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His Drakon Runaway Bride(32)

By:Tara Pammi

A gleam in his eyes, he kissed her tenderly for a long time. Torturously slow when all Ariana wanted was to feel him inside her.

When he let her come up for air, Ari pushed him back on the bed and laid her head on his chest. She didn’t know how long they lay like that, staring at each other, smiling sometimes, nibbling at each other’s lips other times. Not needing words.

“Do you want a boy or a girl?” she finally asked.

He placed his palm on her tummy, and lifted his eyes to hers. “I do not care. I just want you both safe. I just... I can’t imagine my life if something were to happen to you, Ari.”

She kissed his temple, his brows, the tip of his arrogant nose, trying to soothe the raw fear in his voice. “Nothing will happen. Not as long as we’re together.”

He nodded and swallowed. Looked away. Another silence followed, his fingers tight against hers.

She knew he was processing all this. Knew that the emotion he felt for her, the depth of his love for her...it was not an easy thing for him. So she waited, her heart full of tenderness and love. She would wait an eternity for the privilege of being loved by Andreas.

He looked down at her, a fierce light in his dark eyes. “All I know is that you will be a fierce, wonderful mother and I... This child will be so lucky to have you.

“I am so lucky to have found you, Ariana.”

Ariana nodded, and reached for his kiss again. “And I’m honored you chose me, Andreas, of all the countless gorgeous, accomplished, beautiful women that have the hots for you all over the world.”

He laughed, and she laughed because she loved his laugh. Covering her body, still smiling, he pulled her sweater off. A devilish gleam in his eyes as he realized the sweater was his.

“You have to stop filching my clothes,” he said, with his wicked mouth buried against her neck.

“Never,” she replied arching into the sensuous warmth of his body.

“Kala. You can have my sweaters, my shirts. And my heart.”

She loved him so much that her heart felt like it would never settle down. “And you have mine,” she managed to whisper somehow just as he licked the puckered crest of her nipple.

Sinking her hands into his hair, she held him tight.

He was the people’s man. He had duties to so many. So many responsibilities. Even his time was not his own.

But his kisses and his laughter had always been hers and only hers.

She didn’t need anything more than that.


Seven months later

THE KING OF DRAKON jumped out of the chopper mere seconds after it hit the tiled terrace of the King’s Palace, heart thundering in his chest.

He was late. Damn it, he’d promised her he’d be by her side and he was late. He’d gone half-crazy being stuck in a cabin on the other side of the world, locked in by a hurricane while she had needed him. Even their communication had been cut off and once her labor had started, Andreas could not distract her just to reassure himself.

At least she was not alone, he consoled himself. Nikandros and Mia, Gabriel and Eleni and even Nik’s mother, Camille, had been with her. They would have seen to her every need.

The knowledge that she had delivered and both she and the baby were fine was the only thing that had kept him from going utterly mad.

She and the baby had even been transported back to the palace. When Nik would have spilled the beans to the public, Andreas had forbidden him.

He wanted to see her first. He wanted to see for himself whether his wife had given him a boy or a girl. He needed, desperately, to be a husband and a father, at least for a few minutes, before he had to think like a King. Before he had to make an announcement that Drakon had its heir.

Without breaking his stride, he handed off his laptop case, his long jacket and gloves to his waiting teams. He checked his phone and let another curse fly.

A day, he was late by a whole day.

Long strides took the stairs three and four at a time and by the time he reached his wife’s suite, his heart had crawled up into his throat.

The silence hit him hard, ratcheting up his pulse, forming all kinds of scenarios in his head. Uncaring of the sounds he made, he rushed to the huge bed in the center of the room.

Only when he saw her did his breath return to normal.

She lay in the center of the huge bed, a little pale, dark shadows under her eyes, far too thin in his mind. And absolutely beautiful in that glowing, tired kind of way. He was about to reach for her when he heard the soft cry.

A gurgle to be exact.

Like a man possessed, he followed the sound to the tiny crib sitting in the corner of the room. Breath punched through his throat as he looked at the tall infant staring up at him with jet-black eyes.

