Once a Ferrara Wife...

By: Sarah Morgan

Now, she was grateful for the extra layer of protection provided by the sunglasses. She’d never been good at revealing her thoughts to anyone. She’d always protected herself. To trust him had taken all her courage, which had made his careless betrayal all the more shocking.

She didn’t see him move but he must have gestured because one of the cars drew up next to her and a door opened.

‘Get in the car, Laurel.’ His icy tone wrapped itself around her body and acted like brakes. She couldn’t move.

Laurel stared into the interior at the luxurious evidence of the Ferrara success story.

She was supposed to climb inside without question. To follow his wishes without question because that was what everyone else did. In the world he inhabited—a world outside the limits of most people’s imagination—he was all powerful. He decided what happened and when.

Mistake number three had been coming back, she thought. Her anger, held tightly inside for two years, gnawed at her insides like acid.

She didn’t want to slide into the car with him.

She didn’t want to share that small, enclosed space with this man.

‘I feel sick after the plane journey. I’m going to walk around Palermo for a while before I go to the hotel.’ She’d booked somewhere small that would never appear on the Ferrara radar. Somewhere she could recover from the emotional demands of this wedding.

The breath hissed through his teeth. ‘Get in the car or so help me I will put you there myself. Embarrass me in public again and you will regret it.’

Again. Because of course she had done exactly that. She’d taken his masculine pride and smashed it into pieces and he’d never forgiven her.

Which suited her fine because she’d never forgiven him, either.

Never forgiven him for abandoning her when she’d needed him most.

She couldn’t forgive or forget, but that didn’t matter because she had no desire to rekindle their relationship. She didn’t want to fix what they’d broken. This weekend wasn’t about them, it was about his sister.

Her best friend.

Keeping that fact at the front of her mind, Laurel bent her head and slid into the car, grateful for the blacked out windows that shielded her from the goggling passengers who sat with their noses pressed to the windows of the aeroplane watching the drama unfold.

Cristiano joined her in the car and the door was closed on them. The doors locked with a solid clunk, a reminder that a member of the super-rich Ferrara family was always a target.

He leaned forward and spoke in Italian to the driver, the lilting expressive language sliding over Laurel with the softness of silk. He was an international businessman and he favoured Italian over the more guttural Sicilian dialect spoken by the locals although he could switch easily enough when it suited him. The fact that she loved hearing him speak to her in Italian had been one of their many private jokes.

The car moved forward, their departure allowing the rest of the passengers to finally disembark.

Laurel envied them their freedom. ‘How did you know I would be on that flight?’ ‘Is that a serious question?’

No. If there was anything that the Ferrara family didn’t know then it was because it didn’t interest them. The scope and reach of their power was breathtaking, especially for someone like her who had come from nowhere. No one had cared who she was or where she was going.

‘I didn’t expect you to meet me. I was going to text Dani, or get a taxi or something.’

‘Why?’ His strong, muscular leg was dangerously close to hers, thrusting into her personal space. ‘You wanted to find out if I’d pay the ransom if you were kidnapped?’ Power throbbed from him and suddenly she realised why she’d been swept along by everything. She could barely think in his presence. Even now, his sexuality made her catch her breath.

She slid across the seat slightly, trying to widen the distance. ‘The divorce will be final soon. You probably would have paid them to take me off your hands. Your stroppy, disobedient ex-wife.’

The tension in the car tightened to snapping point. ‘Until the ink is dry on those papers, you’re still a Ferrara. Act like one.’

Laurel leaned her head back against the seat.

Laurel Ferrara. A legal reminder that she’d made a bad decision. The name sounded better than the reality.

The large powerful Ferrara family was bound together by blood and centuries of history. Their name was synonymous with success, duty and tradition. Even his sister Daniela, for all her English university education and rebel ways, was settling down and marrying a Sicilian from a good family. Her future was mapped out. Secure. Within a year she’d have a baby. Then another. That was what the Ferraras did. They bred more Ferraras to continue the dynasty.

Laurel’s throat burned and she stared straight ahead of her, grateful for the sunglasses that hid her eyes.

There were so many things she didn’t allow herself to think about. So many places she didn’t allow her mind to visit.

It had been more than two years since she’d seen him and she’d disciplined herself not to look at his photograph or surf the Internet for images, knowing that the only way to survive was to try and wipe him from her brain. But that wasn’t easily done with this man.