Italian Billionaire's Unwanted Quadruplets(8)

By: Sophia Lynn

“What's wrong?” he asked, and his voice was so reasonable that for a moment, Pearl could barely believe she was acting this way, was being so very silly.

“Nothing,” she said, but Luciano shook his head.

“It's not nothing. Even I can tell it's not nothing, and I am by no means skilled at this. What is it? Did the man hurt you worse than I thought? Do you need help? Or to be alone?”

“No, no, none of that,” she said softly, biting her lip and looking around. The beach they were standing on had become deserted, and the sun was down beneath the horizon. The sky was a deep indigo, and sooner rather than later, it would be completely dark. As Pearl watched, a few scattered fireflies drifted out, and she felt a kind of certainty come over her.

The water. The water would never lead her wrong.

She took a few steps towards the water, never taking her eyes off of Luciano. In the dim light, she could just barely make out his raised eyebrow.

“Come swim with me,” Pearl said huskily.

She half-expected him to say no. That would be the sane thing to do, after all. It would be the smartest thing to get her back to light and civilization where things would make sense again. However, this was Luciano, and nothing made sense with him. Instead, he hesitated for only a moment before stepping on the sand with her.

“I don't have a suit,” he said, and she laughed. It didn't sound like her, and at the same time, it was perfectly her. It felt as if there was a secret version of her hiding all this time, hanging back and only now revealed thanks to Luciano.

“Do you think I do?” she said, and she knew she didn’t imagine the softly drawn breath from the Italian.

“Mermaid, I don't know if...”

“The time for knowing is over,” she retorted. “I don't care what you know or what I know. What matters right now is the water.”

Her words were defiant, and she turned her back to him, reaching for her clothes. Santa Joan could boast of a rather cruel, cold wind at later times in the year, but right now, it was perfectly warm and balmy through the night. Matter-of-fact, Pearl stripped to her skin. The dark kept her modest, or at least she hoped it did, and she threw a glance over her shoulder at Luciano. He stood as if frozen in place, hands on the hem of his shirt. It looked like he had been on the verge of drawing it over his head when he had seen her.

“I'm a mermaid not a gorgon. You shouldn't turn to stone,” she said teasingly.

He muttered something about stone and other parts of his body, but he shook his head hard. He removed his clothes with a kind of ruthless efficiency that took her breath way, and then he was as naked as she was. The faint light left in the sky showed her a body that was thick with muscle but still lithe, powerful and sensual all at once. She didn't allow herself to look down past his waist, but she had the intimation of his manhood, thick and powerful as the rest of him.

“What happens now, mermaid?” Luciano asked, and his voice was rough with lust and need. She recognized it because it was exactly the kind of need that was running through her body. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to give in to it, to make love with this man instantly, but something held her back. The moment stretched out between them, thinner and thinner as she thought of Luciano's question.

Finally, she had an answer, and it was the answer the ocean had been whispering to her this entire time.

“Catch me,” she whispered, her soft voice carrying her words directly to his ears. “Catch me now if you can, my prince, or you'll never see me again.”

Without waiting to see what kind of response her words had on him, she pivoted on the ball of her foot and dashed to the lapping waves. She was twenty-four, strong and certain in her body, and now she gloried in it, pushing herself to run as fast as she could. In another moment, she could hear Luciano's pounding feet behind her, but then she had gained the water.

Chapter Four

The water embraced Pearl as if she were its long-lost child. Her slender body cut through the waves, and she dove into the dark depths. Even so close to shore, there were dangers, but right now, she felt sublimely reckless, immortal, as if nothing could hurt her or harm her. She struck out perpendicular to the shore, angling ever out towards the open water.

Behind her, she heard a great splash as Luciano entered the water, and hidden in the darkness, Pearl smiled.

What's wrong with you? a small part of her wailed. You've never done this before, why are you doing this now?

She didn't have an answer for that. Not at all. Right now, she was simply acting as she had been made to do.

With the ease that came of long practice in the swimming pool, she doubled back and circled behind Luciano's splashing, as silent and deadly as a shark. She could no longer see him in the darkness, but she could hear him just fine. More than that, it felt as if there were some kind of gravity pulling her towards him. She could no more lose him than she could overlook him in a bright room where he was the only inhabitant.