Authors: K. S. Ruff
Tags: #Romance, #Romantic Suspense, #Inspirational, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense
traced a heart in the palm of his hand. “Do you still have a lot of friends
glanced at his hand before searching my eyes. “A few. Most of my friends serve
on the police force.”
airplane rolled to a stop. The ground crew rolled metal stairs toward the front
of the aircraft. I glanced toward the front of the jet. “How long did you serve
on the police force?”
unhooked his seatbelt. “Ten years.”
should try to catch up with your friends while we’re here.” I gave him a hug
when he drew me to my feet.
are a few people I’d like you to meet.” He coaxed my lips into a slow, tender
kiss. With a low growl, he grasped my jaw, angled his head, and delved deep
inside my mouth. He took his time seducing… teasing… tempting me to surrender
he was unaware of the fact the flight and ground crew were waiting for us to
disembark or he simply didn’t care. It wasn’t until my nipples hardened, until
I shifted so that his erection slid securely between my legs, that he finally
released me. “Soon,” he promised. “As soon as we get home.”
I inquired a bit dazedly. Rafael’s already high sex drive seemed to be in
overdrive ever since he slipped that ring on my finger. I sincerely hoped he
wasn’t referring to Virginia, because the need he’d just wrung from me required
more immediate attention.
flat in Lisbon.” He linked his hand in mine and tugged me toward the door.
have a home here?”
Why didn’t I know that?
smiled as we neared the front of the aircraft. “I hope you enjoy your stay in
Lisbon.” The pilot and co-pilot joined her outside the cockpit.
smile tugged at my lips. “Thanks for the wonderful flight.”
shook their hands. “Will you be joining us for the return flight?”
two pilots exchanged glances. “Definitely.”
aware of the date?” Rafael was determined to keep me in the dark about when
that might be.
see you then.” Rafael led me down the stairs. He stopped to speak with the
ground crew when we reached the bottom of the stairs.
eyes widened when I realized he was speaking in Portuguese. I made a mental note
to study his native language.
pulled me close when we resumed walking. “Just making sure the jet will be well
feet stalled when we entered the main terminal. The building was constructed of
metal and glass. Crisp, clean lines, metal beams, and highly polished floors
reflected the light pouring in through the glass ceiling and walls. “I wasn’t
expecting such a contemporary looking airport.”
find that Lisbon offers a nice blend of contemporary and historic buildings, a
lot like DC.” He led me away from the other travelers. “We don’t need to go
through customs. I made sure we were pre-cleared.”
gaped at him. “Seriously? I didn’t know you could do that.” We crossed through
a section of the airport that looked more like a shopping mall than a transportation
hub. The place was packed.
pulled me closer. “This way. My car is parked in the parking garage.”
have a car here?” I shook my head. Rafael had a life I knew nothing about. The
man I’d just agreed to marry had suddenly become a complete mystery to me.
A 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo. I hope the thing still runs.” We stepped through the
automatic doors and walked toward the garage. The sky was overcast. The
temperature was cool but not cold.
snorted more than laughed. “As if you’d own a car that doesn’t run.”
chuckled. “My attorney took the car to be serviced last week, so it should be
fine. He left the car here earlier this morning.”
jaw fell slack. “Why would you task your attorney with that?”
laughed. “Well, he’s more friend than attorney. He manages housekeeping and
utilities for the flat and services the car. In exchange, I let him drive the
Porsche and loan the flat to some international clients.” He pressed the car
shaped key fob dangling from his other hand.
lights flashed on a sexy metallic silver Porsche. Rafael opened the passenger
door. He held my hand as I sank into the luxurious leather seat. “This car is
folded himself into the driver’s seat. “And really fun to drive.” He backed out
of the parking space and idled at the entrance to the garage. A number of cars
drove by before Rafael merged into traffic. Once we exited the airport, he hit
the accelerator and shifted. Hard.
breath caught when the sudden speed slammed me back into the seat. “What are
you doing?” I clutched both sides of the seat.
shifted again. “Don’t worry, everyone drives like a madman in Lisbon.”
glanced at the speedometer. He was pushing one hundred forty-five kilometers
per hour. My chest was pounding. Hard. “We’re going to die.”
laughed. “We’re not going to die. Do you want to eat breakfast, sleep for a
while, or go sightseeing?”
Have. Food,” I panted dramatically. “You burned far too many calories off of me.”
grinned. “Food it is then.”
peered out the window, trying to absorb the city. The buildings surrounding us
were rather contemporary, but white washed buildings with red clay roofs dotted
a nearby hillside. An old stone castle rose above it all.
followed my gaze. “
was so immersed in the city that I could only nod.
turned onto a wide avenue that reminded me of the Champs Elysees. “This is the
My flat is just a few blocks up, on one of the side streets.”
ignored the contemporary buildings and the high end stores, intrigued by the
older, more historic buildings. The architecture was eclectic, boasting
Moorish, Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical designs. “What a
smile widened. “I couldn’t agree more.” He came to an abrupt stop when he saw a
parking space opening up.
gaped at the sidewalk. Instead of concrete, black and white mosaic tiles formed
an elegant design I felt hesitant to walk on. “Are all of the sidewalks like
helped me from the car. “Pretty much.” He linked his arm with mine as we began
shook my head in disbelief. “I cannot imagine the work or the man power
involved in laying all those tiny tiles.” Some of the tiles had settled
unevenly so they poked up out of the ground, digging into my shoes. “How do
women navigate this sidewalk in heels?”
seen a lot of people fall. Lisbon has some very steep hills, and these tiles can
be very slick when it rains.” Rafael ushered me inside the Confeitaria Nacional.
