Another desperate thrust into her tight, hot flesh, and he joined her. “Jesus Christ,” he muttered as she stopped moving upon him. Her chest heaved and his rose in time as well. He swiped a hand over his face, opened his eyes, and smiled up at her. “What did you think?”

“I think woman-on-top is a new favorite of mine.”

He wondered what else she hadn’t tried, and made a mental note to ask her that later. “Shall we adjourn to the bed?”

Giggling, she fell against him, her face fitting perfectly in the crook of his neck. “I vote aye.”

“The ayes have it.” Somehow, he managed to get them both to their feet, make use of the loo, and return to find her lying on her back in the middle of his bed, black lashes resting against her cheeks. She was right where she belonged.

The mattress dipped a little under his weight as he joined her.

“I like your house,” she said, eyes opening. “Well, what I saw of it.”

“Thank you. I’ll give you the grand tour tomorrow. How would you like to live here for the rest of your visit?”

She raised her head, resting it in the palm of her hand. “What about work?”

“Telecommuting is better for the environment.”

“Better for you, too,” she said. “But what about all the parties and—”

“Parties are overrated and the paparazzi can find us anywhere. So goals will still be met.”

“That’s…good.” She blinked up at him, a little frown forming on her full lips.

“It is. I think you’ll like it better here. More freedom to pop down to wherever you like.”

Her gorgeous smile returned, bright enough to rival the sun. “Thank you for thinking of me then.”

“Where are we?” she asked.

“Near Surrey, in a village called Cheam.”

For a moment, she didn’t say a word. That’s right, darling, put it all together. “You’d rather have a vacation here than anywhere else in the world?”

Here was home, the place he’d bought with her in mind, in order to make happy memories. And now she was here, lounging in his bed. Cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling as if it were their wedding night. As if they were in love. Oh, how he loved her.

“Yes, but if you don’t want to stay—”

She placed a finger over his mouth. “I’m where I want to be.”

He kissed her finger and she drew it away. “Tomorrow we’ll explore the village, the park, and take you to The Mansion. Heard they filmed an episode of Downton there last year.”

“You are so sweet!” She gave him a quick kiss and started to rise from the bed. “I’m going to sleep right now. You should, too.”

Laughing, he caught her by the waist and pulled the sheets over their heads. “I think you’re more excited about that, than spending time with me.”

Light from the chandelier filtered through the white sheets, casting her in a hazy glow as she lay down beside him.

“Everything’s changed between us,” she said softly.

He slid his hand up and down her arm. “For the good, I hope.”

“I hope so, too,” she said, burying her face into his neck. “Or we made a really big mistake.”

“Glen royally screwed you over, yeah?”

She nodded, her lips on his throat. “Jules hurt me, too.”

“How about you let me make it up to you?”

A thick sigh left her, and her soft body seemed to melt into his. “How about we forget Jules and Glen ever happened to me?”

“If you wish,” he said, kissing the top of her head.

She lifted her head, looking down on him. “You know so much about me, but I hardly know anything about you.”

“Ask me anything.”

“Tell me what happened to Kate.”

He should have known she’d want to know about his former relationship with Kate. “I don’t think you want to know the answer to that,” he said slowly.

“Tell me anyway.”

So tenacious. One of the things he admired about her. “Business came first.”

“And she left you?”

“No. I broke things off with her.” He still remembered their talk, her face, and the relief he’d felt. Then the guilt that had followed for being relieved. “It wasn’t her fault I couldn’t change my ways.”

Her brow furrowed. “You mean wouldn’t change your ways.”

“Old habits are hard to break, but I guess if I had really loved her, then I would have freed myself from them,” he said, increasingly uncomfortable with the direction of their conversation. He knew his shortcomings. He knew he was an almost exact replica of Vladimir Romanov, not in temperament perhaps, but in nearly everything else that counted for something.

She snorted. “You think love makes someone change? You can’t change for someone else, not permanently anyway. Those habits will creep right back up and bite you in the arse.” She grinned for a moment, and then her expression turned serious. “Either change, because you want to change, or don’t bother.”

“I wouldn’t change anything about you,” she added in a heated whisper, her words a warm caress of air upon his skin. “You’re real and honest, and say exactly what you mean.”

Stunned, his hands froze on her back. The people closest to him always wanted something different from him. For him to be someone he wasn’t, someone more to their liking and his feelings be damned, not that he hadn’t earned their disappointment on some level.

Soon she would join them, when he finally confessed the truth, but not tonight. Maybe not even tomorrow, or the next day.

“Well, there is one thing I’d change about you,” she said.

His heart sank. “Do enlighten me,” he said, keeping the disappointment out of his voice.

She threw the covers off them and straddled his lap. All wicked curves, sexy br**sts, and delicious pink ni**les. The curls of her sex were damp against his skin. “Your favorite pub.”

A bark of laughter escaped him. “What’s wrong with the Cock and Beaver?”

“Seriously? It’s two substitution words for very naughty parts of the anatomy. I mean, every time I said the name, I expected someone to yell, ‘That’s what she said.’”


A fine blush covered her face, travelling lower over her chest. “Well, c**k is a cock.”

“A rooster?” he asked, knowing full well what she meant. “What’s so naughty about a barnyard animal?”