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He fills his jacket perfectly. I see the muscular arms, the perfect triangle of his wide shoulders, narrow waist, and I want it all. That mouth that seems a little bit pinker than normal due to my kisses. Those hungry eyes. That beautiful man.

He watches me come over with a stare that glimmers with love, and I feel like there’s a fist gripping my stomach because I suddenly want these people to pop away like these balloons so it’s just us. Him and me. He smiles, and I smile back, a tingle deep in my belly.

Even before we met, he’d been watching me and I didn’t know it. I had something that belonged to him—to his father—and Greyson had become a shadow I never noticed, but boy, did he notice me. He likes watching me. So I let him watch his fill as I sway my way over, and when I stop a few feet away, he lifts his hand and crooks his finger at me.

I start up again, laughing when he grabs my waist and hauls me down on his knee. “Do you realize how f**king beautiful you look tonight,” he whisper-growls into my neck, and in that dark suit, I’m Buttercup and he’s Westley who defeated the one with five fingers and now . . .we can be happy. We are happy.

He draws me closer to his chest, clearly savoring the feel of me, the scent of me. “You couldn’t be possibly any sexier, princess. Any f**king sexier. I could watch you until you wear yourself out, but I need you to have energy for what I have planned.”

His sexy voice so close to my ear ripples through my body. I start kissing his hard jaw. “When?”

“When we get back to the apartment,” he promises, his voice tight with lust.

He brushes my hair back from my face, and tingles race from the roots of my hair to my toes. He’s all I breathe and see. All I want and need. His eyes, hazel green and fiery. His mouth. Lips that look soft and firm. A jolt runs through me when he caresses his hand along the length of my bare back, and my pulse skitters at the caress as he roughly adds, “I adore you. Treasure you. Cherish you. I think I’m damn well keeping you.”

My entire body responds. I feel so cherished. His girl. Me. Me. Me. “Yes. Keep me. Love me. Ride me hard tonight, Grey. As hard as you ride your men,” I tease.

His men respect him, are in awe of him, maybe a little in fear of him too.

But I’m not afraid of him.

He may make men twice my size tremble, but not me. Okay, yes. He makes me tremble. He makes me tremble in love. In lust. But never in fear. Because I know that he’d never hurt me. In fact, he’s the only one who can truly make me feel safe.

He chuckles a low, deep sound. “You don’t rule a snake pit gently, but I’d rather use a firm but gentle hand on my princess.”

“Mm. And I hope you know in my instance, one hand won’t do. You have to use two!”

We laugh, and he nuzzles me as we do. I love how he calls me princess even when he’s no prince. But in my heart, he’s so much more. He’s my King.

♥ ♥ ♥

IT’S PAST MIDNIGHT when we reach our apartment building. Of course it was his apartment, but he asked me to move in, and now it’s mine too.

We’re crossing our building lobby, his hand laced with mine, when he presses the elevator button and then surprises me by scooping me up in his arms. “Um? I can walk?” I say.

“I know you can do many things, including driving me crazy with that very walk, but you’re going to need your energy for what we’re about to do. So sit tight and hang on.”

I grin up at him and do exactly as he asks, whispering in his ear as we ride to the top, “Nothing makes me feel as alive as you do. Smelling you, feeling you, loving you.” I kiss his thick throat and the back of his ear, glad we’re alone in the elevator so I can nip and lovingly kiss any part I can reach. “I love you,” I whisper, closing my eyes and inhaling him, rubbing my hands up the plackets of his suit. “I love you so much, I missed the smell of your skin and your hair and your shirts.”

He cups my skull and tips my head around to his. “Melanie.” My heart hurts from the way he looks at me, like I’m a living, breathing dream of his.

He takes my mouth in a long, hot kiss until we reach our floor. Then he carries me out of the elevator and into our apartment. I play with his shirt collar and whisper, “Set me down so I can take off my shoes and hang up the dress you got me.”

He drops a kiss on my mouth and sets me down, then locks the door behind us. “One minute. No more.”

I love the feel I get when we walk into this place. I’ve decorated it because the man can’t expect us to live forever in Sparta, and I’m trying to build us a home now. It was a giant step in my life, to move in with a man. A man I love. A man who’s dangerous, powerful, elusive, giving, secretive, all of the above. A man who, despite all that, I trust to protect me.

