‘Tell me why is it that when I had you only this morning, I still spent the entire day fantasising about coming home to have you again?’ he breathed in a hoarse undertone.

‘I don’t know,’ she said when she could get her voice to emerge levelly again, although she could have told him, had she felt sufficiently generous, that she’d reacted to him the same way.

‘You’re an addictive habit,’ he murmured, unhooking her bra and stripping it away.

A gasp escaped her as he moulded his hands to her full breasts. The straining peaks were very sensitive. He continued to explore her while she watched him in the mirror. There she was poised like a doll to be undressed in his arms, enslaved by desire and longing. She didn’t like the image or the thought, for both hurt her pride.

Nikolai studied their reflection in the same mirror with a thrill of fierce satisfaction; he had tamed his haughty beauty and she was his now to enjoy. An arm curved round her narrow waist, he sent seeking fingers down to the junction of her pale slender thighs. He skimmed over the slippery surface of her panties, feeling her body leap with response, the shiver that racked her against him and finally the heat and damp below her mound that telegraphed her readiness.

‘It’s been a wonderful two weeks,’ he conceded, shimmying down the panties over her hips and slowly lifting her free of them, every single move, every single glide of his expert fingers calculated to increase her craving a thousandfold.

Abbey tensed. That was his first reference to the fact that their agreement as such on where she slept was almost over. It wasn’t much for the basis of a relationship, she thought wretchedly, but it was all they had as a framework. Nikolai swept her up into his arms and down onto the bed.

‘Did I mention that we’re going to a party tonight?’ he murmured.

‘No…’ Abbey wasn’t pleased, for she had been looking forward to spending an evening at home with Nikolai and enjoying his undivided attention. ‘And I haven’t brought anything with me to wear either.’

‘I’ll take you home first to get changed. But you’ll definitely need the diamonds. Our hosts are Lysander Metaxis and his wife, Ophelia.’

Abbey’s lashes fluttered as she focused on his darkly handsome face above hers. ‘I’ve seen him in the business pages of the newspapers—’

‘His wife looks like a Botticelli angel,’ Nikolai remarked, poised at the foot of the bed and shedding his clothes in a careless heap.

It was unusual for Nikolai to compliment another woman in her presence—he was far too clever with her sex to make mistakes like that. And Abbey discovered that she was insecure enough to experience a stab of jealousy about a woman she had never met. She studied Nikolai, her attention pinned to his muscular, hair-roughened chest and long, powerful thighs while she marvelled at how natural it felt to be with him now. He came down beside her and she ran appreciative hands over him. The hot pulse at the heart of her and the groan of satisfaction he emitted urged her on. She loved to touch him and revelled in his response. While she had no idea what went on in his head, she had a much better grasp of what he liked in bed.

Nikolai knotted his hand in her tumbling curls and vented a driven groan of tormented pleasure, a long, deep shudder racking his long, powerful length before he hauled her up and rolled her over onto her back. ‘I’ve been thinking of this all afternoon, milaya moya—’

‘I thought nothing came between you and business.’ Abbey was trembling with excitement as he spread her thighs and slid between them.

‘Except you.’ His need for her at a torturous height, Nikolai stared broodingly down at her, wondering what it was about her that got under his skin to such an extent, wondering what insanity had taken hold of him when he had gone to the effort of buying the contents of the gift bag by the bed.

Mollified by the assurance, Abbey let her head roll back on the pillow, her slender neck extending. He rocked against her and she lifted her hips to receive him. He plunged into her silken depths with a husky growl of masculine pleasure. ‘I’ll make it last, zolotse moya,’ he swore.

And he did, driving her up to the heights with his slow, sure movements, where she splintered into a hundred pieces of sobbing delight. But it wasn’t over, for no sooner had she recovered from that first climax than he turned her over onto her stomach and took her again. This time he shifted the pace up tempo and set a hard, insistent rhythm that made her cry out in an agony of abandon and raw excitement. His passionate possession overwhelmed her and there were tears in her eyes when he turned her back to face him again. Exultant dark golden eyes raked over her hectically flushed face.

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