But still he didn’t hurry. He moved down the bed, trailing kisses to the hollow of her throat, then sucking briefly on her breasts, heightening their sensitivity before sliding his mouth to her stomach, running his tongue around her navel.

‘Was it a difficult labour with Theo, Christina?’ he asked in a deeply caring tone.

She’d been so focussed on feeling, it took a concentrated effort to find her voice. ‘Some … some hard hours,’ she answered, savagely wishing he wasn’t thinking of their son. Yet that was why he was here, with her, doing what he was doing, and she wouldn’t be having this if she hadn’t had his child.

‘I should have been there,’ he murmured, pressing his mouth to her stomach as though yearning for that lost time. ‘I would have been there. And I will be for the rest of our children,’ he said more fiercely before lifting himself further down to kiss her where his son had emerged from her womb.

I’m not going to think of why, Tina decided with wild determination. I want this. I want him inside me again.

The tension building in her body obliterated any further thought. Need was screaming through every nerve. It reached the point where she jack-knifed up to pluck at his shoulders, crying out, ‘Enough! Enough!’ She couldn’t bear another second of waiting for him.

To her intense relief he responded instantly, surging up to fit himself between her legs which were already lifting to curl around his hips in a compulsive urging for the action she frantically craved. Her inner muscles were convulsing as he finally entered her and just one deep plunge drove her to an explosive climax, the exquisite torture peaking then melting into wave after wave of ecstatic pleasure as Ari continued the wonderfully intimate stroking.

It was incredibly satisfying, feeling him filling her again and again. Her body writhed exultantly around him. Her hands dragged up and down his back, urging on the rhythm of mutual possession. The sheer elation of it was so marvellously sweet nothing else existed for Tina, not the why or the where or the how.

When Ari cried out at his own climax, it sounded like a triumphant trumpet of joy to her ears. She had brought him to this. He shared the same heights of sensation he had led her to. And she revelled in that sense of intense togetherness as all his mighty strength collapsed on her and she hugged him with all her strength. He rolled onto his side, clutching her tightly against him, holding onto the deep connection, clearly wanting it to last as long as possible.

He didn’t speak for quite a long time and Tina didn’t want to break the silence. She lay with her head tucked under his chin, listening to his pulse-rate slowing to a normal beat. It was the first time today she actually felt totally relaxed. The sex-test was over. He had certainly satisfied her as a lover and if he was satisfied that she wouldn’t turn her back on him, maybe they could move towards a commitment to each other.

It might even have a chance of sticking.

If she kept on having his children.

Was that the key to having him come to love her?

If only she could be sure he would in the end … truly love her for herself … and never want any other woman.

Marrying Ari was a terrible gamble.

But having had him again, she didn’t want to let him go.


ARI felt happy. Usually after sex he felt satisfied, content, relaxed. Happiness was something more and it made him wonder if it was a temporary thing or whether having Christina would always give him this exultant sense of joy. Maybe it was simply a case of having risen to the challenge and won the response he wanted from her.

It had been damnably difficult to rein himself in to begin with. Having been forced to exercise control on the physical front for the past few days and suddenly being presented with the green light to go ahead, all the bottled-up desire he’d felt had blown his mind. And almost blown his chance with her.

But she wasn’t pulling away from him now. He wished she still had long hair. He remembered how much he’d enjoyed running his fingers through it when she’d lain with him like this in the past. Though it didn’t really matter. It was so good just having her content to stay where she was—no barriers between them. No physical barriers. He hoped the mental resistance she’d had to him had been stripped away, too.

He knew he’d given her intense sexual pleasure. Was it enough to sway her into marrying him? She had to be considering what Theo wanted in his life, too, and there was no doubt he wanted his father. What more could be done to clinch a future together?

He probably should be talking to her, finding out what was in her mind, yet he was reluctant to break the intimate silence. They had all night, plenty of time for talking. It was great being able to revel in the certainty that she would not be cold to him in the marriage bed.

She stirred, lifting her head. ‘I need to go to the bathroom, Ari.’

He released her and she instantly rolled away and onto her feet on the other side of the bed, only giving him a back view of her as she walked swiftly to the bathroom, no glimpse of the expression on her face. However, he couldn’t help smiling at the lovely curve of her spine, the perkiness of her sexy bottom and the perfect shape of her long legs.

There was nothing unattractive about Christina Savalas. No one would be surprised at his choice of wife. Not that he cared about what anyone else thought but it would make it easier for Christina to be readily accepted as his partner in life. Women could be quite bitchy if they perceived any other woman as not measuring up to what they expected. Felicity Fulbright had sniped about quite a few while in his company.

Of course he would be on guard to protect Christina from any nastiness but there were always female get-togethers when he wouldn’t be present. On the other hand, the fighting spirit his father admired in her was undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in any kind of critical situation. She would have no qualms about setting people straight as she saw it. She’d done it to him repeatedly in the past few days.

All in all, Ari was quite looking forward to a future with Christina now that the sexual question was answered. However, his satisfaction took a slight knock when she re-emerged from the bathroom, wearing a white cotton kimono which covered her from neck to ankle. It signalled that she wasn’t about to jump back into bed with him.

‘I found this hanging on a peg behind the bathroom door,’ she said, putting a firm knot in the tie-belt and not quite meeting his gaze as she added, ‘There’s another one for you if you want to wear it after your shower. Easier than re-dressing for sitting on the balcony to watch the sunset.’

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