Taken by a trillionaire.., p.17
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       Taken by a Trillionaire 1-3, p.17

         Part #1 of Taken by a Trillionaire series by Ruth Cardello
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  “Yes,” she whimpered, stroking her hands over his back.

  “Mine.” He drove himself home, burying his cock inside her with a broken groan.

  Shea lifted her hips to meet him, her muscles relaxing to let him in. Bryan was a big man, but she wasn’t complaining. The sensation of him stretching her, filling her so completely felt too incredibly good.

  Wrapping her legs around his waist, she locked her muscles, wanting him to stay connected with her, yet wanting him to move. “Fuck me,” she finally demanded.

  “I love it when you talk dirty to me,” he said with part amusement, part desperation. He moved his hips, pulling his cock almost completely out of her and then plunging again. She ground her pelvis up against him, encouraging him to go harder, faster.

  As though he had finally snapped, Bryan thrust hard the next time. And the next. Unceasingly, he buried himself inside her over and over, faster and faster. His mouth covered hers in a breathtaking kiss. Tasting herself on his lips made her even hotter, wilder, and her tongue dueled with his as they moved together. Their bodies slick with sweat, Bryan continued to pummel into her, grunting with satisfaction as Shea came. She clenched, clamping down on his cock as the wall of muscles in her sheath spasmed, milking Bryan of his orgasm. He groaned her named and shuddered as he released himself into her warm heat.

  “I thought I never forgot how you felt, but I was wrong. I remember now, and it’s even more damn magical than I recalled,” he told her in a husky voice as he claimed her lips.

  He kissed her boldly, tenderly, his embrace aching sensual and possessive. Moving to her side, he gathered her body against his, as though he was afraid to let her out of his reach.

  Exhausted and sated, Shea fell asleep cuddled against his warm body, her hand resting against his heart.

  Chapter Five

  If I didn’t respect you, I swear I’d pound the two of you into the ground right now,” Bryan bellowed angrily at his father and Simon, pacing back and forth in the great hall once again; this time, though, Xander was also present. “You ignored my wishes, put Shea and my daughter in danger. I cannot tolerate that.”

  He and Shea had been released earlier in the day, after both of them had lied through their teeth about having come to an agreement…which they hadn’t. When Bryan had woken up this morning, Shea had been in the kitchen fixing breakfast. She’d looked so beautiful that it had taken every ounce of control he had not to drag her back to bed. One night hadn’t been nearly enough. Unfortunately, that opportunity had been quashed when Simon had come knocking on the door.

  Shea had been taken to their daughter immediately. Bryan had been torn. He’d desperately wanted to meet Hayden, but he needed to confront his father and Simon to make sure both Shea and his daughter stayed safe. He was relieved to find that Xander was now in residence.

  “I don’t condone what Father and Simon did, Bryan. But I also want you safe,” Xander commented in a calming but demanding voice. “Marry the woman to keep her and your child from harm. I had hoped that I could neutralize the situation, but things are still too unstable with the rogue Arcano.”

  Xander had been briefed by Simon and his father about what actions they’d taken to get Bryan married as soon as possible, and his elder brother was now trying to diffuse the volatile situation.

  Bryan wasn’t pacified. He was still damn angry.

  “It’s not that simple,” Bryan told him roughly. “Shea has taken care of our daughter all by herself. She doesn’t know our country, and being drugged, kidnapped, and imprisoned hasn’t exactly made her like or trust any Rubarians except me. I don’t even think she understands that Hayden is now a princess, even though it’s only a courtesy title.” He hesitated before adding unhappily, “And she doesn’t take royal demands very well or very seriously.”

  Bryan saw the stern look on Xander’s face change, his lips curving up in a small grin. “Reanna was the same. She’ll adjust.”

  Bryan stopped pacing and faced his brother who was standing against the bar. “You think so? How well did Reanna adjust? Does she always obey your royal commands?”

  “Only when she chooses to do so,” Xander admitted with a frown.

