Don’t follow him. Piper ignored her inner voice and slipped
after him through the crowds. Perhaps she should have heeded the voice in her
head, but that voice had kept her living a lonely, bored life. Boring meant not
getting her heart broken. Boring was safe. It was long past time she did
Mikhail in a small drawing room next to the reception hall. He stood before a
fireplace in the dark as if he belonged there. His lean, strong figure and the
dark navy-blue suit were lit by flames. The door clicked shut behind her, the
sound far too loud in the soft silence of the darkened room. Piper sucked in a
breath, watching the shadows play on his dark hair as he turned to her.
The word was a silken caress that was straight out of her darkest fantasies.
Even though there was a good distance between them, she could hear him clearly,
his voice seeming to come at her from all sides thanks to the acoustics of the
Barinov,” she whispered so softly there was no way he could hear it. But she
swore she saw his lips twitch in the dim, shifting, gold-vermilion light.
off the map into unknown territory, are we?” He chuckled as though it was some
private joke. “Here there be dragons.”
stared at him. “I followed because…” Why had she followed him? Because he was
like the damn Pied Piper for women who had tall, dark, sexy stranger fantasies.
followed because you can’t stop thinking about it.” That voice poured over her
like molasses, and she could feel a delicious burn grow in her belly.
about what?” She didn’t move, remaining by the door. But he did.
walked toward her with a grace that seemed more panther than human. Her pulse
spiked when he stopped mere inches from her. The firelight made the blue of his
suit appear to be a dark, rich brown as he placed a hand on the closed door
behind her and leaned in. The minty smell of his breath, warm and fresh, fanned
her face, and his eyes, although out of view of the fire, seemed to burn with
thinking about…” He moved closer, his lips a hair’s breadth from her now. “This.”
exploded as he slanted his mouth over hers. Waves of electric, pulsing pleasure
at that exquisite kiss sent her head spinning. It was like crawling up by the
fire on a cold winter’s night and putting a glass of warm brandy to her lips,
with a slow burn followed by a powerful rush seconds later.
moaned against him as he slipped his tongue between her lips to stroke hers.
She was already curling her arms around his neck, dragging him closer. Mikhail
pressed his body flush to hers against the door. He was so tall, a daunting
wall of muscles, frightening and exciting all at once. He was a man who could
take her without asking. The thought, as forbidden as it was, only made her
hotter and wetter than she’d ever been before. She should have been ashamed of
such thoughts, but in that moment she couldn’t be. There was too much pleasure
in this kiss, too much exhilaration in her surrender to it. She didn’t want it
to end, didn’t want the distant sounds of the party to intrude upon this perfect
unplanned adventure. It would likely never happen again.
the kiss, his mouth consuming hers with a fire that left her giddy. And then
something happened—strange flickers of images flashed across her closed
eyelids. Not her imagination, which had been fixed on Mikhail’s animalistic
appetite. This was something else.
doublets approaching a throne, a queen with a pale face and red hair, pearls
glistening on the bodice of her gown. Then the images changed, a roaring sea
beneath her, icy water crashing against a distant shore, a deep loneliness that
seemed only to grow until…
herself at the exhibit. Saw herself through his
eyes, a beacon of color and life drawing him toward her like a moth to the
flame of a candle. She could feel his heart jolt, his body hum to life as he
zeroed in on her. It felt as though he would never look away from her ever
again. It was seductive, powerful, frightening, and yet she embraced the rush
of emotions that came from him.
the kiss to nip at her throat, and she tilted her head back to let his
exploration continue. “It’s as though you were made just for me, moya sud’ba.”
The way he
said the words made her shiver. “What’s moya
sud’ba?” she asked.
destiny,” he growled, his eyes bright. “I should have known the moment we first
met.” He inhaled again. “Even the way you smell, sweet and wild like Fire Hill
flowers?” she said in a haze. His clothes were still warm from the fire, and
even his skin was hot to the touch.
wildflowers from my home. The Fire Hills of Russia. They are soft and sweet,
not too much, just…” He kissed behind her ear. “Right.”
blushed, unable to stop smiling. “I smell like wildflowers?”
He made a
deep-throated purr against the column of her throat, and she dug her nails into
his shoulders. “And your taste,” he continued in a husky whisper as he kissed
madness to be kissing a stranger in a darkened room lit only by firelight. What
else could you call it? But she was tired of being boring old predictable
Piper. Mikhail made her feel wild and reckless, alive in ways she’d never
dreamed. She didn’t want to stop, didn’t want to go back to being responsible.
She wanted to live in this moment forever.
my taste?” she asked, her voice trembling with desire.
Mikhail stared down at her and slid his hand into her hair at the nape
of her neck, his fingers coiling the strands tight. A slight pinch of near pain shot sparks into
her womb. Piper gasped.
the sweetest of Georgian wines. It lingers upon my tongue until I ache to
become drunk on it.” He nuzzled her cheek, his breath echoing hers in quick
were doing was kissing, yet it felt like a wildfire had burst to life inside
her, and there was no stopping the coming inferno.
“You are to
be my ruination.” He nipped her bottom lip, and she whimpered.
was all some fantastical dream. If it was, she didn’t want to wake up anytime
soon. She was kissing a man who made her see things, impossible things, and she
felt…wild. She felt strong, as though
the woman she’d always wanted to be was suddenly within her reach, as if he’d
unlocked something deep within her. She wouldn’t be able to go back to the
cool, collected woman she once was. He’d breathed fire
into her body, and she wanted the blaze to keep burning bright into the night.