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“It’s been great to see you and Kevin,” she said and looked at the Boyds. “Thanks for stopping by.” She ushered Linda and Kevin to the door, and waved them goodbye, before shutting the door behind them.
“Thanks, Mom.” Daniel gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Good riddance! That woman can be so darn insufferable at times.” She smiled warmly at him and Sabrina. “I made up your old room for you two to stay in. Clean sheets, fresh pillows, and your own private bathroom.”
Daniel nodded at his mother and she led them up the large staircase.
“Thank you for everything, Mrs. Sinclair,” Sabrina said.
Raffaela stopped on the stairs and turned around. “Please, just call me Raffaela. Whenever somebody calls me Mrs. Sinclair, I want to turn around to see whether my mother-in-law is in the room.”
Sabrina smiled. “Thank you, Raffaela.”
Daniel watched Sabrina as she walked up the stairs ahead of him, following his mother as she led them to his old room. When he entered it, he realized that not much had changed, though the full-size bed he’d had as a kid had long been replaced with a queen-sized version.
“I’ll let you two get settled. Dinner is at seven tonight. I’m cooking, so I hope you’re hungry.” She smiled and left the room.
Daniel dropped the bag and took Sabrina’s hand, giving it a firm squeeze. Then he pulled her to him and gave her a long, passionate kiss. A kiss that he’d wanted to give her since they’d gotten in the car to come here.
“Mmm, what was that for?” she asked, her eyes half closed, when he released her.
“No reason.” He nipped at her bottom lip. “I’m sorry about Linda and Kevin. I had no idea they’d be here.”
“It’s okay. I’m so thankful to your mother. She practically shooed them out the door,” Sabrina replied.
“Yes, Mom is great that way. And by the way, she likes you.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. “How would you know?”
“I know my mother. First of all, she hugged you—and she never hugged Audrey. And secondly—” When he felt Sabrina tense in his arms, he interrupted himself.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to mention Audrey. It was thoughtless of me.”
Sabrina shrugged, pulling herself from his embrace. “It’s kind of hard not to mention her, don’t you think? After all, Mrs. Boyd practically praised her to the heavens.”
“Linda doesn’t know any better. And she’s cut of the same cloth as Audrey. No wonder they’re friends.”
“I suppose you and Audrey had many mutual acquaintances and friends?”
“I’m afraid so. I wish I could promise you that what just happened won’t happen again, but I can’t. We run in the same circles. Sooner or later, we’ll run into her, and I’m sure the scene won’t be pleasant.”
He reached for her and put one arm around her waist, caressing her cheek with the other. “But what I can promise you is that I’ll always be by your side. And she’ll never be able to drive a wedge between us. I love you, Sabrina, and only you. Audrey means nothing to me.”
She nodded. “Thank you.”
“Is that all I get? How about a more enthusiastic physical thank you instead?” He winked.
Sabrina chuckled. “All right then. How about this?”
She slid her luscious lips over his, licking her tongue over their seam. Without hesitation, he parted them and allowed the sweet invasion, reveling in her tender touch. He slanted his head to allow for a deeper connection and stroked his tongue against hers, feeling a bolt of heat shoot through him.
“Hmm,” he hummed. “I should give you more occasions to thank me.”
She chuckled. “Very funny.”
Smiling, he released her. “I hope you’re hungry.”
“Actually, I’m starving.”
“Good. When Mom’s finished with you, you won’t have to eat for a month.”
Sabrina shook her head. “Is she really going to make that much food?”
“She’s Italian, baby. Cooking and feeding people is what she does.”
“Do I have time to unpack and freshen up a little before dinner?”
“Absolutely,” he said, kissing her cheek. “I’ll leave you to do that. There should be some space in the closet for your stuff. Just come on downstairs when you’re ready.”
Daniel left her to her own devices and headed downstairs. He followed the scent of his mother’s homemade sauce into the kitchen. She was busy stirring pots on the stove. He plucked a cherry tomato from the salad bowl on the counter and popped it into his mouth.