I lay naked on the floor of our bedroom, covered by the cashmere throw that was usually tossed across the back of the sofa. The soft intermittent crackles of the fire were the first sounds I registered—other than that, all was quiet. A blissful sigh escaped me as my eyes slowly opened and I reached for my lover, but I froze when I realized he wasn’t there. A tinge of sadness crept through me as I thought about last night—had it all been a dream? Had Aiden and I really shared the night and most of the morning in the throes of passion, or had our reconnection been a cruel joke my mind had played on me?
“Good morning. I thought you were going to sleep the day away.”
There it was—the deep, provocative voice that pulled at every carnal feeling known to woman. The hours of burning intimacy hadn’t been a dream. Every kiss, every touch, every orgasm—they had all happened. I smiled and turned over to face him.
After last night, I would have thought Virginia to be off somewhere smoking a cigarette, but the soft throbs between my legs proved otherwise. I was filled with a deep longing the moment my eyes connected with Aiden’s. He lounged on the sofa in his robe, and he looked perfectly refreshed from our endless night of lovemaking.
Aiden Raine was an insanely handsome man, with a body so outrageous it would cause a nun to renounce her chastity. But there was more to Aiden than what met the eye. There was an allure that completely disarmed me—both in bed and out. He was a confident, frustrating, and often arrogant man who just so happened to be the father of my child.
I knew I was staring, but I didn’t care. It was easy to get lost in him simply because…well, because he was Aiden. He was the epitome of seduction. It was in the darkness of his eyes, the fullness of his lips, and the grace of his movement. To look at him was to eye-fuck him. It was just that simple—and it was just that complicated.
“Good morning.” My voice was raspy with sleep. “What time is it?”
“It’s almost noon,” he replied.
I bolted upright. “Oh shit. Lyric!”
“Wait,” Aiden said, motioning for me to calm down. “He’s not here.”
“Where is he?” I asked, as I pulled the throw around me, covering my breasts. “Please tell me he’s not with your crazy parents.”
Aiden laughed. I loved his rich throaty laugh—which as of late, I’d heard quite often, especially when he played with Lyric. “No. He isn’t with my crazy parents. I called Dianna, and she’s taken him for the day.”
Lyric was our nearly five-month-old son who’d become the center of our world. We doted on his every breath, gurgle, and cry. He was the very best parts of Aiden and me.
“Dianna adores him,” I said. “I’m glad our little boy has her.” Dianna had been one of Aiden’s nannies. And despite the presence of his mother in his life, Aiden had developed somewhat of a maternal bond with Dianna. I’d come to have a great deal of affection for her myself. She was like a loving grandmother to Lyric, and she loved Aiden like her own son.
“And just why did you send our child away?” I asked.
“Because I want to spend the day with you—doing grown-up things.”
I didn’t know why, but a nervous tickling traced my stomach. Aiden and I had not really done anything alone in the past few months.
He regarded my expression. “What’s wrong? Are you afraid of being alone with me?” he teased.
“I’m alone with you now. I was alone with you last night. Did I seem as though I was afraid?”
“That doesn’t count. When we do things like we did last night, everything else falls to the background,” he said, his eyes coveting me. “We become consumed with each other.”
I nearly stopped breathing as I looked into his eyes. His emerald gaze was a perfect blend of seduction and lust that heated my skin and melted my insides. I abruptly broke eye contact, and glanced around the room. “How long have you been awake?” I asked.
“For a while. I got Lyric fed and dressed, called Dianna, made breakfast, showered, came back in here, and waited on you to wake up.”
“Pretty impressive. Perhaps being a kept man really does suit you,” I said, grinning and thinking back to our very recent conversation. Aiden had joked about being a stay-at-home dad—or maybe he’d been serious at the time, but I couldn’t picture a man who’d once run one of the largest corporations in the world trading it all in just to stay home and change diapers.
“Don’t think I didn’t notice you changed the subject,” he said.
I didn’t plan on replying to that. “You didn’t watch me sleep, did you?”
He cocked his head. “And what if I did?”
