I didn’t waste another second as I hurried from the room and followed Dallas down the corridor to the conference room. The door was slightly ajar and I could hear Hannah, the receptionist, talking softly to Harper, offering her a cup of coffee. Entering the room, I saw Harper sitting at the long table, her shaking hands wrapped around a mug of steaming coffee as she sniffed her running nose.
My heart started aching all over again at the sight of her. What little makeup she’d put on before leaving for work was smeared across her beautiful face. Her eyes were swollen and red-rimmed while her lips looked tortured from where she must have been nibbling on them. My earlier fear returned with abundance as she slowly lifted her head and met my gaze.
I stood there, trapped by her violet eyes, as I waited for her hate and disgust to slice into me like a katana. It never came and in the next moment she was out of her chair and stumbling toward me. I met her halfway across the room and wrapped her tightly against me. “I’m sorry,” I breathed against her ear, as tears stung my eyes. “I’m so damn sorry.”
“Hold me,” she whispered brokenly. “Please, just hold me.”
I wanted to take Harper home and just hold her in our bed, but Peterson already had Theo and a full team of security guys running over every inch of the place. So I had him tell Theo to bring Ranger to us and Emmie found us a hotel for the next few days. We could have gone to any one of our family members, but I didn’t want to stress any of them with this shit. I’d already put them all in enough danger as it was.
Promising to send us a case full of enough clothes to last the rest of the week, Emmie handed over the keys to the penthouse suite that took up the entire top floor of one of L.A.’s most exclusive hotels. It had three bedrooms so Peterson and Theo could stay with us, and Peterson was already checking the place out to make sure we were set. Four months ago I might have scoffed at his wanting to take such a precaution. Now I was just thankful that the dude was so good at his job, that he covered all his bases.
Kissing Emmie goodbye, I watched while she left the hotel’s lobby and got into the back of her Escalade that was being driven by another one of Seller’s men. Beside me, Harper buried her face in my chest a little deeper, hiding from the people who were in the lobby. Once Emmie was gone, I tightened my hold on my wife and guided her to the elevators. I used my key to unlock the penthouse floor and punched in the security code the receptionist had given me.
The ride up was quick, over within only a few seconds. Harper held on to me like she was never going to let me go, and when the elevator came to a stop I lifted her into my arms so she wouldn’t have to. She was emotionally drained and could barely keep her eyes open.
Peterson was standing in the living room and when I lifted a questioning brow at him, he nodded. That was all I needed before I was heading for the master bedroom. Holding her carefully with one arm, I pulled the covers back enough before placing her on the edge.
Once she was tucked into bed, I went into the connecting bathroom and dampened a washcloth with warm water. Going back into the bedroom, I used the warm cloth to wipe away the smeared makeup on her beautiful face. Once she was cleaned up I went back for another washcloth, this one dampened with cool water so I could put it over her swollen eyes. She’d been wearing her contacts when she’d left the house that morning but she’d cried so hard and so long that they had fallen out.
Harper let out a sigh as I placed the cool cloth over her eyes and then caught my hand when I started to go back into the bathroom. “Don’t leave me.”
I clasped the hand that had caught my own and brought it to my lips. “Never, beautiful.” I swallowed hard around the lump that had been in my throat from the moment I’d heard her sobs earlier. “Harper…about those pictures—”
She flinched but didn’t pull her hand away. “I’ve always feared having to see proof of your past, Shane. From the first moment I knew I loved you, it was one of my biggest fears.”
She shook her head, cutting me off. “No. Please, I need to say this. I think we both need to hear it.” With her free hand she lifted the cloth from her eyes and propped herself up on her elbow to get closer to me. “It was something I had hoped never to have to see, but I knew you had a past. I knew there had been girls before me. Lots and lots of girls.” She grimaced. “Lana warned me, but I didn’t care. I loved you anyway.”
Tears burned my eyes, but I didn’t bother to blink them away. “Sweetheart, if I could change the past I would. I’d go back and make sure that you were my first.”
