“Ruby.”

Reluctantly, she looked up at him. Ares’s grimly handsome face was dark in the shadowy room, his image blurred with her tears.

He did not move. He let her body adjust to the enormity of him filling her. His voice was low. “If I’d known…”

“That’s why I didn’t tell you.”

His hands tightened on her shoulders. “I never wanted to—”

“It’s done. I’m not going to let myself regret it.” Blinking fast, she whispered, “Kiss me.”

As he stared down at her, his expression changed. Slowly, he lowered his head. With a feather-soft touch, he kissed her eyelids, her cheeks and, finally, her lips.

She kissed him back recklessly, teasing his tongue with her own. She felt different. Nothing could take her back now to the girl she’d been. Their bodies intertwined as she deepened the kiss, tightening her hold over his shoulders, offering herself completely.

She heard the low growl from the back of his throat as he responded. The weight of his muscular body was heavy over hers. She felt him stir, hard and thick, deep, so deep inside her. A delicious tension began to coil again low in her belly.

Slowly, very gently, he began to move, sliding inside her. Pleasure filled her, even deeper than before, sending her tighter, higher. Her back arched as she met his thrusts, drawing him down inside her, twisting her hips as he pushed harder inside her.

His breath became hoarse as their rhythm increased. Her hips rose to meet him as he thrust into her hard and fast, filling every inch of her. She held her breath as the world seemed to spin, a maelstrom of white moonlight and black shadow. With a loud, guttural shout, he poured himself deep inside her, and she cried out as pleasure consumed every inch of her like fire.

* * *

Somewhere, there was a phone ringing. It kept stopping, then restarting.

Ares wished it would stop. He wanted to stay asleep, right where he was. He slowly, blearily opened his eyes.

He was in bed. Ruby was asleep in his arms, her cheek pressed against his naked chest. His arms tightened around her.

A virgin. She’d been a virgin. He still couldn’t believe it. Or believe the night he’d shared with her: the single best night of his life.

He’d thought possessing her once would be enough. But now he realized that, just as when Ruby had claimed she was only coming to his house for dinner, perhaps he’d been lying to himself, as well.

Glancing at the window, he saw the sky had lightened to gray with streaks of pink. It was nearly dawn. He’d slept the whole night through, holding her in his arms. He’d never done that with any woman before, a fact that had made all his previous mistresses argue and despair. He couldn’t stand for anyone to be close to him as he slept.

Until now.

Ruby was different from the rest.

More different than he’d even imagined.

Careful not to wake her, he pulled away to pick up his ringing phone from the nightstand. He saw his pilot’s number. He answered the phone with a gruff “Yes?”

“Your plane is ready, sir. I know you wanted to leave as soon as possible this morning, so I’m letting you know.”

“Thank you,” he said, and hung up.

Ruby still slumbered trustingly beside him. Naked. And he realized to his surprise that even now, he wanted more of her. Far more.

Ares kissed her softly on the forehead to wake her. Her dark lashes fluttered as she smiled up at him dreamily.

“Hello.”

“Hello,” he said, running his hand down her cheek to the sensitive corner of her neck. She sighed with pleasure. He kissed her lips, exploring, teasing, tasting. Still half asleep, she started to reach her arms around him.

Then her eyes opened and she abruptly pulled away. Wide-eyed, she sat up in bed, looking at the encroaching light from the window.

“What time is it?” she said in a panic.

He shrugged lazily, soaking up the vision of her beauty as the sheet slipped low over a rosy nipple. “Night. Morning. What does it matter?”

“I didn’t go home last night! My mother must be worried sick—and my sister…” She sucked in her breath, looking at him with horror. “If Ivy founds out I slept with you, after the way I yelled at her…”

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