Chapter Seventeen

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"So my friend said the rooftop is right. Up. Here." Colin forced open a door with his shoulder, and we burst into the wan sun. "Aha. Yes."

We'd spent the morning in bed and also in the shower, where we'd crammed into the small space, with Colin eventually getting on his knees to lick me and tease me. I trembled from all the pleasure, since I hadn't been with anyone in years. It felt foreign and uncharted to have a man be that attentive to my body.

And really amazingly wonderful.

In the afternoon, we'd held hands as we'd strolled around the small city and ate lunch on the waterfront. At several points, Colin kissed me in public, which warmed me from the inside out. I laughed a lot, more than I had in recent memory. Somehow being away from my home, my business, and my usual circle of friends on Palm Beach made me let go of my anxiety.

Oh, sure, it was still there, around the edges. I didn't expect Colin to take it away by giving me a few body-rocking orgasms and a few tender kisses while cupping my face.

But as he poured wine into glasses on the condo rooftop that night—our third in Iceland—I started to fantasize that maybe, just maybe, Colin and I might have a future once we both returned to Florida. I considered this as I stared at the sea. So what if he was five years younger? We seemed well matched.

"Pumpkin, you must see this," Colin called out. He had wandered off, looking for a second lounge chair. And that's what he'd called me all day, the endearing English translation of my last name. Every time he said it in his sexy, low voice, I swooned.


I joined him at the other end of the roof and drew in a breath when I saw what was painted on the adjacent building.

"My God, look at that," I said.

"It's what I wanted to show you. Isn't it remarkable?"

It was a surrealist mural, one that took up almost the entirety of the building. Done mostly in purple and blue and grey hues, it portrayed a raven-haired vampire biting the neck of a purple-haired woman in his arms. Her head was thrown back, revealing her neck. Her eyes were closed, almost in ecstasy, and her arms wrapped desperately around the savage, bloodthirsty man. She appeared relaxed, yet ravaged, and the intensity of the enormous street art was unsettling to me.

"Wow." I gulped my wine. My eyes scanned some words in Icelandic along the side of the mural, and I pointed. "I wonder what the caption says, down there on the right."

Colin rested his glass on a planter filled with red flowers and took his phone out of his pocket. He tapped and swiped, then blew out a breath as he looked at the mural.

"It's from an Icelandic saga, and it means, 'I was worst to those I loved the most.'"

I repeated the words. "Well, I can certainly think of some people that would apply to."

"Yeah." Colin took a drink and his expression became hard. "Me too."

We drank in silence, staring at the brash mural and standing side-by-side.

"Want to tell me about him?" he asked gently.

I snorted a laugh. "My ex-husband. Aidan. We married young. I was twenty- six, he was three years younger. A polo player. I had recently started my business, thanks to Clementine, my mentor."

"Right, she was mentioned in that Vogue article I read."

I nodded. "After graduation, I asked my parents for a loan, thinking I'd paid my dues by getting scholarships and working throughout school to support myself without their help. But they said no and were insistent on shutting me out of the family's wealth. So Clementine helped me, which annoyed my parents. They couldn't understand why she believed in me, why she would give me money to start a fashion line. Of course, it was because she had so much money she didn't know what to do with it. And my parents couldn't comprehend why I was in love with Aidan, who was a polo player and not from a 'proper' background." I used my fingers to make air quotes when I said the word proper.

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