FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WHEN I’M WITH YOU AND BECAUSE YOU ARE MINE
Emma discovers startling new secrets about the enigmatic Montand and fears his spiritual wounds are too deep to heal—as New York Times bestselling author Beth Kery’s The Affair continues…
The Affair Week Seven
Emma and Montand’s exhilarating vacation in France takes them from the glamour of a luxury yacht to the dangerous thrill ride of the Montand Grand Prix, but it’s the daring new levels of intimacy they share that leave Emma breathless. Their decadent getaway affords Emma insights into Montand she never anticipated when she learns more of the truth about his damaged childhood, his volatile relationship with his father, and the woman groomed to be Montand’s substitute mother. Emma longs to help him fight his demons and end his suffering, but how can she, when his anger and guilt won’t let him forgive his stepmother…or more importantly, himself?
There’s a storm on the horizon, but for now, there’s sun-drenched sweetness and the naked truth in each other’s arms. Their days together are drawing to a close, giving every touch, every kiss, every moment of sensual submission and possession a wild, desperate intensity. They only have the moment so Emma and Montand surrender to it with total abandon.
Includes a bonus excerpt of Beth Kery’s Exposed to You
More to come. Don't miss the stunning conclusion in The Affair: Week 8
Praise for Beth Kery, Recipient of the All About Romance Reader Poll for Best Erotica
“Wicked good storytelling.”—Jaci Burton
“Addictive and delicious.”—USA Today
Beth Kery is the New York Times bestselling author of Because You Are Mine, When I’m with You and Exposed to You.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Adrenaline, happiness, and Vanni’s seemingly unquenchable sexual appetite assured that Emma only got three or four hours of sleep that night. Nevertheless, when he awakened her by nuzzling her cheek and ear the next morning, Emma immediately buzzed with alert sensual excitement. She opened her eyes to a room infused with pale gold morning light and fresh, sea-infused air.
Who had time for sleeping when being awake was so sweet? Who had time for sleeping when they were falling in love?
Don’t think about that, a voice in her head warned. Don’t be stupid.
“Would you like to start our day with a swim?” Vanni asked her, his voice a sexy, sleep-roughened rumble near her ear, and she promptly forgot her dire mental warnings.
“Yes,” she replied, turning her head to find his lips with her own. “I still can’t believe I won all that money,” she sighed a moment later when he lifted his head and she stared up at him, muzzy and warm from his kiss. “Did it really happen?”
“I’m sure Mario is wishing it didn’t, but it most definitely did,” Vanni said, smirking slightly. “You couldn’t have shoved his idiocy in his face any more forcefully. What are you going to do with your winnings?”
“I don’t know,” she said blankly. “I suppose Amanda could use some of it. Medical school isn’t cheap.”
His brows slanted. “You are not giving found money to your sister,” he said darkly.
“Why not?” she said, although she thought she already knew the answer. “Vanni, I don’t have a vendetta against Amanda. We’re working on things in our way. I wish you’d stop imagining me victimized. I love my sister. My mother would have wanted—”
“What do you want, Emma?” he interrupted as he coiled a tendril of her hair around his finger. She looked up at his face as her heart throbbed an answer. He looked beyond beautiful to her in the morning light, his thick hair tousled and bracketing his sea-colored eyes, whiskers sexily darkening his lean jaw. She touched his shoulder, wondrous yet again at the delicious denseness of muscle covered so tautly in smooth skin.
“I want to be happy,” she whispered.
“Yes,” she said without reservation. His small smile made her happiness swell.
Yes, for these diminishing weeks and days and hours, she was nothing short of ecstatic.
* * *
Instead of swimming in the terraced pool area to the right of the villa, Vanni led her to the cliffside, where they descended the long, meandering white staircase, the bright sun shining off the Mediterranean blinding her. There was a small beach when they reached the bottom and a floating dock forty feet out from the shore.
“Heaven,” she whispered several minutes later when they’d crawled onto the suspended dock and they lay side by side, panting slightly from their swim, the hot sun quickly drying their wet skin. The sea surrounded them like a rippling, sparkling blue-green gem. “Were the beach and the dock here when you were a child?” Emma asked, turning on her hip to face Vanni.
“Yeah,” he said. He turned toward her as well, bending his arm and using his hand to prop up his head. She stretched her right arm above her and laid her cheek on top of it, letting his solid body block the sun for her. It was heaven in and of itself, to gaze up at him against a backdrop of a clear, robin’s-egg blue sky, the waves rocking the dock gently. His small nipples were tight from the cool water, his ridged abdomen moving in and out slowly above his low-riding swim trunks. She wanted to touch him everywhere, but couldn’t decide on what delectable spot, so she just ate him up with her gaze. Vanni, on the other hand, was more decisive. He put his hand on her naked hip and moved it back and forth ever so slightly, gliding it against her damp skin. “It used to be Adrian’s and my favorite spot,” he said. “We had an au pair from Switzerland who came down here with us every day during our summer vacations. She was very dedicated and patient with us,” he mused. “I didn’t realize until years later she was one of my father’s lovers.”
She didn’t respond for a moment.
“When he died, were you still angry at him?” she finally asked.
He blinked and cupped her hip tighter in his palm. “Do you mean did I forgive my father for all of his infidelities? For his constant disapproval of me? For bringing Cristina into our life?”
