Denied, p.34
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       Denied, p.34

         Part #2 of One Night series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
 

  ‘Livy.’ His quiet whisper stirs me, and I try to roll over but go nowhere. ‘Olivia.’

  My eyes creep open, finding sparkling blues and his signature shadow covering his jawline, now even longer. ‘What?’

  ‘You’re awake.’ He lifts onto his forearms and rubs his groin into mine, indicating his current hard condition. ‘Shall we?’ he asks, the potential of some Miller-style worshipping waking me up as if Big Ben were ringing from the side of the bed.

  ‘Condom,’ I breathe.

  ‘Done.’ His hand wanders down my hip until he’s at my entrance spreading my heated wetness on a little gasp of gratification. ‘Were you dreaming of me?’ he asks surely, replacing his hand on the mattress and rearing back.

  ‘Might have.’ I’m nonchalant, but then he’s pushing into me and my attempts to appear casual diminish with one smooth thrust. ‘Ooh,’ I groan, lifting my arms and linking my fingers around his neck, the delicious fullness of him within me taking me to places beyond pleasure – just as Miller has promised.

  I really was dreaming of him. I was dreaming that this was for ever, and not just a lifetime, but beyond that, too – a life of perfect preciseness in everything, especially when he makes love to me. I’m over his finicky nature. It’ll always fascinate me but, more significant than that, I’m irrevocably head over heels, painfully and utterly in love with him – no matter who he was, what he did, and how damn obsessive he is.

  The gliding of our bodies together exceeds pleasurable. He’s looking down at me with total devotion, bolstering my feelings more and more with each and every careful pump of his hips. I’m ablaze, rippling, breathing sharp gasping breaths in his face as my palms dampen from the sweat riddling his nape.

  ‘I’m desperate to kiss you,’ he mumbles, pushing deep, holding himself as he reins in his laboured breathing. ‘So desperate, but I can’t deprive my eyes of your face. I need to see your face.’

  I squeeze my internal muscles instinctively, feeling him pulse steady and slow.

  ‘Jesus, Livy, you put perfection to shame.’

  I want to counter his claim, but all of my concentration is going into matching the meticulous tempo of his dreamy hips, each drive firm and flawless, each retreat steady and controlled. The stirrings in the pit of my tummy are preparing to travel further down, preparing to erupt and send me wild with overwhelming sensations, and not just of the physical kind. My heart is bursting, too.

  I’m suddenly moving, being pulled up carefully to his kneeling lap and guided around time and time again. ‘You fit me just right,’ he groans, slowly closing his eyes. ‘The only thing in my life that has ever been truly perfect is you.’

  In my blissed-out state, I manage to comprehend what that means, especially for a man who craves exactness. ‘I want to be perfect for you,’ I pledge, pushing my body into his, planting my face in his neck. ‘I want to be everything you need.’ I have no issue with admitting that. In moments like this, I see a man who’s relaxed and content, not uptight and broody or unpredictable and dangerous. If I can help to shift some of these attributes from the bedroom into Miller’s life when he’s not worshipping me, then I will, every day for the rest of my days. The middle part of yesterday was a perfect start.

  I feel hypnotised as I pull back and stare into his eyes, clinging to his hair and moving exactly where guided. The power he exudes from being so gentle is incredible, his speed and measure mind-blowing. He gasps, touching our foreheads. ‘Sweet girl, you already are.’ His head rolls, taking his lips down to mine, and we kiss fervently, tongues clashing and rolling as I’m lifted and grounded continuously. ‘You’re too special, Livy.’

  ‘So are you.’

  ‘No, I’m a fraud.’ His hips buck a little, enticing a collective cry from us both. ‘Good God!’ he yelps, raising his arse from his heels and kneeling, holding me against him with no strain at all. My head falls back as I grapple at his back, my ankles linking to gain more stability. ‘Don’t deprive me of your face, Livy.’

  My head is too heavy and rolling freely as the pressure accumulates and buzzes. I’m going to burst. ‘I’m coming.’

