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Seduced, Page 15

Melody Anne

  Our rigid system of social laws should not allow me, a mere girl, even to ponder such an act as I am pondering — to leave one’s home and one’s connections is against all maidenly training. But should I come to you? Despite all the dangers of war, whither thou goest, I will go. If I hear nothing from you, then I must do just that.

  I love you with a devotion that absorbs all else.

  Ever yours,


  Ari couldn’t stop a tear from falling as she read a letter so fraught with suffering. The terror Saphronia was feeling — the pain and anguish of not knowing whether William was alive or dead. It would be too much for anyone to bear. If she were Saphronia, she too would have crossed enemy lines to find out.

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  “Are you enjoying the journal?”

  Ari jumped as Rafe sat down on the table next to the journal. She quickly spirited it over, not wanting the delicate tome to get harmed.

  “Oh, yes, Rafe. You really should read this. It’s very beautiful,” she said, although knowing he just couldn’t appreciate it the way she did.

  “I already told you that I would like for you to tell me all about it,” he said, lifting his hand and stroking her cheek.

  Ari lost all concentration on the book as she looked into Rafe’s eyes. That was the point when she noticed the quiet. Of course, it was a library, but she heard nothing, not the turning of pages, or the rustle of books being removed from shelves.

  She tore her gaze from Rafe and looked around, noticing how dim the library lighting was.

  “Are they closing?” she asked, thinking it was probably a wise idea for the two of them to leave.

  “They closed an hour ago. It’s just you and me,” he said.

  Ari’s head whipped back around to Rafe and saw the ardor in his eyes.

  Oh, no.

  She wasn’t strong enough for this. It’s why she’d chosen to meet him in public.

  “How are we able to be here all alone?”

  “I funded this library. They are more than accommodating when I have a special request. ”

  She should have known he would somehow take a level playing field and “un-level” it to make it work completely to his advantage. She was dealing with Rafe, after all.

  “I think it’s time to go,” she said as she stood.

  “Not yet. ” He stood, too, and drew her into his arms. “I’ve been dying to do this all day. ”

  With that, he pulled her against him and didn’t hesitate to press his lips to hers. Ari resisted for all of two seconds before she gave in to him.

  What would the harm be to feel pleasure for just a few moments? Would it really break her heart to be with him one more time? Maybe it would be good for her. Maybe she would finally get over him for good. It seemed the tender love story of William and Saphronia had weakened the walls of protection around her heart.

  She didn’t know whether she was just trying to convince herself or not, but she knew that she wanted this — wanted him so much, it was burning her entire body alive. She didn’t have the will to resist anymore. She just wanted to be taken to another world.

  And Rafe could certainly do that.

  “I want you, Ari. Tell me no, and I’ll stop. ” He leaned back to look into her eyes.

  She didn’t want to tell him no. She didn’t want to stop.

  “I should…” She hesitated as his hands made their way down her back and gripped her hips, tugging her against his hardness.

  “No, you shouldn’t. What you should do is enjoy every second of this, accept what only I can give you and cry out in pleasure,” he said, nibbling her neck.

  Oh, yes, that was the right place.

  “I need…” She didn’t know how to complete that sentence. She needed so much.

  “You need me,” he said. He lifted her up and sat her on a high table, spreading her legs apart, wedging himself between her thighs, pressing his concealed hardness against her heat.

  At that moment she was grateful that she was wearing a skirt, that she could feel the hardness of his arousal through the thin silk of her panties.

  Though turmoil boiled inside her, she did want him, she did want the pleasure he could give. Her desire outweighed her guilt at betraying herself and her principles.

  “Yes, I want you,” she admitted.

  Rafe stopped moving against her; he looked into her eyes, his body pressed tightly against hers. He’d been pushing and pushing, and now he hesitated. But she didn’t want to give herself time to back out of this. She wanted him.

  “You’re sure?” he asked.

  “Yes. ” As he gazed at her, she was more than sure.

  “Once we start, we won’t stop,” he warned her.

  “Then don’t stop, Rafe. Take me,” she said. She wrapped her hands around his neck and tugged him to her.

  His head descended and he claimed her mouth hungrily, his hand reaching up to undo her blouse. He finished with the buttons in record time, and then tossed the garment somewhere behind her. Next, her bra came off and then his warm hands were cupping her flesh, holding up the weight as he leaned back and looked at her.

  “Damn! You are even more spectacular than I remembered,” Rafe said with whispered reverence.

  He massaged her br**sts, his thumbs tracing the edges of her puckered flesh. She wanted his mouth on them, but he didn’t give her that; he just kneaded the flesh, then pinched her ni**les between his fingers as he elongated them, sending heat straight to her core.

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  Finally, when she was about to scream in frustration, he bent his head and the feel of his tongue lapping against her skin had her crying out. Yes, it had been too long. She needed this.

  He moved back and forth between her br**sts, his hands kneading the flesh as his mouth ravished her peaked ni**les. Somehow she’d ended up lying back on the table with him above her. She didn’t know how. All her concentration had been on not exploding from just the attention he was giving her br**sts.