“Did you?” I asked.
“It’s a possibility,” he said. “I covered you after a while.”
I pulled the throw to my chin. “What do you mean after a while?”
“Have you ever awakened next to a naked Aria Cason?” he asked.
“I can’t say that I have,” I replied.
“She’s pretty damn difficult to resist.”
“So what does one do when he wakes up next to a naked Aria Cason?”
“He just may watch the beauty of her slumber…then again, he may trail his fingertip over the curves of her body until a certain part of his anatomy becomes hungry for hers.”
“Is that what happened?” I asked.
“I’m pretty sure it did.”
My nipples tightened beneath the throw as I held his gaze.
“I wanted to wake you, but I knew you were tired, so I covered you, and let you sleep.”
“Very interesting story, but I don’t know if I like that—especially since it’s not really fair. I didn’t have the same opportunity to observe you in all of your glorious nakedness.”
“Baby, all you have to do is ask,” he said, with a cocky grin. He stood, untied his robe, and let it fall to the floor. He was naked. And very, very beautiful.
I pulled my lower lip into my mouth, and bit down, fully appreciating the view. Aiden was an Adonis—my Adonis. My gaze swept over his six-foot-three inch frame a second time, and then rested on his face. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” I asked.
His dark brown hair was tousled in that sexy, just-fucked way. He had the slightest stubble outlining his angular jawline, and the deepest emerald green eyes I’d ever seen. He paid very close attention to his body, working out routinely—easily maintaining his washboard abs and that deliciously enticing loin of Apollo I had the pleasure of worshipping with my tongue just a few short hours ago.
“What?” he asked.
Even his voice seduced every part of my being.
“You heard me.”
“I’ve told you before…don’t do that.”
“I can describe you however I want. You are beautiful.” I lowered my gaze to his manhood. “And since we’re both naked, how about we do what we did last December?”
He cracked a smile. “What? Fuck like rabbits?”
“Well that’s a given, but I was thinking more along the lines of our staying naked the entire time.”
“Ordinarily, I’d say yes, but I have plans for us, and unfortunately clothing is required. I need you showered and dressed, princess.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I’d love nothing more than keeping you locked away, naked, and thoroughly fucked.”
“I’m sure you would,” I replied, ogling the growth of his impressive package.
“And just why are your eyes glued to Kingston?”
“Because I’m still in love with him,” I replied. “I think I should tell him that.”
“Why don’t you show him instead?” he said, extending his hand.
I placed my hand in his, and was on my knees, facing the thickest and longest cock I’d ever seen.
“I’m desperately in love you, Kingston,” I purred, and lightly kissed the tip.
Aiden stroked my hair. “I know you can do better than that, princess.”
I looked up at him. “I can…but I won’t.” I stood, and pulled his face down to mine, and gave him a quick kiss. “I’ve been given instructions, so I guess I’d better hop in the shower.”
“Wait. Are you really going to leave me like this?”
I followed his gaze to his erection.
“Okay, well, how about I join you?”
“Nope,” I said, looking over my shoulder. “Since you’re not sharing the goods, why should I?”
He grinned and replied, “I’m all about sharing.”
I spun around to face him and started backing toward the bathroom. “But you’re not giving me what I want,” I said.
The salacious glint in his eyes signaled I should run. Before I’d made two steps, he caught me and grabbed my waist.
“Whatever you want—it’s yours,” he said, guiding me backward until I was trapped. “You should know that by now.” His palms rested on both sides of me. They were flush to the wall, caging me. He leaned in, and slid his tongue across my lip and then gently bit it. His hand moved over my breast, teasing my nipple, lightly touching it with the tip of his finger.
I stifled a moan. “What are you doing?”
“Just clarifying a few things.”
I relaxed my head on the wall. “Such as?”
He lowered his head to my breast, and moved his lips back and forth over the still erect bud. He then flicked his tongue over it and took it into his mouth, gently suckling.
“Mmmm,” I moaned. My body instinctively arched toward the warm, wet seduction that was his mouth.
