Taken by a trillionaire.., p.16
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       Taken by a Trillionaire 1-3, p.16

         Part #1 of Taken by a Trillionaire series by Ruth Cardello
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  She glared at him, sending daggers flying at him with her eyes. Bryan nearly smiled at her obstinate look, wondering why he wanted a woman so desperately that obviously had no interest in marrying him.

  He was just as fascinated by Shea as he’d been five years ago…probably even more enthralled because she didn’t want to marry him. He was a prince, worth trillions of dollars. And she didn’t want to marry him.

  Damned if that didn’t make him even more determined to make her his bride.

  His chest ached as he looked at her exhausted expression, raising his child alone had obviously taken its toll on her. But no longer! He was here now, and he’d see that Shea and his daughter had everything they wanted or needed. He’d make sure she ate well, and gained back her amazing curves he remembered. Bryan wanted the haunted look in her eyes to disappear, replaced by a look of happiness and contentment. He’d see it done or die trying.

  Bryan rose, his gaze never leaving Shea. She needed care, and he wanted to be the man to provide it. Guilt swamped him. He hadn’t been there when she needed him, but he was here now, dammit. “Come with me,” he demanded, holding out a hand for her to grasp.

  “I need to find Hayden. What if something’s happened to her? We don’t know for sure that she’s safe.”

  If Simon said their daughter was safely with Moira…she was fine. Bryan had no doubt that the royal advisor was doing everything necessary for Hayden’s safety. Simon knew Bryan was going to be angry, and he was willing to bet that an entire army was surrounding the royal nursery right now. Simon knew he’d put the child in danger, so he’d be more than willing to give his own life to protect her. “I know she is. Simon wouldn’t have let you know she was being well cared for if he didn’t know for certain.” He wiggled his fingers. “Come. Trust me, Shea. Trust that I know my people.”

  She stared at his hand for moment, her brows drawn together as though contemplating whether or not she believed him. Then, she sighed heavily and put her hand up slowly to grasp his outstretched fingers.

  His heart beat erratically as his large hand grasped her smaller one, pulling her up gently from her place on the couch. It was a small victory, but he’d take what he could get…for now.

  Chapter Four

  Shea felt much more human after she’d taken a hot bubble bath that Bryan had drawn for her. She was more relaxed and slightly more rational, although she was still having a hard time believing she was really imprisoned with the man who had haunted her dreams for the last five years.

  Prince Bryan Demande.

  He was no longer the mystery man, Bryan, who had gotten her pregnant and left her. “Why didn’t you tell me who you were?” she asked him curiously as she flipped through pictures of Rubare Collina on the computer in front of her. She’d sat down to investigate exactly what functions worked on the PC in the corner of the living room. Surprisingly, it had worked to provide a lot of information on Rubare Collina, but she still couldn’t get to any programs or features that would actually connect her to any people in the outside world. Frustrated, she settled for looking up information on the country that was just outside the very thick, bolted door across the room.

  She could feel Bryan’s presence right behind her, so she wasn’t surprised when he spoke from above her head. “Nobody knew who I was. I spent six years in college in America under an assumed name. I wanted to study. I didn’t want to deal with royalty chasers and the paparazzi. If I hadn’t been called back home, I would have told you eventually, Shea. I was supposed to leave the day after our night together. I wouldn’t have left had my father not been ill,” he told her gruffly.


  “I liked you. I wanted to spend more time with you. I didn’t want to part the way we did.”

  Shea shivered and pulled the plush robe she was wearing tighter around her body. Did she believe he would have stayed? He’d come back looking for her, had known that she’d left New York. Obviously he was telling the truth about that. “How did your father and Simon find me? How did they know?”

  “I have no idea. Simon is rather terrifying in the things he can find out. He might appear to be a mild-mannered royal advisor, but the man has connections everywhere. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was a spy,” Bryan said unhappily. “If I had known that he could find you, I would have asked him for help.”

