“I should be sorry, too. I want to be—wel , more than I am—

but it brought me to you, so…”

He kissed her temple in thanks. I wonder how you drew that piece of Hate inside you without kil ing the host. I wonder how you took Hate, but not Secrets.

“From what you told me, the host of Hate wanted me to free him. Until the pain started. Then he changed his mind. You didn’t want me to take Secrets. Maybe that has something to do with it.”


“Or maybe I wanted to hurt him, but didn’t want to hurt you.”

That makes more sense. But either way, I never want you to go through a purging again.

Frowning, she sat up, turned, and straddled his waist. “So you plan to deny us both for the rest of our lives?”

Yes. Even though the word passed from his mind to hers, his tone stil managed to drip with al kinds of irritation. He wanted her, damn it, and resisting her was nearly impossible. Practical y riding him as she was, her breasts uptilted, her nipples hard, she wasn’t making it easy on him.

She was making it hard. Very, very hard.

One of her brows arched, and a calculating gleam entered her eyes. She flattened her palms on his pectorals and leaned forward, as if she meant to push off him and stand. “I can’t believe you’re making me resort to rape, Amun.”


In the next instant, she raised her hips and impaled herself on his erection. She was already wet, and took him easily.

His lips parted on a silent moan of bliss.

Her head fel back, and her nails dug deep. “A girl wil do what a girl has to do to prove to her man that the only way to hurt her is to deny her. But then, I guess I’m not a girl. I’m borderline demon, so you should have expected this kind of behavior.”

You shouldn’t have—you need to—oh, gods… Unable to stop himself, Amun arched his back and surged the rest of the way inside her, hitting her deep, so deep. A hoarse cry left him this time, echoing around him, and in the back of his mind he expected words to start fal ing from his lips.

They didn’t. So he forced himself to return to that motionless state, panting, afraid and hopeful.

As her knees squeezed his sides, her stomach quivered from the pleasure of having him inside her. She’d never looked lovelier, he thought. Never looked more pagan, more…his.

Haidee, he gasped into her mind. I shouldn’t have thrust the rest of the way. You have to…move…off me…on me…you just have to move, damn it.

She didn’t. She remained stil , watching him.

His fingers banded around her waist, holding tight. She was so wet, so wonderful y cool inside, and she was kil ing him with every second that passed, refusing to move off him—

or on him.

Final y he sagged against the ground. He didn’t have the strength to push her away. And he damn sure didn’t have the courage to urge her on. He wouldn’t hurt her. He wouldn’t risk her.

Haidee, he said, trying again.

“Just hold on, baby,” she whispered huskily. “This little lady is gonna do al the work.”



Holy hel , she real y would kil him.

Especial y since there were no more secrets between them. Not anymore. Amun knew she could now read him as easily as he could read her, and knew why she was doing this. She had felt his fear, his determination never to touch her like this again, and even though he had felt her fear, she was wil ing to risk herself. To try this again.

But more than he wanted the exquisite pleasure he could find in her body, the utter bliss of feeling her inner wal s clamp around him, holding him close, the thril of sliding inside of her, retreating, then sliding back in, he wanted her safe.

Secrets, he gritted out. Do you know what wil happen to her if we…if I…take her again?

His demon was stil lost in her mind, soaking everything in.

Damn this! Haidee hadn’t moved since her announcement.

She merely sat there, his shaft buried deep inside her, giving him time to adjust to her plans. If he’d been a stronger man, he would have shoved her off. But he wasn’t.

He was a warrior who had final y found his woman. A warrior who wanted to possess her, body and soul. A warrior who needed to stake his claim, to warn every other man away.

“I’l go slow, al right? Just release my hips and I’l rock us both to paradise.”

No, he managed to growl into her mind. He’d grabbed her again? Yep. He had. I wil protect you. Even from myself.

“You want me to go fast, then?” she asked, ignoring the other things he’d said.

No! Gods, yes.

“Wel , what do I have to say to change your mind? I need your fire, Amun. Your heat.” As she spoke, she leaned down, shifting the slant of his erection inside her and making him groan. She braced her hands beside his head, her breasts meshing into his chest, her nipples stabbing at him, her wanton mouth poised about his. “And I think, maybe, you need my chil ?”