  Within moments, he had them both stripped free of clothing, and she was lying bare before him, feeling a sense of euphoria at the unrestrained lust in his eyes.

  “I want to make this last all night, Ari, but I don’t think I can,” he said in apology as his finger drifted down her stomach and caressed the outside of her core.

  “How about we just do it more than once?” she suggested, wanting him inside her more than anything else, but also wanting it to last forever. She didn’t know whether it would happen again after tonight. She didn’t know how she would feel tomorrow.

  Rafe’s eyes rounded, and he couldn’t even speak for a moment. He quickly sheathed himself before poising his body above hers. “You’re coming back to my house when this is done. ”

  There was the Rafe she knew, demanding, insistent, trying to get his own way, even when he was nearly delirious with passion.

  “Right now, I would agree to anything,” she gasped as he began slowly sliding into her.

  “Now that is something I love to hear,” he said. He surged forward, knocking the breath from her as his impressive erection nestled inside her body.

  “Yes, Rafe,” she called as he pulled back and then quickly began a rhythm that was thrilling for both of them.

  “You’re mine, Ari. I won’t live without you. I won’t lose myself that way,” he cried as his body crashed against hers.

  She knew she should shake her head, knew she should disagree, but she felt so right in this moment that she couldn’t think of why. There was nothing but pleasure lodged in her brain as he continued thrusting inside her.

  Two years was too long to go without this feeling.

  “I’m sorry, Ari,” he cried as he sped up, a thin sheen of sweat coating his chest.

  What was he sorry for? She had no idea.

  He pounded against her, and Ari’s wor
ld shattered. She shook as her body gripped him, the orgasm lasting for an eternity.

  Somewhere in the recesses of her mind, she heard Rafe crying out as he found his pleasure, but she could barely process it. All of her concentration was focused on the pulsing in her core, the pressure inside her br**sts, and the fire shooting through her veins.

  When she finally came back down from the mountain they’d climbed together, she opened her eyes, finding herself looking into Rafe’s very satisfied expression.

  “We were meant to be one, Ari,” he said as he dropped down and gently caressed her lips.

  “There has never been a problem with us in this department, Rafe. It doesn’t mean anything,” she replied. She didn’t regret her decision to have sex with him again, but she needed to remember it was only sex.

  “That’s where you’re wrong, Ari. What we have is beyond unusual, and beyond wonderful. I’ve never found so much pleasure with anyone else. I needed to change the sex, control it, master the woman to find any enjoyment. With you, all I need is one look, one taste, one touch. You turn my blood to fire, make me see only you and the starry night that you create. We are good together, and I will prove that to you. ”

  Ari saw the truth in his eyes and felt a stirring of hope inside of her. Yet that was a dangerous emotion to be feeling right now. It could end up causing her to crash so hard that she’d never recover.

  When he kissed her again, Ari thrust those thoughts aside. She would take her one night with him. She would enjoy it. Tomorrow, she would allow herself to think.

  Chapter Twenty-Four


  “We need to go back to the beach. There are too many uninhabited islands out here, and there is no way that anyone will find us if we are hidden in this cave,” Shane said.

  Lia didn’t want to leave their cave. They’d been there for two days, only venturing out to find food and materials for burning. Other than that, they’d made a lot of love and talked for hours on end.

  She felt as if she knew Shane, as if he were a part of her now. She’d been so blind to the man he was, but then he’d been blind to her, as well. One could learn a lot about a person when no one else was around, and she was glad they’d finally opened up to each other.

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  A quiet confidence seemed to whisper to her heart that they would be OK. Maybe it was nothing more than feeling a kinship for the only other person on a deserted island, but she didn’t think so. She was in love with him. But could she trust those emotions?

  “I love our little paradise,” she said while he packed the tent. She was too unhappy about having to leave to want to make departure more inevitable.

  “Well, look on the bright side. It may take them several more days, or even weeks, to find us,” he said with a laugh as he took a survey of their area, making sure he had everything.

  There weren’t a lot of supplies left, and they needed everything they had. He was acting flippant about how long a rescue could take, but she knew he was concerned. The island had an abundance of fruit and nuts, but still, they weren’t used to living in the wild, and they didn’t have enough to make them comfortable for long.

  “I can always hope it will be a few more days, at least,” she said with a smile. And she did cherish that hope.

  “I have to admit that I’m shocked, Lia. I would have never taken you for a wilderness girl. You enjoy the spas far too much. ”

  “Oh, I still enjoy the spas, Shane. I just love all of this time one-on-one. I’ve never felt this satisfied and this happy in my life. A spa definitely can’t satisfy me in the areas you do. ” She walked up to him and pulled his head down, kissing him deeply.

  When he came up for air, he smiled. “Well, not the reputable spas, at least. ”

  It took her a second to understand his meaning, and then she burst out laughing. “Which ones have you been hanging out in, Shane Grayson?” she asked with mock anger.


  “Shane Grayson!” she said, horrified.

  “I’m just kidding. I would never even think of entering a house of ill repute,” he assured her a bit too earnestly.

  She glared at him for a moment before deciding he’d only been trying to get a reaction from her.

