprawled on top of him, and Nico’s statement has her rest her weight on her elbows on his chest and stare down into his wonderful face. She realises he’s serious.*
“Of course I trust you. It’s the women I don’t trust. And I don’t care if she is seventy and wears JOY perfume and hot red lipstick, age is no barrier to lust.” She laughs as he rolls her beneath him.
“I am very pretty, no?” he says outrageously.
“Trust me, it’s not your face she’s interested in, pretty boy.” Her emerald eyes go wide. “It’s your big Italian salami.”
His laugh peals through the room as he shakes his head. “My salami only salutes for you.”
Her snort of derision has the flat of his hand spank her bare ass cheek. “Ow, are you trying to tell me that when an attractive woman gives you eye – and yes, pal, I’ve seen them myself – it doesn’t give you a tingle?”
“No,” he says without a moment’s hesitation.
“Seriously?” she studies his face. “Not even a little twitch?”
“Si. Only you. From the moment I saw you, you captured my heart… and my big Italian salami.” His mouth on hers stops her gurgle of laughter. He shifts to stare down into her face. Dio, he adores this woman. “From now on we sleep naked every night.”
“Is that so?”
“Si, so,” he growls low in his throat.
“Even in winter?”
“Especially in winter.”
*She rubs her body against his, and sure enough his salami salutes*
“I love you so much, Nico,” she whispers.
“Ti amo, cara mia.”
Until next time, my darlings, be good.
If you can’t be good, be careful.
If you can’t be careful, I’ll buy you a pram. (As my old gramma used to say.)