He parked me at a table near the door. “You stay here. I’ll order.”
glanced at the bakery counter where a mob of people were placing orders. Slowly,
kissed my cheek. “Do not leave this bakery.”
smiled while drawing a cross over my heart.
entered the fray. Ten minutes later, he deposited three pastry bags, two
disposable coffee cups, and two small ceramic cups onto the table. He sat in
the chair across from me. “I ordered the pastries and two large cappuccinos to go,
but I thought you might like to try the
before we leave.”
eyed the rich brown concoction. “I assume
like espresso.” Rafael took a sip and sighed appreciatively. “Remember the
coffee we drank in the café along the Champs Elysees?”
eyes sparkled. “This is even better than that.”
I took a highly skeptical sip.
had a strong, smoky taste, but it lacked
the bitter aftertaste that taints expresso. I took another sip. The warm, dark
elixir felt creamy and smooth when it slid over my tongue. I couldn’t help
feeling a little robbed. In two sips, the
was gone. “This is better
couple next to us snickered.
and I exchanged glances. He burst out laughing.
gathered the cappuccinos and pastry bags before scampering outside. “Clearly
they speak English.”
juggled the pastry bags and his coffee cup so he could help me into the car. “Most
people do around here. And, just so you know, I’ll be proving that statement
wrong just as soon as we eat breakfast.”
rolled my eyes at him. “Tell me about your apartment. Why do you still maintain
a place here?”
handed me the pastry bags, climbed into the driver’s seat, and eased into
traffic. “I purchased it outright after selling my parents’ house. I really
like this area. It’s close to cafés and restaurants but somewhat insulated from
the nightlife and noise that is common in some of the more popular
I kept long, odd hours when I was working for the police force, so I needed a
place quiet enough to sleep day or night. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be working
for Michael when I left; and even after I opened the security firm in DC, I was
certain I’d be returning here intermittently.”
parked beneath a white historic building with tall windows and black wrought
iron balconies. “I need to stop briefly on the first floor before we head up to
the apartment.” We grabbed the pastry bags and rode the elevator to the main
” The doorman boisterously exclaimed. He met us halfway across the
lobby, abandoning the front door entirely.
shifted the cappuccino into his left hand so he could shake the man’s hand. “
Este é o meu noiva
I’m afraid she doesn’t speak Portuguese.”
doorman beamed. “Welcome to
, Senhorita Stone.”
you. I look forward to exploring your city.” I should have studied Portuguese
when Rafael and I first began dating. I was going to have to download some
books to my Kindle so I could at least learn the basics... after Rafael proved
sex was better than
, of course. Given how incredible the
that could take a while.
gently squeezed my hand before resuming his discussion with Rafael. “Senhor Brantuas
stopped by last night to ensure everything is in order, but you will inform me
if you need anything?”
smiled. “Certainly.” He handed Matias one of the pastry bags.
peeked inside the bag. “
Bolo Rei e pastel de nata?
” He patted his
stomach. “It is good to have you back.”
patted him on the back. “It’s good to be back.” We walked back to the elevator.
Rafael slid a card through a magnetic device rather than pushing a button when
we entered the elevator this time.
waited for the elevator doors to close. “You regularly plied the doorman with
decadent pastries when you lived here, didn’t you?”
chuckled. “Matias is very good at keeping unwanted guests away.”
eyed the plastic card he was holding. “You live in the penthouse, I presume?”
eyes sparked with amusement. “You’re quite the sleuth.”
elevator opened into a private lobby with a dark slate floor and charcoal walls.
The room held three large tropical plants. Contemporary oil paintings in stark
white, silver, gray, and black glowed beneath strategically placed lights. Two
black leather chairs flanked a small table holding a white chunk of marble. The
far wall featured a massive wall fountain. The black marble slab was housed
inside a brushed steel frame. Hidden lights made the water shimmer as it trickled
down the roughly hewn slab. “I want one of those.”
swiped the card in the door before keying a code. He eyed the marble slab.
“Where would you hang it?”
my bedroom, assuming I could find one in brown. I really like how soothing it
pushed the door open. Still balancing his cappuccino and the two remaining
pastry bags, he pulled me into his arms. “Welcome to your new home, my love.”
He kissed me passionately before stepping inside the flat. He strode into the
kitchen, grabbed some plates and silverware, and joined me at the counter. He
folded his jacket over the back of his chair.
settled onto a bar stool while Rafael pulled pastries from the bags. Black
cupboards, black marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, a long stainless
steel sink, and recessed lighting lent the kitchen a decidedly masculine feel.
looked at the dining room. The far wall held a black, contemporary bar. The
wall above the bar was lined with glass shelves where a variety of brandy
snifters, wine, shot, rocks, beer, and martini glasses were glowing beneath
recessed lights. The black dining room table and chairs were tall and anchored
above a contemporary area rug in swirling strips of black, white, and gray.
Black hard wood floors and charcoal walls framed the entire open concept flat.