Summary: It is November, 1999, and Remington and Laura take a case that especially intrigues Remington with his gourmet gifts and then Laura because of the mystery of the case.
Disclaimer: This Remington Steele story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with Remington Steele, the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
Laura Steele efficiently negotiated the hairpin curves in the final fifty miles of Route 101 that led to Ft. Bragg, California. The trip had taken longer than they anticipated due to the nature of the road and Laura did not like that at all.
Darling, you are driving like a wild woman, Remington chided gently, as their barely broken-in 2000 Mercedes SUV deftly took the next curve.
I had no idea this road was so wicked. But we want to get there before dark.
Um, you are driving like you did when your needs were not being met, let us say. Am I falling down on the job, love? Remingtons lips curved just at the corners in a knowing smile.
Did I really drive like that back in the day? You cant be serious!
Im absolutely serious. I havent experienced a ride like this in yearsin a car. Dont get me wrong. I trust you behind the wheel, darling. But this road is unbelievable.
I guess Mr. Palmieros wife and her boyfriend were looking to settle somewhere off the beaten path, Laura surmised.
My thoughts exactly.
Remington relaxed as the road signs indicated that they were approaching the outskirts of Mendocino. They drove through town and on to Ft. Bragg and to the guest house on a solitary promontory overhanging the ocean where they were going to spend the next few days.
When they arrived at the quaint accommodations, Remington breathed a sigh of relief and went to check them in. This trip was a kind of celebration. Laura had weaned Tabby and so they were finally able to be away from their children overnight again. Remington had gone to great trouble to find this place. It was very pricey, in spite of its apparent simplicity, this due to its location just above the rocky coastline of northern California.
Laura watched Remington. They were both in jeans and flannel shirts, carrying corduroy parkas to ward off the chill in the November air. Laura asked Remington to forego shaving for the next few days, looking forward to enjoying the roughness of his beard, so she was happy to see the darkness of his beard beginning to manifest itself. As he walked to the office of the motel, she admired the shape of his hips in his soft denim jeans, and she allowed her mind to drift ahead to what would surely be a part of the evening.
When they walked into their rooms, Laura immediately loved the place. There was plenty of wood stacked just outside the door, and a fire had been laid in the wood stove that heated the place. The bed was piled high with down-filled coverlets and the floors were adorned with hooked rugs. There was a fireplace with a huge thick fur type rug in front of it as well.
My, this place looks interesting. I think we shouldnt have any problem amusing ourselves here, Laura said.
I hope not. I called ahead and ordered a meal to be brought in. It should arrive at any minute.
So you thought of everything.
I hope so. Since we had to come up here, might as well make the best of it, eh? No nursing, no youngsters looking for us every time you turn around.
It seems strange, being here without the children, Laura said.
But we are going to enjoy this.
Remington drew Laura close to him and kissed her and rubbed his cheek again hers, the sensation of his growth of beard on her soft skin catching her up in the moment, and causing her to go weak against him.
Remy . . . Laura sighed softly.
Let me start the fire in the fireplace, darling. We are about to get the proverbial cart in front of the horse here.
There was a knock on the door.
That will be dinner. Remington said as he went to answer the door.
* * * * * *
Laura Steele wakened with a start, realizing immediately that she was in unfamiliar surroundings. It was still very early, not yet 4:00 a.m. and Laura lay quietly listening to sounds of the surf beating the nearby shore. She lay on Remingtons bare chest. She could feel each steady beat of his heart when they lay this way. It was her favorite way to sleep with him and especially her favorite way to waken . . . her cheek resting on the springy hair of his chest, her nostrils filled with the fresh masculine scent of him.
My, my, she mused. Im surprised that my man hasnt wakened by now. He must be really tired. It was quite a drive up here to Ft. Bragg and we did celebrate quite a bit last night before giving in to fatigue. But now . . . suddenly I need him so much.
Laura caressed Remingtons torso, letting her hand slide downward, exploring, finding him at full mast as she expected.
Laura, he groaned, still asleep, and drew her on top of him.
Remy, I need you so, she whispered. I need you.
Umm, Remington murmured sleepily. Kitten . . .
When they came together, Remington, still not fully awake, responded instinctively and powerfully. Laura and Remington often made love like this in the early morning hours. Sometimes they were both only semi-awake through the whole event, as they satisfied the urges that brought them together again and again.
