Rules Are Meant to be Broken

an excerpt

Stefano's eyes bugged out when he saw my orange cubby of a room.

See, Stafano, I wasn't exaggerating!

"It's impossible," he said. "An architect has lost his mind."

As he slipped off his shoes, and took in every meter-or lack of-I studied his proportions. Everything seemed balanced. I recalled a sculpture of a seated angel I'd seen in the state museum in Baden-Baden. The angel's left arm was wrapped around his knees, and the muscles flexed in a natural way, not too big, not too underdeveloped. The legs were smooth, with solid thighs and rounded calves. And the face blended boyishness-on the border of androgyny-with masculinity, a supreme challenge that the artist managed to pull off beautifully.

Stefano turned back toward me, running his hand up and down his stomach. "When I see you for the first was like you had left your home."

Before I could comment, he raised his hand. "Like you had run away. You had anger and...purpose."

I didn't remember being angry, but I was focused on getting to the hotel, after having been awake all night. Maybe I look angry when I'm tired.

Stafano stepped toward me. He put his arms around me. He looked into my eyes. He kissed me.

I was hard. So was he.

"I like that you have this different look than usual here. Americans have more wonder, like a curious child. European boys, they are sometimes like...say...a not-so-trusting old grandmother, or a selfish sister."

I didn't say it, but I liked that Europeans could be freer with their styles of dress and their mannerisms. The way Stefano dressed was so sexy to me, but if he were to wear something so...metrosexual...back home or in Latin America or in places where machismo still ruled, he'd be ridiculed. He knew what worked on him. The tight shirt and the low-slung jean and the scarf brought out his brown eyes and dark hair and muscled form.

I ran my fingers through his hair. "Caravaggio," I said, "would have gone crazy for you." I knew it was a cheesy line, but I couldn't help it; he honestly looked as if he'd stepped out of one of the artist's paintings.

"Caravaggio was already a bit crazy. With lust."

"Is this the part where I'm supposed to say thatI'm crazy with lust?"

Stefano answered by kissing me. Then slipping his hand beneath my shirt.