“I can barely get used to living here with you,” I confess as I admire my handiwork. The artwork over the stone chimney. The trio of live plants, some taller than others, by the window.

“And I can’t get used to the shit I need to live with in order to live with you.”

I laugh, then smile shyly as he follows me toward the bedroom area. “Don’t pretend you don’t like it because I’ve asked your opinion on it all. And I’m not done yet, you know. I want to paint the master bedroom royal blue and add some purple to our living room. And then I plan—”

“Enough, baby.”

We’ve reached the bedroom space, and he’s tugging his tie loose. Oh my . . .

Can he be any sexier, please?

Oh. My. He’s very determined tonight. Tossing his tie aside. Easing off his jacket.

“You can do anything you want with my apartment as long as I get to do anything I want with you,” he tells me in his most sexy voice.

I don’t stand a chance.

Nor do I want to.

I take off my heels—the black ones with the red sole he bought me—and I carefully set them aside. “Make me any indecent proposal you want, the answer is yes, Mr. King.”

“Right answer, princess.” Eyes twinkling, he pulls my panties out of his jacket and holds them out, then he crooks his finger with his free hand. “Come here, princess,” he finally murmurs—the command sensual. Hot.

“I am here,” I counter.

He tosses my panties onto a chair by the window. “You’re over on the other side of the bed. And I want you here.”

Oh my. Really. He wants me right where he is. He starts to unbutton his shirt and all that tan skin of his peeks out to tempt all of my fingers. I begin walking toward him, hearing him murmur—that’s right, princess—his voice a shiver down my nape as he closes the last steps—the last steps—to me. I start shaking with adrenaline as I grab the back of his head and immediately trail my lips across his hard jaw, then I whisper in his ear, “Yes.”

He groans hoarsely, running his hands up my back, holding me against his body—his impressive erection pressing into my pelvis. “You don’t even know what I’m going to ask . . .” he huskily counters.

“It’s yes, Greyson,” I whisper, looking up into his hard face. “I want to feel you. I want nothing between us. We’ve already discussed it. I’m on the pill, and you’re clean and you’re mine. So it’s yes, you perfect, sexy man. Fuck me, love me, fight with me, spoil me, just don’t leave me.”

“Melanie.”

My name is whispered like a prayer. Within seconds, he pulls open the last buttons off his shirt and tosses it aside, and he’s gloriously bare-chested and crushing me against him. He’s so hot, muscled, strong, resilient, and buzzing like a live wire in my arms.

Suddenly I’m frantic. “Greyson, get me na**d and get inside me.”

I’m rubbing his strong muscles, eagerly dropping kisses on the corner of his lips, his throat, his shoulders as I unbuckle his belt and pull it off his slacks.

Tossing it aside, I bend to lick his nipple ring, using my teeth to tug on the smooth white gold hoop. He groans and sets me down on the bed, coming down with me. His mouth settles over mine. He frames my face in his big hands, and I hold the back of his head, both of us locking each other in place so our tongues can eagerly taste. Our breathing turns erratic, but we won’t stop kissing.

He feasts on my mouth before he unlatches from me and slides his hands under my back to unzip my dress.

“Greyson, please,” I whimper, trying to pull him back to me for more kissing.

“Shhh. Wait me out a bit.” He tugs my dress down my body.

“It’s going to wrinkle!”

“Shh. I’ll fix it. I promise.” He throws it aside as though he plans to make it all right by buying me a new one, then he takes my bare legs and kisses his way up my calves, my knees, my thighs. “I want to kiss every inch of your skin, from your toe to the back of your ears, to your lovely little head.”

He covers one nipple with his mouth, trailing his tongue over the peak.

“Oh, please.” Damn the dress. Who cares? Who cares about anything but this?

He runs his tongue over my other nipple, stroking his fingers up my sides, over my ribcage.

I arch my spine.

His teeth skim my ear, tugging my earlobe.

The tips of my br**sts throb as he tweaks them between his thumb and forefinger. My blood is like a scalding fire in my veins.

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