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His Drakon Runaway Bride(8)

By:Tara Pammi

He slowly disentangled himself from her, pushed away a lock of hair that had fallen onto her jaw. Small touches. Calculated touches. Her skin prickled. “I will make you a promise, Ari.”

She scowled, more angry with herself than with him. “It won’t be without some hidden motive.”

And this time, he really smiled. The flash of his even white teeth against his darkly olive skin was breathtaking.

Unlike him, patience had never been her strong suit. “What is it, your promise?”

“I will not touch you until you come to me. I will not take you, agape mou, until you beg me to take you. Until you crawl into my bed and ask me to be inside you.

“Taking you when you can’t breathe for wanting me...it is unlike any high I’ve known.”

Ariana jerked away from him, slumberous warmth pooling low in her belly. A throbbing between her legs. “Like I did the last time.”

A flare of heat darkened those impossible black eyes. It was all there in them—the log cabin at the foot of the mountains, the storm that had been raging outside for a week, the huge king bed with soft-as-sin sheets and Andreas and she stuck inside, with their supplies dwindling every day and the fire between them raging higher with every moment.

The knowledge that she had turned eighteen four weeks earlier was explosive in that silent cabin; that they had both been ignoring King Theos’s summons; the knowledge that her dare in trapping the Crown Prince, who seemed to be made of stone and rock like the mountains around them, far too dangerous when she’d seen the evidence of his attraction to her finally in those first few days in the cabin.

Until the day he had decided that he was going to give in.

Sparks filled her body at the memory of that decadent night. It was the night she had begun to understand the uptight, arrogant Crown Prince, to realize what she’d thrown herself into. But it had been too late.

She’d already fallen in love with him.

Her fingers shaking to hold the duvet, Ariana pushed out the breath lodged in her chest. Barely a few hours with him and she was on fire. She cleared her hoarse throat.


He shrugged. “To level the field a little.”

“This is exactly what you wanted when you kidnapped me—me at your mercy.”

“Yes, but having you at my mercy when you have no fight in you...” he made a bored sound “...that is not the Ariana I want. What fun is tormenting you when you have no say in it?

“This way, I will know that when I’m inside you this time, you have surrendered despite the little self-preservation it seems you have developed.”

Thee mou, it was impossible. The man she had married would have never been open to a challenge like that, much less taunt her with it. He would have never given the reins of anything to her hands. Much less his revenge scheme. Or the simple matter of when they’d have sex.

Had he changed or was it just a game?

He leaned a hip against the wall, all lean masculinity and hungry eyes. “Since you’ve always blamed me for wanting to control everything, I will leave this in your hands. We will have sex only when you want it.”

“Don’t you get it? I’m not self-destructive anymore, Andreas. The last time burned me enough for an entire lifetime.”

Sudden stillness seemed to come over him. His gaze probed hers, as if he wanted to plumb the depths of her. “Did I burn you, Ariana?”

The question was not a taunt or even a rebuke. It rang with curiosity that made her stomach twist. Tears pricked behind her eyelids, making him a shimmery vision.

Say no, Ari. Let the guilt be your own.

“Yes,” she whispered. “I still have scars from it.”

He nodded, a thoughtful look shuttering away his thoughts. “Then I owe you this, ne? This little game of ours can proceed as you want it or it could end as soon as you desire.”

She trusted this reasonable Andreas even less than the controlling one. “End?”

“You could get naked and invite me to join you in the bed right now.” Their gazes flicked to the bed and back. The soft duvet seemed to burn her skin. “I could give you the wedding night you’d have had tonight with your adorable little fiancé.” His eyes hardened to dark chips, his mouth edging into that cruelly ruthless curve. “The longer you hold me off, the longer this whole thing will take.”

The bastard! He had nicely trapped her. She was damned to stay with him the longer she denied this thing between them, and she was damned if she gave in. Because it had been apparent within two minutes of seeing him again, within seconds of breathing that scent of him, that she was into the special brand of masculinity that was only Andreas Drakos.

