Taken by a trillionaire.., p.8
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       Taken by a Trillionaire 1-3, p.8

         Part #1 of Taken by a Trillionaire series by Ruth Cardello
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  As they both caught their breath, Reanna looked at the portraits that lined the other side of the hall. She and Xander had been close to going all the way in front of generations of his ancestors. Reanna tapped Xander’s shoulder. “That’s embarrassing. I thought we were alone.”

  “We’re not?” Xander demanded, breathing raggedly. He lowered her to the floor and adjusted his clothing while moving to shield her from anyone’s view.

  Reanna closed the front of her dress then laid her hand on Xander’s tense back. “I was referring to the portraits.” She bent and lifted the one she’d knocked to the floor. The woman in the photo was a stunning brunette with Xander’s blue eyes. Well, not exactly Xander’s. There was an expression in her eyes that Reanna had never seen in his, an anger that ran so deep it had shone even while sitting before the painter. Reanna read the plaque on the wall where the painting had been. “Queen Stephanie doesn’t look pleased with us.”

  Xander turned back toward Reanna slowly. He lifted the portrait and replaced it on the wall. “I don’t remember her ever being happy. Not one day of her life.”

  Reanna shimmied the skirt of her dress back into place. “Was she your mother?”

  The passionate man from a few moments earlier was gone. Xander’s expression was hard and distant. “Biologically, yes. She died when I was ten.”

  “I’m so sorry. I lost my parents at a young age, too. Do you remember her? Do you still miss her? I try to remember every moment of being with my mother, but I’ve already forgotten so much.”

  A cold expression darkened Xander’s eyes, and for just a moment, he truly had his mother’s eyes. “I do not speak of her. Ever.”

  “I understand, I think. But she was your mother.”

  “That is enough. You will respect my wishes on this matter. Is that clear?” he snapped.

  Reanna stepped back in response to his angry tone. “Crystal.”

  His anger seemed to dissolve the instant he realized the reaction Reanna had to it. He held out a hand to her. “Come. We traveled a long way today. You must be tired.”

  Reanna hesitated. She was beginning to wonder if following him blindly had been a wise choice. She didn’t want to worry about anything when she was with him. She wanted to give herself up to the experience, but she felt the tone of the trip changing, and she didn’t like it. She’d been in too many situations in her life where she hadn’t felt in control of where she would go or how she would be treated. She decided right then and there she wouldn’t put herself in that situation ever again. If necessary, she was finally ready to fight for what she wanted and for how she knew she deserved to be treated.

  He stepped closer to her, but he still sounded impatient as he said, “Reanna, there is no reason to fear me. I’m tired, and because of that, my temper is shorter than it should be.”

  Still she didn’t move. She met his eyes boldly and said, “I’m not afraid of you. I said yes to coming here because I want to be with you, but you need to respect me, or I won’t stay. I’m not one of your subjects. If I do something that upsets you, tell me and I’ll try to never do it again. But I’m not a child. Don’t use that tone with me again.”

  They faced each other for a moment — a standoff of sorts. His expression was unreadable at first, then a slow smile spread across his face. “I knew there was fire inside you, Reanna. Seeing it makes me want you all the more.”

  “I’m serious.”

  “So am I.” He touched her cheek lightly. “You’re stronger than you know, Reanna, and I find you more attractive each time you prove it.”

  She put a hand on one of her hips. It was hard to stay angry with him when his eyes were burning with desire for her. The knowledge of how attracted he was to her was an aphrodisiac like none Reanna had ever experienced before. She didn’t feel helpless when he looked at her that way. She felt invincible. “Then you’ll find me drop-dead gorgeous when I slap you the next time you speak to me the way you just did.”

  He pulled her roughly to him. “I am trying to make it to my bedchambers before ripping your dress off, but you’re pushing me to my limits.” He kissed her deeply then lifted her into his arms. “I’ll listen to the rest of your lecture, but I’d prefer you naked as I do.” He carried her down the hall and into his suite. Without putting her down, he closed the door and carried her to his bed. He dropped her down onto it and said, “Strip, Reanna.”

  Reanna propped herself up on one elbow. There was a playful smile on his face, and Reanna found herself enjoying the game. “And if I don’t?”

  His smile widened, and he quickly disrobed, then rolled onto the bed beside her. “I don’t mind persuading you.” He lay close to her, but not against her, mirroring her position. He traced the neckline of her dress with one finger. “How would you want it tonight, Reanna? Slow and tender? Or rough? Tell me what you like.”

  Reanna opened her mouth to say something, but closed it with a click of teeth when she couldn’t form a coherent sentence. He ran a finger across her collarbone and down one of her arms. She glanced down. The evidence of his arousal stood straight and proud between them.

  He tapped her nose in light reprimand. “Where is my bold vixen who threatened to slap me?”

  Her mouth was suddenly dry. “I’ve never actually hit anyone in my life.”

  “I’m not into pain, Reanna, I prefer pleasure. However, the passion I saw in you when you threatened me is what I want to taste here in my bed.”

  “I don’t understand.”

