dress, set in a terrifyingly valuable platinum ring.
Rozzano, however, had suggested when they chose it that it would be wiser if she kept it in her bag in case there was any media attention. And sheâd instantly seen the sense in that. But she kept sneaking little glances at it!
Limp, stunned and deliriously happy, she had allowed Rozzano to make all the arrangements for their trip. She knew it had been madness to accept his proposal, that he had been insane with desire, surely, when heâd asked her to marry him. But twelve hours later he still seemed besotted.
âNow,â he purred, dipping a strawberry in Buckâs Fizz and feeding it to her. âWeâve got three weeks to make all the arrangements before our wedding day. Letâs start with bridesmaidsââ
âRozzano!â she cried in horror. âWe canât get married that soon! Itâs crazy! We donât know each other. No, please hear me out!â she insisted, when he opened his mouth to argue. âMarriage is much too important to take lightly. Six months would be more sensibleââ
âSensible! Who wants to be sensible?â
His eyes glittered and then he lowered his lids. But sheâd seen the flash of annoyance in his gaze, and the
stubborn set to his mouth. He didnât like being crossed, she thought apprehensively.
âMarriage is for keeps, Rozzano. It would be awful if we made a mistakeââ
âYouâll be marrying a madman by that time,â he muttered. âIâm flesh and blood, Sophia! You donât know how hard it is for me to hold back!â
âWe...â She moistened her lips and stared out at the Alps below, following the peaks and valleys, the icy crags punching through occasional clouds, the soft green lowland shimmering in the sunlight. âYouâre not the only one whoâs...aroused,â she said bravely, blushing as she spoke. But she wanted him to know that she loved him enough to trust him. âWe could...â Her eyes pleaded with him to understand. âHelp me out, Rozzano!â she begged. âYou know what Iâm trying to say!â
âYou mean...we can ease one anotherâs desires?â he suggested delicately.
Nervously she nodded and he closed his eyes in anguish, drawing in a huge, raw breath.
â Four weeks, then!â he said forcefully. âYou canât possibly ask me to wait any longer! We want to be together, donât we?â
âWe will beââ
âI mean as man and wife. In the fullest sense, Sophia. You know the strength of my feelings. You canât doubt them. And think of your grandfather!â he said persuasively. âHe would like to live to see his great-grandchild. For his sake, we mustnât delay!â
Sophia wavered. His argument was convincing. She longed for Rozzano with a frightening hunger. And she had to admit that it would be wonderful for Alberto DâAntiga to enjoy the arrival of his great-grandson. Her heart softened. This time next year she could be a mother.
âSo letâs make babies as soon as we can,â Rozzano murmured wickedly into her ear.
âUnfair!â she protested. But he turned her face and lovingly, lingeringly kissed her mouth.
His eyes bored into hers, making her senses swim. âFour weeks.â
âFour weeks,â she agreed with a helpless sigh.
He gave a delighted grin. âThatâs wonderful! Weâll be perfect together, Sophia. I know we will. So,â he said, smiling fondly at her, âweâd better start planning the wedding of the decade!â His voice softened to a loving murmur. âTell me your wildest dreams, my darling. I will make them come true. Every one.â
âAll I need is a man who loves me and to bear his children,â she said simply. A spasm of pain tightened his lips and she touched his hand with understanding tenderness. âWhat is it? Are you