She bit down on her lower lip as his fingers toyed with the thin band of her pants. “Is that so?”
“Yes,” he said, holding her gaze as he slipped his hand under her pants and then her panties. “And that means that I want to spend time with you outside of these rooms. It’s a strange feeling to want that, I’ll admit.”
Her cheeks were flushed. “Wow, Lucian.”
He grinned as he inched his fingers down. Based on the way she was breathing, he would bet a million dollars she was already wet for him. “I want to spend time with you while spending time with people I care about that.”
Julia’s thick lashes lowered as her chest rose and fell heavily. He leaned over her, lining their mouths up as his forefinger reached her very damp core. Her head kicked back slightly as he drew his finger along her center, slowly parting her. He loved every little catch in her breath.
“And if you don’t agree to it, I’m going to think that you only want me in this bed and not any place else.”
She curled her hand around the nape of his neck. “Well, you put it that way, I’d feel like an ass if I didn’t agree.”
“You should.” The grip on his neck tightened as he dragged his finger up and down, sinking in farther with every pass. “Is there a reason why you wouldn’t want to?”
Her hips twitched under him. “I . . . what if your brother doesn’t want me there?”
Lucian kissed the corner of her mouth. “I want you there.”
She gasped as he worked his finger inside her. “But I—I feel like I don’t . . .”
Slowly thrusting his finger in and out, he fucking loved that soft little cry she gave him. Could eat it right up. “You feel like what, Ms. Hughes?”
She was moving her hips in tandem with his finger, growing more and more breathless as he added another. “I feel . . . I feel like I don’t fit in.”
Lucian’s hand stilled—his entire body stilled as he stared down at her. Did she really feel that way? Fuck. Why was he surprised? She hadn’t grown up like he had, living the kind of life he and his brothers experienced. Most people wouldn’t feel like they fit in. He was a dumbass for not even realizing that earlier.
“Lucian,” she breathed, her hips rolling against his hand.
He gave a little shake of his head and then he kissed her—kissed her as if he could kiss away the insecurities. “You fit in,” he told her. Hooking his finger, he pressed his thumb down on her clit. “Don’t ever doubt that.”
Julia’s back arched as he swirled his thumb. He lifted himself up, supporting his weight on his knees, so he could watch her expression when the passion broke. His other hand curved around her throat. He could feel her pulse beating wildly under his thumb. Her lips parted and that soft cry danced in the air as her body clutched his fingers.
She was beautiful. Everything about her. From the pink flush in her cheeks to the crease that formed between her brows when the tension was almost, almost too much to handle.
Lucian groaned her name, wanting to rewind the last couple of moments and rewatch it over and over.
After what felt like an eternity, Julia’s eyes fluttered opened. Their gazes locked, and a part of him was still in her. “Okay,” she murmured, a sated grin tugging at her lips. “Geez. I’ll hang out with you guys.”
He started to smile.
“But first . . .” Julia reached down, gripping his wrist. She pulled his hand out and then sat up. She rolled him, forcing him down onto his back. Her hands went to his belt. “There’s something else I want.”
Lucian was quick to realize she meant him.
And she had him.
In her hands and then her mouth, and in ways, she probably didn’t even know—in ways he was just discovering.
With a glass of wine in one hand and Lucian’s hand wrapped firmly around the other, Julia followed him through the house, heading down a hall she’d never entered before. They were joining Dev in the rec room. She seriously doubted that her idea of what a rec room consisted of was the same thing as the de Vincents’.
Growing up, her family had one. There was a TV in there and an old worn couch that should’ve been tossed ages ago. There’d also been a ton of crap no one used stashed in the room.
Lucian stopped abruptly in front of a large painting. It was a field of burnt orange poppies and dewy, green grass. “What do you think of this painting? Maddie or me?”
They’d been doing this all night, before dinner, during it, and now as they made their way through the maze of a home. Her task was to guess which one had been done by his sister and which ones had been painted by him. So far she sucked at this game, because both of them were all over the place in terms of style.
She studied the painting, struck yet again by how realistic it was. From a distance, the painting could easily be mistaken as a photograph. Just like the one in Madeline’s bedroom. “Your sister.”
“Nope. Me. Pony up.”
Sighing, Julia paid the cost of losing as established at the beginning of the game. She stretched up on the tips of her toes and kissed him.
He circled on arm around his waist, fitting her body against his. “I’m beginning to think you’re getting this wrong on purpose.”
She laughed as she made sure she didn’t spill the wine. “I don’t mind losing, but I’m not doing it on purpose. It’s almost impossible to tell your work apart.”
“Hmm.” He nipped at her lip and then backed off. He started walking again, bringing her along. “Too bad you got all the ones right during dinner. I was so looking forward to you having to kiss me in front of Dev.”
Julia snorted. “I’m not sure he would’ve even noticed.”
He cast her a long look over shoulder. “He would’ve noticed that.”
Her nose wrinkled. “You guys are, like, really weird. Weird in a way I’m not sure I want to even think about.”
“More like weird in a way you have most definitely thought about,” he teased, and her eyes narrowed, because he was, of course, right. “How was dinner for you?”
“It was okay.” And that was the truth. “I was . . . nervous at first, but I was fine.”
Dinner had been normal. Well, not the staff serving their food or refilling their drinks. That was so not normal. It was like eating at a fancy restaurant, but Devlin had been nice, talkative in his own coldly detached way. Lucian had behaved himself mostly. One or five times his hand ended up on her thigh under the table, but it had been nice and the food had been amazing.
And while she still didn’t feel like she really fit in with them, that was on her. They made her as comfortable as possible, but it was her head that made her feel like a weed among roses. The fact that Lucian had even acknowledged that was a concern of hers earlier, that he’d sensed it and then told her she belonged, made her—ugh, made her want to cuddle with him and do stuff.
God, she really wanted to hate him.
“So, besides having paintings hung here and in some of the places Gabe mentioned, where else does your artwork hang?” she asked.
“I sell a lot of the paintings for charity.” He tugged her farther down the hall.
“That’s nice of you.”
“Great tax benefit.” He cast a grin over his shoulder when she groaned.
“Why do I have a feeling that isn’t the only reason why you do it, but that’s what you want people to think?”
“I have no idea what would make you think I have an altruistic nature.”
“I’m actually kind of surprised you know what that means,” she shot back.
Lucian chuckled. “If we weren’t mere steps away from my brother, I would show you just how altruistic I’m not.”
She flushed hotly.
His eyes turned heated. “You would like that, wouldn’t you?” He pulled her into him again and lowered his mouth to her ear. “I’ll show you later.”
Julia was in so much trouble when it came to him.
A few more steps and they were in front of two wood-paneled double doors. “This was where the kitchens used to be before the house burnt down.” Letting go of her hand, he pushed open the door. “It was just another useless room until about twenty years ago.”