  ‘Please, Livy. Let me see you.’ He delivers the words on a lazy grind. ‘Please.’

  I force myself to fulfil his plea, using what energy I have to pull against his neck to help me. I cry out.

  ‘Lie back.’

  ‘What?’ I yell, closing my eyes, feeling my muscles contracting persistently. I can’t control it any more.

  ‘Lie back.’ His palm rests at the base of my spine, letting me lean against it, and he eases me down until my upper back is on the mattress and my lower body is held against his kneeling frame. ‘Comfortable?’

  ‘Yes,’ I gasp, bowing my back and plunging my fingers into my blond, knotted waves.

  ‘Good,’ he rumbles.

  The strain in his face tells me he’s close, too, the rippling of his stomach an indication of the tension building. ‘Are you ready, Livy?’

  ‘Yes!’

  ‘Oh Jesus, I’m so ready.’ His hips seem to take on a mind of their own as he shudders into me, the smooth fluidness long gone. He’s shaking, clearly trying to hold his restraint, and I wonder again if it’s a continual battle for him to prevent the hard fierceness that I bore witness to in the hotel.

  That line of thought requires a clear mind, which I don’t have right now. I’m coming.

  ‘Miller!’

  He pulls his hips away and delivers a thrust that sends us both over the edge, Miller on a tight bark, me on a suppressed scream. His fingers are digging into my flesh as he pushes that little bit further into me, twitching, jerking and groaning.

  I’m wiped out, completely useless, struggling to even keep my eyes on Miller’s post-climax, sweaty face. I welcome his weight when he drops onto me, keeping my eyes closed but making up for my loss of seeing him by feeling him everywhere. He’s soaking wet and panting in my hair, and it’s the most amazing feeling and sound ever.

  ‘I’m sorry,’ he whispers out of the blue, and I frown through my exhaustion.

  ‘For what?’

  ‘Tell me what I’m going to do without you.’ He squeezes me ridiculously hard, putting a strain on my ribs. ‘Tell me how I’m going to survive.’

  ‘Miller, you’re squashing me.’ I practically gasp the words, but he only squeezes harder. ‘Miller, ease up.’ I feel his head shake in my neck. ‘Miller, please!’

  He pushes up quickly from my body, dropping his head and eyes, leaving me gasping and heaving on the bed. He won’t look at me. I rub some life back into my arms, my legs, everywhere, but he refuses to acknowledge the discomfort he’s caused me. He looks worryingly beaten. Where’s this come from?

  I scramble to my knees to mirror him and take his hands in mine. ‘You don’t need to be concerned by that because I’ve told you how it is for me,’ I say calmly, reassuringly, quietly relieved that he appears to be as concerned by the potential of separation as I am.

  ‘Our feelings are irrelevant,’ he says factually. His declaration makes me back up slightly.

  ‘Of course they’re relevant,’ I argue, a coldness I don’t like settling over me.

  ‘No.’ He shakes his head and pulls his hands from my grip, leaving mine to fall lifelessly to my thighs. ‘You’re right. I should have let you walk away from me.’

  ‘Miller?’ I can feel the panic begin to set in.

  ‘I can’t drag you into my darkness, Olivia. This has to end now.’

  My chest is beginning to crack open slowly. I’m making his world light. What’s the matter with him? ‘You don’t know what you’re saying. I’m helping you.’ I try to take his hands again, but he pulls them out of my reach and gets up from the bed.

  ‘I’ll take you home.’

  ‘No,’ I whisper, watching as his back disappears into the bathroom. ‘No!’ Jumping up from the bed, I run after him, grabbing his arm and yanking him around to face me. ‘What are you doing?’

  ‘I’m doing
what’s right.’ There’s no feeling, no remorse or sorrow. He’s shut down on me, worse than ever before, the mask fixed firmly in place – no suit required. ‘I should never have let it go this far. I shouldn’t have come back for you.’

  ‘It?’ I yell. ‘You mean us! There is no it, or you, or I now. It’s us!’ I’m falling apart on him, my shaking body refusing to calm – not until he holds me and tells me I’m hearing things.

