I’m about to go down on my knee and make good on that promise to lick Harper to orgasm when she suddenly rejects that idea and me. “No,” she whispers, flattening her hands on my chest. “No. This is a mistake. I need to leave.”
She tries to pull away but I catch her waist and pull her to me. “What just happened?”
“I don’t do this kind of thing, ever. I don’t know why I’m half naked with you right now.”
“This is why,” I say, cupping her head and kissing her, my tongue stroking deep and long, the tension in her body easing almost instantly, a tiny moan sliding from her mouth. “That’s why,” I repeat, when she’s all soft and yielding in my arms. “Because you want me and I want you.”
“You want something,” she accuses as if she’s decided I have an agenda I don’t have.
“I want you or I’d be gone already,” I say, pulling back to let her see the truth in my face. “You’re the only reason I’m not driving away right now.”
“Because I fit your agenda?”
“My only agenda right now is you on my tongue.” I kiss her again. “And what does me between your legs do for me besides turn us both on?”
“I won’t be a weapon against them or you.”
“I’m fighting a war. I don’t need a weapon. Don’t make this complicated. Don’t make me complicated. I’m here, I’m gone. I want to fuck you before I leave. You want to fuck me, too, and right now, I’m going to kiss you again unless you—”
“Stop talking,” she orders fiercely. “Stop and give me time to think. Stop—”
My mouth slants over hers, and the instant my tongue touches hers, she moans and kisses me back, a wild hungry kiss, my hand on her breast, her nipple.
She moans, and God, I love this woman’s moans. My cock throbs against my zipper and I need her on my tongue and everywhere I can get her. I lower myself to one knee, my hands on her hips, slipping her panties off. As I look up at her, there’s a hint of trepidation in her eyes that I don’t want to exist, and I know comes from family, that war that she wrongly believes I’m fighting.
“I’m going to make you forget about everything but fucking,” I promise, my lips pressing to her belly, my tongue flicking against the soft skin there. She trembles in response, and fuck, I’m so damn hard that it hurts.
Her hand goes to my shoulder and I caress her hip and cup her ass. My gaze lifts and her teeth scrape her bottom lip. My teeth go to her hip, where I nip, and then soothe the tiny bite with my tongue. Her lips part and I slide two fingers inside her. She arches her hips and makes a barely there, but fucking sexy as hell, sound. And when I lick her clit, she pants out another little sound that drives me out of my mind.
I rotate her and sit her down on the bed, my hands settling on her knees, my lips finding her inner thigh while my hand works a path up the opposite leg, but I’m done waiting. I slip my shoulders between her legs and my mouth closes down on her sex. When she moans, I pull her forward and force her to her back, lifting her legs to my shoulders, while I start licking and suckling, hungry for more of this woman, and yes, she’s right. We’re wrong. We’re so fucking wrong that we are right in every possible way. That I can sense she isn’t one of them is everything. Every fucking thing, and I slide two fingers inside her again, reveling in the way she arches her hips, lifting into the thrust of my fingers. I lick her everywhere, the taste of her shifting from salty to sweet when she suddenly quakes into orgasm, her body spasming around my fingers. It’s then that I realize I don’t have a condom.
I use my fingers and mouth to stroke her to completion, and when she’s done, really done, I slide up her body to kiss her, and damn it, the taste of her on both our lips about undoes me. “I don’t have a condom,” I whisper.
“Oh god,” she whispers. “Please tell me no.”
“I wish I could,” I say kissing her and rolling us to our sides. “No sex.”
“I owe you then,” she says, her hand on my chest when I want it on my cock. I want it all over my body, but I don’t move. I don’t touch her. “You owe me nothing.”
“I do,” she says, “because that was—I um, don’t even have words for what that was.”
“You don’t owe me,” I repeat. “I’m not them.”
She glances down. “Well then,” she says, pulling back to look at me. “If I don’t owe you, you owe me. I want to taste you coming on my tongue.” Her hand slides down my tattoo sleeve. “Because just looking at your ink has me needing more.” Suddenly her hand is just where I want it, on my cock, and I’m too busy reveling in how damn good it feels to care when she shoves me to my back and crawls on top of me. Especially since she’s naked and gorgeous, and I now have a perfect view of her breasts.