Long lashes. A thin blade of a nose. Thick hair the color of a raven’s wing.

It was like looking at his own reflection—except pudgy, toothless and utterly adorable.

Another gurgle. Almost a command.

His knees buckling, Andreas had to hold on to the wall beside him. This was a part of him—his own flesh and blood. And the emotion that filled his body threatened to take him out at the knees.

“Pick him up,” said a husky voice behind him. “He wants you to pick him up.”

Andreas jerked around, tears blurring his vision. “Him?” he whispered, past the lump in his throat. “It’s a boy?”

Her own eyes luminous with tears, Ariana nodded. Hauling her into his arms, he pressed a rough kiss to her mouth. The taste of her exploded through his body, an anchor, a siren’s call. Home.

He tried to swallow her grief—the memory of the son they’d lost—into him when she trembled. When tears leaked out the corners of her beautiful eyes. “We’ll always have his memory,” he whispered against her temple and felt her answering shudder.

He crushed her to him, uncaring of how feeble she was. God, he needed the warmth of her body. Needed to hear the hitch of her breath as he peppered kisses all over her face. “Have I told you how much I love you?” he said, his throat gruff and scratchy. “I’m so sorry, agapita. I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you needed me.”

Sinking her fingers into his hair, she brought his face up. “No apologies needed. Not if you promise to be here for the next three.”

Laughter burst out of him at the running joke between them. He’d said one, terrified of losing her, and Ariana had said they would have four. Flushed and breathtakingly beautiful, she made it look so easy that for the first time, four seemed like a splendid idea.

“It’s a deal,” he said against her mouth, wild with love. Crazy with a soul-deep longing that he knew would never abate.

That he knew was his strength in all things.

A loud growl came again from the crib and Ariana dissolved into giggles against his mouth. “Your son demands your attention, Your Highness.”

“Does he?” Andreas asked, stalling for time.

And she knew. Somehow, his wife knew how terrified he was. By how much he wanted to do right by his tiny son. By how much he already loved that little infant. By how inadequate he felt for the task.

Leaning her forehead against his, she met his gaze. “If you love him half as much as you love me, Andreas, he will know it. He will know it and he will love you back just as much,” she said with a confidence that unmanned him. Another quick kiss over his lips. A tug in his hair. “Go hold your son, before his numerous cousins descend upon us.”

Nodding, Andreas stood up and walked toward the crib. His son. It was as if the entire world had tilted on its axis and refused to return to normal.

Hands shaking, he lifted the chubby body that was only as big as his forearm. Heart in his throat, he walked to the bed and climbed into it. His son wailed as Andreas settled him snugly against Ariana, his forehead all scrunched up.

“He’s a little high-maintenance, isn’t he?” Andreas whispered, awed by the tiny fingers that had latched onto his mother’s breast.

“Like someone I know,” Ariana said with a glorious smile. A blush climbed up her chest and her neck as Andreas unabashedly watched his son suckle at her breast. He had thought he couldn’t be any happier these past months. But now his family was complete.

Theos had had all this with him, Eleni and Nikandros. But he had ruined it all with his own hands.

Andreas would never let that happen to him. His life, his fate had delineated from the moment he had seen Ariana in that café and he was thankful for that moment a million times over.

Sliding down on the bed, he buried his nose in her neck, the ever-present desire a thrum under his skin.

“How long is he going to do that?” he asked, a wicked growl in his voice.

She frowned. “A few months at the least. Why?”

Andreas licked the pulse at her throat, tasted the salt and scent of her. His body’s tiredness melted away, his world tilting on its axis again. “I just don’t like sharing what’s mine. Even with him,” he whispered, and laughed when his wife blushed.

She was his Queen, a lawyer with a fierce reputation and now a mother. But when she looked at him like that, she was only the woman he loved with all his heart. The woman who’d made his life worth living.

“I’ll always be yours first, Your Highness,” she whispered against his mouth, and Andreas fell all over in love again.