Grinning, I say, "I lied, remember?"

"I thought you were just saying what I wanted to hear."

I shake my head gently. Cole watches my face, his blue eyes pinning me in place. "No, it's true. I'm a wanton woman, slightly slutty most of the time, insanely slutty around you." He smiles and presses a kiss to my neck, before his fingers go back to work on my bottom, pinching, pushing, and teasing me until I can't form a coherent sentence.

I pull at his shirt until it opens, ripping the buttons off the front. His chest is perfect. I pull him down on top of me and rub my naked bottom against his jeans, but he stops me. "Beg for it, Lamore."

Breathing hard, I say, "I thought you didn't want me to?"

Cole doesn't answer. Instead he slips off his jeans and boxers and tosses them on the floor. Cole straddles me, pushing his long, hard length against my stomach. He takes his hand and holds his length, rubbing it against me. He slips the tip of his long shaft along the outer edge of the sensitive flesh between my legs, moving it in slow circles, watching my face as he does it. When my hips buck, Cole pins me so I can't move.

Cole continues to torment me. I bite my lip to keep from begging him, loving the way he makes me feel. The teasing was so intense, so insane, that every inch of me wants to cry out his name.

Cole's voice pours over me when he speaks. "Come on, Anna. I know you want it. Beg me."

He presses himself into me a tiny bit, just enough so that I can feel how hard and sharp he is. When Cole pulls away, he continues to rub his thick shaft in slow circles, teasing me. He dips into me again, so shallowly that I can't stand it.

My body is corded so tight. I scream, begging him, "Please, Cole, please!"

"Please, what?"

"Please, fuck me! I need you! Please!" I keep screaming please as he slides inside of me. His fingers continue to work the hypersensitive nub and nipples, making me completely crazy.

He pushes in slowly and I gasp at his size, at how he fills me. Cole fits inside of me perfectly. Pulling out gently, Cole repeats the motion until we are clinging to each other, thrusting as hard and as fast as we can. I'm so high from lust, sex, and Cole that I don't think I'll ever come down. Every part of my body is soaring higher and higher, as he brings me closer and closer to climaxing. Cole pushes into me one last time and I shatter. Clawing his back, I scream his name and writhe against him. Cole pounds into me as I come, shattering with me, loving me completely and totally, until we are both spent. He falls breathless on top of me, his body covered in sweat, and then rolls to the side.

I blink slowly at him, like this is a dream. He's watching me with those beautiful blue eyes. "I love you, Anna Lamore."

I smile sleepily back and snuggle into his chest. "I love you, too."

Chapter 13

I wake the next morning in Cole's arms. His naked body is pressed to mine. I smile and slip out of bed and pad down the hall. The scent of coffee is too appealing to resist. I emerge in the kitchen wearing my old robe. Emma is at the sink and Edward is on the other side of the counter. I feel funny seeing him, but I guess I have to get used to it. He's Em's brother. He was around before we were a thing, and he'll be around after. Besides, nothing could shake this afterglow I'm rocking.

Emma hands me a cup. Her lips are curved into a devilish grin, "So, you going to tell me how you started the night with one guy and ended it screaming for a different one to fuck your brains out?"

My cheeks burn as I blush. I punch her in the arm and don't look at Edward. "Emma!" I hiss. Sheepishly, I look up at her and realize that she heard me last night. Mortified, I bury my face in my hands.

Emma shoos Edward out and the front door closes before she winks and says, "That's the way sex is supposed to be - all fireworks and begging for more."

I sip my coffee, still too shy to talk. As I wake up, the things we did last night come back to me. My cheeks are going to be stained red for the rest of my life. As if he knew I thought of him, Cole appears behind me and kisses my cheek. "Good morning, lover."

Emma watches us with an amazed expression on her face.

"What?" I ask, after laughing a girlish giggle when Cole pinches my ass. I watch him walk to the coffee pot, thinking of all the things he did to me and wondering when he can do them again.

Em shakes her head, "Nothing. It's just that I didn't see it before. You two whack-jobs are perfect for each other. Who woulda thought?" She leans her chin on her hand and stares at us like we're zoo creatures drinking coffee in her kitchen.

I swat her. "Stop it. It's not that strange."

"He's twice your age, and everything you hate. Of course it's strange. And it's wonderful, because I've never seen you so happy before. I expected you to tell me that you regretted last night, not this."

I smile and snuggle into Cole's strong arms. His chest is bare, but he has his jeans on. He looks at Anna and says, "You're the one who told her to sleep with the boy?" Cole doesn't say Jesse's name.

"Yes, and it was a good plan to get her over you." Em shrugs, "although it looks like your plan to show up and sweep her off her feet worked better." She takes a swig of coffee and puts the mug in the sink, and heads toward the shower.

When the water turns on in the bathroom, Cole pins me against the counter, holding me in place with his hips. He's dying to talk to me about last night. "Did I hurt you?"

"No," I answer, shaking my head, looking into his bottomless blue eyes. I lower my voice to a whisper, "I liked it. I think I may be a little bit of a nympho."

He grins, "That's my girl."

I spend the next hour with Cole. We talk about me and my studio, although I never get around to the fact that I quit grad school and walked away from my diploma. I don't want him to think it was because of him. I want to find the right way to tell him at the right time. We are sitting at the table and he's leaning back, one arm over the back of his chair, grinning at me. I love that smile.

