How and why should have been instinct. But as Erron met his dark eyes in the dimness of Anais’s loft, her heart echoed his. Everything clicked. It made sense—as if it was fated.“I love you, too.” She flashed a smile.Jarek stared in silence, his gaze searching her face.“I know it doesn’t make any sense,” they spoke at the same time, paused, and shared a laugh.“I’m staying with you tonight,” Jarek said.“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Erron whispered.“I won’t…touch you in any way you don’t wish. But I need to hold you to convince myself this is real.”Heat rushed her cheeks. This man was saying these things to her? About her?He leaned down, his mouth taking hers. But there was no urgency in the kiss like before. Tenderness and languorous heat made her inch closer, wrapping her arms around him.Blessed Spirit, she really did love Jarek.∞∞∞∞∞∞She loved him.Jarek’s heart pounded in his ears as Erron slipped her tongue against his. Her arms tightened around him and he pulled her closer, her breasts flattening against his chest.Thin fabric was all that separated her body from his. He was hard as a rock, his erection throbbing at the idea of her naked in his arms.Slow. Down.He yanked away from the kiss before he did something stupid, like push her down and whip up her chemise. Her bastard father had probably done that.Erron gasped, her sky blue eyes going wide and starting to clear the passionate haze. At least she’d been right with him.“What’s wrong?” she whispered.
“I want you.” His voice cracked. “And that’s not fair to you.”Her already rosy cheeks flushed an even deeper red, but Jarek cupped her face before she could look away.“You’ve already been through too much. I’m sorry. I need to…will…be fair to you. I should go home.”“No.” Erron’s protest was almost a shout and he swallowed hard. “I want you to stay with me,” she whispered.He studied her face, holding her cheeks gently with both hands. Tears hovered in her beautiful eyes and his heart stuttered.“I’ve never spoken of it,” she started. Erron swallowed hard but maintained his gaze.More tears would kill him, but Jarek would let her talk about it if she needed to. “Do you want to?” he whispered.“I don’t know.” Her bottom lip trembled.“Whatever you need, I’m here for you. No matter what.” He drew her back into his arms. “I love you,” he whispered into her downy hair. Her long white-blonde locks were loose, flowing down her back and he smoothed his hand against them. Softness teased and wrapped around his fingertips.Touching her felt good…right.When was the last time that bastard raped her?It was better for him not to know.Blessed Spirit, he wanted to gut him.“Jarek?” His name was muffled against shirt.“Hmmm?”She lifted her head and their eyes locked. “I need you to know something.”“What, love?”Erron paused at the endearment. He pressed a kiss into her forehead.“I…I…” When she faltered, he squeezed her hand to give her strength. Her breasts raised and lowered against him as she took a deep breath. “I’ve been with a man, and I never wanted that. But I do want you. I’ve never felt the way you make me feel.”Jarek stared. What could he say? She was the strongest person he’d ever met. His heart tripped over itself.He kissed her, intending something slow and tender that quickly became more. Erron melted into him, their tongues dueling.Panting, he pulled away before he wouldn’t be able to, but she clung to him, squeezing her arms around his neck.The first hot tears hit his neck, but he just held her, rubbing her back. Her crying was killing him, but she needed to get it all out. Then, like he’d told her, he would listen if she needed to talk.When she needed to talk. It would all have to come out eventually.Jarek would have to restrain himself from going after the bastard and gelding him.Whispering into her hair that he loved her, he held her close until Erron’s sniffles finally lessened. When she looked up at him, he wiped her tears away.“I love you, too.”He dropped a kiss on her nose. “Good.”“Want to get into bed with me?” Erron asked. Her cheeks flushed pink, but she met his gaze head on. “I don’t know…what…I’m ready for.”His heart flipped. “Shhh. Don’t worry about anything. I’ll be here for you when you’re ready. It happens on your terms, Erron.”She offered a tremulous smile. “I love when you hold me.”Jarek smiled back. “Good thing I love holding you, then.”Erron laughed and it was the best sound he’d ever heard.He crawled into the bed next to her, yanked the sleeping furs up and gathered her to him. Closing his eyes, Jarek let the love…the rightness wash over him. He could hold Erron forever. And he would get to. She was going to be his wife.“Jarek?” she whispered as she wiggled closer, resting her head on chest.“Yes, love?”“My father will come for me.”Pressing a kiss into the crown of her head, he sighed. “I know.”“What are we going to do?”“We’ll deal with it in the morning. But I promise I won’t let him take you away from me.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
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