because he really was behaving oddly. ‘Is everything okay?’
‘No,’ he admitted and came over to her. ‘This is how I wanted to say hello.’ He put his arms around her and it was the nicest place to be and he kissed her, a slow gentle kiss, the type that chased the day away. ‘I’ve missed you.’
‘You could have called.’
‘I thought you said that you wanted a hands-off sponsor.’
He was very hands on now—they were resting on her waist and she could feel the weight of them and the heat of his palms.
‘You don’t just have to call about the team.’
‘I know that,’ Matteo said, ‘but then I’m not really big on the “how was your day” type of phone call.’ He was as honest as he could be about something he didn’t really understand, because he’d never really felt the need to be in touch with another, for no reason other than to be in touch. ‘And then if I call one week and then don’t the next...’ He gave a tense shrug. ‘I don’t do all that.’
And therein was the difference, Abby thought. Matteo was struggling to commit to a call a week! Their heads were in completely different spaces. The way Abby felt, a call an hour would barely do.
‘You’ve got oil on your face now,’ Abby said and they peeled apart enough to see the mess she had made of his shirt.
‘Have a bath,’ he said, because hell, he wasn’t letting that bastard change how he spoke to her or the things that he did. ‘Either go down and have one, or have one here, but I’m wrecked and I’m having dinner in bed, or rather on top of it, and you’re not getting on covered in oil.’
‘Didn’t you sleep on the plane?’
‘No,’ Matteo said. ‘I had some work to catch up on.’
He let her go and picked up the menu and read through it.
‘Sometimes all you need is a good steak,’ Matteo said.
‘Sounds great,’ Abby said. ‘I’ll have mine well done.’
He rang and ordered as Abby headed off to the bathroom and, yes, it was so nice to peel off filthy clothes and step into a deep, fragrant bath and know that dinner was on the way and that Matteo was here.
Abby lay there, eyes closed, just enjoying the sensation of the water and the low sound of Matteo chatting on the phone on the other side of the door.
Then she heard a knock on the door to his suite and from the sound of it dinner had arrived. Abby hauled herself out of the bath.
It had done its magic.
She was clean and scented and all the tension of the day seemed to have gone, Abby thought as she pulled on a robe and opened up one of the hotel combs and ran it through her hair.
She came out of the bathroom and saw that he wasn’t in the lounge but it didn’t take long to find him. There was Matteo lying on the top of the bed with a large silver trolley by its side and he’d taken his shirt off.
‘It had oil on it,’ Matteo said as she tried not to look at his naked top half. ‘And,’ he added, ‘I have to sleep in this bed tonight—you don’t.’
‘I’m very used to the smell of oil,’ Abby said and, as he’d more or less told her that it would be closing time in the Di Sione suite soon, she relaxed. Dinner smelled amazing and she handed him his rare steak and she couldn’t help but look at his chest. He was slender but muscular and her eyes were drawn to his ribcage and she saw an old yellowing bruise there, she presumed from the fight the other night.
God, that body took a battering.
‘How’s the shoulder?’ Abby asked.
‘I have near-full range of movement,’ Matteo said.
Even that sounded suggestive as she took her plate to the other side of the bed and climbed on.
‘I love having dinner in bed,’ Matteo said, showering his steak in pepper.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever had it.’ Abby thought for a moment. ‘Well, unless I’ve been sick.’
‘You know that full feeling when you just want to lie down?’ he asked. ‘I was going to open a restaurant once, just beds. Dante and Dario