That slight hesitation revealed something her thoughts and tone hadn’t. Uncertainty. She was afraid she couldn’t please him sexual y. That she was too cold for him, that she would hurt him.

He couldn’t al ow her to find fault with herself. To question her power over him. Some men might not like their women knowing just how badly they were whipped, but Amun wasn’t one of them. The better she understood the depths of his feelings, the more confident she would be. He wanted her confident.

As she nipped at his lower lip, he released her hips, slid his hands under hers, beside his temples, and twined their fingers. She peered down at him, those pearl-gray eyes luminous—and confused, as if she didn’t understand what he was offering.

I’m not wearing a condom this time, either, he said.

Her pupils expanded as she realized what his comment meant. Surrender. He was giving in, giving her what she wanted. Risking her, the most important part of his life, to share this moment with her.

“Do you mind?” she asked, her radiant expression lighting her up from the inside out.

No. He imagined her pregnant with his child, as radiant as Ashlyn was with Maddox’s twins, and almost came inside her without a single thrust. Do you? His voice was choked now.

“No,” she whispered.

Then move on me, sweetheart. Let me give you fire, while I luxuriate in that ice. When she tried to rise, to ride him, he squeezed her hands, holding her in place. Just like this.

“Yes.” She used her knees as leverage and glided up his length, making both of them gasp.

Now kiss me.

On the downward slide, she pressed her mouth into his.

Immediately he opened, welcoming her tongue. Cool, wet, just the way he liked her. She tasted of his wildest fantasies and unending passion, both of which wiped his thoughts, his concerns, and left only need. He fought the urge to hammer at her, hard and fast, driving them both to the sweetest insanity.

They would go slowly this time. If, at any point, she seemed to be in pain, he would find the strength to pul from her.

Up and down she moved on him, savoring. Savoring until they were panting in each other’s mouth, silently gasping each other’s names, her nipples rasping against his chest, creating a decadent friction. His blood was heating, and that heat was seeping into her. Her blood must have been cooling because that chil seeped into him, wrapping them both in fire and ice, one sensation feeding off the other.

Too fast, he said, even though they were moving at such a leisurely, languid pace, hips rol ing together, her clitoris grinding against him, her desire providing such a tight, perfect glide. Hurting?


He licked his way to her jaw. Her ear. He nibbled on the outer shel , then dove inside. A shiver raked her spine and her lower body jerked against his. Another nibble and then he was licking down her neck.

He stopped at the wild thump of her pulse and sucked, drawing the blood higher, just under his tongue.

That earned another shiver from her.


Yes, sweetheart. Gods, he would never tire of hearing his name on her lips. Tilt your head farther to the right.

She obeyed, and he sucked at the tendon between nape and shoulder. Her movements quickened, but the thrusts became shal ow, her body riding him only part of the way.

Sweetest. Torture. Ever. She kept him in a state of unwavering desire, his skin so sensitized even the caress of air stoked him higher.

“I—I love you,” she said.

W-what? Dare he hope she’d said—

“I love you.”

Oh, sweetheart. She was everything to him. Simply everything. After her declaration, there was no holding back. No going slowly, no taking their time, playing it safe, easing their way to climax. Amun rol ed her over, releasing her hands to grip her knees and shove them as far apart as they would go. Tel me again.

“I love you.”

He pul ed nearly al the way out before slamming home.


A cry spil ed from her lips. “I love you.”

Again. In, out. In, out. Hard, fast. The heat spreading, the ice consuming. He stared into her eyes, so deep, losing himself, glad.

“I love you.” Her nails dug into his back, drawing blood. Her head thrashed from side to side.

In, out. In, out. He released one of her legs and placed it between his own, his testicles suddenly rubbing against her thigh. The new position diminished the space between her core and his hammering erection, the rounded, weeping head scraping against her clitoris with every insistent inward pounding.

Soon she was gasping, incoherent. So was he. From pleasure, no hint of pain. And if he’d thought their first time intense, he learned the error of such a mind-set. She loved him. He owned her heart, just as she owned his. They were melded by more than their bodies. They were melded in spirit, part of each other forevermore.

Relief and ecstasy poured off him, enveloped them both, and without thought he closed his teeth over that wel -

sucked tendon. Immediately she gasped, went rigid. Her back bowed, her hips lifted, forcing him as deep as he could go, her inner wal s clenching on him, milking him.