“For being who he was,” she replied. “Nothing more. Nothing less.”
He inhaled slowly. “No. I don’t suppose I have.” He stared into the distance behind her, his eyes seeming to glow between the narrowed slits of his eyelids in his shadowed face. “Maybe it’s time I did. Maybe.” She gave in to her urge and touched a hard pectoral muscle. Something about his quiet thoughtfulness in regard to his father caused her conscience to prod and poke at her.
“Hmmm?” he asked, rubbing her hip lazily.
“There’s something I know you don’t want to talk about, but I feel obligated to bring it up,” she said reluctantly.
She felt him stiffen slightly beneath her stroking fingertips. He looked down at her.
She inhaled for courage. “When Cristina was dying, she made me promise that I’d tell you something. The problem is, I wasn’t sure how long you were standing there behind me. I wasn’t sure how much you heard.”
His rubbing hand stilled. His mouth pressed into a hard line. For a few awful seconds, she thought he was going to turn away from her, shut her down like the last time she’d tried to broach the topic with him.
“Please,” she whispered. “Try to understand. It was her dying wish, and I promised. If you don’t let me tell you, I’ll feel the weight of that promise forever.”
He bowed his head slightly. “When I walked in, she was saying something about how a child shouldn’t have been left to feel so much . . .”
“‘No man forced to feel so little,’” Emma finished when he faded off. “She meant you, Vanni. She knew that . . .” Emma swallowed thickly, trying to gather herself. “She knew that you blamed her for Adrian’s death, but she also you knew you blamed yourself. She begged me to ask you to forgive yourself.”
He just stared down at her. Emma’s throat ached with emotion.
“She was highly aware of her shortcomings,” Emma continued, knowing it was too late to turn back now. “She understood that she was petty when it came to your father, that she couldn’t stand sharing the spotlight with you and Adrian. She felt she was meant to be a mistress, that she wasn’t good enough to be a wife or mother. I think she was sadly realistic about the fact that her personality was cast in stone. I think she grieved over the fact that she wasn’t made of better stuff. She couldn’t change, she couldn’t make herself less selfish, but she regretted that truth. Deeply, I believe.”
“That makes no sense,” he stated with quiet forcefulness, his hand dropping from her hip. “If she truly regretted her actions, she would have chosen to take responsibility for them.”
“I don’t think she thought she was strong enough. She thought very little of herself.”
“There are very few women on this planet who think as well of themselves as Cristina did,” he stated bitterly.
“Maybe it looked that way. On the surface,” Emma agreed. “A woman like Cristina wasn’t the type to ever show her vulnerabilities. She hid behind her looks and glamorous life and beautiful clothes. She didn’t trust enough to let anyone see the truth. But I think she regretted not only Adrian’s death more than either of us can ever begin to understand, she hated her inability to help you deal with your guilt and grief after Adrian died. She was incapable. She knew it, and that absence in her character haunted her. She knew that because she didn’t claim blame for what happened to Adrian—because she couldn’t take responsibility—that you shouldered a heavy portion of that guilt. Illogically and unfairly, true, but that didn’t stop you from carrying that burden. That’s why she begged for your forgiveness at the end above all others.”
“She begged for my forgiveness because I was the only one left standing!”
“No,” Emma said firmly. “She understood that because of the circumstances, you were the one whose forgiveness meant the most. Not just to her. To you. And not just for her. For you.”
He jerkily started to sit up, and then stopped himself just as abruptly. Emma’s heartbeat started to pound in her ears. He reminded her very much of a trapped animal in those seconds.
Yet he didn’t move. He didn’t flee.
“I told Cristina once I wasn’t her judge,” Emma said softly, reaching to caress his whiskered jaw. He flinched slightly at her touch, but then he stilled. He clenched his eyelids shut. “I’m not your judge, either, Vanni. What’s between you and Cristina is your business. But I promised her I would tell you. And for my sake, I hope you do forgive that little boy you once were. You were a child. It wasn’t your fault. And . . .” She hesitated. “Adrian may have died, but part of him is in you. It always has been, Vanni.”
“Enough,” he bit out quietly through a tense jaw. He slowly opened his eyes and she saw the fierce maelstrom of emotion frothing inside him. She held his stare, difficult as it was.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I felt obligated to say it. I have, ever since she passed.”
“Then you’ve met your obligation,” he said.
She nodded, her concern for him and her love and so many other unspoken things shining in her eyes. She couldn’t stop it.
“Dammit, Emma,” he grated out, and then suddenly his mouth seized hers and he was pulling her against him. She gasped at the impact of him, all of his chaotic emotions finding an outlet in physical need. She’d never felt his desire to be so sharp, so focused. His hunger was furious . . . single-minded. She moaned into his mouth as he rolled onto his back on the dock, bringing her on top of him, their fused mouths never breaking. His hands were everywhere, kneading her back muscles, squeezing her ass, pushing her tighter against him. She moaned, her desire sparking to full flame at the sensation of his cock swelling against her belly. He pulled her higher against him, rubbing her pussy against the long column of his cock, using his hold on her bottom. She held on to his shoulders, overwhelmed by the sudden storm of him, tangling her tongue with his, knowing she was drowning in her need and unable . . . unwilling, to save herself.
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