The smallest of smiles lifted her lips, making my heart actually stutter in my chest at how beautiful she was. “Don’t you understand, Shane? None of that matters. I didn’t care about the other girls, because I knew that I might not have been your first, but I was going to be your last.”
The first tear fell from my eyes and I pressed my lips into her palm again. “Yes,” I breathed, relieved. She had finally realized the one thing I’d always tried to make her understand. Fuck, we’d come so far. “Yes. It’s what I’ve always tried to tell you, beautiful. You are my last—my only—for the rest of my life.”
We were both quiet for a long moment, but I couldn’t leave it like that. “Baby, those pictures…”
“They hurt, Shane. I’m not going to lie, they hurt so damn bad. Those images will probably haunt me forever.” She gave my hand a gentle squeeze. “But I knew that they were from your past.”
I clenched my jaw. “I don’t know who it is,” I told her honestly. “It could have been any of a thousand girls. All I can say is that I’m sorry, beautiful. It’s not enough, I know, but I am. I’d give anything to take those images from you.”
“Babe, I know. I know you would.” She sat up completely and wrapped her arms around my shoulders, the one to comfort me when I should have been the one doing it for her. Soft lips brushed over my cheek. “I love you, Shane.”
I couldn’t hold back the sob that escaped me at those four little worlds. Ah fuck. I’d thought for sure that she couldn’t keep loving me after what she’d had to witness. That she did, that she could still hold on to me so tightly and tell me she loved me, meant more to me than every penny I had in the bank. It meant more than my own life. Harper was my everything.
If I lost her I’d be nothing.
Those soft lips went from my cheek to the corner of my lips. My body instantly hardened despite the nightmare of a morning we’d both had. Not wanting to push her into something I didn’t know if she was ready for, I started to pull back, but her arms wrapped around my neck, keeping me close.
“Give me new images to replace the ones I had to see earlier,” she whispered almost desperately. “Give me new memories to push the bad ones away.”
There was no way in the world I could have denied her in that moment. If she wanted new memories, I’d give her plenty. I’d erase every fucking picture she’d had to see that morning and give her better ones. I cupped her face in my hands and pressed a soft kiss over each eye, then the tip of her nose, and finally over those lips that owned me.
Harper sucked in a shuddery breath and she fell almost weightlessly against my chest. “I love you,” she whispered against my neck.
My eyes clenched closed against a new flood of tears and I just sat there inhaling her familiar scent for a minute. Savoring the words. Savoring the feel of her. Praying that she would always be mine.
Soft fingers traced up my neck and thrust into the hair at the back of my neck. Unable to stop myself, I turned my head and caught her lips. This kiss wasn’t soft, or tender, but full of all the hunger I had for my wife. Full of the animalistic lust that she could catch fire in me with the smallest touch. She opened her mouth for me, granting me entrance to the hot sweetness of her tongue.
I wanted to be gentle, wanted to make love to her so thoroughly that she wouldn’t ever think about my fucking past. My need for her, my need to wipe away every thought but those of us to
gether, made that impossible. I needed to kiss every inch of her beautiful body, needed to brand every cell as mine so she would know that I was hers. I always had been.
I kissed her until I had to pull back or die from lack of oxygen, but only long enough to get rid of her silky blouse and to pull down the zipper at the side of her skirt. With her shirt gone I looked down at her lacy bra covering her perfect tits and thanked the gods that this woman was mine.
The paleness had left her cheeks to be replaced with a sexy pink that spread over her entire body and it told me she wanted me just as much as I wanted her. I was thankful that I was wearing basketball shorts because if I’d had on jeans I was sure the zipper would have been forever dented into the length of my cock.
