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Their room boasted a large bathing pool, an even larger bed, and so many velvet pillows they could drown in them. Vases burst with diamonds, and an array of jewelry sprawled atop a marble vanity. A lamb's fleece carpet lined the floor.

"The sheer amount of wealth is amazing," Gray said, pivoting on his heel to take everything in. He stood in the middle of the room.

"I've lived in many such rooms throughout my life." Jewel stood a few feet away from him and kept her back to him. She gripped the material of her robe, bunching it between her fingers. The time had come to admit who and what she was. She couldn't wait till morning. Worry over his reaction had slammed into her, consuming her, the moment they'd shut the door. Do it.

"I'm sorry about the destruction of the temple," he said before she could open her mouth. "I know how much you wanted to discover your father's identity."

"Perhaps one day, my father will find me." Her eyelids squeezed shut, and she straightened her shoulders, gathering her courage. "We need to talk, Gray. I must tell you - "

"Later."

The huskiness of his tone made her shiver. "But you need to know - "

"I want you on a bed." He moved behind her, his arms winding around her, his hands finding her breasts. "We can talk later."

She twisted, facing him, and he lifted her. He carried her to the silk-covered bed. Gently he laid her on top. Her eyes were already closed, her lips parted as she purred her growing pleasure. Her black hair spilled around her delicate shoulders.

God, he loved this woman.

He took her hard and fast, almost savage in his need. He was surprised the need to drink her blood remained dormant as he hurtled them over the edge of satisfaction. Immediately afterward, he grew hard again. He couldn't get enough of her, but at least the urgency was gone. Now he could play and savor.

He kissed his way down her body, lingering on her ankles, the insides of her knees. Soon she was writhing beneath his mouth, crying out his name.

"You didn't go this slowly last time," she gasped out.

He heard an edge of hurt in her voice and stilled. "What do you mean?" "You usually go slowly with your women. Like this."

A strained chuckle escaped him, and he hugged her close to him, loving the feel of her breasts against his chest. What an innocent she was. "Baby, that just proves I want you more than any other. With you, I lose my control. With you, nothing matters but being inside you."

"Oh. Ohh."

He licked his way into her mouth, feeding her kisses. She tasted sweet and womanly, the absolute essence of desire. Passion. Hunger. His cock was already throbbing with need for her, but he was going to go slow this time if it killed him.

As soft as feathers, he moved his fingers down her stomach and glided them to her silky, wet warmth. Teasing her. Taunting her. Pushing her to the edge before pausing.

"Gray!" she shouted his name like a prayer.

He circled her clitoris with his thumb while two of his fingers moved in and out of her. When she tensed, readying for orgasm, he stopped.

"Gray!" She shouted his name like a vile curse. "Finish. Please. Hard and fast."

How could he deny such a delicious request? Request? he thought. No, the woman had ordered him. "I thought you wanted me to go slow."

"I changed my mind."

 

"I'm glad, but I'm still taking this slow." Gradually, inch by inch, he entered her. She writhed against him. Her nails sunk into his back, her hands tugged at his hair and pulled his mouth to hers for a kiss.

"Faster," she gasped. "Slower," he intoned. "I already need... I need."

"Me. You only need me." And he needed her. When he was in her to the hilt, he pulled out just as slowly as he'd entered, than sank back in. Her hips arched in response. Everything inside him screamed to quicken his pace, to find release, but he didn't.

"I'm going to savor you," he vowed.

"Savor me faster." Her nipples were pearled against his chest, rasping against him with his every movement.

"Tsk, tsk. So impatient." How much longer could he hold back? Out. In. So slowly. When she gasped his name, his control almost broke. His muscles were bunched with the strain.

"I love you," she moaned.

That was all it took; his control snapped completely. With a growl of need, he slammed inside her, quickly drawing back, only to pound deeper inside her.

Over and over, again and again, he sank into her depths, loving the feel of her hot wetness. And when she screamed her release for a second time, he spilled deep inside her, his orgasm shaking his entire body.

Naked atop the bed, Jewel lay cuddled in Gray's arms, quite positive she'd never been more content. Even the knowledge that the Temple of Cronus was destroyed, her father an eternal mystery, couldn't dampen her lassitude. Then...

"Now we talk," Gray said, his voice raspy from all the growling he'd done. He rolled to his side, facing her and propping his head on his upraised hand.

She sighed, mentally saying goodbye to her relaxed mood.

"What did you want to tell me earlier?"

Dread curled in her stomach, but she forced the words from her mouth. He deserved to know the truth.

She'd promised him the truth. No matter his reaction, no matter what he decided to do to her, she'd promised to tell him. "I am - I am the Jewel of Dunamis."

She expected him to gasp, to push her away, or to snort in disbelief. Every muscle in her body tensed, waiting for his horrified reaction.

It never came.

He sighed, and the sound echoed hers. "I thought so."

Confused, dazed, she jolted upright. "You thought so? You thought so! I've been sick with worry and you thought so? Why didn't you say anything to me?"

"Honey, it was just a matter of sorting through certain facts." He tugged her back into his embrace. "Plus, I'm a genius. You said the stone's protector wanted to keep it safe but would willingly hand it over for destruction. That protector is me, right?"

"Yes. You're not angry?" she asked, softening, still unable to believe he accepted her so readily. "You don't want to destroy me?"

"Of course not. For an all-knowing being, you sure can overreact. You're the jewel. We can deal with that. I'm not going to kill you, and I'm not going to give you to OBI. They would hurt you, and that I won't allow. I love you too much for that."

"What?" Heart thumping in her chest, she jolted up again. "What did you say?" "I love you."

Her eyes widened. Ribbons of happiness curled around her every cell. He loved her. Gray James loved her. He'd never said those words to another, and she heard the truth in his voice. Of all the things she'd imagined happening, this had never entered her mind.

"This is - this is a dream, right?" She rubbed her eyes, blocking the momentary glimpse of wonder she knew gleamed there. "I'll awaken soon."

"Uh, excuse me," he said darkly. "Don't you have something you want to say to me? You've said it before, but that was at the height of pleasure, so it doesn't count."

With a whoop, she threw herself into his waiting embrace. "I love you. I've always loved you."

He reached between them and cupped her jaw with his palms. "That's better." One of his hands twisted her hair, banding the locks around his fingers. "You realize you're coming to the surface with me, don't you? Don't even think about saying no. I'll think of something to tell my boss, even if I have to steal one of the jewels here and give it to him, claiming it's Dunamis." He paused, his expression guarded. "You still want to come with me, right?"

"I'd follow you anywhere." She licked his collarbone, reveling in the sound of his sharp intake of breath. "We have some time before our presence is required. Think I can keep you busy until then?"

"I think you could keep me busy forever."

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