  “Why did you want to find me so badly?” she asked tentatively, almost afraid to ask him that question. It was strange that with all of his responsibilities, he would have flown back to the U.S. just because he liked her.

  “I couldn’t forget you,” he said simply, toying with one of the curls at the nape of her neck.

  I couldn’t forget you, either. Not even for a day.

  Shea busied herself nervously, flipping through pictures on the computer of different areas of his country. “Is this the castle?” she asked curiously as she clicked to a picture of a monstrous and luxurious home.

  Bryan’s low, seductive laugh flowed over her like a sexy, soothing balm. “Not even remotely close.” He leaned down and read the description under the picture. “That’s the home of one of the citizens in a neighboring city from here. You’re on one of our real estate sites. It’s a typical home of a mere billionaire or maybe even just a multi-millionaire in Rubare Collina.”

  Shea bit her lip, trying not to laugh at Bryan’s arrogant denial. A mere billionaire? “Just an average citizen, then?” she teased. “A billionaire or multi-millionaire is nothing?”

  “They’re very comfortable,” Bryan said thoughtfully. “But they have limited funds.” After a moment, he added, “Outside of the cities, we have a lot of farmers, but they aren’t poor. They’re extremely prosperous, too.”

  It took Shea a moment to realize he was serious. She turned in her chair to face him and looked up at him. “So everybody is filthy rich here?”

  Bryan shrugged. “It’s a wealthy country. Most of our people live very well. Those who don’t are assisted so they can live a happy and satisfying life.”

  She looked over her shoulder at the computer. “So most people have homes like that?” In the United States, the home pictured would belong to the ultra-wealthy.

  “Quite a few of our citizens do…yes. We have our poor here just like any other country, but comfortable homes are provided for them. We don’t believe in any of our people being homeless,” he told her in a genuine, sincere tone.

  “No homeless? Nobody starving?” That was almost unfathomable to Shea.

  “No. The monarchy has unlimited wealth due to our mineral reserves. Why would we have anybody starving here? We don’t have the same philosophies as some of the other western countries.”

  “That’s hard to understand,” Shea told him breathlessly, her heart stuttering as she looked into his solemn hazel eyes.

  He’d showered and changed into clean jeans and a green polo shirt. They both appeared to have had clothing provided for them here, the closet and drawers packed with new items. Shea had opted for the warm, fluffy blue robe Bryan had handed her before leading her to the luxurious bath he’d prepared.

  Since he had arrogantly proclaimed that royalty did not cook, she’d made them some food…but only because she’d been hungry, too. She hadn’t missed the chance to chastise him for his royal snobbery.

  “The United States was equally as confusing for me,” Bryan admitted. “They’re the most powerful country on earth, yet the majority of their people struggle. It made no sense to me.”

  When he put it that way, it made no sense to her either. “We have our problems, but at least a royal family isn’t trying to kill us there,” she mumbled.

  “It’s not the royal family. My family is not trying to kill us. It’s the secret society,” Bryan corrected.

  “Whatever. At least nobody is going to kill me in my home country because I won’t get married.”

  “We will marry,” Bryan demanded.

  “We’re strangers, two people who had a fling in college. It
resulted in a child, but that’s no reason to marry,” she replied indignantly. Though honestly, if it put Hayden in danger not to marry Bryan, she probably would have a wedding as hastily as possible. There was nothing she wouldn’t do to protect her daughter. But her heart ached at the thought of an empty marriage. And could she live in a country where the royal princes had to go kidnap brides and force them to marry them? Barbaric custom!

  Bryan grasped her upper arms and hauled her to her feet. “We’re far more than strangers, Shea. You gave me your innocence. Why? Why me when you’d held onto something that precious for so long?” he questioned hoarsely.

  She opened her mouth and then closed it again as she caught the hunger in his gaze, a sharp ache piercing her straight between her thighs.

  She didn’t really have an answer.