  ‘There’s you, and there is me.’ He looks slowly up at me. His blue eyes are empty. ‘There can never be an us.’

  His cold words stab at my splitting heart. ‘No.’ I refuse to accept this. ‘No!’ I shake him by the arms, but he remains impassive and detached. ‘I’m your habit.’ I start to sob, the tears bursting from my eyes uncontrollably. ‘I’m your habit!’

  He pulls his arms away and steps back. ‘Habits are bad for you.’

  My chest explodes open, exposing my shattered heart. ‘You’re talking rubbish.’

  ‘No, I’m talking complete sense, Livy.’ He walks away and steps in the shower, not even flinching as the unheated water pours all over him.

  I’m not giving up. There must be something wrong with him. My panic fuels my doggedness and I’m in the shower, pushing at his body as he attempts to shampoo his hair.

  ‘You don’t get to do this to me again, not now! Not after everything!’

  He ignores me and rinses his hair before he’s even really washed it. Then he hastily escapes me, exiting the other side of the shower, but I’m relentless, shouting as I go after him. I’m grabbing at his wet back, trying to stop him, but he shrugs me off, trying to dry himself and fight his way from the bathroom.

  I’m deranged, my heart pounding, my body quaking. ‘Miller, please!’ I cry, dropping to my knees and watching him disappear again. ‘Please.’ My head falls into my palms, like darkness and hiding might drag me from my nightmare.

  ‘Get up, Livy.’ His impatient tone only serves to make me sob harder. ‘Get up!’

  I confront his stone-cold face with my tear-drenched eyes. ‘You just made love to me. I’ve accepted you. You wanted me to forget that man and I have.’

  ‘He’s still here, Livy,’ he grinds harshly. ‘He’s never going away!’

  ‘He was gone!’ I insist desperately. ‘He’s never here when we’re together.’ That’s not true, and I know it, but I’m falling further into hell and I’ll try anything to claw my way back.

  ‘Yes, he is,’ he spits, leaning down and pulling my waiflike frame from the floor. ‘I was stupid to think I could do this.’

  ‘Do what?’

  He recoils and releases me, waving up and down my body. ‘This!’

  ‘You mean feel?’ I smack him on the chest. ‘You mean love?’

  His mouth snaps shut and he steps back, clearly fighting to control his twitching body. ‘I can’t love you.’

  ‘Don’t,’ I murmur pitifully. ‘Don’t say that.’

  ‘The truth hurts, Olivia.’

  ‘It’s that woman from last night, isn’t it?’ I ask, her smug face suddenly all I see through my fear. ‘Sophia. What did she say?’

  ‘It’s got nothing to do with her.’ He stalks from the bathroom, and I know it’s because I’m working my way closer to the issue.

  ‘Did you really want to stop?’

  ‘Yes!’ he barks, swinging around and nailing me with incensed eyes, but he soon backs down, realising what he’s said. ‘No!’

  ‘Yes or no?’ I scream.

  ‘No!’

  ‘What’s happened since last night when you came back to bed?’

  ‘Too fucking much!’ He’s gone from my sight, slipping into the wardrobe. I go after him again and watch as he yanks on some shorts and a T-shirt. ‘You’re young. You’ll get over me.’ He’s refusing to look at me or acknowledge my words, the coward.

  ‘Do you want me to get over you?’

  ‘Yes, you deserve more than I can give. I told you from the start, Livy. I’m emotionally unavailable.’

  ‘And since then you’ve worshipped me and given me everything you’ve hidden from the world.’ I keep my eyes on empty blues, desperately trying to find something in them. ‘You’ve destroyed me.’

  ‘Don’t say that!’ he yells, guilt clear in his tone and expression. He knows it to be true. ‘I brought you back to life.’

  ‘Congratulations!’ I scream, outraged. ‘Yes! You did, but the moment I saw light and hope, you’ve cruelly slayed me.’

  He recoils at my words that are nothing but truth, and with no worthy response, he passes me to escape his wrongs, ensuring no contact is made. ‘I have to go away.’

