“No.” He came around the bed and took the jacket she was trying to put on. He threw it onto the chair and set his hands on her waist, gently tugging her hips into his own.
He was both fascinated and infuriated by the way she could lift her chin, aloof and self-possessed, as if she hadn’t been begging him for everything he had twenty minutes ago.
If he hadn’t felt the faint tremble in her fingers where they rested on his naked chest, he would have been annoyed and let her go, but she wasn’t nearly as unaffected as she was pretending.
“I lost my father when I was twelve. I wouldn’t leave my child fatherless.”
Her expression softened, making his heart unsteady. “You never talk about your father. You never talk about yourself,” she added with a wry twist of her mouth.
“Too busy with other things,” he said, caressing beneath her ear. “Always short on time.”
Her gaze shifted to the clock on the night table and his chest tightened.
“My father was killed in a professional hit.” He dropped his hands and moved to look for his shirt. He jabbed his arms into the sleeves, chilled by his own words but refusing to cling to her as he relayed them. “The man who ordered his death lives comfortably in exile. I continue trying to have him extradited, so I can bring him to justice, but may never succeed. That’s not a legacy I want to put on a child. My mother was left to raise me alone. I would never force such a challenge on the mother of my own child if I could avoid it.”
Her expression was difficult to read, soft yet conflicted and distressed.
“I’m not as vulnerable as most women,” she pointed out. “And I loathe the idea of a man marrying me because he ‘had’ to. If you wanted to marry me, you would have asked by now.”
He supposed he deserved that, but after their first time, she’d been even more concerned about keeping them a secret than he had, so he was compelled to ask, “Is that what you want?”
“Marriage. A future. Family? We’ve never talked about this being anything more than…” He tried to find a word that wouldn’t make it sound cheap because it wasn’t.
“Too busy with other things,” she repeated facetiously, though he heard a pang of hurt in her tone.
“So talk. Tell me what you want.”
“And you’ll make it happen?” she scoffed.
“Maybe.” He pulled on his pants. “Tell me and we’ll see.” He zipped.
She snorted and turned away from him, arms crossed, profile working with deep inner struggling. She looked to the floor, hair falling forward to curtain her face, then she warily lifted her lashes.
“What do you want?”
He had the sense of a childish struggle between them. You let go first. No, you.
He pushed his hands in his pockets.
“The sex is fantastic. I want that,” he drawled.
“Tsk.” Her cheek went pink and she looked to the floor again. “So you want to keep doing this. You can have that with anyone.”
“Like hell,” he said with affront and crossed the room to open her arms and softly crash her into him. “Are you saying you feel this way with other men?”
He cupped his hands possessively over her ass, pinning her hips to his while she wedged her arms between them and scowled.
“No,” she admitted. “But nothing has changed. We’re still who we are. Anything more than this is impossible.”
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