Chasing Paradise (Chasing #3)


by Pamela Ann

Prologue

The New Year’s Eve Gala

A month ago

Blake

My eyes captured the raving beauty that was walking towards me, green with a hint of gold eyes danced as she took in how I watched the sway of her hypnotizing hips. “Mr. Knightly,” she greeted, kissing me on both cheeks, making me aware of her perfume that reminded me so much of raw mating.

“Will there ever be a day that you won’t take my breath away, my love?” I took hold of her hand, kissing the back of it.

Confident and sassy as ever, she took in my dressed state with carnal desire ignited in her eyes before she pierced my soul. “That won’t happen.”

I thought so, too, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. “That’s a bold statement.”

“It’s true; you know why? Because I won’t let it get to that.” She moved closer, delectable br**sts grabbing my gaze. “It’s you and me, Knightly. You cater to my needs and I’ll grant you yours. Love me the way I want to be loved and I’ll make your dreams come to life; inside and outside of the bedroom. You know I love romance and all these toe-curling gestures that you do for me. Don’t ever stop loving me or I’ll hand you back to Camilla myself.”

Like hell she would. I smirked, drawing the necklace out from where it was nestled in between the valley of her br**sts before kissing the yellow diamond engagement ring that was going to be on her finger someday. “Sienna Richards, you’re unofficially engaged to me. Whether you like it or not, poppet, you’re stuck with this dashing and sexy gentleman. Not to mention I’m mighty rich and have the ability to make you orgasm six times in one session. Oh, since I’m already cocky as it is, let’s add the sex-on-a-stick term that you love so much.” The back of my forefinger traced the beautiful arch of her br**sts before meeting her gaze again. “I was brought into this world to make you happy and I do, you said as much.”

“Really, is that so?” The stunning woman of mine gave me the dazzling smile that made my heart palpitate a mere second before she leaned against me, hands caressing the lapels of my tux. “You sure you want to spend the rest of your life next to me? I do drive you crazy, you know. In case you forgot, Knightly.”

It was impossible not to, especially after the gutting ordeal this woman had put me through. “I do know that, nevertheless, you made me fall in love with you. Without a hint of doubt, I am fatally and hopelessly yours, cara mia.” This love had grown over the months. Out of our friendship, it had simply spiraled to the inevitable and I knew that I would be bound to her forever when she became mine. The moment I made love to this woman, there would be no going back. Whether it was for Hell or Heaven, I was never going to let her go.

Sienna gave me a shaky smile, bottom lip-wobbling, eyes glassed with tears. “Blake, I want to say thank you for giving me the best Christmas. Really, the best holiday to date for me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this kind of happiness after my father died. You truly make me incredibly happy and I love you for that. Thank you for not giving up on me.”

“I love you. Don’t give me the tears, my love. I want smiles and laughter from you. No more tears for your past. You’ve shed enough.” I gathered her in my arms, holding her tight, knowing that I would do anything to keep her safe. This woman, here in my arms, was the only thing that mattered to me.

She was the sound that made my heart beat.

She was the voice in my soul.

She was the strength that made me a better man.

Without her, I was nothing.

The ghastly stories I had heard about her childhood were beyond rattling. The damaged, tortured soul inside her had needed some time to heal, it still did. I had never wanted to be the man to hurt her, but I had. The strong hate, consuming anger and profound dejection took hold of me then—making me a man who I had barely known. A man who was tattered with so much grief from the loss of her that I wanted to lash out and make her feel how wretched the inside of me was. Never again, would I do that. Sienna was going to come first from here on out.

As complicated as this love we shared was, we knew enough to know one couldn’t survive without the other. We were one. One pair. One heart. One soul. One destiny.

If I had thought life would be so much easier now that I had her by my side, I could think again because that very same night, at the New Year’s Eve gala, someone orchestrated to kill her when I was busy about to give a speech right after my grandfather addressing the guests

There were so many speculations, but no suspects. The intense savage fury I felt for those who’d hurt her made me want to kill them all.

Wrath was upon them and I wouldn’t capitulate until I held the last person in my hands, dead and gone.

I did say I would never fail to protect her and I wouldn’t, until my last breath—the last beat of my pulse—I would make sure she was safe.

Love was a complex madness.

It was also a primitive madness I felt for Sienna.

“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.”