My, my, woman . . . this is the life, I dare say . . . just the two of us, no one to hear us cryin out, no early morning nursin duty, no patter of wee feet.
Umm, yes, I feel strange with Tabby weaned . . . my breasts . . .
Yes, your lovely udders, just for the pleasure of your needy husband now, Remington murmured as he drew Laura down so that he could plant kiss after kiss upon Lauras soft drooping freckled breasts.
Remy . . . Remy . . .
No need to talk now, babe. Just . . . just love . . . me, Remington said.
The rhythm of Laura upon him captured him completely and they gave themselves to each other till Laura, overwhelmed by the response of her flesh and totally unrestrained in these surroundings, cried out loud and then shook in rapture. Remington gasped and then roared helplessly, his body suddenly stiffening and then contracting in spasm after spasm of ecstasy.
They lay locked helplessly in their marital embrace, enveloped in the early morning darkness, splashes of brilliant color flashing in their brains as the climax seized them.
Laura! Laura! Remington cried her name over and over, kissing and cherishing her in his arms as he sensed the free fall of complete surrender sweeping over Laura.
Yes, baby, yes, Laura murmured, as she floated in that space between dream and reality that was part of the capitulation.
Am I truly the king of the world? he whispered, just before the afterglow swept over them.
My black Irish knight! Laura gasped.
Several hours passed before the Steeles roused from the pleasure of deep post-coital sleep.
Have you forgotten why we came up here, darling? Laura asked Remington as she tried unsuccessfully to pull away from him so that she could get out of the bed that had brought them such pleasure earlier.
Yes, I believe that I have. Stay here with me, darling.
I want to . . . but dont you think that you should let me get up, lover?
Perhaps I just cannot let go of you just now, Remington said, his blue-eyed gaze devouring the sight of her, his clearly defined nostrils flaring slightly, as he became excited beyond measure by her scent.
The sight of Lauras thick beautiful uncombed mane overwhelmed Remington with desire to have her again. The fireplace contained only embers and the room had become chilly, but they were both as hot as when the fire had blazed earlier.
Come here, woman. Dont be teasin me this mornin. I need you too badly.
Remington began to kiss Laura up and down her spine, and then he turned her to him and kissed her mouth in a kiss so probing, so searching that Laura moaned and nipped him playfully on his lip.
Laura, he swore and slapped her hard on her hips.
Laura snarled and snorted as she tried to escape his grasp, exhilarated by the tussle between them. But Remington was too much for her and he tossed her onto her back and wedged himself firmly between her thighs.
You want more as much as I do, woman!
How do you know?
Well both find out right now.
Remington got onto her and penetrated her without further ado, thrusting his engorged parts into the depths of her again and again, growling and panting as he sought satisfaction. Laura met his force with all her strength, grunting and howling. This was not the time for tenderness as Remington used her with all his power, and Laura like a wild tigress received him, catching and gripping him in her tight velvet-like clasp, biting him again and again on her favorite spot next to his collarbone, till she drew blood, then sucking the wound, tasting his blood.
You love that, dont you?
Yes, I love it. And I love you! I love you, Remy!
Laura was overcome, conquered, her pelvis in spasm and Remington exulted over her as he ejaculated, crying his triumph.
Laura! Laura! Dear God!
Laura was in tears as the fiery moment calmed and Remington became instantly repentant, kissing her tenderly over and over.
Darling, forgive me the heat of my passion for you. I didnt want to hurt you in any way. I love you so much.
I love you too. Why is it like this sometimes?
I dont know, love. When you turn into a wildcat, I just cant help myself . . . the heat . . . so intense.
I bit you.
Laura kissed the place on his lip where she had nipped him and then the places on his collarbone where she had bit him.
Im sorry, Remy. Sometimes I just cant kiss you hard enough.
You are the only woman to ever leave marks on my body. But when I look at those scars, I only remember the passion. We are not children. We know the pleasure pain can give, dont we? We dont have to understand it.
It seems that time doesnt change the pleasure, Rem.
It only intensifies. I see youwife, mother of my children, everything so beautiful, so complex between us.
Remington bent to kiss Lauras breasts, breathing deeply the scent of her, as he tenderly sucked her fully developed nipples.
