La Vita Dolce Ch. 01

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She attempted console herself as the plane began to descend and calm her rattled nerves. ‘It’s all right, everything is fine. Everything is under control. You’ve been here before.’

Pursing her lips, she blew out a slow stream of air.

She wondered what she would say the moment she saw her uncle, the notorious Renoldo Pezzini.

She drew an absolute blank.

Natasha James stepped off the plane feeling severely jetlagged and supremely rumpled. She grimaced. She felt like hell. Wisps of dark hair had succeeded in pulling free from the ponytail at the base of her neck. Her mascara was slightly smudged, making her eyes appear smoky. She yawned fetchingly and squinting into the sunlight she slipped a pair of dark Gucci sunglasses over her eyes. She made her way down the stairs slinging her purse over her shoulder. The heels of her stiletto boots clicked on the metallic steps. Eyes were on her. Even jetlagged and rumpled, Natasha James was gorgeous. The daughter of a black military man and an Italian heiress, her looks were quite unique; caramel colored skin, raven hair that fell in loose waves over her shoulders, changeling eyes…The young woman attracted attention wherever she went.

A man waited at the bottom of the stairs looking up at her expectantly. He wore a dark suit and sunglasses. His skin was Italian gold and his dark hair was swept back from his face. He was very Italian and she would have found him extremely handsome were it not for the rigid stance and the stern expression that marred his fine features. “Ms. James?”

Natasha slid the sunglasses up onto her head and eyed him critically. “That depends on who’s asking,” she grumbled.

He cleared his throat and shifted, slightly taken back by her answer, but his face remained impassive. He said in a heavy Italian accent “Your uncle sends his apologies. He has business to attend to.”

Natasha frowned, her lips twisting wryly. Her voice was dry. “Business? Is that what he calls it?” Then she looked at him more closely. “Alejandro Montelli? Is that you?” She looked him up and down with a smirk. “My…we’re all grown up. And so important too.”

His mouth twitched and he shifted uncomfortably. He skirted her sarcasm. “You bags will be taken to the hotel where a car will be provided for your use. Follow me, please.”

Natasha followed him over the airfield and into the airport. In the pristine blue and white terminal Natasha headed for the inevitable görükle escort interrogation at customs. “I thought they weren’t letting anyone past security…” Natasha said. Alejandro simply cast her a beleaguered glance.

After the customs officer checked her visa and passport dismissively, she returned it to her handbag, and followed Alejandro out into the terminal. Suddenly she was engulfed in a horde of commuters all rushing to meet their flights.

When Alejandro stopped abruptly before her Natasha nearly crashed into his broad back.

“Wha-?” she blurted, startled.

He glanced back at her, surprised be her closeness.

He took her arm in a none too gentle grasp and led her to a seat away from the bustling crowds. “Stay.” He ordered and turned briskly away from her and disappeared into the crowds.

Natasha bristled at his order. “Woof.” She muttered under her breath.

She watched the hurrying travelers pass by. ‘Like bumper cars ‘ she thought and grinned. She glanced at her watch, ten minutes. She blew out an exasperated breath. One booted toe tapped the floor. She spotted a coffee bar across the way and suddenly a cappuccino sounded desperately tempting.

She stood and was skirting her way across the terminal when a particularly hurried traveler bumped her shoulder, hard. Her purse flew from her shoulder and she stumbled backwards. She skidded across the floor with astonishing velocity. She teetered precariously on her heels and a small startled shriek tore itself from her throat as she began to fall backwards.

She fell against a tall, hard, male body. She winced and flushed with embarrassment as two strong hands took firm hold of her shoulders and she was unceremoniously set on her feet.

She was about to face her rescuer when she spotted her purse, its contents spilling across the floor. “Shit.” She bent quickly and began to gather her things back into her purse. She was reaching for her compact then promptly drew her hand back as a shoe came down and crushed it.

“Lovely.” She sighed and bent her head. It was the last straw. She was motionless a moment as tears of frustration threatened to fall behind the expensive shades.

As she crouched there fighting back tears, a pair of black wingtips appeared before her eyes beneath a pair of exquisitely tailored black slacks. The legs bent and a man came into her sight. He handed her her wayward passport with a gleam of white bursa escort bayan teeth. ” Credo che questo appartiene a voi.”

