Promised, p.33
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       Promised, p.33

         Part #1 of One Night series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
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  tries to stabilise his uneven breathing. I cry out. ‘This is pleasure.’ He retreats and pushes forward on another burst of air, coaxing another shout of gratification from me. ‘This is feeling.’ Back he draws before thrusting forward again. ‘This is how it’ll always be.’ His pace is meticulous, smooth and perfectly precise. ‘This is us.’

  ‘I want it to be,’ I breathe, meeting his advances with constant swivels of my hips. His eyes are smiling, and then like a sun breaking through the grey clouds on an overcast, smoggy day in London, his mouth smiles, too – his perfectly straight, white teeth on full display, his eyes sparkling wildly. He accepts me. All of me.

  ‘I’m glad we’ve cleared that up, not that you had a choice.’

  ‘I don’t want a choice.’

  ‘You know it makes perfect sense.’ He drops to his forearms and gets our faces nose to nose, delivering delicious deep grinds over and over. My hands are all over his back, my knees bent and spread, and his shirt a creased-up mess, pooling my body. ‘I have a fascinating habit,’ he says, scanning my face.

  ‘Me too.’

  ‘She’s the most beautiful thing.’

  ‘My habit is mystifying.’ I groan and lift my head to capture his lips. ‘He’s in disguise.’

  ‘Disguise?’ he asks around my mouth, meeting my demanding tongue with his own.

  ‘He’s disguised as a gentleman.’

  A cough of surprise falls past his lips. ‘If I wasn’t enjoying myself so much right now, I’d challenge you for your cheek. I am a gentleman.’ He jerks forward and bites my lip. ‘Bollocks!’

  ‘A gentleman doesn’t swear!’ I shout, linking my legs around his waist and tightening them, pushing into his rock-hard arse.

  ‘Fuck!’

  ‘Oh God! Faster!’ My hands push into his neck, forcing his lips harder to mine.

  ‘Savoured,’ he argues weakly. ‘I’ll enjoy you slowly.’

  He might be enjoying me slowly, but I’m losing my mind fast. His control is beyond comprehension. How does he do it? ‘You want to go faster,’ I goad him, yanking at his dishevelled mop.

  ‘Wrong.’ He pulls his head away, making me lose my grip. ‘I didn’t before, and I especially don’t now.’

  His harsh reminder of what came before the rightness of this moment halts my tempting tactic in their tracks. ‘Thank you for keeping me,’ I whisper.

  ‘Don’t thank me. This is happening.’ He abruptly pulls out and gently turns me over, pulling my hips upward before slowly sliding back into me. My face buries in the pillow, biting at the cotton as he continuously thrusts back and forth, painstakingly slowly. He’s wreaking havoc on my senses, and I find my body falling into his momentum, gliding back onto each of his drives. He’s moving again, flipping me back over and guiding my legs until they’re draped over his shoulders and he’s inside me once more, pushing deep.

  He’s sweating, his waves a delightful mess of wet and his stubble glistening. ‘I love seeing your body move.’

  I allow my eyes a glimpse of his chest, finding ripples of muscle riding up his torso with every push forward. I’m on the brink of detonation, but trying to rein it in so I can indulge in him some more. Finding his eyes again, I warm further when he blesses me with another one of his beautiful smiles.

  ‘I guarantee you, Livy. What you’re looking at isn’t a whisper of the beauty in my view.’

  ‘Wrong,’ I breathe seriously, reaching up to touch him. He exceeds perfection to the point of inflicting pain on my eyes.

  ‘We’ll agree to disagree, sweet girl.’ He grinds with purpose, making it impossible for me to argue with him. ‘Good?’

  ‘Yes!’

  ‘I concur.’ He drops a shoulder, letting my leg slide down his arm so he can lower his torso. ‘Put your hands above your head.’

  ‘I want to touch you,’ I complain, my wandering hands going off on a feeling frenzy.