Utterly beautiful, he breathed.
Not like when we met, not perky anymore, love. I am beginning to droop.
It only makes you more beautiful. I tell you not to worry about that. I love the way they look now. You arent an ingénue. You are a mature married woman. These are the badge of your womanhood, love.
Laura felt her eyes misting as her husband reassured her of her beauty, kissing her breasts over and over.
* * * * * *
It was nearly noon when the Steeles finally ventured forth to deal with the reason for their trip up the California coast to follow through on the case of their latest client, Roberto Palmieri, owner of the Los Angeles restaurant that bore his name.
It was a week earlier when Roberto Palmieri had visited the agency offices with his plight. He had presented himself as an extremely handsome but somewhat robust man in his early forties.
My concern is for my reputation, Mr. Steele. My business is everything . . . the recipes, the presentation. And Antonia stole all of that from me. I, Roberto, I am the creative force behind the restaurant. She has taken that and has opened a restaurant based upon the model of Palmieris up in Mendocino.
You and . . . your wife divorced when? Remington asked.
We are not yet divorced. Six months ago she became involved with our third partner, Nick Pagno. I thought that Nick was a friend as well as a partner till I found out that they had become lovers.
And Mr. Pagno . . . is he involved in your wifes business venture? Laura asked with some hesitation.
Yes! That is the ultimate insult! Not only does he take my . . . wife, but he takes the heart and soul of my restaurant as well. They run off to, to Mendocino, to this little place, to use what I have given them to start over!
Mr. Palmieri, may I ask what it is that you expect us to do? Are you simply trying to recoup your financial investment or do you possibly have emotional ties that remain . . . to your wife? In short, are you interested in reconciliation with your wife?
Roberto was obviously not prepared for this question. His eyes filled with tears.
I . . . I dont know. I loved her. I fear that I still do love her, but I cannot allow my emotions to overshadow what she has done to me. She betrayed me . . . with a man that I trusted. That is all that I can say on that at this point.
I hope that you can appreciate why I ask that question. It will affect the way in which we approach this problem.
Palmieri did not respond. He simply sat in his chair, a defeated man<i/i>betrayed by the woman he loved, betrayed in the most serious manner by his most trusted business partner.
What exactly do you want us to do, Mr. Palmieri, Laura asked gently.
I want you to retrieve my files from them. They belong to me. Actually they contain the recipes that originated with my mother and grandmother. I know that they do not realize how important the recipes are. I was the principal chef and I put the final touches on every specialty item. They will not get the same results that I produced. And when the dishes are not exactly as they would wish they will go looking for those files to find out just what to do.
You speak of files. Are these files in electronic form? Remington asked.
I wish that it were that simple. This is all handwritten material. I wanted to have everything transcribed into electronic form, but had not had time to arrange for that.
It is good that you did not. It would have been impossible for us to retrieve electronic files and be certain that there were not copies distributed about here and there. Your only recourse then would have been an extremely messy law suit, Remington said.
Tell me, Mr. Palmieri, do you want your wife to know that we are trying to find these files, or would you rather that we find them and simply return them to you without her knowledge? Laura asked.
I dont want her to know. If she knows, and we divorce, she will demand them as part of the settlement. She took everything that was in my office when she left me, all the reference materials. She just boxed it up and carried it. The material I want is in the form of a loose leaf notebook. The recipes are handwritten in Italian, in the hand of my mother and grandmother. Inside the notebook, my mother has written her name, Antonia P.
I see, Remington said. You say that they have moved to the Ft. Bragg/Mendocino area.
Yes, they are kind of tucked away up there. They have opened a restaurant in Mendocino, P & Ps.
* * * * * *
By noon the next day Remington and Laura were finally able to leave their hideaway and head into Mendocino to search out P & Ps. It was on a quiet side street off the main drag.
So you have in mind our cover. Well apply for workchef and hostess, just as we planned. If they dont want us, well think of something.
I just dont want to have to wear one of those skimpy outfits. You know how I feel about that sort of thing.
Frankly I would enjoy seeing you in something short and sexy, darling, Remington teased.
When they went into the restaurant, it was Nick Pagno who greeted them.
