'You should have told me you that hadn’t slept with anyone before.’
They lay together on the daybed with a silky sheet on top of them. Her head was on Luka’s chest and one heavy arm was over her and it felt so nice.
‘If I had told you then it wouldn’t have happened.’
‘Oh I don’t know about that.’ Luka thought for a moment, because he’d never wanted a woman as much as he had wanted Maya tonight. ‘Still, had I known then I’d certainly have taken more care.’ But then he thought back and knew he had been slow and far more tender than usual, and that was confirmed when she spoke.
‘You took good care,’ Maya said, for she could not have asked for a better lover for her first time. ‘I’m glad I didn’t lose it in the stable. This has been far nicer.’
‘And far less scratchy,’ Luka said, and for some reason that made them laugh, which was something neither did much of. In fact Luka wasn’t known to possess a funny bone.
The pleasure both had found that day had been so unexpected. Luka would generally be sleeping or driving home by now, but tonight it was far nicer to lie wrapped in each other’s arms and talk.
‘Is your house like this one?’ Maya asked, looking up at the shadowy beams and drifting moon.
‘No, mine’s on the water’s edge and in rather more disarray. My grandfather let things slide near the end. There’s a pier but it’s halfway into the water…’
‘I saw it today when I was riding. It’s stunning!’
‘It has the potential to be, though really it needs a lot of work.’
It did. That much Maya had seen, and she could guess the drain the house would be if your career was consuming. ‘Do you ever think of selling it?’
‘No,’ Luka said.
It was home.
The moon cast a shadow on the wall of the globe that Giovanni was leaving to him. Maybe it was the distance that would soon part them that had made it easier to get close tonight.
‘Giovanni wants to leave me that globe,’ he told her.
Luka was about to explain that he wouldn’t be taking it, but he was starting to change his mind.
He wanted to keep a piece of tonight.
‘I’m worried they’ll find out we’ve been up here,’ Maya admitted.
‘Don’t be,’ Luka answered. ‘Believe me, where the Di Siones are concerned we’re tame in comparison. Anyway, I’m sure Giovanni…’ He was about to say that Giovanni had a few tales of his own but Luka halted. With Maya it would be terribly easy to be indiscreet.
His guard was lowered, Luka knew and yet, for once, he liked it.
Still, others’ secrets were not his to reveal and so he was relieved when she changed the subject.
‘It’s so nice to just…’ She didn’t know how best to say it. ‘It’s been like a holiday. I don’t usually get much time off.’
‘You need to take yourself more seriously then.’
Maya frowned and then he elaborated. ‘I don’t know much about horses but it’s clear Turn On A Dime is magnificent—that you can handle him on an international flight should speak for itself. You need to negotiate better terms.’
‘Maybe,’ Maya said, trying to picture her father if she insisted on better pay and more days off.
‘There’s no maybe about it. When are you due to fly back?’
‘I’m supposed to book the return once I’ve ensured that he’s settled in his new home.’
‘And when will that be?’ Luka asked, to his own surprise, because he was hoping there might be a repeat. Not here in the attic of course, but maybe tomorrow he could take her out for the night.
Maya lay in his arms and pondered Luka’s question. Her thoughts about returning to Dubai had been so jumbled but now they were suddenly clearing.
‘I don’t know if I am going back to Dubai.’ Maya admitted what she hadn’t felt ready to before. She looked up at Luka for his reaction but he didn’t offer one. ‘My family will freak and I can’t fund it but…’ She was too tired to go through it now, her eyes were too heavy and her body so loose and relaxed in his arms, and so she rested her head back on his chest. ‘I have to be up soon.’
‘Then go to sleep.’ Luka said, and he gave a light kiss to her head and her arm a small squeeze and tried to convince himself that what she had revealed changed nothing.
But it had.
Luka’s guard was back up.
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