  If he hadn’t been so furious, Bryan might have laughed at the disgruntled look on his elder brother’s face. Reanna was a wonderful woman, but she kept her husband on his toes. Xander hadn’t spent as much time in America as Bryan, who still wasn’t certain that his sibling completely understood his independent wife. Americans didn’t revere royalty, but Reanna respected her husband as a man and a leader. However, his sister-in-law was far from being completely compliant to the King of Rubare Collina, even if he was her husband.

  “American women are different,” Simon mumbled quietly from his chair across the room.

  “We need to stop kidnapping American women,” Bryan’s father said with an agreeing nod of his head. “They’re…difficult.”

  Bryan let out an irritated snort. “We need to stop kidnapping any women. If a Rubarian female were treated in this manner, it would mean a long prison sentence for the male who dared to do such a thing.”

  Xander shrugged. “We’re royalty,” he answered casually, as though that explained everything for him. “It’s tradition. What is really wrong in the old traditions is the Arcano, and the death sentence if the woman refuses to declare herself to a prince.”

  Bryan shook his head. At one time, all of the brothers had agreed that the marriage traditions were outdated and archaic. Maybe getting the woman he loved because of those traditions had mellowed Xander on his beliefs. “I don’t think Shea is going to follow tradition. She was understandably angry about being drugged, kidnapped and held against her will. I had no chance to court her, much less to make her love me.”

  “Drugging her was wrong,” Xander agreed emphatically, shooting an irritated glance at his father and Simon. “It was also not right that she was brought here in the manner she was, and without your approval of her as your choice. I believe Simon and Father were concerned about the death threats, and wanted you to be safe. Do you care for this woman, Bryan? Might she have been your choice had you had a say? You obviously cared about her, or at least you desired her. You created a child together. And Hayden does belong here. She needs to take her place as your daughter, a princess of Rubare Collina. She’s my niece, a child I didn’t know about either.” Xander shot another annoyed glance at Simon, as though he was irritated that the royal advisor hadn’t informed him of his niece’s existence. “Hayden should have what’s due to her as a Demande, as your child.”

  “I never forgot Shea,” Bryan confessed to Xander, ignoring the two men who made his blood boil. “I met her right before Father became ill with pneumonia and you called me home from America. When I went to seek her out again, she was gone. She had to move to be capable of supporting our child. I was never able to locate her again. She had dreams, ambitions, but she sacrificed them all to have Hayden. She might have been my choice had I been free to have one, but I would never have willingly brought Shea or my daughter into danger.” He glared at Simon. “How did you find her? How did you know about Hayden?”

  The elderly man averted his gaze. “There’s nothing we don’t know. Just because you were in America anonymously didn’t mean you didn’t have undercover guards. It really wasn’t that difficult, Your Highness. With our connections in the United States, we were able to check out anyone you spent time with. When it became time for us to find you a bride, we looked up the women that you spent time with, including the women in America. We didn’t know about your daughter until we had located Shea again. If we had known, we would have told you. She had to be your chosen. She’d already had your daughter.”

  “You spied on me?” Bryan asked angrily. “You actually kept a damn list and investigated any woman I slept with?”

  “We were protecting you.” His father spoke up in Simon’s defense. “They acted on my orders. You were young, and America is very different than life here
in Rubare Collina. You were protected here. I wanted you safe during your time there.”

  “America is definitely…different,” Xander agreed reluctantly.

  Bryan rolled his eyes, knowing he’d never convince his father that he hadn’t really needed protection. America was different, but it wasn’t as if it were a third world country. “Why didn’t you just tell me that you’d found Shea? Why wasn’t I given a choice before you kidnapped her…and me? If you’re so mired in your tradition, I should have technically had that choice.”

  “You would have refused,” Simon answered simply. “Since you know about the Arcano now, you wouldn’t have put Shea in danger by seeing her, even if you wanted to. It would have meant that you would continue to be in danger, that the death threats would get more serious until there were attempts on your life. We couldn’t risk anything happening to you.”