  ‘Put your hands over your head, Livy.’ He reinforces his command with a sharp thrust, sending my head flying back, along with my hands. Lowering to his forearms, he rests his palms on the undersides of my arms and strokes to match the tempo of his hips. His blue eyes are wild with passion.

  ‘Are you ready, Livy?’

  I nod, then shake my head, then nod again. ‘Miller!’

  He groans, taking his rhythm up a level. ‘Livy, I’m going to send you crazy with pleasure daily, so you’re going to have to learn to control your body.’

  Now my head is shaking, my body being attacked by persistent shots of pleasure. It’s becoming too much. ‘Please,’ I beg, looking up into eyes full of triumph. He loves making me crazy. He thrives on it. ‘You’re doing this on purpose.’

  My other leg is released and he completely cages me in with his body, preventing me from wriggling, moving, or shaking. I can’t hold out any longer. I’ll pass out.

  ‘Of course I am,’ he agrees. ‘If you could see what I’m seeing, you’d drag it out, too.’

  ‘Don’t torture me,’ I groan, flicking my hips up.

  He dips and kisses me. ‘I’m not torturing you, Livy. I’m showing you how it should be.’

  ‘You’re making me crazy,’ I breathe. He doesn’t need to show me. He’s done that every time he’s worshipped me.

  ‘And it’s the most satisfying sight.’ He bites at my lip. ‘Would you like to come?’

  I nod and lift my arms from my head, and he doesn’t stop me. I find his shoulders, my hands slipping everywhere, and kiss the hell out of him. I’m relentless with my tongue as he pushes me higher and higher, and then it happens. He bucks on a yell, I scream on a violent arch of my body, and we both begin to shake and pulse. I’m utterly replete, and once my shakes have subsided, I’m totally limp. Useless. I can’t talk, I can’t move, and I can’t see straight. He’s twitching within me, still circling firmly.

  ‘Do you want the good news or the bad news?’ he puffs into my neck, but I can’t answer him. I’m breathless, my mind scrambled, and I attempt a shrug that is executed as more of a spasm. ‘I’ll give you the bad news,’ he says when it becomes obvious that an answer is not forthcoming. ‘The bad news is I’m paralysed. I can’t bloody move, Livy.’

  If I had the energy, I’d smile, but I’m a despondent pile of twitching nerve endings. So I hum my response and attempt a little squeeze of him. It’s feeble.

  ‘The good news is,’ he pants, ‘we haven’t got to go anywhere, so we can stay like this for ever. Am I heavy?’

  He’s very heavy but I haven’t got the strength or inclination to tell him so. He’s all over me, covering every square inch, our sweaty skin rubbing everywhere. I hum my non-committal reply again, my eyes closing with exhaustion.

  ‘Livy?’ he whispers softly.

  ‘Hmmm?’

  ‘No matter what happened, you really are my sweet girl. Nothing will change that.’

  My eyes open and I find the energy to respond. ‘I’m a woman, Miller,’ I say, needing him to realise I’m no girl. I’m a woman and I have needs, and one of those needs – the biggest one – is now Miller Hart.

  Chapter 20

  It was inevitable that he would abandon me. All his actions, reassuring words and comfort were far too good to be true. I should have known that from the guilt plaguing his face when he stopped me from leaving. I wish he’d never come after me. I wish he’d never let his compassion take over and force him into comforting me. It’s made it so much harder to bear. The darkness is constant and the agony relentless. Everything hurts – my brain for thinking too much, my body for missing his touch and my eyes for not seeing him. I’m not sure how long it has been since he left me. Days. Weeks. Months. It could be longer.

  I dare not venture from my silent darkness. I dare not present my injured soul to the world, which puts me further into seclusion than I ever was before I met Miller Hart.

  Tears start to pour from my eyes. Visions of my mother’s face morph into mine, and my head jerks from the lash of my nan’s palm slapping my face
.

  ‘Livy?’

  ‘Leave me alone,’ I sob, pulling my numb body onto my stomach and hiding my tear-drenched face in the pillow.

  ‘Livy.’ Hands start to pull at my body and I fight them away, not wanting to face anyone or anything. ‘Livy, please.’

