Rebelling against the inner voice warning him to stop, to keep his head this time and cajole her with a gentle hand, he brought his mouth to the edge of her ear and closed his teeth around her lobe.
Her breathless panting whispered over his neck and made his pulse thrash against his cuff. It was a low, husky carnal want that made him murmur, ‘Absolutely I mean it. I swear it on my very life.’
Two days were all he needed to lure her over to the dark side.
‘Let me show you the most beautiful place on earth.’
He knew the perfect spot for the ultimate seduction, where his Queen would surrender right into his waiting arms.
‘What do you say, angel?’
LUCIANA WAS IN THE throes of a wonderful dream and she never wanted to wake up. Amazingly strong, muscular arms wrapped her in the warmth of their protection and the rhythmic sound of the ocean lapping over the shore lulled her mind into a tranquil peace she hadn’t felt in aeons.
A muffled lyrical trill shattered the halcyon bliss and beckoned her to rouse.
Bright was the splash of daylight behind her eyelids. Soft and sensually luxurious was the satin beneath her tummy and her cheek. Sweet was the scent of buttery pastry…or possibly French toast.
The musical chime hushed to a harmonious end.
Luciana writhed on the deeply cushioned mattress and stretched the kinks from her body, then prised her eyes open once, twice—and bolted up on all fours.
Rocking back, she sat on her ankles, her heart thrashing a symphonic staccato as her gaze bounced around the gargantuan almond-white room.
Paradise. She was in an enormous satin-drenched bed in paradise. Not only that, it felt inordinately pure. Minimalistic, all in varying shades of white, it serenaded a desperate search for solace.
In front of her and behind were the only solid walls, and when she swung to her right Luciana gasped at the fifty-foot-wide unencumbered view of a beautiful azure sky and the glistening crystalline waters of the Med as it frolicked with champagne sands. It was as if the entire wall had been rolled back and hidden to one side.
A wide wooden deck ran from the room to the shoreline and she smiled when a small lizard scurried across the sun-drenched teak.
Flipping her gaze to the left, to the opposite open expanse, she was faced with a rugged slab of rock dyed a deep charcoal-grey by the waterfall that sluiced down from some great height she couldn’t see, to rush and froth and pool, then run beneath this very room…out through the other side and down toward the beach. Under the deck, she’d guess.
Gripping the edge of the bed, she tipped over to look at the floor, her hair spilling around her face. Oh, wow. Glass. The entire floor was glass. And she watched a vivid kaleidoscope of teeny-tiny fish dip and swerve and play beneath her.
Giddiness leapt inside her at the sheer awesome natural beauty of it all—stunning architecture and a visual feast for the senses had always fascinated her. Odd that Thane was probably the only man she’d ever told that too.
Speaking of Thane… She lurched back upright to sit on the bed. Where the heck was he? And her heart-rate did not shoot through the roof when she thought of his name. Absolutely not. She hated the man. Yes, she did.
That would be the Thane who’d appeared so desperate to carry her into the main house, since by the time they’d arrived her insides had been battered and bruised from pummelling emotions and she’d been shivering with exhaustion. The Thane who had lain her gently in his bed…and after that everything was a bit blurry. Oh, Lord. Was it too much to ask that she’d booted him out of the room and banished him to Hades? Of course it was.
But, in her defence, her barricades had been low. And the devil was a maestro at taking advantage of that.
Lingering anger had her fisting the sheets.
She might have agreed to this bargain—ha! Agreed? As if she’d had any choice. But he was in for a nasty shock—because she was only here to prove she’d be the wife from hell. She’d evict him from her mind for ever while she focused on her end-game. Getting home to Natanael, come hell or high water.
On the plus side, seeing the real dark Prince in action, embroiled in some villainous scheme, would be just the ticket to satisfy her conscience that she’d made the right choices for them all. To ameliorate the guilt that constantly ate at her insides because she was keeping her son’s existence a secret.