  ‘Where?’

  ‘Paris. I leave at noon.’

  A sharp inhale of breath chokes me. The city of love? ‘You’re going with that woman, aren’t you?’ My heart is completely severed now, the thought of Miller, posh women, restraints, money, and gifts . . .

  And all I can see is my mother’s beautiful, selfish face. My face. And now Miller’s face.

  He will not do this to me! ‘I’ll get over you.’ I straighten my shoulders and watch as he halts at the sound of my even promise. ‘I’ll make sure of it.’

  He slowly turns and gives me warning eyes. I couldn’t care less. ‘Don’t do anything stupid, Livy.’

  ‘You’ve just relinquished your right to make requests, so you’ll forgive me if I choose to ignore you.’ I barge past him, fully aware of what I’m doing and totally prepared to see my threat through.

  ‘Livy!’

  ‘Have a nice trip.’ I retrieve my damp dress and throw it on as I make my way through his apartment.

  ‘Livy, it’s not as easy as just stopping.’ He’s coming after me, the sound of his bare feet slapping on the marble floor behind me getting louder as I hurry to the door. He’s concerned now, my indirect promise spiking his possessive streak. He doesn’t want another man to taste me. ‘Livy!’ I feel him grab my arm, and I swing around, boiling with rage, finding the mask lifting slightly. But the smidgen of hope doesn’t stop me from lashing his cheek with my palm. His head snaps to the side and remains there while I attempt in vain to cool my temper.

  ‘Yes! You should have let me walk away from you!’ I fire with complete resoluteness. ‘You should have let me forget!’

  His face slowly comes back to me. ‘I didn’t want you to remember me like that. I didn’t want you to hate me.’

  I laugh, stunned by his selfish motives. He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him. But me? I’m different? ‘How honourable of you, but you’ve made a fatal mistake, Miller Hart.’

  He looks wary as he drops his hold of me. ‘How?’

  ‘Because I hate you more now than I ever did when you made me one of your whores! Now you’re just a coward. Now you’re a quitter, a chicken!’ I gulp down some calming breaths, feeling ashamed of my desperate behaviour and begging. He knows how I feel, and I know how he feels, yet he’s the one walking away, when it’s me who would be taking the biggest leap of faith here. It’s me going against all of my rules and morals. It’s me taking on the mountain of flaws this man has. ‘I’ll never let you have me again,’ I vow. ‘Not ever.’ The grit in my tone is a surprise.

  ‘It’s undoubtedly a good thing,’ he barely whispers, taking another step away from me, like he’s concerned that if I’m within touching distance, he might contradict his words. ‘Be safe, Livy.’

  The double meaning in his statement is an insult. ‘I’m safe now,’ I proclaim, turning my back on a man clearly torn and walking away from him for the last time ever.

  My despair has vanished at his cowardly words and actions. I know how he feels. He knows how he feels – which makes him a weak, spineless coward.

  Now all I want to do is hurt him. I want to take the most resilient part of him and destroy it.

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  It’s past nine at night, and I’m wiped out by overflowing emotion, but my vengeful mind won’t allow me to sleep. I’m being spu
rred on, encouraged by resentment to stick the knife in and twist it continuously. Four missed calls from William haven’t helped my state of mind. If anything, it’s only encouraged me. I know without question that I’m about to prove him right once and for all. I’m my mother’s daughter.

  I no longer have my Ice membership card, but it won’t stop me. Nothing will stop me. Bypassing the short queue, I present myself to the doorman, who performs a sigh of exasperation before granting me access without a word. I strut past him and head straight for one of the bars, taking in my surroundings, the music, the happy atmosphere. The music tonight seems dark, and playing right now is Faithless’s ‘Insomnia’. It’s purposeful. It’s apt.

  ‘Champagne,’ I order, resting my arse against the bar and gazing around at the blue glow engulfing Miller’s club. It’s rammed full of London’s elite, the usual masses of well-dressed revellers filling every available space, but despite the amount of people
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