An exhausted sigh blows out of her and she sags slightly against the sofa. I fold an arm around her and pull her into my side.
“It’s been another long night. Let’s call it.”
Long night is an understatement—it’s minutes before three in the morning. I drag Delphine by hand into the bedroom where we strip from our masquerade costumes, leaving the expensive clothes as heaps on the floor. I twist on the shower knob in the bathroom and wait for it to get hot and steamy.
“Quicker if we consolidate.”
Delphine aims a small, tired smile at me. “Of courseyou’dsay that.”
“Then you shouldn’t be surprised.”
I draw her into me, dropping a kiss on the tip of her shoulder. We step into the glass box of my shower, rolls of steam fogging it up. I position Delphine in front of me, under the warm spray of the water.
We slip into complementary roles, taking care of each other, lathering up and rinsing off. Here and there, we sprinkle in some affection. My hands steady her hips and I nuzzle her from behind.
“I meant what I said earlier,” I say into her ear. “Everything I told you at the masquerade.”
“I know. It scares me.”
My fingers press into her hips in a reassuring squeeze. “Tell me why.”
“I don’t know if you’ve realized this, Salvatore Mancino,” she says, and I hear the smile in her voice, “but I’ve been trying my damnedest to resist you. I’ve given it everything I’ve got.”
She turns around in my arms so the spray of the water now falls on her spine. Her toffee-brown eyes flick up to mine, a spark in them. “I’m standing naked with you in your shower. What doyouthink?”
I grin before kissing her in answer.
A wet, passionate, open-mouthed kiss that feels amazing and elicits a feeling out of me I’ve only ever experienced when with Delphine—it’s quick heartbeats and a flip of my stomach and a rush of adrenaline in the best way.
But it’s also a strange sense of calm in the aftermath. As we draw apart, our gazes connected, I stroke my thumb along her cheek and feel at ease.
“I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it hard to stay away,” I say. “It should make sense now all those times I showed up at your place in the middle of the night.”
Her nose wrinkles, and she holds in her next smile. “Your turn.”
We swap places under the spray of water. She enjoys attempting to shampoo my hair. I enjoy it too, as I bend my head and she reaches up—the feel of Delphine’s nails raking across my scalp as she massages it makes me both hardanddrowsy.
By the time we towel off and collapse into bed we’re more than ready for the night to be over.
When the masquerade began, we were at an uncertain place in our relationship. Things still might not be easy from here on out, but we’re better off. Delphine’s stopped fighting it.
At least for now.
She curls against me, her body so fucking soft, I let out a deep exhale and close my eyes. It’ll be the first night in months her scent will be on my sheets, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
* * *
I’ve found my newest obsession. Piecing together the puzzle that’s NorthamNeptune123, the rampant blackmail happening, Delphine’s assault, Daddy Adams’ campaign and his connection to alleged Russian prostitute Lena Volchok—likely the same Volchok behind the payments made to Ralph Mirra and Issac Azeria. Two men who had been caught red-handed participating in the concerted effort to hurt Delphine.
Both men dead. Ralph had been the reason my security for her fell through that fateful night. Azeria was the guy who trashed Delphine’s apartment and just so happened to have her rose necklace in his possession.
There’s a real chance Delphine’s theory is correct—NorthamNeptune is tied in somehow. Her blackmailer could be her attacker or someone connected to him. All separate pieces that just might belong to the same puzzle.
Other operations fall by the wayside. I’ve put on hold my revenge scheme against Lucius (he’s still out of town) and I haven’t even checked for updates on Hector Belini (he’s still in the burn unit at Northam General).
Figuring out what’s going on with Delphine, her father, and her blackmailer become my top priority.