Natasha smiled weakly and stared. Lord he was gorgeous; tanned golden skin, a shock of dark hair falling over his brow. Super sleek aviator sunglasses shielded his eyes from her view. His lips were perfect and finely sculpted, sensual. His sideburns were worn long, stopping just short of his strong jaw line. His black v-neck sweater stretched over taut lean muscle.

She felt herself flush and was immediately thankful for her sunglasses. The tears that had welled up against her lower lashes were precariously close to falling. She resisted reaching to brush them away. Her voice wavered slightly. “Thanks.” she said taking her passport from his outstretched hand.

The corner of his lips lifted in a smile. He stood and offered his hand. He took hold and lifted her to her feet. His hand did not release hers. Damnit, the tears chose that moment fall. A tear made its way from beneath the dark shades to trail down her cheek. His brows drew together in a look of concern. He opened his mouth to speak but Alejandro was there before he could utter a word. She slid her hand hurriedly from the stranger’s grasp and sidestepped away from him, flushing.

She glanced at Alejandro. His hand was firm on her back as he eyed the stranger suspiciously with quiet menace. The man didn’t seem to notice. He spared Alejandro a mere glance, but gaze was fixed on Natasha.

“Natasha, it’s time to go.” Alejandro said quietly his eyes steadily trained the man across from them. He guided her around the stranger and Natasha glanced back to see the man still standing there, hands tucked into black trousers.

Alejandro was annoyed, surprise surprise. “You, of all people, need to be careful of who you speak to.” He didn’t notice the tear streaks on her cheeks, or it did not concern him.

She lifted her chin imperiously. “And why, exactly, is that?” She wanted him to say it.

He wouldn’t. “Don’t play games. This is not the time or the place..”

She hooked her arm through his, trying to make her voice light. “What’s wrong with you? We used to be cool when we were kids.”

He frowned and disentangled his arm. “I work for your uncle now. Things are different.”

Natasha caught her lip between her teeth and lowered her head, nodding to herself. Alejandro glanced at her but said nothing.

Natasha bursa escort followed him outside. As they appeared a black, Rolls Royce Seraph limousine navigated past a horde of Renault taxis beside the mosaic pavement. Its sky-roof was open to reveal the cap of the chauffeur. From the front passenger seat a man in a black suit with more menace than personality opened the door for her. “Miss James,” he gestured.

“How very discreet.” Natasha remarked.

Her skin prickled uncomfortably. Her gaze was drawn to a tall bald man in a dark suit across the street. It was difficult to tell if he was looking at her behind his dark glasses but a decidedly uneasy feeling settled low in her belly. People swarmed and moved around him but remained perfectly still. There was something decidedly unsettling about him. He was staring. Natasha looked around. He was definitely looking at them. “Alejandro? Who is that?”

Alejandro followed her gaze and the jerk of her head. His expression hardened and he spared the man a hard look. “Benicio Morelli. A henchman of your uncle’s enemy and someone you should definitely avoid.”

Natasha raised her eyebrows at him. “Did you just say ‘henchman’? Seriously?”

“Get in the car.” He hissed.

“But –“

Alejandro all but threw her into the back of the limo before settling himself next to the driver.

Gianni Angiolini also watched the limousine pull away taking the girl with it. Natasha. He liked the name. It was perfect for her, unique, sexy. Her face was in his mind. The dark arched brows, the full pink lips beneath a piquant nose. Her raven hair had framed her face to perfection. Her body was exquisite, young, slender but curved in all the right places. A smile unwittingly curved on his lips.

He had been about to ask her name when that man had shown up. Gianni hadn’t really looked at the man. He had been possessive. A husband? A fiancé, maybe. Gianni grimaced. Something about her companion had sparked his memory but refused to surface.

The shrill ring of his cell phone interrupted his thought. “Yes?” he was irritated.

“You’ve missed your window. I need you here now.”

Gianni’s jaw tightened. “Fuck.” He cursed and flipped the phone shut without responding. His keys jangled as he strode towards the black jag on the curb and the cop standing by writing a ticket and speaking into a radio at his shoulder. The doors clicked as he pressed the key. He got in, slamming the door behind him and ignored the cop completely. The engine roared to life and he shot away from the curb dipping the car around the startled officer.

The girl had been a distraction but he would not let it happen again. The Pezzini heir wouldn’t get by him again.

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