“You’ve barely seen any of it.” He didn’t cringe at my absurd nickname for him. Perhaps he was getting used to it.
“But what I can see…” My eyes scanned the expansive living room, noting the ornate detail of the architecture and the simplicity of the styling. “It’s incredible.”
“I’m glad you like it.”
“It’s much different than I expected. Not like the loft. That’s what I thought it would be like.” The loft was black and leather, masculine and strong. This place was white and light—I could tell that even in the low glow of the lamp and the moon.
My name on his tongue sent goose bumps to the surface of my skin. How could he still do that to me? Turn me on with only a word? Turn me into knots so easily?
“The furniture is so different, too.” Nervousness drove me to talk, avoiding the connection we’d make the minute I gave in. I stepped toward the white sofa and ran my hand across the expensive upholstery. “But Celia decorated this place too, right?”
His voice tightened. “She did.”
Celia Werner, his childhood friend and ex-fiancée. Well, not really, but practically. Why had I brought her up? Was I trying to destroy us? Celia had been a constant source of tension in our relationship since Hudson had hired me to convince his mother that we were together. Sophia Pierce, believing her son was incapable of love, thought a pairing with the daughter of her good friends the Werners was a perfect match for Hudson. Even if he couldn’t feel anything for her, Celia could at least keep him in line—keep him from getting in trouble with his addictions.
Except it turned out Hudson could love. And during our ruse, he’d fallen in love with me.
Still, Hudson had something with Celia, a bond that fueled my jealousy. Deflecting, I moved to the windows. “The view here… “
I pressed my face against the glass and looked down to the world far below. “It’s gorgeous.”
Hudson came up behind me, his warmth emanating against my back even though he hadn’t yet touched me. “Alayna, look at me.”
Slowly, I turned to him.
He lifted my chin up, forcing me to meet his eyes. “You’re nervous. Don’t be. I want you here.”
His words were the consolation I needed, sending calm over every part of my worry like a blanket smothering a fire. “Are you sure?” I’d been eased, but I wanted more where that came from. “You’ve never brought a woman here before, have you? It’s weird, isn’t it?”
His thumb stroked my cheek, my skin awakening under his caress. “It’s different, because I haven’t brought a woman here, but it’s not weird. And I am completely sure that I want you to be here.”
I thrilled at the confirmation that I was the first woman he’d allowed in, the first woman he’d make love to in this house. “Me, too. I mean, I’m sure that I want to be here.” His gaze burned into me. I could get lost there forever and that scared me just enough.
Looking for a way to keep myself, for only a moment longer, I glanced over at the room connected to the living room. “What’s over there? Is that the dining room?”
“I’ll give you a tour in the morning.” He brought his other hand up to cradle my face, capturing my eyes again with his.
“A tour in the morning,” I repeated. And there I went—lost to him. “But not now.”
“No, not now. Now I want to welcome you to my home.” His mouth crashed into mine, taking me to dizzying heights that put the view behind me to shame. His lips sucked my own before his tongue slid inside my mouth with delicious strokes that threw me off balance, provoking me to throw my arms around his neck and hold on for dear life.
He moved a hand from my face to wrap around my waist and pulled me into him where I could feel his erection against my thigh through the thin material of his boxers. His other hand reached behind my head to tangle in my hair. I pressed my br**sts into him, needing to feel him with every part of my body.
A moan caught in the back of Hudson’s throat, vibrating underneath our kiss and kindling the desire in my belly. I shifted, trying to get closer, my leg antsy to hook around him.
His lips still wrapped around mine, he said, “I do have one room I want to show you tonight.”
“I hope it’s the bedroom.”
“It is.” In a blur of motion, he lifted me in his arms and headed back to the foyer I’d come from. Just like that he carried me away, the movement imitating the effect he had on me in general—with him, I was a branch in a roaring river, rushing toward the sea. And Hudson, he was the current, pulling me whichever way he wanted to take me. I was at his mercy.
He’d promised me that he wouldn’t play his manipulative games with me, that he’d never try to control me. But it was a promise he couldn’t keep. He swept me away with him whether he intended to or not. And that was perfectly fine with me.
He carried me through the foyer, kissing me as he did until we reached the end of the hallway where he turned into what had to be the master bedroom. My attention still entirely on him, I only registered that he was laying me on a king-size bed, the light gray sheets disheveled on one side, the left side. His side. The intimacy of being in the place that Hudson slept, had slept in earlier that evening, shot a pang of need to my already aching core. I wanted him on me and in me, not standing above me gazing down with hooded eyes.
He’d take his time with me though, and there was no use disputing his tempo. There was no reason to dispute. Though a dominant lover, he always focused his attention on my needs, always attended to me in the ways he knew best. And god, did he know me best, knew how to turn my body boneless and sated, knew how to arouse and love me, even when I didn’t.
His hand lagged down the length of my leg to my ankle where he removed my strappy sandal with a gentleness that had me writhing. He repeated the action with my other shoe, then knelt over me to deliver a brief kiss. I reached up to pull him in for more, but he resisted.
“Last time we went quickly. This time I need to savor you.” Last time had been fast and fraught, a reprieve mid-argument, on the new couch in the manager’s office at The Sky Launch, and he hadn’t left me with any complaints. But being savored sounded pretty damn awesome, too.
With a trail of wet kisses, he made his way down my body to the hem of my dress. With a wicked gleam in his eyes, he shoved the material up around my waist, placing a kiss on the center of my want.