He was waiting for her. She didn't know how he knew the time or how he got past airport security, but he was there, waiting at the foot of the stairs of her plane when the door opened. He didn't say anything as she walked down the stairs to meet him. He just opened his arms and she melted against him and he crushed her closer still.
Maybe he was right and it was only lust. She no longer cared enough to decide. All that mattered was that this felt so good that she needed it. With every fiber of her being she needed this—him.
'Hey—' He pressed his mouth to hers.
Her heart soared. Only two days and she'd missed him beyond belief. Unable to speak, she poured her energy—her heart and soul—into kissing him. She felt the tremor run through his strong body and she pressed closer. This kiss was the world. She'd missed him—so much more than she'd realized and this was so much more than just a moment.
Somehow they stumbled into the backseat of the waiting limo and kept that kiss sustained the entire drive until they were alone, and even then there were no words. She knew she could say nothing. There was just this magic. He showered her with caresses, with passion, with such an intensity of touch that she almost couldn't endure it. Yet she needed it so much, adored it beyond everything. This connection was everything she'd ached for.
Jaxon fought the urge to shift despite his twitching muscles. Fiorella was curled close against him and he didn't want to wake her. He'd waited forever for her return—for her kiss, her touch, her taste. And he'd had it. He'd drowned in her generous hold, losing all sense of time and reason. And now he knew, it still wasn't enough. Horror, a cold sweat, swept over him as he realized it was never going to be enough. There was a hunger within him—for her—that he couldn't seem to assuage or satisfy no matter how many times he held her close and claimed her. But worse, was that it wasn't just sex. His hunger was for her laughter, her voice, her light.
The total havoc she brought to his calm—the containment he managed in his life—was impossible to reconcile. He had too many projects to add someone seriously into the mix. He had too much else to do. It wouldn't be fair on her.
Hours later he was still awake and it was finally time to move. He gently slipped free and turned to nudge her from a safe distance. 'You slept in, you're going to be late to class.'
She rolled over with a sleepy groan. 'I think I might just stay here.'
'I don't want to distract you from your study, it's too important.'
'Are you trying to push me out my own door before I'm even dressed?' Her beautiful deep brown eyes opened and she suddenly sat up, a frown flickering as she watched him haul on his jeans. 'I need to go, Fiorella. I can't stay in Boston.'
Fiorella's heart stuttered as she slid out of bed and threw a T-shirt on. 'So you're going—'
She felt like the floor had been cut away from beneath her feet because she heard the finality in that tone. 'Do you plan to return anytime soon?'
His gaze slid from hers.
'After last night?' She couldn't believe him. 'After…'
His jaw tightened.
'You know that was special, Jaxon.' She refused to believe he hadn't felt that total, powerful connection the way she had.
'What I know is that I shouldn't have stayed.' He shook his head. 'I shouldn't have come to the airport.'
'Because we shouldn't have loved each other the way we did last night?'
His breath hissed between his teeth in a harsh sigh.
'Nothing to say?' She paused. 'Nothing to ask?' The strangest courage fired along her veins. 'You won't try? You won't ask the most important question? You're too scared to hear the truth,' she realized slowly. 'Because if you don't ask, you don't get rejected.'
He lifted his hand as if to stop her. 'Fiorella—'
'You don't believe that someone could care about you?' she asked.
'You don't,' he said grimly.
'Don't,' she said. 'Don't try to minimize my feelings into little more than hormones.'
'I'm not minimizing. Trust me, Fiorella, I know how powerful those damned hormones can be. But maybe you've latched on to me because I've paid you attention, or I'm the first person who doesn't give a damn that you're a princess…' His gaze narrowed. 'And you've known right from the start that this wasn't ever going to last.'
'Only because that's what you decided. You won't give us a chance. You won't give me a chance.' And that hurt. Why didn't he want to? Why, when it felt so right? Wasn't it too huge for him to ignore too? 'You haven't asked the most important question,' she muttered.
'Why? The most important question is always why. You're too scared to ask it—to ask me or anyone who might want to get close to you…you don't ask why.'
'Fine.' He folded his arms across his chest. 'Why?'
'Why do I want to be with you?' She finished the question for him. 'Because I'm in love with you.'
'That's what you can't believe, isn't it?' she whispered, her throat clogging. 'That anyone could love you. That's why you have to control everything. You know you could have just asked me, that day at the pool. I would've said yes to going with you if you'd explained about Henry, you didn't need to hold the locket over me like a ransom. And you don't need to surprise me with secret plans in case I say no. You could trust enough to just ask. I'd say yes to you.'
He paled. 'I'll never be your Prince Charming, Fiorella.'
'News flash, Jaxon, I don't need a prince, I'm already a princess. What I need is a man strong enough, brave enough and loving enough to handle that.' She blinked rapidly. 'To handle me.'
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