Say It Again - Catherine Bybee

Chapter One

The ceiling fan slowly moving air around the room did a piss-poor job of cooling her warm, damp skin. She needed a shower . . . and sleep.

Neither of which was going to happen in her current location.

Sasha stretched one long leg down the muscled length of the man lying beside her. Her eyes traveled up his thigh to the round globe of his chiseled ass. A tattoo covered his chocolate skin at his hip and expanded the length of his back and shoulders.


That was the best way to define him.

His teeth grazed her shoulder, pulling her back to reality.

“You’re leaving,” he said as if he were accusing her.

Her resigned sigh told him what he already knew.

Sasha swiveled her feet to meet the floor and stood.

He watched.

His eyes burned into her back when she bent down to retrieve her dress. She slipped it over her head and picked up the small clutch she claimed to be a purse. It wasn’t. Not really. All it held was a single key and a tube of lipstick.

And a condom . . . but that was gone now.

“I’m not going to see you again, am I?”

She slipped into her four-inch-heeled boots and walked back to the bed.

His eyes watched the sway of her hips as she approached.

“Thanks for the workout,” she said, her voice husky.

With a brief touch of lips, she stood, turned on her heels . . . and walked out of the man’s life.

Graffiti covered the staircase taking her down to the ground floor, the smell of something she didn’t want to name lofted from the corner of the final landing leading her outside.

Outside, the air moved.

Hot, unwelcoming air . . . but it moved.

The sun had set hours before, but the humidity of Rome was thicker than normal for late summer.

Sasha rolled her head from side to side and welcomed the feel of her lax muscles.

She was tired, she thought to herself.

And bored.

“Bella!” Someone called from a group of five men . . . boys, gathered under the streetlight next to a bar still in full swing.

Sasha kept walking.

Four blocks and she found her ride.

She slid the key from her bag and turned over the engine. After pushing her head into the helmet, she did a quick check around her and sped off down the street.

Heads turned as she drove by.

A woman in a short black dress, wearing come-screw-me boots, and driving a motorcycle had a way of making people look. If she were being honest with herself, she’d say she liked the attention.

Maybe that was why she did it. It wasn’t like she couldn’t have rented a car when in Italy. Or anywhere she traveled. Instead, she drove a bike. Only in winter did she switch up her transportation.

Bikes had more versatility. Much easier to follow or lose anyone who might be on her tail.

Only no one was.

Hence the part where she reminded herself that she was bored.

She split lanes in traffic, skirted through a yellow light, and dashed over a bridge leading to a much nicer area of Roma.

You would think a city as ancient as Rome would have a better grip on the blithe that filled every block.

But no.

Outside the ancient city, and the parts heavily monitored to keep vandals from tagging stones built thousands of years before, Rome was tattered with graffiti and evidence of misspent youth.

She skidded to a halt outside her hotel, parked her bike just past the valet, swung her leg off to one side, and removed her helmet.

The attendant eyed her as she walked to the glass doors.


She caught the kid’s eye, and he switched to English. “You can’t leave your bike there.” His eyes traveled her frame as he spoke.

Sasha tossed the single key in the air.

He caught it.

“Room 610,” she told him.

He looked at the key, then back at her, and shook his head.

Inside, the hotel’s air-conditioning did what the night air couldn’t. It dried and cooled her skin.

Once in the elevator, she reached for a hidden pocket in her boot and removed the key card to her room.

Locking the door behind her, Sasha dropped her key on the foyer table, unzipped one boot at a time, and stepped out of them, leaving a path through the living room of her suite and into the bedroom. She discarded her dress on the bed and moved straight to the shower.

The water started out cold, blasting her with sensation up and down her spine to the very tips of her fingernails. Slowly it