My heart was breaking and I felt sick inside.

Sick and furious. Sick for what had been done to the man I loved. Furious, in so many ways.

But none of that could matter right now.

This was going to be like the blind leading the blind, but as I leaned in, I knew that one of us would have to take the lead and it would have to be me. It didn’t matter that he was older and more experienced in sex, or what roles we were supposed to have in the bedroom. I could only imagine what it had taken for Dominic to open up to me like that and I knew that I was going to have to take the next step.

“So here’s the thing.” My voice was husky and it hurt to even speak, but I made myself do it. If he could tell me all of that, I could tell him the full truth about what had happened between myself, Mitchell Pence and Penelope Rittenour. I owed him that. “The reason I left the party had nothing to do with Pence. He’s a jerk, but I’ve dealt with worse.”

Dominic’s eyes flashed but when he went to speak, I touched my finger to his lips. “It’s my turn to talk.” I had to move my hand because the feel of his mouth was too distracting. “I left because of Penelope. She’s a piece of work.” I couldn’t quite pull off the laugh. “She had me thinking you two…”

“We’re not. We never­­––”

I nodded. “I’m getting that.” Smoothing my hands up the solid length of his thighs, I leaned in and kissed his cheek. He tried to follow, but I moved away. “I was stupid. She got to me. I shouldn’t have let her.”

He fisted his hand in my hair and tried bring my mouth to his, need written across every line of his face.

Again, I pulled back until he released my hair. I needed him to hear this before things went any further.

“Relationships.” I pressed my mouth to his once he’d eased up on my hair. It was a quicker kiss than I liked, but I couldn’t lose myself before we’d finished the talk we should’ve had a while ago. “I get that you need to be in control and I understand it more than ever now. But, with relationships, it’s a give and take. It can’t just be about me having to trust you. You need to trust me too. Let me in. Can you do that?”

His eyes locked on mine, and I saw the struggle on his face. Then, slowly, his hand fell away.

The ache in my heart deepened. The bruised look in his brilliant blue eyes was going to haunt me for a very long time. Right now, though, I was going to do my best to take it away.

“You said something earlier. Before we left.” Leaning in, I tugged on his neck until he lowered his head and I could whisper in his ear. “Do you remember?”

He turned his face into my hair.

“Yes.” The single word was ragged.


I stood then and untied the belt to my robe. I rolled my shoulders, letting the heavy cotton fall to the floor. When I sank to my knees in front of him, I felt the slow glide of his gaze on me as if it was a caress.

Sliding my hands up his muscular chest, I dealt with his tie, his shirt. He helped strip them away, tossing them in a tangle somewhere off into the room.

When I went to tug at his pants, he rose and I sat back on my heels to watch him. Under the heavy fringe of his lashes, he watched back.

His blue eyes glowed, the fire in them oddly banked as he removed the rest of his clothes. I knew now, without having to know the details, where the marks on his body had come from; the ones I’d always just seen as part of who he was. I’d always thought him beautiful, and now, as I realized all the scars he hid inside, he seemed even more beautiful.

He stood there in front of me and I placed my hands on his thighs, skimmed them up, felt the light growth of his hair tickling my palms as I stroked up, then down, then up.

His erection pulsed, beating in time with the blood flooding his veins. The thick shaft stiffened, rose, another beautiful part of his body. The vein that ran along the underside of his cock caught my eye as I sat back on my heels. I flicked a look up at him before I leaned forward.

Slowly, I rose up. His eyes remained locked on me as I closed my mouth around the swollen head. A harsh noise ripped out of him and he lifted a hand. It hovered at his side for a second and then, without saying a word, he lowered it.

“Will you lie on the bed?” I asked, my voice a low whisper.

It was quiet. I was almost afraid to speak, afraid to shatter the odd spell that had fallen between us.

His gaze never left my face as he slowly sat down, then pushed himself back on the bed. He didn’t lie down though, but propped himself up on his elbows, watching me as I stood, then climbed onto the bed, moving between his legs.

Was it hard, I wondered, for him to do this?

As the thought came to me, I caught sight of the muscle throbbing in his jaw and knew the answer. It was hard for him.

Yielding control, even for something as simple as this, would be almost impossible. I put my hand on his thigh again and felt the muscles tense and tighten under his skin. I wrapped my free hand around his cock and stroked up, then down.

A groan rumbled out of him.

I did it again, then leaned down to swirl my tongue across the head. I sucked gently, rolling my eyes up to look at him as I increased the suction. He swore and thrust his hips up, shoving his cock deeper into my mouth. My eyes started to water and I pulled up.

