Sex had never felt like this before. Never.
John’s hands shook as he pulled off her sundress, and then her bra and panties. Seeing Lacey naked, for a moment he forgot to breathe.
He kissed her hungrily, pushing her back against the bed. Holding her body against his own was pure ecstasy. She pulled him down into a hard kiss, and need built inside him, clamoring, pounding for him to take her now. She gripped him down against her, and then gasped as he pushed himself inside her. He lowered his head to kiss her, his hard chest sliding against her full breasts as he rode her, slowly at first, and then faster, harder.
He’d intended to go slow, but he couldn’t. Not now. His whole world was exploding into sweet madness. Neither of them could wait. Almost at once, she gasped with ecstasy, and when he heard her cry out his name, he climaxed with a shout, pouring himself inside her.
Afterward, falling beside her on the pillow, he kissed her temple tenderly.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
Twisting her head to look at him, she lifted her eyebrow and gave a sensual smile. “Sorry? Sorry for making me crazy?”
“I wanted to make this last.”
“Sorry. I couldn’t wait.” Lacey gave a low laugh. “How long did you want it to last?”
He met her gaze in the moonlit bedroom. “A lifetime.”
She swallowed. Then, with an intake of breath, she whispered, “All right.”
Propping himself up on his elbow, he looked down at her. “All right?”
Her laughter had fled. She looked very serious. “You win.”
Joy rushed through him, followed by triumph. “You’ll marry me?”
“If you’re sure it won’t be a mistake,” she said in a small voice.
John looked down at Lacey snuggled naked against his chest, her beautiful face rosy. His heart expanded in his chest. “It won’t be.”
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so happy, he realized to his astonishment. Not from any of the billion-dollar deals he’d made. Not even during his hot affair with Lacey last year. Those things had felt incredible.
But not like this. John stared down at Lacey in his bed. What was the difference? That she was the mother of his child? That he’d wanted her—waited for her—so long? That she’d now be his forever?
Lacey was important. More important than any woman had been before. It wasn’t just that she was the mother of his child. She was special for other reasons. She was going to be his—
John looked out at the sparkling New York skyline. He suddenly felt dizzy, sick, like the whole world was spinning around him. Because Lacey wouldn’t just be his.
He’d be hers.
And there was only one thing worse than two married people who hated each other. It was having only one person who hated, and the other who loved.
He thought of his father’s first wife, Eleni. She’d loved his father, and he’d divorced her, abandoned her without qualm. And she’d never recovered from the blow. She’d never married again. She’d never even taken a lover, as far as he knew.
Instead, she’d poured all her heartbreak and grief into loving John as the child she and Vasilis never had.
With an intake of breath, John sat up in bed. The luxurious white cotton sheet fell to his waist, leaving his bare chest exposed. Vulnerable.
Just like his soul would be, once he married Lacey.
No. He put his hands unsteadily on his forehead. This wasn’t how he was supposed to feel. Emotions and vulnerability were for the weak. For children. For women.
It was a man’s job to protect them, to give them the illusion the world was a soft, gentle place. But it wasn’t. People were selfish at best and cruel at worst. If John couldn’t even protect himself, how could he protect Lacey and Taffy?
He couldn’t let himself feel anything. He had to keep his heart cold. Now more than ever.
Turning away, he rose naked from the bed.
“Where are you going?” Lacey said, yawning.
“New York requires a waiting period for marriage.”
He didn’t look at her. “I’m going to make arrangements for my jet to be ready at dawn to take us to Las Vegas. We can wed quickly, then return to Athens.”
Silence fell. He turned.
Lacey stared at him from the bed, clutching a sheet over her breasts, her beautiful eyes wide. Then she exploded.
He shrugged. “Is this about your charity ball tomorrow night? We’ll send someone else in your place.”
“I’m not leaving!” She looked outraged. “Not New York, and not my company!”
Setting his jaw, John narrowed his eyes. “Be practical. Your company is small. I own an international conglomerate worth billions. If you’re worried about your employees’ jobs, I’m sure I can find them places. But we can talk about that later,” he bit out. “On the way to Las Vegas. ”
Lacey had already gotten up from the bed and was pulling on her underwear and dress. “Forget it.”
He frowned. “But I thought—”
“Thought what? That falling into bed would make me magically surrender my whole life to you?” Lacey shook her head. “Forget it, John. The deal’s off.”
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