Amelie had been to the Quayson mansion often enough to know its layout.
To know that he was leading her away from the heart of the party spread out on the immense back terrace and manicured lawn behind the house.
That the guest suite on the ground floor in the east wing was down the hallway he was leading her through. Rooms as exquisitely appointed as every other room in this stunning mansion.
Between her third and fourth heartbeat, they were shut behind a solid marble door.
The fingers he’d laced with hers after relieving her of her glass dropped, but he didn’t step back. If anything, he crowded her further, bracing his hands against the wall on either side of her shoulders. Close enough but not touching, much to her displeasure.
“It’s not too late, Amelie. This is your last chance to end this,” he breathed against her earlobe.
She lifted her hands, placed them on his chest, her stomach diving with excitement when his warmth seeped into her touch. “No,” she stated firmly, a holy conviction lighting up inside her. “I’m not leaving. Not when I think you…you need…” She bit the inside of her lip, wondering if this was the right time to voice what she’d seen beneath the surface of his formidable expression.
That she sensed he was troubled about something.
Did she even have the right to tell him to unburden to her? When she’d been relieved to be halfway across the world and away from the acrimony still existing between their families? When she’d hoped that somehow it would’ve resolved itself by the time she was done with university but was at a loss for how she could contribute to the elusive peace?
“What do you think I need, hmm?”
She shook her head, her earlier brazenness momentarily deserting her.
One hand dropped from the wall, and his large palm cradled her jaw. “Don’t get shy with me now,” he crooned, his voice almost hypnotic.
She wasn’t fooled.
Beneath that suave exterior lurked a predator. And she was aware she’d pushed him with her boldness the last time they’d seen each other. Stoked the fire she could see burning in his eyes when he looked at her.
Now she was reaping the results…and while a part of her leapt in delight, another part wondered if she truly knew what she was doing. If she wouldn’t bear the repercussions of what happened here tonight for the foreseeable future.
But then his thumb brushed over her lower lip, leaving a trail of fire. That fire obliterated any other thought, any other need save the one that directed her to stay exactly where she was, to revel in this moment, which felt like it’d been a lifetime in the making.
“You need this,” she whispered.
“I can’t deny that I do,” he agreed gruffly, his eyes darkening until they were almost black, save for the blaze sizzling right at her. “I can’t deny that I’ve wanted to do this for far too long. Thought about it far too often.”
A thrill unlike any she’d ever known lit through her. “Then do it. Don’t make us both wait,” she said, her voice shamefully breathless.
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