  He traced the line of her jaw upward and buried a hand in her hair. “Sex and dancing have many commonalities. I had to study ballroom dancing for formal events. When I was younger I thought the man always led, but experience taught me the emptiness of that. The beauty of any dance is in the intimate partnership, the physical give and take and the trust it requires. When you learn to trust your partner, you can fully give yourself to the dance, and it takes it to a whole new level.”

  Reanna gazed into his eyes and said the first thing that came to her. “I don’t dance.”

  “Would you like to learn?” he asked softly.

  She nodded, never taking her eyes away from his.

  “I only give naked lessons.”

  Reanna’s eyes widened, then she saw the flash of humor in his eyes and burst out laughing. “You’re wicked.”

  He leaned forward and kissed her smiling lips. “And you are adorable. Now, are you ready for your first dance lesson?”

  Reanna teased, “I thought you were tired.”

  Xander rolled onto his back, and moved backward until he was sitting against the headboard of the bed. “No man is too tired to watch a beautiful woman dance.”

  Sitting up beside Xander, Reanna said, “Watch? What happened to this being a partnership?”

  “Some pleasure can be found in dancing alone. Stand up, Reanna.”

  She hesitated, then stood on the bed. She’d lost her shoes somewhere along the way, but like her common sense, she wasn’t worried about finding them until after she’d given herself time to enjoy this particular dance fully.

  “Take off your dress.”

  Reanna pulled her dress over her head and stood there in her red silk panties and bra.

  “And those,” he instructed.

  She unsnapped her bra and threw it across the room, then stepped out of her panties and threw them at him. He caught them easily in one hand and smiled.

  “Now, stand above, straddling my hips.”

  She stepped over him so she had one foot on either side of his hips. She licked her lips nervously. “Shouldn’t there be music? Or something?”

  His hands closed over her ankles. “Close your eyes, Reanna. My voice will be all the music you need.”

  She closed her eyes and her arms automatically folded protectively in front of her chest. “I’ll try, but don’t laugh.”

  He rubbed her calves with his strong hands. “Reanna, I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman. Let yourself trust me, trust the
dance. Forget about everything else and just feel.”

  Reanna lowered her arms by her sides.

  “With your eyes closed, let your other senses take over. Run a finger over your lips, Reanna. Dip it in your mouth. That’s it. Lick the tip of it. Circle it with your tongue. Imagine that’s me in your mouth.”

  She did and sighed at the pleasure of it.

  “Now touch yourself, Reanna. Feel how soft your skin is. How perfect your breasts are. You like it when I tug on your nipples with my teeth. Give yourself that pleasure, Reanna. Pinch yourself and imagine it’s me. Does it feel good? Do you want more?”

  “Yes,” Reanna whispered, surprised that her own hands could bring herself to this level of arousal. Her hips began to move back and forth as a craving began to build inside her.

  “That’s it, find your inner music, your rhythm, and move your body with it. Do you feel yourself getting wet? Your body knows what it wants.”

  The more excited Reanna became, the less she cared what her body was doing or that he was watching her. She ran her hands over herself, enjoying her own touch as she imagined it was his. Feeling even more daring, she placed her hands on the top of the headboard and stepped forward so her sex hovered just in front of his face. His hands moved upward to cup her buttocks, and he flicked his tongue across the inside of one of her thighs.

  He guided her, and she placed herself over his mouth. The first hot lave of his tongue between her folds had her gripping the headboard tightly. He parted her with his fingers, and she gasped at the fire that lit through her as he began to move his tongue back and forth over her clit. She continued to move above him, rubbing herself gently against his mouth while he adored her with his talented tongue.

  He pumped one finger in and out of her, slowly at first and then with more speed. She felt herself getting wetter and wetter. Small wave after wave of pleasure rolled over her, and she shook with the intensity of it.

  With his hands on her hips, he moved her back a step then encouraged her to lower herself down onto his shaft. She opened her eyes and moved her hands to his shoulders. In that moment she was both in control and a slave to her own desire for him. She took him deeply into herself, then raised herself off him, before lowering herself onto him again.

  He gripped her hips and thrust upward. Reanna cried out his name in pleasure. She held onto him tightly and welcomed his thrusts more deeply. She sank down onto her knees. He sat forward, holding her as she arched backward on his lap. With a hand on the back of her neck, he guided her mouth to his. They kissed deeply as she continued to lift and lower herself onto him.

  With a few strong moves, Xander moved them to the edge of the bed. His legs went to the floor, and her knees rested just enough on the bed to allow her to continue to be in control.

  They continued to kiss deeply as he drove himself up into her powerfully while she met those thrusts with enthusiasm. What had started as tender became wilder with abandon until they came in unison, and she collapsed into his arms, sending them both tumbling backward onto the bed.

  He rolled, picked her up, and tucked her beneath the covers of the bed before sliding in beside her and tucking her against his side. Still pleasantly dazed from her orgasm, Reanna mumbled, “I’ve decided I like to dance.”

  She felt Xander’s chest rumble with a chuckle.

  It was early morning when Xander woke, instinctively hugging Reanna closer to him. He breathed in the scent of her. Waking beside her was something he wouldn’t mind doing for the rest of his life.