We came in response to your ad, Remington said. Im Paul, Paul Fabrini, and this is my wife Lorelie. Remingtons blue eyes were riveted on Laura when he said the name that had such sensual meaning between them.
Nick noticed and smiled a knowing smile.
Actually we have been married just a short timesix months.
Well, as long as you two keep your minds on the restaurant when youre here. No serious hanky-panky on the job. At least try to keep it down.
We will do our best. A bit of passion generally is simply another ingredient of the finest cuisine. I follow in the tradition of the great chefs in my need for sensual stimulation. Lorelie, we might say, helps me simply maintain my passion for the art of cooking. When do we start? Remington replied.
You have experience?
I was first cook at Marios in Sacramento for most of the past year. Lorelie doesnt have experience recently, but were taking our lives in a different direction these days. She wants to try this. She is quite brilliant and . . . she looks the part. Remington could not look into Lauras eyes when he said that.
We can certainly see that.
Pagno winked at Laura and she fought hard to smile back.
Ive been doing most of the cooking and I need help. This place has proved to be more than a notion. There must not be many good places to eat up here, because we have been full every night since we opened.
Im your man, then. Show me the kitchen, mate.
Sure, follow me.
Laura sat down in the foyer of the restaurant. It was a charming place with lots of possibilities and it was obvious that with good management it would do well. Roberto Pagno had reason to be concerned.
A dark-haired thin woman came upon Laura arranging the menus and other items in the reception area.
You must be the hostess Nick mentioned?
Yes, Im . . . Lorelie.
That hunk is your husband?
Why yes, he is?
Youd better keep your eye on him. Chefs are notorious womanizers. You dont know what theyre doing when theyre out of your sight.
I know their reputation, Miss . . .
Call me Toni. Im Antonia Palmieri. Nick and I are partners.
Just partners? Im not getting into your affairs. But if I am going to work here, I need to know who and what goes with who and what.
Suffice it to say that our partnership extends beyond business. We own the place and Nick is mine.
Well, Paul is mine. I take care of all of his needs.
You seem very sure of yourself.
You got that right, Laura replied calmly.
There are hostess outfits in the locker room closetkind of short, but you have a great figure and shouldnt mind showing it off.
Remington was already at work in the kitchen . . . making sauce, getting the entrées lined up for the evening when Laura came in wearing a short black satin hostess dress with fishnet stockings that left no doubt as to her feminine attributes.
My, my, I second the motion, Laura, Remington said with a sly wink and a smile.
You know I hate these sexist costumes, Rem, Laura said with a pout that only succeeded in teasing her vulnerable husband.
Lord knows that a woman who possesses legs like yours should definitely show them off, my lady. But the sight of you in that affair is distracting me from my . . . sauce.
Remington winked slyly and grinned with unabashed adoration as he stared Laura up and down.
Well, I guess I dont have to worry about a flirtatious chef with you two, Antonia Palmieri said as she walked into the kitchen and instantly picked up the passion flowing between Remington and Laura.
Not at all. Lorelie and I . . . just work together quite well.
Well, we do have people coming in here now, Lorelie, Antonia said, dismissing Laura with the tone of her voice.
Now alone with Remington in the kitchen, Antonia approached him from behind and stood very close to him.
I thought that most chefs were pretty eclectic as to their taste in women. I was hoping you were of that sort. You are quite a looker, Paolo.
Remington felt the woman brush against his back. Over the years his ability to resist woman had become fine-tuned and he easily maintained control in this situation.
Turning to face Antonia in somewhat close quarters, Remington smiled down at her, unleashing the full charm of his blue eyes.
I would love to sample whatever it is that you are offering, Mrs. Palmieri.
Antonia, she corrected him.
Yes, Antonia. But Lorelie keeps me drained. She is so extremely passionate that I can hardly keep up with her. You have no idea!
Antonia stepped away, surprised and amused by his admission.
Well, I guess Ill have to give your woman credit if she can wear you out. Ill leave you to your sauce.
The restaurant had begun to fill and they were quite busy with the clientele till well after ten oclock. Remington and Laura said goodnight to Nick and Antonia as they all left together.
Remington and Laura drove back to their motel on the cliff above the Pacific Ocean.
Wow! I am tired. I havent been under that kind of pressure for a long time, Laura said.
Well, you have no idea of the pressure Antonia put upon me.