- Victor Hugo

One

Sienna

The early signs of morning had just broken through the cracked slits of the curtains and I was wide-awake without an ounce of desire to be in bed any longer.

I had halted taking the strong pain medication last night. My body was still healing and there was pain around the area where I had cracked my rib, but it was manageable. I didn’t want to be drowsy any longer.

I wanted to start living again.

Apart from that horrendously terrifying incident that occurred a week ago, everything in my life had been great, especially with Blake. Not once had he left my side since the accident. He’d been such an excellent companion, nursing me like I was about to drop dead any day now. Even though I was being smothered by his incessant attention, my love for him quadrupled to infinity.

I was on my side, staring at the man who’d stolen my heart and held it with no ransom. Reaching out, I softly grazed my fingertips across the growing stubble around his chiseled jaw, making my skin tingle at the first contact.

My heart swelled as I admired his sculpted beauty. Beautiful inside and out, however when he was pushed too far, the man was arctic cold; the polar opposite of his passionate nature. I’d seen both and, frankly, it was petrifying. That particular side of him was out, skating about, waiting for the right time to strike as he waited for any news about the culprit who’d pushed me in the stairwell at The Savoy.

Blake moaned, breaking my train of thought, as he smiled with his eyes closed. “Good morning, cara mia.”

“Good morning,” I greeted the sleepy man, leaning over and connecting his lips to mine.

Blake cupped my face before he pulled away, eyeing me with great scrutiny, gold bursts standing out amidst the midnight blue. “How are you with pain today? Do you need to see a doctor? I can summon my zio’s physician. He’s brilliant.”

There he went again, always worrying like I was going to crumble into a heap. “I’m fine. So much so that I’m dying to see, taste and experience Rome. We’ve been hiding here for three days now. I’m ready to go out and have some Italian fun,” I said, trying to convince him to lower his guard.

“Poppet, I’m not too sure about that. It could still be dangerous.” He exhaled, thumping his head back on the white, goose-down pillow, thinking aloud. “They’re still out there. Who bloody knows when they’ll strike again? The thought itself turns me cold.”

Every night, I dreamt of the accident. It never ceased to replay in my head as if it had only happened yesterday, but I couldn’t for the life of me live in a hideout forever. If I had a day, a month or a year before they succeed with their mission, then I would live whatever time left to the fullest. How many bullies did I have to tackle before I was set free? Cowering surely wasn’t a valid option for me. Whatever happened in the future, I would be happy to know that I had lived each day without regret, without the dark past hindering me from moving forward, without giving a flying f**k about what those blasted people had in mind for me. I wasn’t going down like some dim-witted fool because they had to catch me first before I got to that bitch who’d pushed me. I was going to get my revenge, my f**king way.

“Oh, come on! It’s not like someone’s going to shoot me while I’m walking around Rome. You act like I’m so darn fragile. I’m doing okay. Please, I beg of you to take me out, just you and me. I’ve missed you.”

“I can promise to take you out for lunch, but that would be all.”

“Well, what’s the point of staying here then? Might as well go to Marbella now instead of next week. At least there I’ll have friends around.”

Blake sat up, exposing the contoured expanse of his back, hard and sculpted. “You’re right. We can head out to Marbella tomorrow, or even today, if you wish it.”

Man, this man knew how to make me happy sometimes. Marbella had Chad and Toby, and I needed those boogers with me. “Really? We can leave today? I’d rather do that than wait for tomorrow.”

“Your wish is my command. I’ll go ahead and make some calls.” He held my hand, stroking the inside with his thumb. This was a habit I loved about him. Blake wanted to be connected to me in all aspects; always. “What would you like for breakfast? I’m sure Zia and Zio are already waiting for us to join them.”

His Uncle Luciano and Aunt Seraphina were lovely people and I would hate to leave too soon after they’d gotten all excited that we were staying here for a while. However, as much as I liked them, I needed to be around people who I could easily confide in.

They weren’t upset with us at all, though, the couple made us promise to come back for Lent and spend a weekend there then. “We’ll definitely be back. I’m not sure when it’ll be knowing Blake’s schedule.” I smiled at Seraphina.

Her bright green eyes twinkled at me. “When you get married, promise me you’ll have it here in Italy. Blake is the closest thing I have to a son after I lost my own sweet boy. I’m very happy that he has you in his life. The power of love is powerful, si?”