Champagne Deception

Champagne Deception by Anisa Claire West Read Free Book Online

Book: Champagne Deception by Anisa Claire West Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anisa Claire West
tossed it on the nightstand.  Disappearing under the thin blanket, she shut her eyes as her mind would not be still.  The crazy chain of events that had led her to Milan haunted her as sleep stubbornly remained elusive.  Coretta tossed on the lumpy mattress, feeling overtired yet restless.  After an hour of replaying Lorenzo’s kiss again and again in her memory, she finally fell asleep.
     
     
    *****
    The knock at the door was loud and insistent.  Coretta snapped awake from a deep, coma-like sleep and stared warily at the closed door.  For a moment, she forgot where she was and had no concept of the hour of the day.  The room was dim and stuffy, making her feel insulated in a restricted way.  The knock became louder as Coretta pulled the blanket up to her neck to hide her partial nudity.
    “Coretta, are you awake?” Lore nzo’s rich, Italian-accented voice inquired from outside the door.
    Breathing a sigh of relief, Coretta replied, “Yes, I’m awake. Come in.”
    He opened the door and walked a few steps inside, instantly noticing the blanket wrapped protectively around her.  “Oh, I’m sorry, I can come back after you get dressed.”
    Coretta wasn’t feeling particularly modest under Lorenzo’s glittering perusal, and she waved a hand at him dismissively as the blanket dropped.  “No, don’t worry.  I just got scared when I heard the knocking.  I thought maybe it was someone else.  But that’s silly.  Who else could it be?”  A disturbing image of Angelo’s moustached face came to mind as she shivered to recollect how inappropriately he had ogled her.
    Lorenzo was clearly uncomfortable with her semi nudity and looked away.  “No, I’ll come back when you’re dressed.”
    “Lorenzo!  I thought Europeans were more open about the human body.”
    “Well, I suppose---“ he broke off awkwardly.
    “Didn’t you ever take a life drawing class in college?  I lost count of how many nude figures I sketched.”
    “Yes, I did actually.  And I have sculpted some nude models.  But---“
    “But what?”
    “But that was for work, Coretta.  For art.  I think you’re very beautiful, but I don’t want to rush you into anything.  Especially when I have to leave tonight.”
    All Coretta heard from his complex statement was the word “beautiful.”  Jonathan had not told her she was beautiful since the very early days of dating when he was still in the pursuit stage.  Hearing the word “beautiful” flow effortlessly from Lorenzo’s lips in his melodious Italian accent was almost too divine.
    “Coretta?” He questioned, perceiving a faraway gleam in her eyes.
    “Yes?” She murmured.
    “I said I have to leave tonight,” he repeated reluctantly.

Chapter Five
     
    Coretta bolted back to reality in an instant.  “What do you mean you have to leave?” Her face fell as she spoke.
    “While you were napping, I got a call from one of my clients in Umbria.  He and his wife would like to purchase three of my new sculptures that I posted pictures of online.  But he is very old and doesn’t drive anymore.  So I’m going to deliver the sculptures to his doorstep,” Lorenzo explained as Coretta’s face clouded over.
    “Deliver them on your motor scooter?” She asked incredulously.
    “No, of course not!” He laughed.  “I rent a van whenever I have a delivery to make.  And that’s what I’ll do tonight.”
    “Oh, I see.  Well, congratulations on making more sales!” Coretta feigned enthusiasm, though she felt highly uneasy about being alone in the studio overnight.
    “I’ll be back tomorrow,” he promised.  “I’m sorry for being such a rude host and leaving like this.  I had planned to take you out to dinner in Milan tonight.  But, hopefully, you will allow me to take you out tomorrow?”
    “Yes, of course!  I look forward to it,” Coretta replied.
    Slowly, he walked over to the bed and lowered his face to hers for a kiss.  But instead of touching her lips, he

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