She hit on you, didnt she?
Absolutely. She wanted to sample my . . . wares, let us say.
I dont blame her. You look more irresistible than ever these days, love. And that chefs coat only enhances it. How did you extricate yourself from that situation?
I blamed you, love. I told her that you are so passionate that I was completely worn out, unable to respond.
Laura giggled seductively.
And how many inches did your nose grow with that story?
You came into the kitchen dressed in that sexy getup! I was hoping that she wouldnt notice that I was hard pressed to stay in low gear already in that situation.
Well, I hope that you are going to be in high gear when we get back to the motel.
Lets wait and see, darling, Remington said softly.
Laura settled back against the seat and her mind went back to the case.
Do we go back to the restaurant tonight and look for the notebook, or should we wait till tomorrow night?
I think we should scout things out later on tonight. We might not find anything but it will give us an idea, and we might just get lucky, eh?
This is true. At least we can check out the security system.
The system is trash. I am sure they plan to make improvements along that line. We need to do what we have to do while it is easy pickings, darling.
We get a shower to get the smell of the restaurant off our bodies, put on our surveillance clothes and go back over there after midnight.
They arrived at their motel and Remington leaned over in the darkness to kiss Laura . . . at first gently and then passionately, clasping her hips and pulling her up close to him.
Now its time to take care of your needy husband.
* * * * * *
It was after two a.m. when Remington and Laura headed back to the restaurant. Laura dozed slightly as she rode along, exhausted by the rigors of the day and evening.
I fear I may have tired you overmuch, darling.
Umm, I have to live up to my reputation, Laura said. I will be fine.
They pulled into the alley behind the restaurant, passed the restaurant and parked behind the delicatessen three doors down where they quickly got out of the car and walked back to P & Ps. Remington easily picked the lock to the back door and they slipped into the building. After standing for a long moment to determine that no one was there, Remington led the way to the office.
The small office was easy to check out. Laura looked through the desk drawers and Remington looked for the safe. He found it hidden behind a decorative screen.
The safe combination was not difficult to break, and Remington quickly riffled through the contents for the notebook while Laura held the flashlight for him. It wasnt there, so he carefully put everything back in place and closed the safe.
Laura raised her hands in question at this point, but Remington just nodded and led her back into the kitchen. He pointed to the pantry where all the dry foodstuffs were stored. He remembered seeing a couple of boxes stacked on one of the top shelves behind the condiments.
Suddenly there was the flash of lights against the walls of the kitchen as a car pulled up directly behind the restaurant.
Seems that someone else is comin down here in the middle of the night. Wed better get out of sight, love, Remington whispered leading Laura into the pantry and pushing the door nearly closed behind them.
Nick and Antonia were obviously slightly tipsy as they came into the restaurant. Antonia was giggling and in the dark they bumped into one of the food carts, knocking a stack of stainless steel bowls to the floor.
Good Lord, what are they here for? Remington said under his breath.
Nicki, come here, Antonia said seductively.
You know we dont have to sneak around now, baby.
But it was so much fun meeting in the restaurant late at night, wasnt it? Stolen waters and all that . . .
Youre mine now, Toni. Come here. Ill give you what you want wherever and whenever.
Remington and Laura heard Nick and Antonia fall into the pattern of lovers, their voices softened and becoming the pants and gasps of two people in the grip of their passion. It seemed an eternity before they finally were crying out in ecstasy.
Remington and Laura stood quietly in the pantry, but the sounds of Nick and Antonia were incredibly stimulating to them. Remington was close against Laura, close enough that she could feel his passionate response to the situation. She took his hands and brought them up under her black turtle-necked sweater so that he could caress her breasts.
Good Lord! Remington whispered into her ear as he involuntarily caught his breath..
Nick and Antonia lay together on the kitchen floor for a while longer and then Nick helped her up and they left through the back door.
As Remington heard the sound of the car backing into the alley, he turned Laura to him and kissed her hard.
Take care of me, babe. You know I cant take that kind of stimulation. I am only human.
Remy, we are on surveillance . . . in a pantry no less.
Not to worry. They wont be back here tonight. And besides, weve never had sex in a pantry.