"Come to my place later." He's not nervous at all. He says it like a command, like he can snap his fingers and I'll just show up. Honestly, after last night that's all it would take.

Leaning forward, I bat my eyelashes at him, "Sounds good to me." Then I straighten up in my chair as a question forms in my mind. "You still have your city apartment?"

He nods. All the witty banter deflates and is gone. "Yeah, my lawyer is trying to hold onto the studio and my home. She seems to think it's worth fighting for."

"But, you don't think it's worth fighting for?" I ask. This doesn't make sense. He worked his whole life to achieve this and for some reason he seems like he's letting Sophia win without a fight.

"It's not that easy." He leans forward. His bare chest was distracting me before, but now I can't tear my gaze from his eyes. They look haunted.

"Try me."

Cole's eyes flick up to meet mine. His lips remain pressed together, and then he decides. I see it flash across his face and his body relaxes a little bit. "If I engage Sottero in a lawsuit, it invokes my family's right to repeal use of my name." He takes a deep breath and says, "Basically, if I fight Sottero, I could lose the right to my last name."

I blink rapidly. This doesn't make sense. "I don't understand. You're basically rolling over and letting Sophia screw you so that you can keep the last name of people you can't stand? Am I missing something?"

Cole looks torn. His eyes shift from side to side and he won't look at me. His brows come together forming worry lines between his eyes. Finally, he says, "It's the only thing I have, the only thing they gave me. Cutting off my name is like losing an arm. I could do it, but it's not the kind of thing I'd volunteer for."

"So, what then, you let Sottero take everything you have so you can keep your name? Then what?"

He looks at his hands on the table. His gaze lifts to meet mine, "Then I start over. I did it before. I can do it again."

For some reason this is making me irate. He won't fight back. "You can, but you don't have to. I love you Cole, and so take this with that in mind, but why do you want to keep the last name of the man who disowned you? What's the point? It's a name. It's not who you are." His spine straightens and I know I've landed on what's holding him back. "Cole, you've forged your own path. You're not one of them. Let the name go."

"I can't. It's my past. It reminds me of who I am, what I came from, and where I'm going. I can't do it. I can't risk losing my name." Anger fills his voice. I don't know if he's trying to convince me or him.

I smile sadly at him and put my hands on top of his. "Whatever you do, I'll support you, but consider this. If things go well for us, if marriage ever becomes a path we want to go down, I would take your name without a second thought, but I'd still be Anna Lamore. I'll always been me, even when the name is gone." I smile sadly at him, wishing he could understand. "That name may have defined the first part of your life, but it doesn't have to define the second. You are who you chose to be. No piece of paper, no grouping of letters, gets to decide that part. That part is up to you."

Cole stares straight ahead and I wonder if I've said too much, if I've crossed a line, but then he reaches for my hand and pulls me around the table to sit in his lap. I'm wearing my bathrobe and he's wearing jeans. I snuggle into his chest as his hand presses my head to his shoulder. He breathes deeply and says, "Sometimes it's scary how articulate you can be. It's like you saw my past, like you were there or something."

I decide to tell him, "Remember how I told you that this stuff kinda did happen to my family?" He nods. "It happened to my mother. My Grandmother didn't like my Dad. She didn't think he was good enough. Ma ran off with him. She lost her inheritance and her name. And you know what's funny? I never once felt sorry for Ma. Yeah, we were broke, but some things are worth more than money, ya know? And when you find them, you hold onto them no matter the cost."

Cole's silently presses a kiss to my temple. "I'm glad I have you."

"You'll always have me."

Chapter 14

We stay like that for a little bit. Cole has to take care of some things with his lawyer this afternoon, in preparation for the court case later this week. Before he leaves, Cole smiles at me and leans close, whispering something naughty in my ear. When he pulls back he sees my face turn bright red as I smile sheepishly.

God, I love him.

Cole leaves for his apartment after that and I have the place to myself for a few hours. I spend the day getting girlied up for later tonight. After painting my nails, I lay in a hot tub filled with bubbles, relaxing and feeling happy. Memories of last night play through my mind and I let them. The way Cole's hands felt on me, the way his eyes seared my skin, everything Cole did was exactly what I wanted. I've never had a sex dream that made me that excited. Having it happen in real life was insanely awesome. I nearly giggle thinking about what will happen later tonight.

I hope there will be more watching and teasing. And, maybe, Cole won't mind if things get a little kinky.

I smile to myself and close my eyes, leaning my head back against tub. I've never been this happy, like ever. I don't believe in fate, but that's what it seems like. Cole and I are meant to be together. Nothing can keep us apart. It scares and astounds me how much I love him. I decide that's a good thing. I relax, flicking my toes and popping bubbles occasionally, when I hear a noise. My forehead creases as I sit up a little bit and listen harder. The water dripping off my body muffles it so that I can't hear much. It's not a loud noise, so I don't know why it concerns me. It's the kind of sound a cat makes when it jumps off a couch and onto the floor. We don't have a cat though, and all the windows are shut. For a second, I think a squirrel or something got inside, but I should hear nails scraping on the floor and scampering little feet. Turning, I dangle my arms over the edge of the tub and listen. I sit so still that the only thing I can hear is my heartbeat. Maybe it's not an animal.