He made a move as if to grab me, but again, he stopped and swore, falling back flat on the bed this time and flinging an arm over his eyes.

One hand curled into a tight, desperate fist. His jaw clenched and his cheekbones jutted out against his skin. And when I took him back into my mouth, he made that same raw sound, followed by my name as he rocked up to me.

I did it again and again.

The world shrank down to us, that bed and the rhythm of his hips as he rose to meet my mouth as I sucked on him.

Need burned and twisted inside me but I ignored it.

I needed this more—and he needed me.

I could feel it in the restrained way he didn’t let himself reach for me, in the desperate way he didn’t let himself take over.

He growled my name and fisted his hands in the thick comforter, twisting at the material as he started to pump his hips in hard, rapid circles. My mouth ached, my lips stretched tight around his width, but I took as much as I could. He started to come, the taste of him salty on my tongue. My eyes watered and I needed air, but I didn’t let myself pull away, determined to swallow it all.

Not until the tension left his body and not until I had milked the last drop of semen from his cock, only then did I lift my head. His eyes were on me, dark and burning, his face so full of emotion that I could barely breathe.

I crawled up onto the bed and curled up next to him. He immediately pulled me up against him, his arms wrapping around me and holding me close. His hand threaded through my hair and then trailed down my bare shoulder. “Aleena…”


He didn’t say anything else.

Just my name.

Closing my eyes, I snuggled closer and closed my eyes. “I have to tell you something,” I said softly. “I…”

I licked my lips, tasting him again. I was terrified to say the words that were trapped inside me, but I had to. I couldn’t keep them locked up anymore and I was dying, bit by bit, day by day, living like this. I couldn’t tell him that we needed to trust each other if I wasn’t being honest.

Slowly, I lifted my head and looked at him.

His lashes lifted and I could see the shield ready to slam back into place.

I touched his cheek. “I…”

Just do it. Do it and be done.

“I love you.” I tried to smile and failed. “I didn’t mean for it to happen and I don’t expect anything from you.” I looked away. “But I can’t pretend anymore and whatever we’re doing, how we’re doing it…Dominic, it’s killing me. I either…”

I sat up. His arms fell away and I felt terribly cold, suddenly all too aware that I was naked. Staring towards the window, I blinked away the tears.

“I can’t be the kind of woman Penelope is, or the kind of woman your mother is. I don’t want to be some pretty little piece you tuck up in your room.” Hollow, I drew my legs up, trying to get some warmth. “I…look, I understand that relationships aren’t easy for you and I can…I understand and I don’t want to push you on anything. But if you…I just…”

Now I felt pissed off and angry with myself. I should have just let it go. I made a move to shove off the bed.

Dominic caught my wrist and tugged me back, pulling me on top of him. I caught my breath, ready to have him roll us and pin me under him. To put himself back in control.

But he didn’t. He held me.

“You just what?” he asked, his voice calm.

Through my tears, I stared at him.

“You just what?” he asked again.

I blinked, uncertain of what I’d meant to say or what I’d even been thinking.

“I told you, Aleena,” he said, his voice patient. “I don’t know how to do this, so if you want something, you have to tell me.”

“I want you.” My voice broke and I was furious with myself for it. “But if I can’t have all of you, then I’d rather we…”

His mouth caught mine.

Now he rolled and pinned me under him.

He was naked and hot and smooth and I gasped as he pressed against me, hard again. “All of me,” he said against my lips. “You’ll have all of me, Aleena. And you better be ready for it, because dammit, I’ll have all of you, too.”

He braced his hands on the bed next to my shoulders and stared down at me. I gasped as he thrust, deep and hard and high.

“Take me,” he said, watching me. “All of me.”

I clung to him. “All of you…”

As though he’d just been waiting to hear my affirmation, he started to move quicker, harder, faster. There was no finesse, no games, only heat and friction and pleasure. He drove into me hard enough that it should’ve hurt, but I only wanted him to go deeper. He didn’t tease, but I still begged, the need I had for him twisting with the fire inside me until I exploded. He swore as my pussy tightened around his cock but didn’t stop. Over and over he slammed into me, pushing me higher and higher until he came again, calling my name.

We clung to each other even as we came down, our need not merely a sexual one. We needed each other in ways I wasn’t quite sure I fully understood yet. But it didn’t matter. We had time.

I fell asleep smiling, my body still entwined with his.


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