The hallway backstage was dimly lit, and Sarah’s heart started beating harder and faster for no reason.
Damian opened the first door to their right and flipped the light switch open, saying, “We’ll talk here.”
Since it was to her advantage that neither of their parents accidentally hear anything about Hardy, Sarah forced herself to nod and followed the billionaire inside the empty dressing room. She watched nervously as he closed the door shut, but as soon as he turned to her, anxiety simply got the better of her, and she blurted out, “I mean it about Hardy. If you tell Josiah or Mom about him, I will never forgive you.”
The tremor in her voice told Damian how serious she was, and it was exactly what he didn’t want…but needed to see.
“I can give you my word that I won’t say a word to our parents under one condition.”
For some reason, Sarah suddenly felt like she was about to enter into a bargain with the Devil, but a quick, wary glance at his features achieved nothing. His handsome face was a completely expressionless mask, and it left her no choice but to say slowly, “Alright. What do you want in return?”
“Something quite simple—-”
“I doubt that—-”
Had she really heard—-
“Marry me, Sarah.”
Oh God. She might as well have been thinking out loud with how uncannily accurate his responses were.
Sarah had the urge to laugh and cry at how easy it was for Damian to say such words. It only went to show how little he understood of just how much he had meant…and still meant to her.
“This is insane.”
The jerkily spoken words had a muscle ticking in his jaw, and it was only then that he realized how much her answer mattered…and how much it would fucking hurt, for her not to say yes. He really had lost her, Damian realized with bitter regret. The old Sarah would have thrown herself in his arms the moment he asked her to marry him, but this one before him…
His fists clenched against his sides. She was over him now, fine. But she had fallen for him before without him even doing a thing. He could and would damn well make her fall in love with him again, and this time, he would love her the way she deserved.
When Sarah started for the door, it was to have the billionaire reach for her arm and force her to turn back to him.
“We haven’t finished talking.”
“What else is there to talk about?” she asked unevenly.
“I asked you to marry me—-”
Sarah shook her head. “Damian, please. Stop this. It’s insane. It’s just not—-”
“I’m not asking you to love me again.”
It hurt to hear him say such words, and oh God, how she wished she could believe that the regret and pain in his eyes were true. But he had her hurt too much, had taught her too well. She had lost count of the times he had looked at her, talked to her in the past like he loved her, only to tell her she had misread things.
“I’m sorry,” Sarah whispered. “I don’t think—-”
“You want me anymore?” Damian’s grip on her tightened. “That’s easily resolved.”
And then he was hauling her towards him.
“Let’s just put it to the test.”
Aghast and terrified at what those words were implying, she opened her mouth to say no…only to realize she had simply given the billionaire an opening, and the next thing she knew, his mouth was crushing down on hers, and the first thrust of his tongue inside her mouth instantly set her body ablaze.
For one moment, she simply stood there, unable to resist the temptation to savor the forceful thrusts of his tongue. Just one moment, she told herself feverishly. One moment…and then she forced herself to snap out of it. She started struggling, as hard as she could—-
The billionaire’s dark head lifted, and blue eyes glittered down at her. “Stay fucking still…” The command was delivered in a soft, mocking voice that had her body shaking for all the wrong reasons. “…if you don’t want me ripping your gown off.”
A helpless laugh escaped her even as her heart thundered against her chest, and it took everything in her not to let her body yield against his hardness. “I know what you’re doing,” she accused him. He was swearing because he knew how much it turned her on, and it was for the same reason he was putting on this overbearing Dom act.
“It’s not going to work—-”
“Won’t it?” He saw her open her mouth to answer back, and he said swiftly, “Shut up.”
Her eyes widened.
“Or I’ll fucking shut it for you.”
A sound escaped her, something that was part-laugh and part gasp, but the truth was in her eyes, with the way they were turning misty and dark with emotions she couldn’t quite control. Yearning. Confusion. Excitement. Fear. And most of all, a shadow of the love that used to turn her eyes into stars, every time she had looked at him—-