Chapter 1 : The Italian Stallion
Tally's house was a dream home—literally.
Her father had built it from a dream he'd had, or so he'd told us when we were young girls.
Looking at it now, I believed it.
Little did I know that, in this house, all of my dreams would start to come true....
Five years had gone by since the last time I came to Miami. Pulling up to Tally's house felt just like it had been so many times before. I had spent so many summers in this home, coming here was like greeting an old friend.
The mansion had tall, white, towering columns lining the porch, accenting the huge archways over the doors. The architecture was unique to Tally's father's taste, which made sense since he had dreamed it up.
The difference now was the roof had been redone in Mediterranean terracotta shingles, and the landscaping was completely different, now with an Italian flare. Mr. Valentino had even added a white marble fountain to the front yard that featured a goddess being worshiped.
He had really outdone himself and based on the looks of the outside, I couldn't wait to see what he had changed inside. This was my home away from home.
“Oh, my god!" Tally screamed excitedly. “Look at this place! Dad really did a number on the renovations, didn't he, Becca?"
“Yeah, totally awesome," I replied, glancing towards Tally, shaking my head.
Thank god she has never been to my parents' house.
As much as I didn't want to think Tally would judge the way I grew up—she would.
Prim and proper was Tally's norm. These sorts of luxuries weren't possible for someone like me.
I didn't come from mansions or luxury cars or tight security. My family didn't have yachts and butlers and maids. All of which seemed to tend to any need Tally could possibly ever have.
But it didn't matter to me in the end. I loved the life I lived, and I was grateful to have been able to take part in Tally's as well.
How we had become friends I would never understand, but I was grateful to have her. We had been there for each other through a lot, and no matter how much we could irritate each other, we were like sisters.
“I'm starving. I wonder if Dad has a small spread ready for our arrival," she murmured as she grabbed her stuff and glanced at me. “Ready to get this party started?"
“Sure." Shaking my head with a smile, I watched her move with excitement towards the front door. Its mahogany finish gleamed in the Miami sun.
Beautiful. That's what it was.
Passing the threshold, it was as if being instantly transported to Italy. The decor embellished every inch of the Tuscan Valley, highlighting every aspect of the magical home.
The last time I had come here was when Tally's parents got divorced. At that point in time, the home was still wildly styled to Tally's mother's taste.
So seeing her father's preference brought to life was a refreshing sight.
“Daddy!" Tally screamed, dropping all of her bags to the floor haphazardly as she moved towards the kitchen. “I'm home!"
I wasn't sure why Tally continued to act like she was five, but at the same time, I was too entranced with the decor to care. Carefully, I sat done my things next to Tally's while my eyes stared at the ceiling as I spun slowly in a circle, taking it all in.
“Maybe he isn't here," I said as my eyes met hers once more.
“He is here. His car was in the drive, and he told me he had a long meeting. That's why he didn't meet us at the airport."
Rolling my eyes, the corner of my lip lifted into a smirk as I took a seat on one of the tall vintage barstools. There was only so much Tally-drama I could deal with, and considering we hadn't even been here ten minutes, I would say this was a new record.
Regardless, though, I didn't want to partake in the conversation she was about to have with him. I already knew where it would go.
“Well," I shrugged, “maybe he took another car?"
It's not like he is short on the money to afford it.
“This is bullshit!" Tally screamed out in frustration. “He was supposed to greet me as soon as I got home."
Ah. There she is! Princess Tally at her finest.
As my eyes cast towards the window in the kitchen, I caught sight of the Adonis-like figure swimming laps in the pool. There was no doubt in my mind who it was....
Because I already knew. James Valentino. Tally's s*x god of a father.
Since I was sixteen years old, I had fantasized about sneaking into her father's room and having him force me to submit. The way his fingers would grip my throat as he told me I was his good girl… I knew it was wrong, but at the same time, it was a childish fantasy. One I never dared to share with Tally.
Not to mention her father would never dare take advantage of a young girl.
Even if I had wanted to willingly give myself to him.
“Uh, it looks like he is getting out of the pool," I breathed out, trying to divert my attention.
No matter how many times I tried to take my eyes off of him, I couldn't. He was far too breathtaking, and with droplets of water dripping down across his rippled stomach, all I could do was drool.
F*ck me. Is he getting hotter the older he gets?
“What?" She gasped as she glanced in the direction I was looking. “Swimming instead of meeting me when I walked through the door?"
The disdain in her voice snapped me out of my trance and caused me to roll my eyes.
“I don't understand what the big deal is, Tally. Who cares? We are here now, and we have an entire summer to enjoy."
She spun to face me; her gaze spoke volumes about her unhappiness. “I know this."
“Sooo?" I shrugged. “Then what's the big deal?"
Crossing her arms over her chest, she scoffed, “Because Daddy always greets me at the door. You don't think he has a new woman, do you?"
Laughter escapes me as I stare at her in disbelief. “Seriously? That's your go-to?"
“Well—" she shrugged in frustration, “I read online that when men change their patterns, it's usually because of a big change... like a new woman."
