Hanna smiled her thanks while Carina rolled her eyes next to her husband. “You act like you never get a home-cooked meal,” she deadpanned.
Ian’s brows rose, and I saw the mirth in his gaze even before he opened his mouth. “I mean…” he dragged out suggestively.
“Oh, fuck you.” Carina laughed, smacking her husband’s arm.
“I think Carina is a great cook,” Hanna defended.
“Yeah, remember when she made that amazing chicken parmesan for Alexandra’s and Erik’s anniversary dinner?” Olivia recalled.
“Sooo good,” Alexandra moaned, chiming in with the rest of the girls to defend their friend.
“Exactly,” Carina added, making a face at her husband. “You’ll be lucky if I ever make you my Bolognese again.”
Ian gasped but quickly recovered, his face relaxing into a sinister smirk. “Fine, then I’ll never do—” he finished the rest of the sentence in his wife’s ear, causing her cheeks to heat.
Must have been impressive to make the Carina Russo blush.
I eyed Olivia at my side, imagining every filthy thing I’d like to whisper in her ear. As if my gaze stroked her like a physical touch, she looked to me, her eyes flaring with heat like she had ideas of her own. Gratitude mixed with desire. Despite the doubts that plagued me, I knew our physical connection was as strong as ever.
Thank god dinner was almost over because I needed to get her home and reconnect after the day we’d had.
“But really, thank you, Hanna,” Carina said, collecting herself. “It really was delicious.”
“Thank you. Daniel and I have been taking a cooking class together.”
“Oh, really?” I taunted my friend. “Do you get to wear a pretty apron?”
He returned my cocked brow with one of his own. “I do, and I make it look damn good.”
“Gross,” Olivia uttered before addressing a laughing Hanna. “Do you ever rest?”
She shrugged, taking a sip of her wine. “I just like to stay busy.”
“Speaking of,” Erik, Hanna’s older brother, cut in. “We have a meeting next week to discuss the preparation for the gala.”
“Is this another naughty gala?” Carina asked.
“Not quite. This is our annual formal charity auction. Nothing like the Twelve Naughty Nights event at Voyeur.”
Olivia stiffened, dropping her eyes to her empty plate.
I held my breath, willing the conversation to blow over. I wanted to hold on a little longer to the flash of desire that flared in her eyes, but if we continued to talk about the night Olivia missed out on, I had no doubt it would vanish.
My wife loved charity events. She grew up in the life of being the perfect socialite. She excelled and flourished in the environment. Add in the illicit and taboo, and my girl had been downright pissed about not being able to go. Frankly, I’d been disappointed too. A night to lay my wife out on a table in front of the entire crowd sent fire through my veins.
“That was one hell of a night,” Ian said, dashing all my hopes of it blowing over.
Hanna smirked. “Yeah, I heard Carina got to play with an employee…”
Alexandra jumped forward, eyes wide with excitement. “With a man?”
“Hell, no,” Ian barked. “No man’s penis is going near my hell-cat but mine.”
“Fucking Neanderthal,” Daniel grunted lightly.
“She likes it,” Ian assured.
Carina tried to hide her smile with an eye roll, but the truth was written all over her face—the strong woman loved it when Ian beat his chest.
“A woman?” Alexandra gasped. “Hell, yes, queen.”
“Sounds dirty,” Olivia chimed in, trying to sound as excited as Alex but couldn’t hide the underlying bitterness. Usually, Olivia only portrayed cool aloofness, like nothing could bother her. If she missed something, then she acted as if she deemed it beneath her to attend. Usually… Lately, she wore her emotions just under the surface, and most of those emotions tended to be negative.
Probably because she’s unhappy about something and not telling you…like how she’s not happy with you.
Shaking off the thought, I focused my attention on trying to quell the growing tension building in her willowy body. I rested my hand on her knee under the table, giving her a reassuring squeeze. If anything, her muscles only pulled tighter.
“Anyway,” Carina spoke over any other comments about her wild night. “Hanna, I’m sure your next event will be great.”
“I hope so. That night raised so much money for Haven. We were able to rehabilitate more sex-trafficking victims than last year, so we’re eager to do more. Daniel and I have been brainstorming ideas and thought about doing a concert at Voy.”
“Oh, will I be able to go to that?” Olivia asked lightly, but when she raised her eyes across the table to Daniel, there was nothing light about her ice-cold stare. “Or am I banned from all events you’re at, Uncle Daniel?”
The table fell quiet, and Daniel’s eyes turned just as cold as hers.
I squeezed her knee in as much support as warning. She wasn’t familiar with how cutting he could be when he was pushed too far, and this argument over the club was never-ending.