Remington was lowering Laura to the floor all the while. It was pitch black in the pantry, but that only heightened their senses of touch and smell as they shed their slacks and came together without further ado. They were both so very ready that there were no preliminary moves necessary as Remington drew Laura on top of him as he lay on the floor of the pantry.
Later, Remington lifted down the cardboard boxes from the top shelf of the pantry.
Ill wager there are books in this box. It weighs a ton, Remington said.
Laura turned her flashlight on the contents of the box. There were at least a dozen well-used cookbooks from Betty Crocker to Julia Childs to James Beard. There were also a number of paperback collections. But no loose leaf notebook could be found.
Lets check the other one, Laura said, as she placed the books back into the box.
Remington placed the first box back in place and then took the second one down.
There were no cookbooks there, but there were scrapbooks of recipes taken from various places. And there were three or four old recipe files packed with recipes.
Well, we are on the right track at least, Laura said.
Keep looking, darling.
Eureka! Laura said softly, as she drew a battered notebook from an envelope in the bottom of the box.
This is it. Apparently Antonia just threw this in with the other cookbooks, not thinking about its value, she said.
Perhaps she did not view it as particularly valuable, since her husband was the heart and soul of the business, Remington concluded. Lets put these boxes back in place and get out of here.
The Steeles put the pantry back in order and eased out of the restaurant through the back again, and ran down the alley to their car. Remington did not turn on the lights till they were turning onto the main street again.
Well, that was pretty straightforward, dont you think? Remington said as they drove toward their motel by the ocean.
Yes. I will put it in overnight mail to our office when we are on our way to the restaurant first thing tomorrow.
Palmieri was really broken up about losing his wife to Pagno. I somehow think that he wants this for some reason other than the fact that his mother and grandmother were outstanding cooks. Did we have Mildred check out Pagnos background? He strikes me as a bit disreputable.
Well, you are certainly the one to analyze that, Mr. Steele, Laura said drolly.
I have been away from that life for so long that I tend to forget that people regularly take advantage of people by pretending to be someone other than who they really are. I met this woman . . . she turned my life around.
But not enough to convince you that a restaurant pantry was not the place to have sex in the middle of the night.
You enjoyed it?
You know that I did. It really affected you . . . hearing them like that, didnt it?
The sound of humans copulating . . . yes that affected me. You tried to act as if it werent affecting you, but it was. Remember that tape we found in the Auburn years ago? Remington chuckled. It was tremendously amusing watching you pretend that you could listen to that without being moved. You are so incredibly sensual, darling.
When they reached their motel and got out of their car, Remington picked Laura up in his arms and carried her into the door of their unit, kissing her as he carried her. The sound of the surf was deafening and only added passion to the setting. Once inside the sound of the surf was still with them and in a few moments their clothes were scattered about and Remington lay Laura on the huge bed and got onto her.
The bed is like ice, Remy, Laura protested weakly. We need to restart the fire.
It will warm, love. I will warm you. Please, love, I dont think I can wait another moment, Remington pleaded.
Remington drew the soft down comforter over them as he wooed Laura with kiss after kiss.
Baby, you know me too well, Laura whispered as she capitulated.
* * * * * *
The next morning it was nearly ten when Remington gently wakened Laura. He had wakened earlier and started the fire so that the room was cozy now as they lay cocooned together beneath the bedclothes. Remington had lifted the blinds so that the extraordinary view of the Pacific crashing against the rocks below filled the window.
Darling, I hate to disturb you when you are sleepin so lovely, but I think we should start planning to check in at the restaurant in a couple of hours.
Umm, I thought we were on vacation, Laura said sleepily in his arms.
Most definitely, and I promise that I will not let you forget that for a moment. I am enjoying . . . everything. I love you, woman.
Remington kissed Laura on her forehead and tousled her thick chestnut hair.
I love you too, more than I could have ever imagined that first day we met.
What did you not imagine back then, Laura?
I did not imagine that you would be so completely mine, that I would have such total confidence in your love. No one was ever mine till you. Do you realize that?
I realize that you are the only woman I have ever belonged to.
Show me, Remy. Show me again. Laura whispered.
Remington claimed Lauras lips in a kiss so passionate that there was no question as to his answer.
I believe you. I believe that you are mine . . . to take care of in . . . all . . .
