Taken by a trillionaire.., p.31
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       Taken by a Trillionaire 1-3, p.31

         Part #1 of Taken by a Trillionaire series by Ruth Cardello
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  He slowed his movements and made sure she enjoyed every single second of the earth-shattering orgasm. He waited until she gave a final shudder before he moved upward once again.

  She’d thought that it was over — for her, at least. She wasn’t selfish, though, and she was more than willing to take care of him in any way that she could. At least when she got her breath back. But when he nibbled on one of her still-hardened nipples, her body woke up fiercely.

  And he took her lips once again. He was no longer slow and gentle. He was fast and demanding and she was answering his call. She needed him again.

  He lifted her leg around his hip, and his manhood pressed against her core. She jerked her hips. She was desperate for completion.

  He continued to caress her mouth with his, and he stroked her hip and the smooth curve of her backside. It wasn’t what she wanted now. She wanted everything. And finally, finally, finally, he began to give her what she needed, inch by amazing inch, until he was deep inside her.

  He looked into her eyes, the moment so beautiful she almost wept. She loved him so much and there was no better way for them to be close. He started moving slowly in and out of her tight womanhood, causing ripples of desire to course through her.

  Giving her another drugging kiss, he gripped her hips masterfully and continued thrusting. And she met him stroke for stroke.

  She splintered. And almost simultaneously, he threw his head back and gave a loud groan as he released deep into her core.

  He collapsed on top of her and she almost couldn’t breathe from the weight of him. She didn’t care.

  She fell asleep with a smile on her face.

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chris put his hand on the doorknob several times, only to stop and take a step back.

  Telling Adara the truth was the only decent thing to do. But how could he do that without losing her?

  Still, he and Adara hadn’t shared a single bad moment since they’d come to Rubare Collina — at least one that didn’t involve someone threatening or trying to kill one of them.

  Why worry? Everything would be fine. She would understand his little deception. She had to. She loved him as much as he loved her.

  The wedding was only thirty days away, but how could he go through with it when this lie of his was blighting every thought in his brain? He had to do the decent thing. The honorable thing.

  So he opened the door to their suite. Adara was sitting in a high-backed chair and reading a book. When he walked in, her cheeks grew flushed and she smiled up at him.

  “I was just thinking about you,” she said with a secret smile.

  “What were you thinking?”

  “Some things are better off left to mystery,” she said, closing her book and setting it aside, with the front cover hidden. “Did you and your brothers have a good day?”

  “Yes, we managed to get a lot accomplished. With Emanuel’s information, we now have most of the remaining members of the Arcano in custody.” He bowed his head for a moment in shame. “Adara, I’m so sorry that I didn’t tell you about them. I really didn’t think they were a threat anymore.”

  “I understand. Or I think I do. As long as you don’t keep secrets from me ever again, Chris . . .”

  “That’s what I want to talk to you about.” He shifted on his feet, but then pulled her into his arms.

  Why did he seem so uncertain now, so reluctant to speak? This just wasn’t like him at all.

  “What is it, Chris? You can tell me anything.”

  “I don’t want to spoil this time with you,” he said, leaning down and nuzzling her neck.

  “You can’t spoil it, Chris. You know how much I love you,” she said so sweetly that his breath caught in his throat.

  He moved to the couch and pulled her onto his lap. Then he brushed the hair from her face. “We can get through anything together, right, my darling Adara?”

  “What is this all about? You’re really making me worry.”

  “I haven’t been completely honest with you, Adara, but we’ve grown so much since we’ve come to Rubare Collina. Please remember that.”

  “Chris, just spit it out.” She laughed nervously. “You’re probably making it worse in your own mind than it really is.”

  “Okay . . . when I told you that we were engaged before we arrived here . . . I might have stretched the truth just a little bit.”

  She sat back and stared at him. “What do you mean by ‘stretched the truth’?”

  He hated the suspicion that instantly filled her eyes.

  “We’d been seeing each other for three months — I told you that — but when it started, we both agreed to something casual. Just a short-term affair. Neither of us wanted anything serious.”

  He could tell from the way her eyes seemed to go wildly in and out of focus that she was searching her mind, trying to break through the wall of blankness there. He was a mass of tension when she finally spoke.

  “That sounds normal. I mean, relationships don’t blossom overnight, do they?”

  “The day we left for this country, you told me you didn’t want to be with me anymore. You said that it was over.” These last six words came out in a rush.

  She stiffened. “Why did I say that? Were things bad between us?”

  “No, not at all. I honestly think it was all just a shock for you when you learned that my feelings had grown, had changed. You were protecting yourself somehow. But what you have to remember is the way you feel now, Adara. We love each other completely, and that’s something that’s very rare,” he told her, cupping her face with his hands.

  “I . . . I’m trying to remember,” she said. She closed her eyes firmly and did her best to concentrate.

  “Your memory will come back to you. The doctor said you’re fine now. When you’re ready, it will all come back.”

  Adara didn’t pull away from him, but he couldn’t miss the strain in her features, her shudders of doubt and misgiving.