  “I ordered it done. Blame me. I don’t want to see the death of yet another loved one because of the Arcano,” his father said solemnly, sadly.

  Bryan stared at the surprisingly wan appearance of his father as he sat resting on a comfortable lounger close to Simon. There had been a time when his father had been larger than life, a powerful king who was considered a fair ruler by all his people. Now he just looked…melancholy and older. Bryan didn’t have the heart or the stomach to fight with his only parent. “I understand your motives, even if I don’t approve of them.” Their father cared about all of his sons, even though he had a strange way of showing it sometimes. The former king had suffered enough, seen the woman he’d loved and his chosen bride killed because of the Arcano. “But your actions have left me in a very uncomfortable position.”

  “Marry her,” Xander demanded. “I don’t want to see any of you harmed. I’ve yet to meet my niece, but she’s my family now. The best solution is for you to wed. I don’t think you’d be unhappy, Bryan. I think you still care for this woman.”

  “That’s not the point. She doesn’t know me or our country. Shea doesn’t want to marry me.” The statement both amused him and stung just a little at the same time. “She isn’t taking the Arcano seriously.”

  There was no question that Bryan was going to marry Shea. The problem was going to be convincing her of the very real danger to her and Hayden. He’d spent years in America. He could imagine how difficult it was for her to truly believe she was in danger of being executed.

  “Then convince her that she must,” Xander rumbled, his voice holding a hint of amusement. “The summer home is empty. Use it. Your castle would be too difficult to guard. The summer palace is quieter, more remote, and easier to guard because it borders the water. There is also only one road into the property, and the gates surrounding the palace are wired. I’ll make sure that you’re not disturbed. I can give you a week. But the situation is urgent, Bryan. You need to educate her in our ways, make her take the threats seriously. Your daughter’s life depends on it.”

  “What progress are we making with the Arcano?” Bryan asked sharply.

  “Not as much as I’d like. There are still too many of them out there yet to be captured.”

  “Are we sharing this information with Christopher?”

  Xander shook his head slowly. “No. I think not. The less he knows the better. He’s out of the country right now on business. I think there’s danger in knowledge of the Arcano. Better to leave him out of this for now. I was hoping I could have the situation under control before your birthday. I’m sorry that didn’t happen.”

  Bryan looked at his brother, a king who currently seemed like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. “I want to help you fight this battle.”

  Xander moved to Bryan and put his hand on his shoulder. “And so you will…after you’re safe. Woo your female, and marry her. Then we will fight this together. Brothers first.”

  “Brothers first,” Bryan growled, slapping his hand on top of Xander’s before they broke apart. He had to agree with Xander’s judgment to keep Christopher out of the Arcano mess until absolutely necessary. He was their baby brother, and they wanted him to be safe.

  “Simon, ready the summer palace. I want trusted guards surrounding the perimeter of the residence and inside the castle for protection,” Xander commanded. “Make arrangements for Bryan’s wedding to take place in a week here at the main residence. Let Christopher know that Bryan is getting married so he can be back in time for the wedding.” He looked at Bryan again before adding, “It’s all the time I can safely give you. I know you’re still months from your thirtieth birthday, but the situation is too dangerous.”

  Simon stood, bowing to all three of them before leaving the room to do Xander’s bidding.

  “I’m well aware of the dangers to Shea and my daughter. I just wish neither one of them had been put in danger in the first place. I think it’s time for me to go and meet my daughter.” His options now were limited. He did need to convince Shea to marry him as soon as possible. He couldn’t change the actions of Simon or his father; he needed to make things right, keep them both safe.

  He turned and left the room, eager to see his daughter for the first time.

  After Bryan had left, Xander strolled over to the lounger and sat down next to his father. “I might have done the same thing to save his life,” he admitted in a low, quiet voice.

  “I wasn’t certain if he’d ever forgive me, but I couldn’t watch him die,” the former king told his eldest son.