“Are you sure I can’t convince you to make that shower for two?” he asked. His hand was between my thighs, cupping me as the pad of his thumb teased my clit.
I summoned my reserve of will-power and reached down to remove his hand. “No. Besides, you’ve already showered,” I said, and kissed his cheek. “I need to get dressed. Maybe we can play later.”
He chuckled and I smoothly ducked beneath his arm and dashed into the bathroom. I closed the door, and with nervous hands, I locked it before he could follow me inside. I shook off the remnants of the heady thing he’d pulled me into and then started the shower.
We’d had sex before last night, but those needy moments had been filled with anger and resentment. Was it hot? Hell yes. Sex with Aiden was always hot…and it made me ache for more. But last night wasn’t the result of an angry need. It was a sweet and intimate connection, one that was ridiculously intense and full of a passion that consumed every part of me.
Vivid images of last night, of our tender moments in front of the Christmas tree, flashed over and over in my mind as I stepped out of the shower. I found myself smiling at my reflection in the mirror as I wrapped the towel around me. A cascade of long black hair flowed over my skin like dark waves. I grabbed the wet locks, and tossed them over my shoulders. I looked different somehow, and I even felt different than I had just a day ago. My amber eyes appeared brighter, and a silly smile was glued to my face. What did this mean?
At twenty-eight, I was not at all the person I thought I’d be. I still wanted my career, and I felt strongly about being an independent woman. The number of my friendships remained in single digits—to be exact, I only had one—and I still over-analyzed every aspect of my life. But now, I was a single mother with a boyfriend or perhaps significant other was the best description for now. I never imagined that I’d be a mother, at all. Certainly not a happy mother who was head-over-heels with such an amazing guy. At best, I figured I would’ve climbed the corporate ladder while enjoying the single lifestyle to the fullest.
After securing my towel, I opened the bathroom door, and peeked out. When I was sure the coast was clear, I rushed into the closet, and gasped when I saw Aiden already standing inside.
“No need to sneak, Aria. I won’t touch you.”
“Good. And I wasn’t sneaking,” I said, walking toward the back of the closet.
“I’ve already selected your clothing,” he said.
“What?” I spun around, and he was opening a drawer. He pulled out a box and placed it on the long bureau.
I shook my head as I thought back to my first gift from him, and that silly schoolgirl smile again spread across my lips. “What are you up to?” I asked.
“I didn’t have a chance to celebrate your birthday with you, so this is your delayed gift.”
I squinted at him, trying to figure out what he’d planned. There was more to this than just a gift. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have sent Lyric away.
His perfect lips fell into a frown. “It’s not very polite of you to greet gifts with such suspicion.”
“You, paired with a gift that includes a box of clothes,” I said. “Usually mean trouble for me.”
He slid the box further down the counter. “Aren’t you going to at least open it?”
I grabbed my underwear from one of the drawers and then dropped my towel. When I looked up at him, my smile faded as I took in his expression. His eyes were on my stomach. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he replied, flatly.
“You looked really sad just now. Where’d you go?”
“It’s nothing,” he said. “Open your gift.”
“No.” I slid on my panties, and fastened my bra. “Not until you tell me what made you look at me like that.”
He let out a long sigh. “I was thinking about Lyric.”
“And that made you sad?”
“The thought of your pregnancy…I regret I wasn’t there to see it, to see your body change, to feel my son moving inside you.”
My heart dropped. “I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say. “I know that doesn’t really help.” I was riddled with so much guilt for having concealed my pregnancy and the birth of his son.
He stepped around the bureau, and closed the distance between us. His palm was on my cheek, tracing his thumb back and forth as his eyes held mine. “Get dressed and meet me downstairs.”
He turned away and I watched him stroll out of the closet. I knew he wanted to be at peace with what I’d done, but I doubted that would ever happen. This would be an ongoing issue between us—one that had the potential to drive us apart. We didn’t need that—we’d been through enough and it was time for us to have a chance at happiness…but would that chance ever come?
