I wasn’t a quitter, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to quit on a man who I was pretty sure had been let down by everyone else in his life.
“Furthermore,” I drawled in my teacher tone, ignoring his words, “during dinner, we’ll perform the taxing task of small talk.”
I could swear my husband actually paled. He looked like he was going to gag. I continued, undeterred.
“You’ll tell me about your day, and I’ll do the same. Then, and only then, will we make love.”
His eyes nearly popped out of their sockets at the mention of the L-word.
“The answer is no.”
“Fine. Let’s go through the whole routine where I refuse you a few weeks in a row, and you march back to your bed unsatisfied, then go to the office, see Hunter waving around 3D ultrasound pictures of his future child, then do it my way.” I smiled sunnily. He opened his mouth, about to say something snarky, but he knew I was right.
He needed an heir.
I needed more time to prove to him we could be more.
“Careful, Flower Girl.” He wrapped his cold, strong fingers around my jaw, drawing me close to his lips with a snarl. “Run with scissors and you’ll get hurt.”
“I’ve been cut deep before.”
“Whatever you’re trying to do won’t work.”
“Humor me, then.”
“Humor me first.” He tugged at my leg, one hand still on my neck, and hoisted me into his lap. I straddled him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. My core landed straight on his erection, and when I looked down, I saw it nestled on the side of his leg. Swollen, hard, almost too much to handle.
His fingers trailed the delicate spots on my throat.
“I can give you anything your heart desires, Persephone. Jewelry, lavish vacations, every Hermès bag ever produced.” He brushed a lock of hair from my cheek, his voice so menacing it almost sounded demonic. “But I can’t give you love. Do not ask me for something I am incapable of delivering.”
I pressed my cheek to his palm, kissing it softly, refusing to let his words sink in.
“My heart is a terrible place. Nothing ever grows there.”
“Stop.” I shut him up with a kiss.
Maybe it was because he’d moved me here, into his kingdom. Dragged me to the underworld. Because he wanted to prove to himself that my being here meant nothing.
“Ever step on artificial grass, Flower Girl?” he murmured into my lips.
“Yes,” I growled, kissing him deeper.
“It’s shinier than regular grass but feels awful.”
You don’t feel awful to me.
His lips demanded my surrender. I yielded, riding his muscled thigh, all concerns for my still-sore butt flying out the window. He broke the kiss, his forehead dropping to mine.
“I’m going to ruin every good thing about you.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
I produced what I’d found earlier that evening on my treasure hunt in his room. I’d rummaged through his drawers, using every piece of information I could find to piece together the puzzle of who he was. My husband left much to be desired. He kept his room blank and impersonal.
Having seen his closet, I’d had no doubt Cillian was incapable of anything but an arranged marriage. His clothes were organized not only by season, but also by color, brand, and cut. He wasn’t exactly a fan of surprises.
Kill’s eyes narrowed at the white ribbon I pulled out of my bra. It nestled between my breasts while I was asleep.
“Where did you find this?”
“Your cigar box.”
“You were going through my things.”
“Your talent at deduction is staggering.” I curved an eyebrow, willing my heart to stop somersaulting like a reckless kid in the sun. “You took my things out of my apartment without consulting me. Consider it me getting even. Why did you keep the fastening band?”
“Please.” I snorted. “You’re not the sentimental type.”
He pushed off the bed, seizing the ribbon from between my fingers.
“Good point. It’s not too late to throw it out.”
He galloped to the bathroom, presumably to the trash can.
“Shame. You were so good at tying us with it,” I purred from his bed.
He stopped midway, turning around, staring at me in annoyance.
At that moment, all my energy was channeled into not having an orgasm based on that exchange alone. It was fitting that Cillian couldn’t feel anything and I was a puddle of feels. I was angry, depraved, lustful, and desperate. Every sense was heightened, every cell in my body raw with carnal hunger.
“You noticed.” A devilish smirk curved on his face.
I noticed everything about this man, so this wasn’t exactly breaking news.
“Why are you doing that?” I wet my lips.
“Doing what?” His dark eyebrows furrowed in mock innocence.
“Looking at me like I’m your next meal.”
“Because you are,” he deadpanned. “That’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”
Something sizzled between us. I couldn’t look away from him.
He advanced toward me. I scooted to the center of the bed. Kill flipped me over on my stomach and pinned me to the mattress. Pressing his knee between my thighs to pry them open while my butt was in the air, he grabbed my wrists and locked them behind my back. The satin of the ribbon fluttered around my wrists, making me shiver. He wrapped the ends of the ribbon, reversing the direction to secure me in place. He did it quickly and expertly, cinching and completing a second loop to ensure I couldn’t move my arms.
“So this is how you knew how to tie us both with one hand,” I panted.
“It’s called a hogtie.” He gave his work of art a tug. “Lift your feet up.”
Next, he tied me by the legs, connecting the ribbon between my wrists and ankles. Like a little piggy about to get barbecued in a fire. I laughed breathlessly, partly because I was aroused and partly because there was something thrilling about giving up control. The bed dipped as Cillian leaned back, examining his work behind me. I couldn’t see his expression, which somehow made things ever hotter.
“Should’ve undressed me first,” I muttered into the linen, frustrated.
I wanted out of my clothes so bad they burned against my skin.