While I was looking my fill, Harper was busy touching me. Her soft hands were rubbing down my shirt and then back up under to trace over my stomach before moving up to my heart. Letting my next breath out in a hiss, I grabbed the hem of my shirt and jerked it over my head. Grasping her hand, I brought it up to my lips, giving the palm a wet open-mouthed kiss before placing it over the left side of my chest. Over the ink that I’d gotten just for her. Her purple eyes were always with me even if she wasn’t.
“You see this ink?” I murmured, watching her violet eyes as they ate up the sight of her eyes staring back at her. “I got this because it was your eyes that owned me first. It was your eyes I fell in love with the second I saw them. Two days later I knew that you, the amazing woman you are, held on to my heart. I belong to you, Harper. You hold all the power. I’m yours until the day I die.”
She swallowed hard, her fingers tracing over the perfect picture of her beautiful eyes over my heart. “I belong to you too, Shane. Always.”
That was all it took to break my control. I released her hand and carefully pushed her back onto the bed. I started at her ears, kissing her lobe and then tracing the shell with my tongue. She shivered and turned her head away, giving me better access to her neck. I felt the goose flesh pop up and the hitch in her breathing that told me how much she loved having me suck at the pulse just under her jaw.
I licked my way down her throat and down into the valley between her perfect tits. I could hear her heart racing even before I licked around each nipple. When I didn’t immediately suck her diamond-hard nipples into my mouth she let out a soft whimper, begging me without words to give her what she wanted. I brushed a kiss over each tight tip but quickly moved on, licking down her flat stomach, dipping into her belly button and then pausing when I saw the ink that branded her as mine.
The ink she’d gotten the night before our wedding never failed to take my breath away. My little beauty who didn’t like to get ink had gotten a tattoo just for me. One that would forever tell the world that she was mine. Fuck, it was the sexiest thing I’d ever set eyes on and each time I saw it I felt like a damn caveman, ready to claim his woman in the next instant.
I didn’t. It was too soon. I needed to cherish every inch of her before I took what we both wanted.
I traced my name twice before moving lower. Pressing a wet kiss to her mound, I inhaled deep, loving the scent of her arousal. Knowing we would both be lost if I tongued her glistening pussy, I turned my attention to her thighs. With hands that slightly shook, I spread her wide for me and then kissed my way down the inside of her right thigh. My hands caressed down her calf as I left a trail of love bites down to her knee.
Her entire body was trembling with need, but I still took my time as I transferred my kisses from her right leg to her the inside of her left. I slowly left the same trail of love bites up her inner thigh until I reached her pussy once again.
“Shane,” she whimpered brokenly. “Please.”
My dick jerked at that soft plea, but I didn’t give in. I had new memories to give her and old ones to banish. With the thumb of my left hand I skimmed up her drenched slit and spread her juicy lips. Her clit was swollen and I could almost see it pulsing with her need. With a hungry groan I lowered my head and rubbed the tip of my tongue over the small bundle of nerves.
Harper’s back arched instantly, her fingers thrusting into my hair as I teased her with just the tip of my tongue. I was drowning in the flow of her liquid heat and drank up each drop as it poured from her entrance. I teased her until I knew she was almost ready to fall over into her release before pulling away.
Her breaths coming in little pants, she opened her violet eyes at me in surprise. “What?”
I licked her essence off my lips before lowering my head to steal a soft kiss from her. “Come here,” I urged as I fell onto the bed on my side and turned her to face me. Reaching for her thigh, I pulled it up over my leg and grasped my dick, guiding it to her entrance.
We both were helpless to hold back our cries of delight as I slowly entered her. I kept my eyes locked on her, refusing to let them go as I tightened my hold on her and carefully thrust my hips forward. Even, white teeth bit down on her full bottom lip as I thrust slow and steady.
“Does that feel good, beautiful?” Harper nodded, but I saw tears filling her eyes and stopped. “Am I hurting you?”
She quickly shook her head. “No. This feels amazing. I…I just…” She broke off, swallowing hard. “This is perfect, Shane.”
