‘Not here—not in my office,’ he panted.
His eyes were dark as the night sky, and it made her almost cry out to know she affected him so deeply.
‘Yes, here,’ she said, looking at the wide expanse of polished walnut.
She could barely speak, so desperate was she to feel his flesh, fill her hands with him and satisfy the need that had built since that night.
She tried to draw him back to her.
‘No,’ he said, pulling away and shaking his head softly. ‘We’ll go upstairs. We’ll take our time. Let me look after you. Please, Coral. Let me start to look after you now.’
HE GRASPED HER hand and tucked her underneath his shoulder. Without a single sound he walked her out of the office, along the hallway to the stairs. He was not going to give her a moment to change her mind because finally—finally—she had stopped combatting every single thing he said. Finally she was relenting.
But he knew her fire. She was exactly like her father. All it would take was one wrong word and she’d be stripping off her dress and stamping it into the ground again.
He kept her close, taking each step with her. He shouldn’t have had to seduce her to get her to calm down, but the fire in his blood was out of control just as before. At least this way they would both get what they needed.
Round the twist in the stairs she almost stumbled, and he caught her swiftly. But even that made him stop, turn her in his arms, cup her beautiful face and kiss her sweet mouth. God, but he could not stop kissing her.
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her tight to his body. It killed him to think of what she had been through. What had Giancarlo been thinking? How could he have shut out his own flesh and blood? There was nothing more important than family. Nothing.
And here he was, holding her tight and squeezing his promises into her. Here in his mother’s house, under paintings of his great-grandmother and her sisters, and their children. Family. Never before had he felt the responsibility of all those generations as keenly as he did now.
I’m going to be a father, he told them all, pausing for a moment to feel them in the empty air. I won’t let you down, he said, tears burning behind his eyes. I will do my best to make you proud.
His jaw clenched where it lay on her head, and his muscles tensed all around her. Around his child.
He knew it was his in his bones. Had known it since she’d thrown out her claim in that office. Yes, it was his child. And she was his woman.
She moved against him and he stiffened. Nothing could stop him from taking her to his bed now.
In seconds they were inside his suite. He closed the door. She was standing halfway across the floor, the apples of her cheeks as red as her tunic, her magnificent auburn hair ready to tumble down her naked shoulders.
‘What are you waiting for?’ she said. ‘You don’t need to be gentle.’
Her eyes were wild and her lips moist. In a single step he grabbed her and thrust his tongue into her mouth. She whimpered.
‘Don’t try to order me around,’ he warned her, pausing for a second to cup her jaw with one hand and her breast with the other. Then he felt for her nipple and rolled it between his thumb and forefinger.
She gasped and pressed her hand on top of his. ‘Don’t stop. Please!’ she cried.
‘I’ve no intention of stopping,’ he said, tugging her face to meet his and laving her mouth with his tongue. His hands moulded her fabulous heavy breasts, so full he could barely contain them. He wanted to see her—see how she had changed with the baby.
She was as greedy as he remembered, and in moments he felt her hands fumbling with his flies. She unbuttoned him as he continued to swell and grow. Then she worked her fingers inside his shorts until she had released him into her hand.
He stopped then. He had to see—had to imprint this on his mind for ever. The sight of him, hard and hot, in her hand. He looked into her face as she hitched her head back with pride and control and he felt the balance shift. She was his equal. And the fire in his blood raged harder.
Then she clasped him in her hand and worked it up and down, her clever fingers rubbing perfectly on his most sensitive area. He groaned his pleasure, feeling the intensity build below the head.
She eyed him steadily, then bent to take him in her mouth.
But he couldn’t let her. ‘Sweetheart.’
He scooped her up and sat her on the bed. Then he stripped off his sweater and trousers and everything else.
Her eyes widened and her mouth opened, breathing out a gasp. ‘Oh!’
He stood with legs apart in front of her, his erection full and hard at ninety degrees to his body, inches away from her mouth.