  “But I want to remember,” she told him. “That I don’t can’t be from any lack of trying.”

  “Just train your mind on the way you feel about me now. Don’t think about what happened before we got here.”

  He’d done what he’d promised himself to do. He’d told her the truth. Most of it, anyway. He’d just left out one tiny detail — the actual kidnapping. Why get into that?

  “I love you, Adara, and that’s all you need to think about.” He leaned forward and took her lips gently with his.

  She closed her eyes, kissed him back, and murmured “Yes.”

  Chris knew that everything would be perfect now. Again.

  But then she froze, and cried out.

  “What’s going on? What on earth is wrong, Adara?”

  “It hurts,” she said, gripping her head convulsively.

  “What hurts?”

  He rose from the couch, still holding her.

  “Let me go. Right now. Please.”

  He put her back on the couch and sat beside her, running a hand reassuringly up and down her back. “Do I need to get the doctor?” he asked. “Yes, I’ll get the doctor.”

  He dashed to the phone and called the chief royal physician. Sitting back down with her, he waited for what seemed like the longest minutes of his life.

  The doctor soon rushed in and moved Adara to the bed, telling Chris that he must now leave the room.

  The young prince paced by the door, and he wasn’t surprised when his two brothers appeared.

  “What’s wrong?” Xander asked him.

  “I don’t know,” Chris replied. “We were talking and then she was clutching at her head and in pain. I called the doctor right away.”

  They all waited for the doctor to emerge. That took only about fifteen minutes, but it seemed like forever.

  “Your Highness, I have wonderful news. Your conversation apparently jogged her memory. The rush of information was a bit too much for her, however, so I’ve given her a mild sedative. She should be back to hers
elf by the morning.”

  Chris flinched when he heard the doctor’s words, but he thanked him and stood there with his brothers in silence while the man left.

  “I don’t know if I should go in there,” he said. Once again, he was feeling unsure of himself. It was happening so often now, and it had never happened before.

  “Just rip it off — like a bandage — and get it over with,” Xander told him, though the king seemed pretty unsure himself.

  “You’ll be fine, Christopher,” Bryan said. “It will work out. I see the way the two of you look at one another.”

  But the cowards didn’t stick around to see the show. Chris’s brothers scattered before he could open Adara’s door.

  But he had to be brave. He couldn’t hesitate any longer. So he turned the doorknob and walked inside. The room was lit only dimly from the lamp on the bedside table.

  “How are you feeling?” Chris asked as he approached the bed.

  “Maybe I was the one blocking my memory. I didn’t want to remember what you’d done,” she said. Her voice was filled with sadness. “How could you do this to me, Chris?”

  He went over to sit down, but she sent him a withering look, letting him know in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t at all welcome in her bed.

  “I did what I needed to do. In time you will realize that I made the right decision. We’ve found each other, and we care too much to let each other go.”

  In his fear of losing her, he’d gone on the offensive. He couldn’t appear weak right now.

  “I see. It’s that old ‘the end justifies the means’ crap. Your royal prerogative, or something like that. I need time to think about this, Your Highness. I want you out of my sight. Immediately. Get out of this room.”

  Her words pierced his chest, and he ached. But he wouldn’t show that to her.

  “We’ll get through this, Adara,” he said before he did her bidding and left.

  He had to believe that or he wouldn’t make it through the night, let alone the rest of his life.

  Chapter Seventeen

  Adara walked away from the palace in the early morning light and entered the waiting car. The driver had asked her no questions when she summoned him — she wasn’t under house arrest, after all. Still, she hoped the fellow wouldn’t get in trouble once Chris found out what she’d done. Their little — or big — drama wasn’t the driver’s fault.

  She was out of sight of the palace before she allowed her tears to fall. Her heart was shattered, but she’d survived worse things in her life and she would survive this too. Yet she could never stay with a man who had deceived her so thoroughly and with so few qualms. That was all she knew right now.

  The idea of life without him was killing her. But their entire relationship was built on nothing but lies. The truth they’d seemed to find in each other couldn’t withstand that foundation of deceit. She was in love with him, but she didn’t believe he loved her — couldn’t believe it. A man in love didn’t kidnap a woman he professed to love and then lie to her about what had happened for nearly a month. His feelings couldn’t possibly be real. All he’d wanted was to get married in time, before he turned thirty.

  The car pulled into the small airport terminal, and she put a handkerchief to her face in hopes the driver wouldn’t notice her pathetic weakness.

  “I’ll wait for you here,” he told her.

  “That’s not necessary. I’ll be a while,” she said. He gave her a concerned look, but she was able to force a smile. “It’s okay. I’m meeting my friend here, and we’ll be exploring the town. We’ll get a taxi.”

  He looked at her doubtfully, but she felt sure that she was putting on a good performance, a Chris-worthy performance. That thought almost made her burst into tears all over again. But she wouldn’t, not for a man like him. Hardly a prince of a man. She said goodbye to the driver and walked into the terminal with her spine stiff and her head high.