  The two of them had met that fateful evening in a trendy nightclub, Bryan celebrating his college graduation with his friends. She had been celebrating her twenty-first birthday with college classmates. Never a big partier, Shea even being in that club that night had been a rarity. But her college friends had talked her into having her first legal drink. And then a few more. She could have blamed her lack of judgment on the alcohol, but it wouldn’t have been true. She’d been drawn to Bryan from the moment their eyes met across the room and he’d made his way toward her, never breaking eye contact as he stalked her until he reached her side. They’d found a quiet corner where they could talk, and they’d discussed everything and nothing, sharing many of the same interests and opinions. Bryan had been devastatingly handsome, and his accent had made him even more exotic, but she hadn’t been drawn to just his looks. Something about the two of them together had clicked into place that night, and when he’d escorted her home to her tiny apartment, she’d asked him in for coffee. He hadn’t come on strong, but she’d been seduced, and had let him willingly show her how incredible a physical relationship with a man could be. She hadn’t told him she was a virgin, and he’d seemed stunned after they’d made love for the first time. He’d held her like she was a treasured gift, and she’d been devastated when she woke up in the morning to find him gone without a trace.

  “Why me?” Bryan asked again, putting a hand on both sides of her head to force her to look at him.

  “Because I wanted you,” she admitted reluctantly, his piercing, intent gaze making her reveal her secret thoughts. “You were the first man who seemed to care about me.” She wasn’t saying he’d been in love with her or anything that serious. But he’d treated her like a valuable person, and he’d listened to her with genuine interest when she spoke. It had been obvious he was attracted to her, but he’d looked at her face instead of at her cleavage when she spoke.

  She shrugged, embarrassed, and looked away from him. “I liked you, and you treated me like I mattered somehow.”

  “You did matter,” Bryan growled, wrapping his arms around her waist and jerking her against him. “You mattered, you still matter,” he repeated. “I went half crazy when I came back and you were gone. I stayed for weeks, haunting any place you talked about with me. But I never found you.” He nudged her head to his shoulder and stroked his hand over her hair, finally tangling it into the curly locks and massaging her scalp. “Do you know what it does to me to know that no other man has ever touched you, never had what’s always been mine?”

  Shea wrapped her arms around his neck and her body relaxed against him, savoring every rippling muscle she was touching. One of his powerful thighs thrust between hers, and her body melted. “I don’t belong to anybody,” she protested against his hard chest.

  “You. Belong. With. Me.”

  Shea sighed as his gentle touch on her hair belied his strong words. He was claiming her, demanding ownership, but his touch was beseeching, cajoling her to capitulate.

  The connection she’d always felt with Bryan was still there, still just as strong — actually more powerful — than it had ever been. He’d swept her away five years ago with his compellingly strong presence and tender touch. Being an only child, and ignored by her parents, Bryan’s attention had made her open herself to him. For the first time, she’d felt like somebody actually cared about her. She felt exactly the same way right now, and it was seductive and intoxicating.

  “Show me?” she asked quietly, tentatively, tipping her head back to look at him.

  “You don’t know what you’re asking right now,” he replied in a guttural tone. “I want you so much I can hardly think. But you’re exhausted and you’ve been through a lot in the last twenty-four hours. When I take you, there will be no question of whether or not you’ll be mine in your mind.”

  Their eyes caught and held, and Shea’s breath hitched with longing, the desire burning hot in Bryan’s gaze inciting her own. “I need you,” she admitted shakily. It had been a long day, and everything in her world had been turned upside down. Bryan was all she had to hang onto right now, and she’d never wanted another man before or after him.

  She’d been mommy, daddy, employee, and her ass had been a human pin cushion at the club. She’d tried so hard to be everything to everybody most of her life. Right now, she wanted, needed to just be a desirable woman. She needed Bryan.

  He picked her up easily, his powerful biceps rippling as he took on her weight effortlessly and carried her to the bedroom. “Tell me you won’t regret this later,” he commanded.

  “I never regretted it the first time,” she breathed softly into his ear. “I love our daughter so much.”