All the special ways that you take care of me, Laura. You never turn me away when I am in need. Sometimes I have such a need for you. I could go all day and all night.
I think that you have done that, love, Laura whispered with a knowing smile. I think that you would win some kind of prize for . . . stamina.
I never have gotten over those four years of abstinence. Im still trying to make up for time lost, darling.
Now that I know how great your needs are I truly appreciate that that must have been a difficult time for you.
Remington caressed Lauras thighs as he nodded his answer, unable to answer her as his desire escalated precipitously.
Darling . . .
Remington uncovered Laura completely, groaning at the sight of her naked flesh. He felt himself lose the last vestige of control, kissing her all over her neck, breasts, and torso as he caressed her intimately.
Laura moaned her response to each caress and offered herself gladly to him in the broad light of day. She loved him so like thisthe sensation of his growth of beard upon her bare skin, the sound of his passion, the look in his blue eyes when he stared at her flesh. She felt her power over him the most at these moments. She knew that there was no other woman for this man in her arms and she made sure that he would have no need to go anywhere else for his pleasure. As he mounted and penetrated her, she still cried out at the surprise and joy of receiving him and when they climbed together to the summit, she was helpless as the orgasm caught her and held her captive.
Remington never let go completely till he was sure that she was nearly there, loving to watch his strong independent woman melt and reveal all of her sensual nature to him, loving to hear her beg him to help her over the top, loving to feel that moment when the roller coaster ride of the climax began for her, to hear her cry his name when he was nearly blind with ecstasy.
When Laura came to herself again, she was waking from her passionate encounter with Remington, nestled in his arms.
Are you awake, darling? Remington whispered.
Thank you for this morning.
Youre welcome, Mr. Steele.
I will start the shower and you can come when you are ready. I think that we must wrap up this case today. It is distracting me too much from what I really want to do, he chuckled. I think we need at least two more days here . . . completely on our own.
Finally Remington and Laura were on their way to the restaurant after a stop at the post office to mail the notebook of recipes back to Los Angeles.
When they arrived at the restaurant, they found quite a scene. It was eleven oclock in the morning, and Antonia and Nick were obviously in the midst of some kind of row. There were broken plates all over the kitchen and Nick had retreated to the office for safety.
Whoa, whats goin on here? Someone is trashin my kitchen.
Antonia was crying and at the sight of them ran into the pantry and slammed the door behind her with Laura in pursuit.
Nick Pagno came out of the office and shrugged his shoulders helplessly.
Women! Paolo, what do they want? I think we have something, Toni and me. I try to do what she wants whenever she wants. Its not working. When she was with her husband, it was perfect, exciting, an adventure. Now nothing is right.
Mate, you know what they say about stolen waters. You have to have more to sustain a relationship after that element is taken away. At least that is my personal opinion on the matter as you have described it. When it is absolutely right, neither of you will tire of the other. You just want that person, to be with that person . . . no ulterior motives, no other reason than the strongest kind of desire a man can know.
Well, I know this is over. I just wish I hadnt gotten into this business situation. I love the restaurant business, and I see this is not going to work for Antonia and me. But Antonia is not going to make a fool of me. No woman leaves me like this.
Put it on the market, Pagno. In this area you shouldnt have any trouble finding a buyer. You cant make a woman stay if she wants to go. That is how people get hurt.
Nicks shoulders slumped as he faced the reality of his situation.
Laura knocked on the pantry door and finally a tearstained Antonia opened the door.
I know that I am a stranger to you, but is there anything that I can do to help?
Antonia was sitting on one of the large metal containers of pasta, and she offered Laura a seat on the other one. Laura tried to shake from her mind her memories of the previous night in that same pantry with Remington and draw her focus to the present.
I have made a terrible mistake, Lorelie. I thought that I was in love with Nick and I ruined my marriage and now I know that it was a mistake. I was just bored. I wanted more excitement, and Nick came along. But now I just dont want him. I have tried to still want him. But the more I try the more I know that I dont want him. I miss my Roberto!
Antonia broke down again.
Maybe . . . you can try to get him back. If he loves you, perhaps he will forgive you. You never know till you try.
I tried. That is what started the argument. I called Roberto early this morning. I told him that I still love him and want him. He hung up the phone on me. I was crying and Nick wanted to know what was wrong. He was furious that I had called Roberto. We started arguing at the apartment. Nick called me names and I called him some things too.