  A flight was leaving for the States in three hours, and she used the last of her money on the ticket, and then had nothing to do but wait. The waiting wouldn’t be fun, of course. The longer this took, the more likely it was that Chris would discover she was missing. But he surely wouldn’t think to check out the airport until it was too late. That, at least, was in her favor. Just about the only thing in her favor right now.

  At long last, she heard a woman announce her flight in at least four languages — luckily, one was English. Adara walked over, held out her boarding pass, and went onto the jet. She was doing the right thing, dammit, even if her heart was telling her the opposite.

  And, boy, was her wretched heart rebelling right now. Turn around! Think about that man! You’d come to know him after you let your guard down!

  No. She hadn’t studied science for nothing. She had a logical brain, and she wasn’t about to let it be overpowered by her weak heart. She kept moving forward, and she found her seat on the plane and sat down. She could do this without falling apart.

  She’d made this decision and she would stand by it. She’d come to see that her mother was wrong, that some men could be trusted. Adara had made a terrible mistake, had opened her heart to the wrong man, but that didn’t make them all worthless. Maybe, just maybe, at some point, she’d find someone, the One . . .

  The doors of the plane slammed shut, and Adara let out a breath. Was it panic? Relief? She wasn’t sure. But whatever it was, there was no going back now.

  The great love of her life, or the supposed love of her life, just wasn’t meant to be. But she couldn’t watch as the airplane made its departure from the beautiful island of Rubare Collina, so she yanked down the shade over her window. She would keep her eyes closed and tell herself over and over again that she was making the right decision, the only possible decision that she could make.

  She heard a small crackle, and the captain’s voice came over the intercom. “We’re sorry to inform you, but there’s been an unavoidable delay. I’m sure that the problem will be resolved in just a few minutes. Please sit back and relax. We’ll be underway very soon.”

  When would this hell end for her? Adara sat up, wondering how much more of this she was expected to go through. The fates must have it in for her. She needed to get out of the country, the sooner the better, and she wished the freaking plane would just take off.

  Just her luck, again. She could hear the airline doors squeal as they were wrenched open. And then people around her were gasping. She just wanted to bury her head in her hands, but doesn’t everyone look toward a train wreck? Or a plane wreck? Or whatever? Suddenly all the passengers began applauding.

  She opened her window blind and looked out and her mouth dropped open. Chris was riding up to the jet on his horse, and he was dressed in full military uniform.

  What was he doing? Her stomach fluttered at the sight of him. She hated herself for feeling that flutter, but there was no way to control it.

  Within seconds he was jumping from his horse and running up to the aircraft, his guards close behind him. And then he was standing right there before her. For the smallest of seconds, there was a sad vulnerability in his expression, but that soon vanished, and he smiled at her with a twinkle in his eye.

  “Guards, seize her,” he said. He didn’t break eye contact with her for an instant, and she just gaped at him. Was he insane? Seize her? What the . . . heck was he playing at? He had to be talking about someone else, and she looked all around her to find out who it was.

  But the guards walked straight up to her. No way. She wasn’t setting foot out of the jet no matter what they said.

  “Miss Adara, you’ll need to come with us,” one of the guards told her.

  She’d seen this same guard countless times over the last month, and he’d always been quite respectful.

  “You are kidding, right?” she replied.

  “Sorry, ma’am, but we don’t joke in matters involving national security.”

  “I’m not going anywhere with you,” she said in her haughtiest voice. “A
s you can see, I’m getting ready to leave for home.” She looked from the guard to Chris, who was still smiling, then crossed her arms and sat there stubbornly.

  “You’ve given us no choice,” Chris said.

  He grabbed her seat belt and quickly unbuckled it, pulled her from her seat, and handed her over to his guard. The guard tossed her over his shoulder — no easy task, considering the tight space in the aircraft. She let out a scream and pounded on the man’s back. The passengers looked on in glee. They were obviously witnesses to something great.

  The guards took her off the aircraft and put her down next to Chris’s horse. He was still on the jet; she had no idea what he was doing there.

  He finally descended the stairs and came to stand beside her. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do, but slugging him was a definite thought dancing around in her mind.

  “You are being charged with theft, with stealing from the palace,” he told her.

  She looked at him in shock. She was devastated that he’d think she would take anything from him besides the clothes he had bought for her, and she’d only taken the ones she was wearing right now.

  “I didn’t take anything. Why would I do that?” she said, her eyes filling with tears.

  “You know perfectly well what you took. You stole my heart, Adara, my soul, my very existence,” he said, and he hauled her into his arms.

  It took her a few seconds to grasp what he was saying.

  “No, you know perfectly well that what you just said isn’t true. Our relationship is nothing more than a lie,” she said. “A way for you to retain your title.”

  “On the contrary. I publicly renounced my title this morning, the moment my driver called to inform me he’d dropped you off at the airport. I made a formal announcement to my people. I want nothing on this planet more than I want you. But I’m not about to force you to do anything, my Adara. Not this time. Tell me you don’t love me, and I will set you free, even though it will cost me everything I am.”