Carrying the King's Pride

By: Jennifer Hayward

Eyes glittering, he brought his mouth down to hers, their breath mingling. “Come for me, Sofía. Now.”

His sexy command pushed her over the edge. The insistent caress of his thumb against her nerve endings strung tight with tension sent her spiraling into a white-hot release that curled her toes. A release only Nik could give her.

His mouth closed over hers as he kissed her through every mind-numbing second of it, murmuring his husky approval of her response against her lips. She shuddered and grasped his powerful biceps to ground herself as the aftershocks tore through her.

He lifted himself off her, ready to retrieve a condom. The magnificence of his virility in full arousal was heart-stopping. Indescribable. “No,” she said, curling her fingers around his arm, wanting, needing the intimacy of them together, just them, this last night. “I’m protected. You know that. Can’t it just be us?”

He hesitated, his hand midway to the bedside table drawer, then he came back to her, settling his hard body between her thighs. “Nai,” he murmured, bringing his mouth down to hers. “I want that, too.”

In bed, out of it, in the elevator to his penthouse, their lovemaking had not lacked in creativity. But tonight, he palmed her thigh and brought it around his waist in the most traditional of positions.

“So I can watch your face,” he murmured, reading her expression. “I want to see you as I take you apart, Sofía.”

The dark emotion in his eyes marked him angry. Angry that she was ending it, not he. He would ensure she thought of nothing but this in the future and she was sure, in turn, he would be right.

He notched himself into her slick opening and slid into her welcoming body. She gasped as he buried himself to the hilt, pressing an openmouthed kiss against her throat as he stayed motionless deep inside her. She felt him everywhere, stimulating every nerve ending, making her entire body feel alive.

He withdrew and took her again and again, the silky sensation of his body sliding against hers incredible, imprinting itself on her mind in a possession that claimed every last piece of her. She blinked, holding back the emotion storming through her. Nik brought his mouth to her ear telling her how sexy she was, how good she felt, refusing to take his own release until she came again with him.

When she cried out against his mouth and he stiffened and allowed himself to join her in a powerful orgasm that shook them both, she had never experienced anything so exquisitely intimate as the sensation of Nik joining his body with hers without reservation.

She collapsed on his chest, catching her breath as Nik smoothed a hand over her hair. Long moments passed, moments that felt suspended in time. She should go, she told herself when their breath evened out in the shadows of the silent room. Tonight was not the night to linger. Not when it felt as if Nik had taken all the control she’d walked in here with and decimated it.

She slid out of bed, found the beautiful champagne-colored dress, slipped it and her underwear on, then found her shoes in the salon. Nik followed her, watching her silently as he leaned against the wall in the entranceway, clad only in boxers. She slipped her shoes on, pulled the last of the pins from her hair, long since having lost its updo, and smoothed a hand over it.

“Regrets?” Nik asked as she came to stand in front of him.

“No.” She stood on tiptoe to brush a kiss against his cheek. “No regrets.”

She left before the conversation could drag on into something painful and awkward. Carlos was waiting for her downstairs, that same pleasant smile fixed on his face as had been there earlier. She slid into the back of the car, unable to summon a smile in return, and rested her head against the back of the seat as Carlos climbed in and set the car into motion.

A raw, achy feeling invaded her. She wrapped her arms around her chest to ward it off. She’d lied to Nik upstairs, perhaps to save face. Because if this was what taking risks felt like, she didn’t need them in her life. She’d rather feel empty than feel any more pain.

* * *

Fully awake and unable to sleep after Sofía left, Nik pulled on shorts and a faded Harvard T-shirt and took a glass of Prosecco into the salon.

Ending things with Sofía had been the right thing to do. She had been starting to get attached. He could see the signs; they were unmistakable for a man who’d spent his life avoiding commitment. And perhaps he’d already let it go on for too long, because hadn’t he always known Sofía was different from the rest of the sycophants he’d dated? Tough with a vulnerable underside... Content to keep their affair between the two of them because she didn’t care about the rest.

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