“I’ve had fifteen years to think this over. And I have. High, drunk, sober, alone and in the arms of a woman, I’ve thought about this. About what it meant. About what my responsibilities were. She did so much to ensure I could be named the heir. But the fact remains that I’m not.”
“And that’s why you left?”
“That. And the fact that I do blame myself for her death. I was so angry, Layna. I could hardly see straight and I was yelling, I just drove faster and...”
“You made a mistake. You didn’t do it on purpose.”
He shook his head. “I didn’t. But it was a hell of a mistake. There are mistakes you can come back from, but then there are mistakes you make that someone doesn’t walk away from, and those are the hardest ones to deal with. The hardest ones to seek forgiveness for. From yourself or anyone else.”
“Tell me about the day you left,” she said, sinking to the floor in front of him. “Tell me about what happened, now that I know everything.”
“My father had called me into his office. Stavros was there, too.” He could picture them both—his father ashen, angry and grieving. His brother, so young and sullen. A teenage boy still. “And then he proceeded to tell me that he found me responsible for the death of his wife. And how he had no idea how I could possibly be his son, when he would never have behaved in such a manner. And I had no argument. For I felt he spoke the truth. And I had just learned I was not his son. So there was no lie in what he said.”
Xander cleared his throat. He hated that the memory had this much power over him, even now.
“He looked at me and said he would always hold me responsible for the loss of his mother. His mother, as though she were no longer mine because I had taken her from the world. And remembering the words I’d yelled at her before the car hit the rocks? Where I had said she was no longer a mother to me? I couldn’t argue with that statement, either.”
“And you had nothing,” she said, her voice a whisper.
“In one moment, I lost all my family. And I knew I had no real claim on the throne. I saw no reason to stay.”
She rose up, planting her hands on his thighs, and kissed him on the mouth, the touch sweet, sincere. He raised his hands and gripped the back of her head, his fingers sinking deep into her hair, holding her tight to his mouth. He needed this. He needed her. He needed her so badly he was shaking with it already and it had been less than twenty-four hours since he’d last been inside her body.
He tugged gently on her hair, tilting her head back, exposing her tender throat, then he lowered his head and kissed her, slowly. She moaned, encouraging him, spurring him on. He bared his teeth, scraped her delicate skin and reveled in the raw sound she made in response.
She liked this. His little innocent. She liked him unrestrained. She liked to be at his mercy. Which naturally put him at hers. To have a woman on her knees before him, allowing him this kind of sensual feast? He might have the physical power, but she was holding the leash.
Keeping his hand in her hair, he reached down to his belt and undid the buckle, freeing himself from the confines of his pants.
She looked up at him, angelic eyes wide, her lips in a shocked O. There was something about that face that turned him on even more, and it shouldn’t. He knew it shouldn’t.
“You know what I want from you?” he asked, his voice strangled.
She nodded slowly and he tightened his hold on her hair. He watched the color in her cheeks rise, from arousal, not embarrassment. The flush spread down to her neck, her chest.
“Suck me,” he said, his voice rough.
She leaned forward, guided by his hand, the tip of her tongue touching his rigid length.
“More,” he said, tugging gently.
But she didn’t comply. Instead, she just ran her tongue along his shaft. And he could do nothing but sit helplessly, let her have her way. She shifted then, taking all of him into her mouth, and he leaned back in the chair, a harsh breath hissing out through his teeth.
He swore, short and to the point, but it only seemed to encourage her. She wasn’t shy. She seemed to have no qualms about tasting him, touching him, boldly changing the rhythm or stopping altogether, squeezing the base of him with her hand, pushing him to the brink.
“Careful,” he groaned, when her tongue brushed the sensitive skin just beneath the head of his erection. “I don’t want it like this. I don’t want it over too soon.”
The look she gave him was wicked, reminding him of Layna Xenakos as she had been. Confident. A minx. A flirt. A woman who had a sensual air about her, and an innocence, too. It had all called to him even then.