“What are you doing, Harper?” I ask. “We don’t have a condom.”
She moves to the side of me, her knees at my hip as she runs her hand over my zipper, stroking the hard length of my now throbbing cock. “But we have my mouth.” She leans in and kisses my stomach the way I’d kissed hers.
I don’t even consider resisting where this is going. Her mouth, my cock. Yes-fucking-please. Now. I want her too damn badly to say no and already my hand is on her head, her mouth kissing me through my pants, and there’s no real preamble before she has my cock out of my pants and in her hand, but instead of sucking me, she shoves at my pants; as if they’re a distraction we can’t afford. I’m all about getting rid of the distractions. I sit up, kiss her, and then stand.
I’m fully undressed in thirty seconds, facing her with my cock thick and jutted out, the heat of her eyes on my body, on my erection, driving my urgency. I settle on a knee in front of her, at the same moment she rises to her knees to meet me there. Those beautiful full lips of hers part and lift, and I can’t resist another taste. I kiss her, a deep slide of tongue, the taste of her so damn sweet that I want to get lost in her. I take us down to the mattress, side by side and fuck, I know we don’t have a condom, but I just want to feel the wet heat of her body pressed against me for a moment.
I press into the V of her body and deepen the kiss, my hands all over her body, her body molded close, both of us desperate in a way I don’t ever remember being desperate. I reach between us and stroke my cock along her sex. “Eric,” she whispers, her fingers curling on my chest. “We don’t have a condom.”
“I know that. I just want to feel you for one moment. Just one.” I press inside her, sinking deep but I don’t let myself move. “Holy fuck,” I murmur, and I know I have to stop now but I slide back and thrust once more.
She gasps. “We have to stop,” she whispers urgently but then we’re kissing, and it’s so damn good, too good. I’m going to fucking come if I don’t stop now.
I pull out and we both pant with the impact. “Holy hell, woman,” I say rolling to my back in pain with just how close I was to coming inside her, all that wet, tight heat enveloping me.
Harper rolls to my side, her soft, perfect curves pressed to my side, and she leans in and kisses me. “I really wish you were still inside me,” she whispers against my lips, her voice so damn sweet and sexy, her hand sliding down my chest and over my stomach to grip my cock. “What do you need right now?” she asks.
“To be fucking you,” I say. “In about ten different ways our lack of a condom says I can’t.”
“We can still do this,” she says. “I can still do this.” She doesn’t use words to explain what “this” is. She slides down my body, her hand still wrapped around my shaft, as she settles on her knees beside me. Her eyes meeting mine, her tongue licking away the liquid pooling at the tip of my shaft, which I’m pretty sure is more than simple arousal. I don’t even want to think about how close I was to coming inside her. She takes care of that mental rabbit hole though. She closes her mouth around me, sucking me long and deep, her tongue sliding around me as she does, and I tell myself to stop, I tell myself that I was so close to coming inside her, that it won’t take much for me to come in her mouth. I try to stop. I try damn hard to pull her back. “Stop, Harper, or I’m going to—”
She sucks me deeper and it’s all over. I can’t hold back. I thrust into her mouth and I’m done. One more thrust and I’m shuddering with release and I can’t pull back. She sucks me deeper, longer, and then slower until she’s taken me all the fucking way. God, I think I’m in love with this woman, which of course, isn’t possible. I don’t do love, but if I did, I’d already be halfway there with all her vulnerable sexiness.
When she releases me and kisses my stomach, I drag her to me, kissing her and rolling her to her back. “I really hate that I don’t have a condom.”
“I don’t,” she says. “It means you’re not a manwhore who’s always prepared to fuck anyone, but I know it’s just this. You’re leaving. You don’t want this. I feel that.”
“I want you,” I say, shocked at how completely I mean those words.
“I don’t mean me. I mean this place.”
“Why do you want this place?” I ask. “What makes you need this?”
“What made you need it?” she counters, avoiding a direct answer.
“Family. I needed the connection.”
“No,” I say easily, the answer that wasn’t clear when I arrived is clear now. “Not now.”
“I wish I didn’t need this.” She rolls off of me and onto her back. “Why do you call me princess?”
