Dante Claiming His Secret Love-Child(59)

By: Sandra Marton



She staggered back.

“No!”

“Gaby. Sweetest Gaby…”

“What is it this time?” she said in a horrified whisper. “A diamond pin? I do not want it!”

“It isn’t a pin. It isn’t a goodbye gift, baby. Take it. See for yourself.”

“A gift to buy me back, then? Do you truly think I would permit you to do that? That I would let you—let you buy me, as you have tried to do these past two weeks…”

“Honestly, Gabriella…”

“Honesty be damned!” She was weeping now; salty tears running down her face and mingling with the sweet rain. “You are the least honest man I know, Dante Orsini! You made me think—you made me think that someday, someday you might…you might—”

“I love you.”

“You see? There you are, lying again. If you loved me—oh, Deus, if you only loved me…”

She began to sob. Dante caught her in his arms, whispered her name, kissed her again and again until, at last, she kissed him back.

“I hate you,” she whispered.

He smiled. “Yes. I can tell.”

“Honestly, Dante—”

“Honestly, Gabriella.” He drew back, just enough so he could lift the tiny package between them. “This is for you, sweetheart. Only for you, forever.” He kissed her again. “Please,” he said softly. “Open your gift.”

She opened the little blue box only to silence him, to give herself time to get her emotions under control, telling him all the while that he had wasted his money, that she did not want whatever was in that box…

What was in that box was a diamond solitaire ring.

Gabriella stared at it. Then she stared at her lover. His smile was almost as bright as the diamond.

“I love you,” he said. “I adore you. I always have. I was just too much a coward to admit it.” It was wet on the terrace but what did that matter? Dante went down on one knee. “Marry me, Gaby,” he said softly. “And let me make you happy forever.”

She laughed. She wept. And when he rose to his feet to take her in his arms and kiss her, she flung her arms around his neck and kissed him back with all the love in her heart.





EPILOGUE




THEY were married in the same little church in Greenwich Village where Raffaele and Chiara had taken their vows.

Gabriella wore her mother’s wedding gown. She had discovered it tucked away in the attic of the house in which she had grown up the weekend she and Dante flew to Brazil so he could finalize the purchase of the fazenda, which Andre Ferrantes had finally agreed to sell to him.

Gabriella said she had all a woman could ever want, she didn’t need the fazenda to be happy, but Dante insisted Viera y Filho had to be hers. Hers, and their son’s.

So, as Dante told his brothers, he’d made Ferrantes an offer he couldn’t refuse. His brothers had laughed, though in truth, the offer had simply been for two hundred thousand dollars more than Ferrantes had paid for it. The man was a bully and a brute, but he wasn’t a fool.

And so, Gabriella wore her mother’s wedding gown. Her new mother-in-law’s veil. “A tradition, si?” her new sister-in-law said.

“A tradition, sim,” Gabriella agreed, and the women smiled as they embraced.

Raffaele, Nicolo and Falco were Dante’s best men. Anna, Isabella and Chiara were Gabriella’s maids of honor. Daniel, adorable and smiling, observed the ceremony from the protective arms of his happy, weeping grandmother.

Cesare stood silent, an enigmatic smile on his face, saying nothing to anyone until late in the day, when the reception in the Orsini conservatory was coming to an end.

“Nicolo,” he said, walking up to his sons, “Falco, I would like to talk to the two of you.”

“Father,” Falco said, “it’s been a long day.”

“Right,” Nick said. “It’s getting late. We can talk another—”

“In my study.”

Falco and Nicolo looked at each other. Nick shrugged.

“What the hell,” he said.

Falco nodded. “Probably the same old same old about how he’s getting on in years—”

“And the safe is there, the financial records are here—”

The brothers laughed and walked to the study door. Felipe, their father’s capo, seemed to materialize from out of nowhere.

“You first,” he said to Falco.

Falco and Nick rolled their eyes. Then Falco stepped into the room, Felipe closed the door and stood outside it, arms folded.

Nick sighed, and settled in to wait.

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