  He didn’t allow himself the luxury of feeling guilty about why he’d originally chosen her. None of that mattered now. She is here. It’s done.

  He estimated it would take about a month for her to trust him enough to accept a proposal from him. She didn’t just need to love him, she needed to be secure enough in that love to be able to announce her loyalty to him and to Rubare Collina in front of his father and the council. More than anything, he wanted her to do that willingly.

  He didn’t condone the outdated laws of his country, and until now, had resented being forced to marry. However, having Reanna was more of a match than he’d ever dared hope for. She was not only beautiful and intelligent, but he was also beginning to believe she was a woman he could love. A woman who would love her children in a way his mother hadn’t been able to. He wanted that for his sons as much as he’d once wanted it for himself.

  He didn’t allow himself to think of his mother often. He couldn’t separate memories of her, even ones that should have brought him some comfort, from the ugliness of the day she died.

  Even now, flashes of that day sent shards of anger through him. He hated her for never hiding how unhappy she was with their father or with them. He hated her for choosing to end her life in a selfishly dramatic way.

  Most of all, he hated that she had involved her children in her cowardly act. As if no time had passed at all, he could clearly remember Bryan calling out desperately for help. He remembered running to him only to stop in shock at the sight of his mother struggling to free herself from the grasp of her middle son. They had both been close to going over a cliff. Xander hadn’t had time to do more than react. He’d grabbed his brother’s arm with a force that had sent his mother flying free and backward and to her death. The guards, who had witnessed the incident, had raced at the sound of Prince Bryan, calling for help.

  His father had called him a hero for saving his brother’s life, but Xander hadn’t felt like a one. He’d blamed himself for not saving his mother also. He’d blamed himself for not knowing the extent of how unhappy she had been. Why hadn’t all this been enough for her?

  He’d spent years consumed with guilt, until he hadn’t been able to stomach it any longer. He’d boxed all the anger and resentment up and had shoved it so deeply inside him he had almost convinced himself it hadn’t happened. And, if it had, then she’d deserved her fate.

  He didn’t like how his feelings for Reanna made him think of that time again. He began to question himself in a way he hadn’t since he was a child.

  What if Reanna can’t love me?

  What if she receives the death sentence from my father?

  Would I defy my father for her?

  She snuggled into his side, oblivious to his mood. It won’t come to that. I won’t allow it to. Reanna Fielding, I’m half in love with you already.

  Come the rest of the way with me.

  Both of our lives may depend on it.

  Chapter Nine

  For the next few weeks, Reanna woke up in Xander’s arms and cautioned herself not to be disappointed if he announced he couldn’t spend the day with her because he had royal duties to perform without her. That conversation never came, but the worry remained. She still often kept her eyes closed long after she woke and reminded herself nothing lasts forever. One day soon he would send her home. Life would go on, with or without Xander, just as it had always gone on without those she’d loved and lost.

  Love?

  I’m falling in love with a man I can’t hope to keep. She kept a corner of her heart protected from him behind a wall of rational detachment just as she’d learned to do while in foster care. The hurt never runs as deeply if you keep a piece of yourself separate.

  However, that emotional detachment was harder and harder to maintain as each day passed. Xander let her see the man inside the prince. He was two men: both the kind she could love, and both as impossible to resist. When they were alone, Reanna could make him laugh — even when he was trying to be serious. She could make him forget what he was saying simply by licking her bottom lip and looking at him from beneath her lashes. He was attentive, affectionate, interested in seeing his country through her eyes, and often playful.

  In front of his house staff or when they ventured out into public, Xander was a royal — dignified, demanding, and intimidating. People made way for him when he walked, both out of deference and because he carried himself like a man who should command respect. Sometimes, no matter h
ow sophisticated her attire, Reanna couldn’t help but feel like a poor match, standing beside him. Then he would turn, sense her anxiety, and wink at her as if the pomp and circumstance were all for show, and that knowledge was their private joke. Each of those moments claimed another piece of her heart.

  They started many days by showering together. Often it led to a delay of their morning plans, other times it was simply a warm and comfortable shared experience that set an intimate tone to their day.

  As much as she adored him as a man, she also respected him as a ruler. He didn’t stand above his people, he walked among them, albeit with an entourage of security.

  No matter where their journey took them, she would never forget the day she had toured a hospital with him. Photographers had accompanied them on most of the tour, but when they reached the children’s ward, he banned them. Reanna had been brought to tears watching him with the young patients. He asked them questions that demonstrated his genuine interest in them and soon had a room full of children clapping and laughing at the stories he shared about growing up with two brothers.

  One little girl asked him if he could sit beside her on her bed. When he did so, she climbed onto his lap and demanded to know why he dressed in a suit and not like the princes she saw in the movies. He explained that those princes were from a very long time ago. She was not impressed. She asked him if he had ridden there on a white horse. When he said he didn’t, she shook her head sadly and said that was a shame. Every prince should ride a white horse.

  As they left the hospital that day, Reanna overheard Xander telling one of his staff to make sure each child in the hospital received a stuffed animal with a short note from him. He instructed the person to make sure the little girl received a white horse with a note thanking her for her wise advice.