I glance over at her. “You’re the heir to a business that Kingston absorbed. You’re royal blood in these parts, just not the right royal blood.”
“I can’t accept that. I can’t just let my father’s work be absorbed and forgotten. My mother—she made a mistake. My father worked too hard to have everything he created be forgotten with this merger.”
I roll over and settle on top of her, my elbow by her head. “It’s done. It’s too late and Isaac will always be number one. You know that, right?”
“I don’t accept that. Not at all. Isaac—he’s the bastard. And worthless. He’s about him, not about the company, not about the legacy or the future or—anything that matters.”
“He’s the heir, the first blood, the golden child.”
“I want you to be wrong.”
I search her eyes and find the truth. “But you know I’m not,” I say.
“Then why are you here? If you really believe that, if you believe we can’t make a difference, why are you here?”
She hits a nerve and I roll to my back. “I needed to know I wasn’t wrong.”
“About your father?”
“About me,” I say and I can feel her looking at me but I don’t look at her.
“What does that mean?” she asks.
“I needed to know that I knew who I was, who I am.”
“Which is who?” she presses.
“The bastard.” Now I look at her, now I let her see the real me in my eyes. I let her see who she just half fucked. “I’m him. I will always be him.”
“I have much I could say about that,” she comments, more thoughtfully than anything.
“I’m listening,” I say, certain this is going to be the moment she convinces me we’re of two different worlds, when right here, in this bed, we feel like we’re of one. I want her to convince me. I want her to give me every reason to get the hell out of this place, her included.
“You’re different than anyone I’ve ever met,” she says, running her hand down my ink and tracing one of the many rows of numbers on my forearm.
Her eyes shift from my ink to my face. “You’re brave. It takes someone brave to be different and embrace it. I like that you’re the bastard but not for the reasons you might think.”
I’m remarkably on edge waiting for her to continue but she doesn’t make me wait long. She seems to know where she’s going and gets there quickly. “Because you embrace it. Because you don’t do what they expect. Because you do you, and most of us don’t even know what that means.”
“Definitely me, but maybe I’ll get there. I’m trying. I don’t know why I just told you that. I shouldn’t have told you that.”
I reach up and twine strands of her silky hair in my fingers. “Why?”
Her cellphone rings, a muffled sound in the distance that has her eyes going wide. “Oh God,” she whispers, jerking away from my hand to sit up. “Oh God. I’m giving a speech. I’m late.” She scrambles off the bed and rushes to locate her clothes, dashing for the living room to dress.
I follow her and stand up. By the time I put my pants on and locate her by the door, she’s fully dressed. “I have to go,” she says, and I’m stunned at how much I don’t want her to leave.
I grab her and pull her to me, kissing the hell out of her before I release her and open the door because if I don’t let her go now, I won’t. But she doesn’t go. She seems to forget her speech, frozen in place, right here in the cottage with me. Those gorgeous blue eyes of hers fixed on me, and I want to know what she’s thinking, what she wants, because I want her. Time stretches for several more beats before she closes the space between us and kisses me. “I’ve changed my mind,” she confesses. “I really do hate that we didn’t have that condom.” With that, she rushes out of the door. I let her go, but fuck, I can’t walk away. I can’t really let her go. She’s why I’m still here. She’s why I’m not leaving. I’m not leaving.
I get dressed again, the scent of her, all sweet and feminine, on my skin, drugging me the way she seems to drug me. I need to see her again. I need to be inside that woman, and not just her body. I want to know why she feels insecure, and she does. I want to know why she’s here when she could be so many other places, like with me. It’s a crazy, out-of-character thought that I shove aside.
Nevertheless, I pursue her, walking down the path and find the party again. The crowd is still thick, the clusters of tuxedos and gowns gathered around a stage at the end of the pool, and there she is, Harper is on the stage. She’s standing next to my father and my asshole of a brother, with her look-a-like mother, who’s fifteen years my father’s junior, standing next to her. She takes the microphone and starts speaking about the business and the family and damn it, my father kisses her cheek and I know I’m wrong about her. She’s one of them. She’s not a reason to stay. What the hell was I even thinking?
I turn away and walk down the path to the cottage, pack my bag, and with her still on my tongue, I leave.
Forever this time.