Should have seen that. It's what happened with Chad, I mentally noted with a sigh.
I couldn't understand her reasoning. “Would that honestly be a bad thing?"
“Yes!" she shrieked. “Oh, my god, Becca. That would be like the worst thing ever. If he wants a woman, he can get back with my mom."
Just as the words left her mouth, the sliding glass door opened, and the hottest man I had ever laid my eyes on stepped through the doorway, dripping wet and running a towel over his head.
The Italian Stallion has arrived. God, I want to kiss his abs.
The dirty remark running through my mind caused me to bite my bottom lip as my eyes scanned his body up and down. No matter how much time passed, I still had the desire to climb him like a horse and ride him into the new year.
Maybe run my tongue across his rock hard body even… hell, I'm not picky.
“Where were you?" Tally snapped with disapproval, pulling me from my delicious thoughts. “I expected to see you, and you weren't there. I don't understand."
Confusion passed through his eyes as he stared at her with shock. “Sweetie, I didn't think your flight was supposed to be here for another hour."
“Uh–no," she quipped. “I sent you my flight info, and I texted you."
“You did?" he replied, picking his phone off the bar and quickly scrolling through it.
Standing impatiently, she stared at him. “Yeah, I did."
“I'm sorry, sweetie," he shrugged. “I guess it slipped my mind. I'll make it up to you."
Smart man. Smart man.
When it came to Tally, we both knew how to act. Because if Tally didn't get her way, you would think World War III was breaking out due to her disregard and meltdowns.
“It's okay," she sighed. “Becca and I are hungry and tired. Can we order food?"
As his eyes slowly slid to me, he furrowed his brow in confusion, “Becca?"
Of course, he doesn't recognize me. “Hey," I smiled, trying not to look down.
The swim shorts were doing nothing to conceal the beast between his legs, and with my current s****l situation having been nonexistent for the past few weeks, I was horny.
Damn it, Becca. Stop thinking dirty about your friend's dad. What the f*ck!
“You have grown up a lot, Becca," Mr. Valentino replied, his dark, sultry gaze scanning up and down my body.
Shit. Was he checking me out?!
“Yeah." The breathlessness of my response caused me to clear my throat as I quickly averted my gaze, trying to look anywhere but at him. I wasn't trying to be rude, but if this conversation didn't end quickly, I was going to give away my dirty thoughts by looking at his enormous c**k again.
“So..." he muttered, looking between the two of us. “What are the plans for summer?"
Before I could even get a word in, Tally started rambling off about the parties and boating trips she wanted to take. Even though I was her guest, he was already accustomed to the fact we often did things apart.
“And you, Becca?" he asked, bringing me back to the present. “Anything you would like to do?"
Yeah, f*ck you into oblivion.
“Um. I'm not quite sure yet. Had some rough s**t happen a few weeks back, so kind of looking to relax and enjoy my summer? Then, it's back to school for my last year." I smiled, nodding my head as a glint of amusement crossed his eyes.
“Oh, very nice," he said, crossing his arms over his chest. “What was your degree again?"
“Statistics and Data Science," I replied as I gazed down at my fidgeting hands.
“She's a math nerd, Dad. You give her anything to do with numbers, and she is quick with a response. Bookkeeping and calculations and all that stuff. Kind of like you."
Tally's response caused me to laugh before I cleared my throat, realizing I was finding amusement in her calling her dad a math nerd, basically.
“Something like that," his reply was followed by the upward turn of his mouth as my gaze met his once more. I didn't understand what was going through his head at that moment, but I was intrigued to find out.
Pulling out her phone, I watched as Tally replied to whatever text she got while smacking on the bright pink bubble gum she had consumed at some point. “s**t. Becca, we need to get unpacked. Jesse wants us to meet for food."
“Oh–okay," I said, not really looking forward to it. “I thought we were going to eat here."
“I can order food," Mr. Valentino said happily as he glanced between Tally and I.
“No, no," Tally scoffed. “We are just going to go out."
I felt bad about the situation overall. Mr. Valentino didn't know we were going to be here so soon, and Tally was acting childish. Even if I loved her dearly, the way she was acting was unacceptable.
“Okay then," he smiled. “It's really nice to have you home, sweetie. I hope we can spend some time together while you're here."
The notion warmed my heart and made me miss my own father. But in true Tally fashion, she didn't hold the same sweet sentiment I did.
“I'll fit something in," she replied as she made her way towards the stairs. “Can Rosa bring our things upstairs, please? I need to unpack and take a shower."
As Tally disappeared from sight, I shook my head, jumping off the barstool.
“Thanks for letting me stay for the summer, Mr. Valentino. I appreciate it."
His eyes drifted from where his daughter had disappeared to me, and as he looked at me, I couldn't help but feel small under his gaze. “There is no need to thank me, Becca. Also, will you please call me James?"
First name basis? Oh, shit… Becca, stop, you're reading too much into it.
“If that's what you would like… James," I replied softly, fluttering my eyelashes in a flirtatious manner. “I better get going. I guess I'll see you around."
Raising a brow, his smile never faltered as he nodded, “Oh, you definitely will."