You are still married to Roberto?
Yes. The divorce is not final.
I think that you would do well to check into a hotel and allow things to calm down, Antonia. This is not good. I must tell you that Paolo and I are not what we appear to be. Roberto hired us to find out how you were doing in your new venture. We are private investigators from Los Angeles.
God! Tell me what to do to straighten out this mess.
You have to make up your mind to be faithful to your husband if you have the opportunity to take him back. If you need counseling or special help, then get it, but there is no substitute for the sex you get within a good marriage. Believe me, I speak from much experience.
You have been with your Paolo a long time. I thought you were newly married.
In fact we have been married since 1986. We have five children and . . .
And he still has the hots for you. I saw him with you.
Yes, it is pretty hot, Antonia, and we keep it that way.
At that moment there was more commotion at the front of the restaurant. Laura and Antonia came out of the pantry to find Roberto Palmieri kicking in the front door and Nick confronting him with a pistol.
Remington stopped short at the sight of the gun.
Not a good idea, Nick. Not a good idea at all.
Get out of here, Roberto.
I came to get my wife, Nick. Where is she?
Sure, you can take your little whore back. Shes no good to me. I used her and that is that. See if you can keep her. I dont think that you are man enough.
Please, Nick, put the gun away, Antonia cried. I am going with Roberto. Let me go.
Nick Pagno grabbed Antonia and attempted to drag her with him into the office, but Antonia pulled free. Nick pointed the gun first at Roberto and then at Antonia. Just at that moment, Laura threw one of the broken plates directly at Nick. It struck his shoulder, knocking him off balance, and Remington quickly disarmed him.
Now I think that we will put the gun away, Remington said decisively.
Who the hell are you? Nick demanded as he took note of the blood on his shirt where the broken plate had struck him.
I, and my wife are the private detectives hired by Roberto to be sure that his interests were being taken care of, let us say. I am Remington Steele and this is my wife and partner, Laura. If you all do not want to end up in custody in this little burg, I would advise you to all calm down and resolve this amicably.
Antonia went to Roberto and he took her in his arms.
Yes, take your wife and get out of my life, he shouted.
The Mrs. Palmieri will send her attorney to work out the financial matters of this restaurant. You will hear from him in the next few days. Now I suggest that you, Mr. Palmieri, take your wife and get reacquainted with her. There is an excellent marriage counseling facility not far down the road that we could recommend to you to help you resolve your problems.
Thank you, Mr. Steele.
I will meet with you at the end of this week in our LA office. All of our concerns have been resolved on this end.
Roberto ushered his wife from the restaurant to his car and Remington and Laura followed them to bid them farewell. Nick watched them exit and then closed the door and put the Closed sign in the window.
Roberto Palmieri came to Remingtons car window to thank him again.
I dont know what to say, Mr. Steele. Am I crazy? When she called me, I knew that I would take her back. She is the only woman I want.
We wish you the best. The item that you wanted is on its way back to Los Angeles. I would advise you to put it in a safe deposit box after you have made a copy for your use. That way you would have legal proof that it belonged to you in the event of future problems.
Thank you again. Antonia and I will see you on Friday. I think we will check into one of these quaint motels overhanging the ocean that I see around here for a few days.
Great idea, mate. See you later.
So that is the end of the case. Palmieri gets his recipes back and his wife as well. Pagno gets nothing. I think that we should have Mildred do further research on Nick Pagno. I am sure he has left a trail of disrepute behind him. That might prove to be the leverage the Palmieri may need to keep him out of his life permanently.
He didnt deserve anything. He was a disloyal friend. He is fortunate that he did not end up in jail for pulling that gun.
I was scared that he would kill Antonia.
I just reacted . . . without thinking. I just didnt expect the case to take that kind of a turn. You were in danger, Rem.
I know. But you were very wise, darling. And your aim was quite good.
Do you think Roberto and Antonia will make it?
I told her to look for good sex within her own marriage.
Excellent counsel, Laura. That is exactly my recommendation. And we both know what a marvelous thing that can be. I think that we should find a cozy place to have lunch and then retreat to that room on the cliff above the ocean.
To do more research? Laura smiled.
Absolutely, darling. Remington winked.