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The early morning light cast soft shadows on the floor. Stillness weighed heavy in the air, and every movement sounded too loud as I inched my way off the mattress.

It was five after seven, the earliest I’d woken up on a weekend since my crack-of-dawn flight to Eldorra for Agnes’s wedding years ago, but I needed to leave before Dante woke up.

My feet grazed the rug.

“Where are you going?” The rough, sleepy rumble of Dante’s voice touched my back.

I froze, my toes curling into the plush triple ply while my heart took off on a gallop.

Stay calm. Stay cool.

Even if his voice sparked a host of X-rated memories.

Look in the mirror when I’m fucking you.

You like this? Watching me wreck your pussy while you make a mess all over my cock?

Heat crawled over my cheeks, but I attempted a neutral expression when I turned.

Dante sat up against the headboard, charcoal silk sheets rumpled around his waist. A smooth expanse of olive skin stretched over the naked, sculpted planes of his shoulders and tapered down to a lean waist. His V cut arrowed beneath the sheets like an invitation to pick up where we left off last night.

I forced my gaze up only to find his eyes waiting for mine. A knowing smirk tugged on his lips as he leaned back, oozing casual arrogance and pure male satisfaction.

Smug bastard.

Yet it didn’t stop butterflies from erupting in my stomach.

“I’m going to work,” I said breathlessly, remembering his question. “Legacy Ball crisis. It’s urgent.”

“It’s Saturday.”

“Crises don’t operate on a workweek schedule.” I discreetly tugged on the hem of my top.

I wore one of Dante’s old college T-shirts, and it fell somewhere between scandalous and mid-thigh.

His eyes flicked down and darkened.

The heat spread from my face to somewhere south of my stomach.

“Perhaps not, but that’s not why you’re sneaking out of my bed at seven in the morning,mia cara.” Some of the sleep evaporated from his voice, leaving satin and smoke behind.

“No?” My voice squeaked like a door hinge in need of oil.

“No.” His gaze met mine again. Challenge glinted in its depths.

Who’s the one running now?

The unspoken words sank into my bones.

“You wanted to talk,” he said. “Let’s talk.”

I swallowed the nerves lodged in my throat.Okay then.

I’d pictured our conversation happening a little differently. I would be fired up and full of indignation—and dressed in my best outfit, of course—not sitting on the edge of his bed, smelling like him and wearing his T-shirt while the memory of his touch was imprinted on my skin.

But he was right. We needed to talk, and there was no point in delaying the inevitable.