He moved again, and this time she grasped his hips, trying to force him closer to her. “I need you,” she moaned, but he strained against her, determined to take this at his chosen pace. His face was contorted with barely leashed desire, though, and Anne knew he wanted this as much as she did. He was holding back because he thought it was what she needed.

But she knew better.

He must have awakened something within her, some wicked, wanton, womanly part of her soul. She had no idea how she knew what to do; she didn’t even know that she was going to do it until it happened, but her hands came to her body and she grasped her breasts, pushing them together, squeezing them, all the while watching him watching her . . .

He stared at her with desire so palpable she could feel it on her skin. “Do it again,” he said hoarsely, and she did, boosting herself like a naughty corset, until she looked huge and plump and deliciously ripe.

looked huge and plump and deliciously ripe.

“Do you like that?” she whispered, just to tease him.

He nodded, his breath coming so fast that his movements were jerky and rough. He was still trying so hard to go slowly, and Anne knew she had to send him over the edge. He couldn’t stop watching her hands on her breasts, and the pure, primitive need in his eyes made her feel like a goddess, powerful and strong.

She licked her lips and let her hands roam to her nipples, catching each rosy tip between her middle and forefingers. The sensation was amazing, almost as electric as it had been when Daniel had been suckling her there. She felt a new jolt of pleasure, sparking between her legs, and she realized with surprise that she had caused this, with her own wicked fingers. Her head loled back, and she moaned with desire.

Daniel, too, was caught on the wave of need, and he finaly thrust forward, hard and fast, until their bodies were fuly joined. “You’re going to do that again,” he growled. “Every night. And I’m going to watch you . . .” He shuddered with pleasure as he moved within her. “I’m going to watch you every night.” She smiled, reveling in her newfound power, and she wondered what else she might do that would make him so weak with desire.

“You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Right now. This moment. But that’s— that’s—” He moved again, groaning at the sensitive friction of it.

Then he planted his hands on the mattress, on either side of her head.

He was trying to hold himself still, she realized.

“That’s not what I wanted to say,” he said, each word requiring its own ragged breath.

She looked at him, into his eyes, and she felt one of his hands take hers, their fingers entwining in a lovers’ knot.

“I love you,” he said. “I love you.” And then he said it again, and again, with his mouth, with his voice. With every motion of his body, she felt it. It was overwhelming, amazing, and utterly humbling, to feel so magnificently a part of another person.

She squeezed his hand. “I love you, too,” she whispered. “You are the first man . . . The first man I’ve . . .” She didn’t know how to say it. She wanted him to know every moment of her life, every triumph and disappointment. Most of al, she wanted him to know that he was the first man she had ever trusted completely, the only man to win her heart.

He took her hand and brought it to his lips. Right then, in the midst of the most carnal, erotic coupling she could imagine, he kissed her knuckles, as gently and honorably as an ancient knight.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered.

She hadn’t realized she was.

He kissed away her tears, but as he bent over he moved again within her, restoking the turbulent fire at her core. She stroked his calves with her feet, lifting her hips in a feminine squirm, and then he was moving, and she was moving, and something was changing within her, stretching and tightening until she could not possibly bear it, and then—

“Oooooh!” She let out a little cry as the world burst around her, and she grabbed him, clutching his shoulders so hard she lifted from the bed.

“Oh, my God,” he panted. “Oh, my God, oh my—” With one final thrust he cried out, jerking forward and then finaly colapsing as he spiled himself within her.

It was done, Anne thought dreamily. It was done, and yet her life was finaly beginning.

llater that night, Daniel lay on his side, leaning on his elbow with his head propped in his hand as he idly toyed with the loose strands of Anne’s hair. She was sleeping—or at least he thought she was. If not, she was being remarkably indulgent, letting him stroke through the soft curls, marveling at the way the flickering candlelight reflected on each strand.

He hadn’t realized her hair was so long. When she had it done up, with her pins and combs and whatever else it was women used, it looked like any other hair bun. Wel, any other hair bun when worn by a woman so beautiful it made his heart stop.

But down, her hair was glorious. It spiled over her shoulders like a sable blanket, rippling into soft, luxurious waves that came to an end at the tops of her breasts.

He alowed himself a wicked little smile. He liked that her hair didn’t cover her breasts.

“What are you smiling about?” she murmured, her voice thick and lazy with sleep.

“You’re awake,” he said.

She let out a little mewl as she stretched, and he happily watched as the bedsheet slipped from her body. “Oh!” she chirped, yanking it back up.

He covered her hand with his, tugging it down. “I like you that way,” he murmured huskily.

She blushed. It was too dark for him to see the pink on her skin, but her eyes looked down for just a moment, the way they always did when she was embarrassed. And then he smiled again, because he hadn’t even realized he’d known that about her.

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