“Every time with you is perfect, beautiful.” I pulled my hips back until only the tip of my dick was inside of her tight little body, then thrust hard and deep before pausing. My tip was touching the deepest part of her and as I forced myself to stay right there, I watched as two fat tears spilled from her eyes. “I’ll give you anything and everything you will ever want, Harper. You are my fucking world and I’ll take my last breath cherishing you.”
Her eyes widened, but not in surprise at my words. I shifted my hips just a fraction of an inch and her walls started contracting around me. Still I refused to let go of her gaze, needing to watch as she fell apart for me. My hand moved to her hip, spreading her ass wide as I used my thumb to tease her most forbidden hole. One little tease of my thumb and she was crying out my name, her walls convulsing so hard that it made my dick thicken even more with my need for her. I didn’t dare move yet, however. Didn’t dare so much as breathe until I knew she had reached the end.
Only when I felt her starting to relax, her body spent after such a strong climax, did I move my hips again. I turned her onto her back without leaving her heavenly body and started thrusting hard and deep. Sharp nails bit into my shoulders as I pounded into her sweet oasis. I buried my face in the valley of her tits, telling her over and over again how much I loved her, how much she owned me, how much I wanted to fill her with every drop of release I was going to spill.
“Shane!” she cried and I felt her inner walls begin to contract again. I groaned and took her harder as she came apart for me again. She was so wet, her cream thick and scalding as I slid in and out of her, my tip bouncing off her womb with each hard thrust forward. I would have cut my arm off than hurt her, but I knew I wasn’t right then. She was crying out my name, praying to God and anyone else who would listen as I took my fill.
My own release snuck up on me. It hit hard and fast and I stiffened above her, every muscle in my body contracting so hard I was sure I was tearing some of them. Harper went still beneath me and I had to force my eyes to stay open so I could see her beautiful face. “I love you,” she whispered.
“Fuck,” I cried as the first hot spray of my climax left me. “Ah, fuck.” I fell against her, not caring that I was too heavy for her for a moment as my entire body trembled with the aftershocks of one of the most mind-blowing orgasms in my entire life.
I wasn’t in the best mood before the doorbell rang. Layla and I were still at a crossroads about having another baby, although I could almost feel her starting to see things my way. Still, she was moody and upset with me more often than not these days. Our sex life was nearly nonexistent because of it and my balls had never been so blue in my life. Th
e little goddess had taken to wearing the kind of clothes that left no need for imagination the way they molded to her luscious curves and revealed the cleavage I ached to bury my face in.
With my coffee in hand I went to answer the door since Layla was upstairs with the twins. Finding three gorillas in suits and Emmie standing on my doorstep had my brows lifted. “What’s up?”
“There’s been a situation.” She said it calmly enough, but her pretty face was pale and her big green eyes were icy.
My veins instantly filled with ice. “Mia?” Hell, I didn’t think I could handle it if something had happened to my little niece. I’d nearly lost my mind right along with Nik when we’d gotten the news that she was missing the night some crazy bitch had tried to take her.
I had three dates in my life that I would always remember, not because of the joy they had brought, but the fear that had nearly brought me to my knees. The day Layla had gone into pre-term labor with our boys. The day Lucy’s biological father had taken her. And now the day that we’d nearly lost Mia.
The girl I would always consider my sister and best friend shook her head. “No, thank gods. Harper got some interesting mail this morning.” Relief flooded through me as she nodded her head behind me. “Can we come in? I don’t want to talk about this out here.”
Stepping back, I let her and the three security men enter. Shutting the door behind them I turned to face my four guests, but the three men were already gone. When I saw one searching the house plant by the door, rage started boiling, replacing the ice in my blood. “What the fuck?”
“They’re searching for any hidden cameras and crap like that,” Emmie explained when I started to grab the man who was touching my wife’s stuff like a thief inspecting the place before robbing us blind. Taking hold of my arm, she pulled me through the house and into the kitchen. With a push onto a stool at the island, I dropped down, placing my half-empty mug of coffee on the counter before I dropped it.