Aiden and I were still living together with plans of moving to Boston. We were becoming closer as a family, spending most of our time on outings with Lyric. In doing so, it gave us the perfect excuse for avoiding a talk that was very much necessary—a talk that would reveal everything about our time apart—but I didn’t think we were ready for that. And then, there was the letter Aiden had written, revealing the depth of his feelings, and asking me to fully commit to him. I had yet to reply—at least not in the way I knew he wanted. And his reaction just now reminded me why I shouldn’t reply…not just yet.
He wanted a total commitment. I’d attempted that before—both times I’d run away and convinced myself leaving him was for the best. I didn’t want that to happen again. I wanted to give him what he desired, but I needed time to figure out if that person was in me.
Last night had been amazing. It was our first time being intimate since Nadia, Aiden’s deeply disturbed ex, had taken Lyric. Without really planning it or talking about it, we hadn’t had sex or even come close to it, since Lyric’s safe return. We’d cuddled at night and I’d felt his erection poking me in the wee hours, but beyond that and chaste kisses, there had been nothing remotely sexual. However, during those celibate times, we’d created a bond that had somehow connected us on an even deeper level. And today, he’d planned for us to spend some time together without Lyric. I was excited, but a part of me was really nervous about falling into the routine Aiden and I had before I’d learned of my pregnancy.
I opened the gift and lifted its contents from the box—it was a black leather jumpsuit, and underneath that, were leather boots and gloves. His gifts were never simply gifts—they always tied into something, so what was he up to this time? After a few moments, I decided it really didn’t matter, so I quickly dressed, anxious to see my reflection.
I zipped the suit, pulled on the boots, went to the rear of the closet and stepped in front of the mirror. Chic. Sexy. I liked it. It reminded me of the time Aiden had said I resembled a sexy biker chick. Wait. Was that the reason we had to wear clothes? Was he taking me for a ride on his bike? The last time we’d done that, we’d had sex outside underneath a large tree and pretty much surrounded by his staff. I shook my head in disbelief as I thought back to the many things he’d talked me into.
After another onceover, I decided I needed something to stand out in the midst of all the black, so I went to the bathroom, and applied some red lipstick. Once satisfied with my appearance, I grabbed my phone and headed downstairs to see what Aiden had in store for me.
As I neared the bottom of the stairs, Aiden stepped into view and I stopped dead in my tracks. He was also wearing black leather, and holy hell was he ever hot. As if on cue, my lady part, better known as Virginia, bolted into fuck me mode. Aiden’s eyes devoured me just as mine took in every delectable part of him. And when he smiled, his charming lopsided grin stopped my heart.
He extended his hand to me. “Come.”
I resumed my descent and stepped into the waiting arms of my personal aphrodisiac.
“I knew I’d love you in this, but I had no idea I’d want to undress you so quickly. You look very edible. Do you realize that?” he asked, and then released me from his embrace.
“Then maybe you should eat,” I teased.
“Later. I promise.”
“When did you become such a party pooper?”
“Is this what I have to listen to all day? Or do you intend to eventually let me do what I’ve planned?”
I let out a sigh. “Yes, sir. I’ll be good. And thanks for the gift. It’s really sexy.”
“That it is,” he said, and reached for my zipper. He eased it down until he could see the curve of my breasts. “Perfect,” he said, and then he lowered his head and kissed each one.
“Mmmm.” I inhaled, absorbing his scent. “How is it that you smell so—”
“So what?” he asked, and kissed my cheek.
“I don’t know. It’s just…it makes me so hot for you. Are you sure we can’t stay here?”
“We have plans. I’ve told you that…several times now.” He stepped back and the excitement in his eyes was almost contagious.
“Okay, maybe we should get this surprise thing underway so I can get you back here and have my way with you.”
“Careful. I’m starting to think you’re becoming obsessed with my friend Kingston.”
“If I am, I consider him a healthy obsession. Besides, he’s very easy to get along with…doesn’t give me any of the trouble that you do.”
“Is that right?” he asked.
“Yes it is, Mr. Raine.”