“You will be waiting a long time, Andreas. And we both know being denied what you want is a foreign concept you, ne?

“Also, from what I remember, celibacy makes you extra cranky.”

“True, but after dealing with your deceit, my tolerance for everything has changed, Ari. You have no idea what or who I’ve become anymore.” He turned and left the room, closing the door behind him.

Ariana buried her face in her hands, panicking over the lack of panic. Did she believe him? Would he truly give her a choice now that he had her close? And even if she did somehow resist not falling into the old patterns, she scoffed at herself, what was the point if it meant being his wife again?

A groan erupted from her mouth.

He was right in one thing, though.

Just because he had her where he wanted didn’t mean she was going to roll over and let him do as he pleased. The image that her overactive mind supplied at that made the rub of her thighs excruciating.

This time, she knew what came of playing with fire. What came of tangling with Andreas Drakos.

First things first, she needed to take a shower, wash off the grime and doubts from the day she’d had so far. Ari made a note to thank the stewardess for the new set of underwear and designer jeans with their tags still intact, all in several sizes. Several shirts and blouses, too.

Why Andreas’s private jet had a supply of women’s underwear and clothes was something she was not going to dwell on. Not her business.

Shedding her underwear with a grimace, she grabbed a towel and walked into the small, but luxuriously decadent shower.

The jet head of steaming hot water on her tense muscles was glorious. She scrunched her nose at the row of high-end perfumed shampoos and gels, and found a bar of soap with minimum ingredients.

Running away was not an option. Avoiding him was not an option. Staying married to a man who thrived on control like it was air—even without the history between them—was not an option.

Being the Queen of Drakon...a hysterical laugh hurtled past her throat, was not at all an option.

Her only option, she stilled with her hands in her hair, was the truth. Andreas would not let her go until he figured out why she’d deceived him, until he understood how any woman, much less Ari, could walk away from him.

But the truth was a jagged, thorny, twisted mass. Her hand moved to the scar on her lower belly.

There were other things she could make him see. She could convince him, for one thing, that it hadn’t been a juvenile game to her. That she had been foolish, naive, not willfully destructive. That leaving him had been a point of survival.

She had to convince him that she could never be that Ari again. That she would never put him or his precious Drakon or his duties to the Crown before her life. That she would never love him, never put her obsession for him before her happiness.

That she had learned how destructive love could be.



What had he done to hurt her so much?

Andreas had hated her for two years, had dreamed of ways he would ruin her when he got his hands on her.

And now that he had her...now that he had found her on the eve of her wedding to another man, the rage and betrayal simmered down, morphed into something much more insidious.

All his energy in the last hour had gone into burying the urge to stalk back into the rear cabin and demand what the hell she had meant by it.

The sight of her—the globes of her breasts falling up and down, the expanse of golden flesh, the pulse beating violently at her neck, the defiant tilt of her chin... No, right now, he wanted her more than he wanted answers. His fingers itched to run through the silky mass of her hair, to reach that sensitive spot above the nape of her neck and see if she’d respond with a moan.

He could have spanned that tiny waist with his hand, brought her up to him until those breasts crushed against his chest, could have kissed away the dare in her eyes. Within seconds, he could have had her panting for him.

Could have pressed her down onto that bed, torn out her underwear and buried himself inside her. The images his thoughts painted made him shift uncomfortably in his seat.

Thee mou, that’s all he needed, to give his staff a view of his inconvenient arousal. But instead of satisfying his body’s craving, he’d made that ridiculous promise desperate to banish those shadows from her eyes.

There had been something so fragile about her in that moment. As if a single wrong word about the pills could forever shatter her.

Damn his arrogance for forgetting that anything that involved Ariana could never be simple.

“Your Highness? Andreas?” Petra repeated, a little impatience slipping into her tone.

He met her silent accusation and shrugged apologetically. He could hardly blame her. After all, he’d heard nothing of what she’d said in the past fifteen minutes. Tilting his head up, he found Ariana.