“I love you, too, baby. We have this under control. I promise.”

I reach up and let my wet ingers drag across his jaw. “Ah, my beautiful, talented artist. You have it under control. You always do.” I envy him that, but it feels good to know I’m getting there myself, and that I don’t have to do it alone.


He captures my wrist, his eyes twinkling with amusement, his seductive lips hinting at a smile. I like making him smile.

“Beautiful?”

He makes me smile. “Oh, yes.”

A sexy mix of heat and mischief seeps into his eyes, warning me I have a wicked, wonderful surprise coming my way, before he lifts my hand, presses his lips to my palm, and draws a circle with his tongue. I gasp at the unexpected, incredibly erotic act, and he leans back, dragging my wet hand down his neck before he stands up.

Biting my lip, I watch him take his pants of, and vow to call him beautiful more often if this is my reward. Chris watches me watch him and, when he is gloriously naked, my eyes gobble up every last inch. He is hard. Everywhere. I like how hard he is everywhere. And I am now hot when the water no longer is, but I don’t think I’m going to care in a minute.

He steps into the tub and pulls me down so that we’re facing each other on our sides. “Your stitches are going to get wet,”

I warn, touching the bandage on his arm.

“I’m allowed to get them wet after twenty-four hours.” He wraps his leg over mine and settles the thickness of his erection between my thighs. “Ever had bathtub sex before?”

“No. Never.”

He begins to playfully tease my nipple with his inger. “Me, either.”

Surprised, my eyes go wide. “I’ll be your irst.”

He pulls me on top of him and brings my mouth near his.

“You’re the irst for a lot of things.”

I smile and then moan as he presses between my thighs and smoothly enters me. I suck in a breath as he thrusts deeply, burying himself as far as he can; then he stills and stares at me.

“About those limits. You’ll ind you don’t get any with me.”

“I wasn’t aware I’d asked for any,” I say.

He rolls to his back and pulls me on top of him. “Ride me, baby.”

It’s one of the rare moments he’s let me on top, given me control, and considering how scorchingly hot I ind his dominance, I’m surprised by how much I like it. His eyes rake over my body, and the heavy-lidded, lust-laden expression on his face says he likes it, too.

I revel in my ability to make this amazing man, this beautiful, seemingly always in-control man, lose himself to passion— and I gladly obey his command. I ride him and the fantasy that I never seem to make reality, but he does. The one called control.

Saturday, July 14, Layover, Los Angeles I hate sharing. I hate being shared. This is what is on my mind as I sit in the airport, so close to home but feeling so far away.

It seems important as I return home to know what I will and will not accept in my relationship with “him” if we are to have one again. He knows I won’t sign another contract, but I want something that runs deeper than ink on the page. He says he’s ready for that, but is he capable of the commitment I crave? This is a man who brought others to our most intimate moments, who brought her to our bed when he knew it upset me. She hates me. It’s in her eyes every time we’re near each other, but I still had to endure her touching me. And him. I had to watch her touch him.

I shiver just writing about it, thinking about it. The only reason I endured it, and I can forgive it as the past, is his reason for doing it. Or what I believe in my heart to be his reason. He was hiding from a real connection with me and I know, I just know, that’s why he brought her to our play when we grew closer. She was his wall. His protection. Can he let down his walls? Can he let me see the real him? Can he love me as I love him? I only know that I can’t settle for less. It’s everything or nothing . . .

Thirteen

Morning comes way too soon, considering I’m still on San Francisco time and wrapped in Chris’s arms. Apparently feeling the same way, Chris moans at the sound of the alarm, burying his face in my neck. “What time is it?

“Early.” I reach to the marble-topped nightstand and hit SNOOZE on the alarm clock.

Chris lifts his head and glares at the display. Six thirty. “Why exactly are we waking up this early? I don’t have to be at the museum until ten.”

“Chantal’s taking me to the embassy to get my passport, and she thinks we need to be there when they open at eight thirty.”

I roll toward the edge of the bed and Chris’s big leg shackles mine, holding me in place.

“You aren’t going to the embassy without me. I’ll take you on Monday.” His voice is absolute pure authority, the voice I ind so utterly erotic, it can sink me to my knees on a rug.

This morning, I bristle at his command and roll to face him, my hands going to his bare chest, his eyes sweeping my bare br**sts. My ni**les pucker and I’m irritated that my body betrays me.

“Stop trying to distract me,” I snap.

“You’re the one distracting me. You’re not going to the embassy without me.”

“I don’t need you to escort me to the embassy, Chris. There will be plenty of English speakers there. Besides, Chantal will be with me.”

“Ella is missing and some stranger is looking for her. I don’t want you running around on your own.”

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