  ‘Get off me!’ I scream, thrashing my body aimlessly everywhere.

  ‘Livy!’

  I’m suddenly pinned to the mattress, my flailing hands held firmly by my sides.

  ‘Livy, open your eyes.’

  My head starts shaking and my eyes clench tighter. I’m not ready to face the world yet – probably never will be. My arms are released and my head held still, then the familiar softness of slow-moving lips are on my mouth, and I can hear the low hum that I love so much.

  My eyes fly open and I scramble to sit up – shocked, disorientated and sweating. I’m having heart palpitations and I can’t see anything with my wild hair messy and falling all over my face. ‘Miller?’ My hair is pushed from my eyes and he slowly comes into my line of sight, concern etched all over his impossibly beautiful face.

  ‘I’m here, Livy.’

  Awareness finally hits me and I launch myself onto his kneeling body, knocking him to his back. I’m deranged but relieved, terrified but calm.

  It was just a dream.

  A dream that made me feel all too vividly how it might be if he’s gone. ‘Promise me you won’t abandon me,’ I mumble. ‘Promise me you’re not going anywhere.’

  ‘Hey, whatever’s brought this on?’

  ‘Just say it.’ I sink my face into his neck, unwilling to let him go. I’ve had dreams before, I’ve woken up and wondered if they’ve really happened, but this was different. This was frighteningly real. I can still feel the ache in my chest and the panic engulfing me, even now when he’s got me firmly in his arms.

  It takes some effort on his part, but he eventually prises my clawed fingers from his back and detaches me from his body. Sitting up and placing me between his thighs, he circles my neck completely with his palms and tilts my head until our gazes lock, mine brimming with tears, his with tenderness. ‘I’m not your mother,’ he says firmly.

  ‘It hurt so much.’ I’m sobbing, trying to reassure myself that it was just a dream – a stupid, stupid dream.

  His face falls. ‘Your mother walked out on you, Livy. Of course it hurt.’

  ‘No.’ I shake my head in his hold. ‘That doesn’t hurt any more.’ This new fear has drowned any sense of abandonment that I felt before. ‘I’m better off without her.’ He winces, his eyes closing painfully at my harshness. I don’t care. ‘I’m talking about you,’ I whisper. ‘You left me.’ I’m aware that I sound needy and weak, but my desperation is crippling me. Compared to how I’m feeling now, coping with my mother’s abandonment seems like a breeze. Miller’s shown me comfort. He’s accepted me. ‘I’ve never felt pain like it.’

  ‘Livy—’

  ‘No.’ I cut him off. He needs to know. I move from his personal space, shifting myself across the bed so I’m out of touching distance.

  ‘Livy, what are you doing?’ he asks, reaching for me. ‘Come here.’

  ‘You need to know something,’ I murmur nervously, refusing to meet his eyes.

  ‘There’s more?’ he blurts, pulling his reaching hand back, like I might bite him. He’s cautious, wary. It doesn’t boost my confidence. I’ve shocked Miller Hart with my dirty little secrets, more than he’s ever shocked me with his moods – transforming from domineering to passive and from cold-hearted to loving faster than I can keep up with.

  ‘There’s one more thing,’ I admit, hearing him draw breath, preparing himself for what I might hit him with next. For him, this might be the biggest shock of all.

  ‘I believe we might be conversing, Livy.’ His tone is clipped and intimidating, the one that makes me take notice, whether I scoff at it or cower. Right now, I’m cowering.

  ‘You still fascinate me,’ I say, looking up at him. ‘All of your set ways, your faffing with things when they’re already perfect, and the way you have to have things just so.’

  He’s frowning at me, and for a split second I think he might deny it. But he doesn’t. ‘Take me as I am, Livy.’

  ‘That’s what I’m saying.’

  ‘Elaborate,’ he demands harshly, making me cower further.

  ‘You take command over me,’ I start nervously, ‘and it should probably frighten me or perhaps have me telling you to piss off, but . . .