  “You will love me, too,” he insisted gruffly.

  Shea smiled teasingly at him. “Is that a royal decree?”

  “No. It’s a much more personal request.” He set her feet on the floor and slowly loosened the tie on her robe until it opened. Bryan let out a tortured, low groan. “You are beautiful. More beautiful than I remembered.”

  Past the point of being shy, Shea shrugged the robe off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor, leaving her completely nude. She tugged at the hem of his shirt, desperately needing to touch his heated skin.

  Bryan yanked the shirt over his head obligingly and let it fall on top of her robe on the floor. He fumbled with the buttons of his jeans, his eyes never leaving her face as he shucked the denims and his boxer briefs.

  “I’ve dreamed about this, Shea,” Bryan told her in a graveled voice. “I can’t believe you’re really here.”

  She couldn’t believe it either, but as she ran her palms over his smooth muscled chest, he felt pretty damn real. “I’ve dreamed about it, too.” Almost every single night. “I missed you,” she said simply, stroking one palm along the rough, sexy stubble on his jaw.

  “I’ve missed you, too. And now that I have you with me again, circumstances be damned, I’m not letting you go.” His intense gaze speared Shea right in the heart.

  “Show me. Just for tonight,” she whispered, her body quivering with need.

  Bryan cupped her breasts and stroked his thumbs over her hardened nipples. “Not just tonight,” he insisted.

  Shea didn’t want to think about tomorrow. She wanted Bryan right now. Suddenly it wasn’t possible for her to think of the future. She’d been alone for too long, had taken care of her daughter by herself for years. This time was hers.

  She tossed her head back with a moan as Bryan nuzzled her neck, biting lightly on the sensitive skin. He moved quickly, spearing his hand through her hair and holding her head still as his mouth covered hers.

  He plundered with his tongue as he lifted her, lowering her down on the bed, his body sprawling on top of her without ever removing his mouth from hers. She moaned against his lips as her arms went around his neck, welcoming the weight of him on top of her, her nipples abrading against his chest.

  Yes. Yes. Yes.

  Breaking his mouth away from hers, he panted, “Shea.”

  His lips started a trail of fire down her neck and to her breasts. He took one of her sensitive nipples into his mouth, letting his hand tease the other. Heat swirled
in her belly, and her back arched to bring him closer, harder against her breast. Her fingers speared through his coarse, dark hair, holding his mouth to her aching nipple. “Please, Bryan.” She wasn’t even certain what she was begging for, but the heat between her thighs felt like it was going to consume her.

  He moved, his tongue slowly licking its way down her belly. She moaned again as he parted her thighs forcefully, leaving her sex completely exposed to him.

  “Mine.” His voice was raw and rough.

  Shea could feel his hot breath on her core, puffing against her swollen flesh. What was he doing? Certainly he wasn’t going to…

  “Oh, my God,” she squealed as Bryan lowered his head and his tongue parted her folds, seeking and finding her clit.

  Shea was transported, the warmth in her belly turning into an inferno as tiny tendrils of heat swirled through her bloodstream, scorching her entire body. Bryan tasted, his mouth devouring her, his teeth nipping at the sensitive pink flesh.

  “Bryan…please.” She needed even more, her body writhing with her desire for him to sate her. Keeping her tight grasp on him, she lifted her hips and yanked on his hair to keep his mouth on her clit. The sensation was exquisite, and she never wanted him to stop. She and Bryan hadn’t done a lot of exploring on their first night together. He’d kissed, teased, but he’d never done this, never consumed her with his mouth, sending her into a state of need that defied explanation.

  She imploded as soon as his tongue started rolling hard over the tiny, pulsating bundle of nerves. Her climax hit her hard, leaving her screaming. “Bryan, oh God. Bryan.” She fisted his hair and rode out her orgasm.

  When he moved up her body, they were both panting. “My dream. My Shea,” Bryan grunted as he positioned his cock against her wetness.