He reached between them.

Suddenly she shimmied lower.


And lower still.

"Oh no, woman."

She pushed his hands away and ducked under the sheet.

"What do you think you're doing?" But he knew, oh, how he knew.

"Undercover work, secret agent man." She disappeared beneath the dark sheet and Bryce growled and arched as her mouth closed over him. He felt every touch, every inch of her against him, every stroke of her tongue and his body shuddered violently, until he thought he'd split in half.

He slammed his eyes shut as she took him deeper and experienced the heady rush of passion coming at him from all sides. He couldn't stand it and he grabbed her, rolling her onto her stomach.


He loved the disappointment in her voice.

"You little witch," he growled in her ear. "How much more did you think I could take?"

"More, much more," she said in a soft laugh, the sound cut off when he slid his hand under her belly and between her thighs.

She shuddered and gasped as a biting hot tingling pelted her skin, simmered in her veins. Her body tightened, muscles flexing and clawing and he chuckled darkly, teasing her more.

He leaned over her, whispering how beautiful she was, that he adored this untamed side she hid from everyone but him. That he could feel her pulsing around him.

Her motions grew stronger and Bryce responded to her, pushing, pushing.

"Bryce, oh please, oh please."

"Take me with you," he growled and shoved. Their climax was wild, fierce, sensation splitting through them, only to drag them back together. He clutched her, riding the waves of primal passion, their bodies answering each other in savage pleasure.

She gasped for air, closing her hands over his and holding on as the sensations ebbed and receded.

"Ci-a-ra," he said drawing out her name.

"Hold me, hold me," she said and swallowed her tears, no longer wondering how he could affect her so deeply.

"I will, darlin', I will," he said, wrapping her in the cocoon of his arms.

Ciara sighed tiredly, swallowing her tears and not willing to admit what they meant. Her gaze moved over the elegant furnishings and opulent décor of the master suite. Above them lay a canopy draped in dark green brocade, the heavy curtains making the large bed an island in a creamy cloud of walls and carpet. Moonlight spilled into the suite from a bank of windows and French doors leading to the private balcony. She didn't want to move to view the rest of the room, too content to remain tucked in the curve of his body. Yet all of it forced her to see that Bryce had centuries of roots, stability and a family name to uphold.

She had no ties, no bonds.

She'd cut them years ago and though she didn't regret anything she'd done for her job, hovering over her head was that carefully worded sentence that would cost her a child she loved and the man who held her heart. She snuggled deeper into his embrace, hoping she was wrong, hoping he would safeguard her heart, and protect a woman whose job was to protect the world.

* * *

Chapter 9

A little kernel of panic filled Bryce when he stepped out of his bathroom and found no trace of Ciara in his bedroom—except for her clothes strewn with his across the floor. Tying his robe, he went to find her. His daughter's crib was empty and he went downstairs. At the foot of the steps, he instantly caught the sound of Ciara's voice and the scent of frying bacon. He came around the corner to the kitchen and stopped.

She was at the stove, cooking eggs, and wearing sneakers, a tight pair of navy blue bike shorts, and a gray stretch tank top. Not a curve was concealed. Lucky him.

She glanced at the time. "As soon as your daddy comes down we'll be off," Ciara said to Carolina.

"Off where?"

She spun around, the spatula raised as if she were going to use it as a weapon. "Sweet heaven don't creep up on me like that!"

"I didn't creep. Did I, princess?" he said to Carolina.

The baby cooed, her mouth full of scrambled eggs. Ciara moved the pan off the burner. "Oh, you're her father, she'll side with you," she said defensively.

Chuckling, he walked over to the baby and bent to give her a quick kiss, then looked at Ciara. "You aren't going out like that, are you?"

Ciara looked down at her clothes. "What's wrong with this?"

"It's revealing as hell."


His lips curved in one of those heart-stopping smiles. "That's not what you said last night."

"That was last night," she said and he tensed, waiting for the doors to slam close. For her to go cool as ice and shut him out.

She didn't, his heart picking up pace as she walked over to him, and tugged open his robe before sliding her arms inside.

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