  “You’ve been all over the world. I’m sure you have done things that would shock most people,” she said, worried about the women he had been with. One of the reasons she’d been so leery of starting up with him again is because he was a known playboy. What if he did have women waiting for him in every port on every continent?

  She knew she couldn’t handle that. Lia didn’t share well with others.

  “Hey, it was a stupid joke,” he said as he lifted her chin. “I promise you that my life is a lot more fictionalized than everybody believes. Yes, I’ve dated a number of women, but not as many as you might think. I’ve never been in love before — never even thought about getting married. That has always terrified me. Now, it doesn’t so much. ”

  Lia looked up at him in shock at his words. He wasn’t actually proclaiming his love or offering marriage, but it looked as if he was setting the groundwork for just that.

  It was too soon. She felt panic rise. What if he wanted too much too fast? She knew she didn’t want to lose him all over again, but she couldn’t just jump in blind. They needed more time.

  “Lia, where’d you go?” he asked softly.

  “I’m here. I just — this cave — well, yeah, the cave is starting to suffocate me,” she said, her chest feeling compressed. Maybe this was her first panic attack. She hoped it was nothing worse than that.

  “Lia…” She knew he didn’t believe her, but she couldn’t talk about this now.

  “Let’s just go, Shane. I’ll feel better when we get back out into the sun,” she said, her voice unusually high as she tried to mask her growing agitation.

  He looked at her for several heartbeats, then gave her a soft, almost sad smile, before turning around and looking at the cave once more.

  “I hate to leave, but I do want to get back to the beach. We need to prepare a large area where we can light a fire that can be seen from far away,” he said in a falsely happy tone as he tried to hide his confusion. Then he walked over, bent down and nuzzled her neck.

  “Thank you, Shane,” she said. She was grateful he’d let the subject drop. This was where she needed to be with him for now, right in his arms, where she felt safe and cherished. They didn’t need to worry about tomorrow or the next day — not yet. The sun would set and then rise again, bringing them a new day. It was inevitable. There was plenty of time to worry when there was something to worry about.

  “I will cook you a spectacular seafood dinner on the beach with a nice fire and all-you-can-drink fruit juice,” he said, trying to pull her from her funk.

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  “A romantic seafood dinner on the beach. Why, Shane Grayson, you just earned some extra brownie points,” she said, giving him a kiss before moving through the entrance of the cave and walking outside.

  Lia looked back, having to fight a slight tightening in her throat as the cave got farther away. She wasn’t a crier, and she wanted to kick herself for feeling that weak emotion right then. It was just that she couldn’t remember ever being happier than she had been during the past few days. Shane was incredible, and their time together — interruption free and distraction free — had been just what her soul had needed. It felt different being with him now. But even as they moved toward the beach, a little of that feeling was beginning to fade.

  She was frightened that the farther they moved away from their special place of bliss, the less chance they’d have of making it together once they were saved.

  She knew they needed to get rescued, but she really did hope it would take just a little more time. Selfishly, she wanted Shane all to herself. She’d been such a fool to waste so much energy on fighting
him. It was unbelievable that it had taken a shipwreck for her to see what she’d been missing these last couple of years.

  The two of them walked down the path back to the beach, reaching the white sands in about half an hour, since they were now familiar with the island, and knew the fastest routes to take. The sun was high in the sky, and as they scanned the water, there wasn’t a boat in sight. Lia felt a bit of relief, but a little panic as well.

  Her feelings were seesawing wildly. What if they weren’t ever found? The past few days it hadn’t seemed so frightening, but she’d heard stories of people being lost for ten years before a rescue, their families having moved on, burying the memory of their lost loved ones on the assumption they were dead, and continuing on with their lives.

  She knew her parents and her siblings wouldn’t give up, but the thought was rather daunting.

  “They will find us, Lia. ” Shane wrapped his arms around her.

  “I know. It’s just easier to forget we’re stranded when we’re by that pristine pool of water. Being here with the vast ocean before us makes our circumstances that much more real,” she said, holding on to his hands as they rested on her stomach.

  “You know your brother. He will move heaven and earth to find you. If he has to call out the Italian Coast Guard to search every island out here, he will. Hell, he’d try to hire the United States National Guard to do it. There won’t be a single expense that he will spare. There’s no way he will think you are resting at the bottom of the ocean. He can’t give up. It’s just not in him to do so. ”

  Shane’s words were helping to calm her.

  “Thank you, Shane. I know I was teasing about us staying out here forever, but seeing the ocean is quite frightening. It just seems like it would be so hard for anyone to find us, especially since nobody knew you were coming here. ”

  “That was stupid of me, and selfish. I’m sorry that I put you in so much danger,” he replied, his tone full of remorse.

  “If I hadn’t been such a stubborn fool, you wouldn’t have needed to go to such extreme measures,” she told him, generously taking a share of the blame.

  “I don’t know how you originally fell for me, Lia, but I am eternally grateful,” he said; he turned her around in his arms and kissed her lips.

  “Me, too,” she said when he pulled back.

  “We won’t get the fire pit built if you don’t stop tempting me with your kisses,” he said.