  “Nor could I.” Xander placed a comforting hand on his father’s shoulder. “Shall we give them some time and then go meet this newly acquired Demande child? I’d like to meet my first niece.”

  “I’ve met her. I spent most of the day with her yesterday. Delightful little girl. And fearless. I thought she might be afraid, but she’s already acclimating, and she seems to love Moira and Alex already,” the prince said with a genuine smile.

  “She has good taste then,” Xander joked. “I think I’ll find my way to the nursery.”

  “Are you anxious to see your niece, your son, or your wife?”

  Xander grinned back at his father as he rose from the sofa and made his way to the door. “All of them. My life has certainly changed over the last year. The Arcano are a problem, but I have also had many new and precious gifts.” He shook his head like he was still in disbelief as he walked out the door.

  Prince Francis remained seated with a thoughtful look. “So have I, my son. And I won’t be satisfied until all of my sons are happy,” he whispered to himself, sitting back against the sofa with a satisfied smile.

  *****

  Shea was teary-eyed as she watched her daughter cling to Bryan as though he’d been with her since birth. She’d prepared her daughter for a visit with her father, and Hayden had accepted him with the trust that only a child could instantly have with a dad she’d never met.

  Bryan was on the floor of the nursery with Hayden and little Alex, looking much like a boy himself as he played with some of the many toys with his daughter. Bryan looked like he was talking earnestly to his child, and Hayden was smiling in a way that Shea hadn’t seen before.

  She looked like a child should look: carefree, happy, with a bit of hero-worship for her newfound father. Hayden had never really been able to just be a child. With Shea needing two jobs, her young daughter had gotten used to being shuffled around to babysitters, never seeing much of her mother because Shea was always working. She tried to make every moment she spent with her daughter count, but she’d missed so many things by not being there for Hayden all the time: Hayden’s first crawl, her first steps, her first words…pretty much all of her daughter’s “firsts” had been related by babysitters or daycare.

  “Thank you for keeping an eye on her, Your Majesty,” she said to the beautiful woman sitting next to her: Xander’s wife, Reanna. Hayden had been dressed in an adorable pink dress and black leather shoes, her dark hair arranged in two pigtails that were adorned with pink ribbon. She looked like a little…princess.

  “Please
call me Reanna. I’m not used to formal stuff. I’m American just like you,” Reanna replied quietly.

  “Were you kidnapped, too?” Shea had liked the woman immediately. Queen Reanna was beautiful, and she’d given Shea a warm smile of understanding when she’d entered the nursery, searching frantically for her daughter.

  “Only after I’d already come here willingly,” Reanna answered with a smile.

  After Shea gave her a questioning look, Reanna explained, telling her the whole story of how she had come to marry Xander, and the perils they’d experienced along the way.

  When she finished the story, she commented gravely, “You’ll have to marry Bryan. The Arcano are a very real danger, and it’s the best way to keep you all safe now. I don’t like what Xander’s father and Simon did to you, but now that it’s happened, the word will get out about you and Hayden, which will put you all in danger.” She paused before asking hesitantly. “Do you care about Bryan? I’ve become very fond of him, and I’m hoping you can make each other happy.”

  “I barely know him,” Shea admitted, her eyes still glued to Bryan and Hayden. “We only spent one night together before he left New York.”

  “It must have been a special night if you conceived Hayden,” Reanna mused.

  “It was. For me it was.”

  Reanna was silent, observing the children and Bryan on the floor, and then looked at Moira sitting in a chair behind the three of them. Finally, she said softly, “Hayden looks so much like Bryan. I work in genetics research, and the similarities are remarkable. It’s strange, but Bryan actually shares a lot of characteristics with Moira, too, even though they aren’t related.”

  Shea stared at the nanny, whose dark hair was pulled up in a bun, her eyes gently watching Hayden and Bryan play. They actually did look very much alike. Even the shape and color of their eyes were the same. “They do. Are you certain they aren’t related?” Now that Reanna had pointed out the similarities between Bryan and Moira, it was hard to ignore them.