He watched her body ripple with pleasure, pleasure he’d created in her, and felt the wire snap. Only his protectiveness toward her had him remembering to shunt his energy to the water. Removing his hand from her panties to her murmured complaint, he swept her up in his arms and placed her on the bed.

It took mere seconds to pull off his jeans and underwear, another two to tug off her panties. Crumpling the damp lace in his fist, he knelt between her legs, his eyes on the delicate folds barely hidden by the soft hair at the juncture of her thighs. His mouth watered. Not giving her any warning, he dropped her panties to the bed and dipped his head to lave his tongue over her honeyed flesh.

“Vasic!” Her back lifted off the bed.

Licking one more time, he promised himself he’d return, taste her properly. Right now, he wanted only one thing. He rose up over her body to brace himself on his gauntleted arm, using the fingers of his other hand to brush back her hair. “This will likely hurt.” He didn’t like the idea, but it was a biological fact they couldn’t escape.

Ivy wrapped her legs around his hips. “Love me, let me love you.”

He gritted his teeth, guided himself to her, and began to push. She was slick and hot and so tightly stretched around him that he felt he’d rip her open. “Ivy.”

Clutching at his shoulders, she gasped, “So . . . you’re built in proportion, then.”

The unexpected words gave him the breathing room he needed. Kissing her on that sweet, soft, generous mouth, he said, “Unfortunately.”

A sensually feminine smile. “I have a feeling that won’t be the correct description once we begin to do this on a regular basis.”

That was it. Vasic stopped thinking, his only focus on being inside her and on not hurting her. The twin desires pounding within his skull, he moved as slowly as his body would permit, his Arrow training having given him superb muscle control . . . that would’ve collapsed at the first pulse of her body on his if he hadn’t been worried about causing her pain.

Uttering a near-soundless cry, Ivy held on impossibly tighter but didn’t ask him to stop.

He did so anyway. “Ivy—”

Her answer was a kiss on his biceps.

His chest feeling as if he had huge metal bellows inside him, pumping out air in great gulps, he dug the hand of his gauntleted arm into the pillow and continued the tortuous forward momentum . . . and then he was buried to the hilt in Ivy.

Tiny nails dug into his flesh, her body tense. “Give me,” she breathed out, “a few seconds.”

Sweat dripped down Vasic’s temples, his jaw painful. Locking his every muscle in place, he tried to decide if this was self-inflicted torture or pleasure. Pleasure, he groaned internally when Ivy’s body rippled on his, very definitely pleasure.

Then the woman who held him with such unhidden possessiveness, stroked his cheek. “You can move,” she whispered. “I’m getting used to you.” She lifted up her h*ps experimentally against him.

Vasic growled and took her mouth as he pulled out and stroked back in on pure instinct. He knew in the back of his mind that he was supposed to draw this out, make her orgasm before he did, but rational thought was long gone. His body exploded on the second stroke, his spine arching and the desert shimmering around them, Ivy’s arms and legs holding him close in an embrace that said he was home.

Finally, he was home.

• • •

IVY had never felt so . . . She didn’t have words for it. A silly smile on her face, she rubbed her cheek against the hot silk of Vasic’s chest, luxuriating in the feel of him against the length of her, his hand in her hair in a way that had become familiar.

“This room is full of steam.”

Ivy had noticed that, tiny beads of water condensing on her skin. But she was far more interested in other matters. Pressing a kiss to his pectoral, she wiggled up his body to look down at him. “So?”

Vasic ran his hand down her spine, back up. His face remained expressionless, but Ivy could feel his emotions with the senses she couldn’t turn off, and they made her want to cuddle close and purr like she was a cat being stroked.

“I need to practice.”

She giggled at his response, her heart about to burst with the intimacy of what had passed between them. The sex had been hot and beautiful and a little messy, and she couldn’t wait to do it again. His touch, the feel of him so hard and strong inside her, the heavy weight of him in her arms as he tried to catch his breath, she’d loved it all. “Repetition, huh?” she teased. “Could get dull.”

Silver frost eyes held hers. “Do you think you’re in danger of getting bored?”

Ivy pretended to think about it. “Hmm—” She shrieked as they suddenly found themselves in an icy environment, only to blink back into the bedroom the next split second. “I can’t believe you did that!”

“I lost control.”

“Liar.” She poked a finger at his side, delighted with him.

“No comment.”

He closed his eyes as she ran her fingers through his hair, his pleasure in the simple touch bone deep. “You going to tell me why those men came for you?” she asked, because much as she wanted to ignore the world and spend the next week na**d in bed with him, the world kept shoving itself back into their life.

“They were Ming’s men,” he told her without opening his eyes. “No emblems on their uniforms, but I recognized them.” Lifting his hand, he opened it to show her the pressure injector he must’ve ’ported in. “It’ll need to be tested to be certain, but I recognize the cobalt blue shade of the cartridge. It’s Jax; a very high dosage.”

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