He stood over her, naked and glorious. ‘I need you, Eloise,’ he said, his voice grave and thick with passion.

* * *

She nodded, but it wasn’t enough. Odir needed to hear her say it too. The extent of that need scared him, but now was not a time for fear.

He spread her beautiful legs, opening her to him.

‘Say it.’

He saw her struggle to find the words and something primal rose within him. Primal and demanding.

‘Say it.’

He watched as the look in her eyes transformed into something fierce—a recognition of what he needed and what she so desperately wanted. She was utterly glorious, naked and perfect. Her breasts rose in time with her short breaths and Odir knew that he was standing on a precipice—that it was more than desire burning between them.

‘I need you too.’

He sank into her warm, wet heat, pressing as far as he could possibly reach, and there—up to the hilt—he finally found what he had been looking for.

But somehow it still wasn’t enough.

She was wrapped around his length, and he felt sensation upon sensation as she raised her hips to take him even further. His curses littered the air about them as he lifted her leg from the bed and placed it over his shoulder, finding an even deeper purchase. Her impassioned gasp teased him, and he silently promised them both that he would make this marriage more. More than it had been.

He withdrew so slowly, so exquisitely, and despite his intention of driving her wild with need he nearly came. He withdrew completely and then returned to her, so deeply inside her that he felt entwined with her—more than him and more than her, something new and bigger than each of them alone.

* * *

How could one person feel all these things? Eloise wondered.

The need within her was rising to an unfamiliar height as again he withdrew from her, but this time she wasn’t going to let him have his way. She reached behind him and drew him back into her. But the illusion of power was simply that—an illusion. He had let her have control and she thanked him for it. She pulled him against her, pressing him deeper within her, and smiled when he accused her of trying to kill him.

Her husband had given her the freedom to vent her wildest fantasies, and whilst she might not have experience her body knew what it desired, what it needed. He must have read it in her expression, seen it in her eyes, because right there, buried deep within her, he gathered her in his arms and rolled onto his back.

Eloise shifted her legs, her knees either side of his thighs, and almost cried out loud. Never before had she experienced this kind of completeness or felt so connected to another person.

She rocked forwards and backwards and knew from the words that exploded from Odir’s mouth that he was as close as she was to orgasm. She savoured this moment...the power that she had to give them what they both so desperately wanted. She felt powerful in all the ways she once had not.

But soon all thought was driven from her mind as cries of pleasure fell from her lips, drowned in the sound of Odir’s ragged breath, and she was launched into a world of starlight and sensation as the two of them found their completion.


August 2nd, 06.00-07.00, Farrehed Embassy

FOR A MOMENT Eloise thought it might have been the sound of the shower that had pulled her from her dreamless sleep. For a second she was confused. She looked about the room, but knew she wasn’t in Heron Tower any more. Then it came again. A pounding on the door. The kind of urgent pounding that refused to be ignored.

Odir flung the door of the bathroom back on its hinges and she could almost believe that it had left a dent in the wall.

‘What?’ he barked from the bedroom, his voice clearly travelling far enough to reach the intruder out in the hall.

Eloise shook her head, trying to dislodge the webs of sleep that had wrapped themselves around her mind. She looked at the clock and could scarcely believe that she’d been asleep for only twenty minutes. She felt as if she’d slept for a year.

She could hear hushed voices through the wall, and knew that the world was about to intrude.

And what would they find? A naked, soon-to-be queen lying in her husband’s bed! She bit back a smile that wouldn’t quit from the way that Odir had made her feel...protected, safe...loved.

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