  ‘I believe you might have told me to go to hell last night.’

  ‘Your fault.’

  ‘Probably,’ he relents on a grunt and a roll of those blistering blue eyes. ‘Continue.’

  I smile inwardly. He’s doing it right now – being brusque and starched, but it’s terribly alluring, even when it’s bloody infuriating. I feel so safe with him. ‘I don’t know whether my heart can survive you,’ I say quietly, watching closely for his reaction, ‘but I want to take you as you are.’ I shouldn’t be surprised when his expression remains completely blank, and I’m not, but those eyes tell me a little something. They’re telling me he knows how I feel already. He’d be pretty stupid not to. ‘I’ve fallen.’

  His blue gaze touches my soul. It’s now full of knowing and understanding. ‘Why are you on the other side of the bed, Livy?’ he asks, his voice low and sure.

  My eyes travel the distance between our bodies, noting a good metre of mattress between us. Perhaps I did go over the top with my decision to distance myself, but I didn’t want to feel his body stiffen when I uttered those words. I’ve not said it, but Miller is an intelligent man. My cards have been slowly laid, and now they are face up for all to see.

  ‘I . . . I . . . I didn’t . . .’

  ‘Why are you on the other side of the bed, Livy?’

  Our eyes connect. He’s looking at me sternly, like he really is mad about my distance, but I can still see understanding in them, too. ‘I . . .’

  ‘I’ve already repeated myself.’ He cuts me off completely. ‘Don’t make me do it again.’

  I hesitate too long, going to shift towards him but quickly drawing back, wondering what’s running though that multi-layered mind of his.

  ‘Overthinking, Livy,’ he warns. ‘Give me my thing.’

  I inch forward slowly, but he doesn’t welcome me with open arms or encourage me. He just watches me blackly, following my eyes as they get closer and closer until I’m gently crawling onto his lap and circling his shoulders tentatively with my arms. I feel his palms gently rest on my hips and begin a languid caress of my back while he slowly lowers his face into my hair until we’re locked together, completely encasing each other . . . just holding each other. Miller Hart’s thing has fast become my thing, too. Nothing will ever beat the sense of refuge and solace that I get from a simple cuddle delivered by Miller. His touch soaks up all of the anguish and despair.

  ‘I’m not sure if I can function without you,’ I say softly. ‘I feel like you’ve become a vital part of what keeps me breathing.’ I’m not exaggerating. That dream was chillingly real, and that feeling alone is enough to make me spill. But he’s too quiet. I can feel his heart beating under my chest, and it’s steady, not shocked and erratic, but that’s all I can feel. I’m very rapidly considering what he must be thinking – probably that I’m stupid and naive. I’ve never experienced this before, but these feelings are intense, uncontrollable. I’m not sure I’m equipped for them, and I’m even less confident that Miller is. ‘Please speak,’ I plead quietly, following up my request with a little squeeze. ‘Say something.’

  He accepts my squeeze, reciprocating with his own, and then he withdraws from the sanctuary of my neck and takes a deep breath, letting it stream from his lips slowly and calmly. I take a deep breath too, except I hold mine.

  Smoothing his palms up my spine, his hand finds my hair and starts combing through with his fingers as he watches. Then he slowly brings his eyes to mine. ‘This beautiful, pure girl has
fallen in love with the big bad wolf.’

  My eyebrows meet in the middle. ‘You’re not a big bad wolf,’ I argue, not thinking to deny his other conclusion. He’s absolutely right, and I’m not ashamed of it. I am in love with him. ‘And I thought we established that I’m not so sweet.’ I want to feel his hair and his lips, but he looks despondent, almost troubled by the knowledge that someone loves him.

  ‘We established nothing of the sort. You’re my sweet girl, and we’ll be leaving that line of conversation exactly there.’

  ‘Okay.’ I succumb immediately and easily, hating his curt delivery but secretly loving the words he’s used. I’m his.

  He sighs and kisses me chastely. ‘You must be hungry. Let me make you supper.’ He starts to untangle our bodies and places me on
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