“It’s what I’ve always wanted to tell you, Alex.” He sat up, bringing me along with him. “I’ve always wanted this with you.”
I slid my hands to his cheeks, meeting his heated gaze with my own. “I’ve always loved you.”
Aiden made a strangled sound and his lips were on mine again. His hand buried in my hair, holding me still. “This wasn’t my intention… coming in here.”
“I know.” My lips brushed his as I spoke. “I know.”
As he kissed me again, he eased onto his back. My heart was hammering against my ribs as his fingers left my face and traveled down. He lifted himself up just enough for me to take off his shirt and toss it aside. My hands splayed across each hard ripple and I kissed my way down until his chest heaved under my lips and he whispered my name in a pleading sort of way. He gripped my arms and pulled me back to his lips.
I shrugged out of his grasp and lifted my arms without speaking. He obeyed the silent command and tossed my shirt aside. Without any warning, I was on my back, staring up at him. His hands slipped over my bare skin as his lips dipped down my throat and over the curve of my shoulder. Each scar was kissed tenderly, and when he came to the one Linard’s blade had left, he shuddered.
My fingers sifted through his hair as I held him to me. His kisses were doing crazy, strange, and wonderful things to me. I whispered his name over and over again like some kind of mad prayer. Then I was moving against him, being guided by some primal instinct that told me what to do. The rest of our clothes ended up in a pile on the floor. The moment our bodies were flush with one another, a sense of wildness came over me.
Our kisses deepened, his tongue swept over mine, and I rocked against him. All of this was wonderful, exquisitely pleasing. Aiden dropped kisses all over my flushed skin. I was lost in the heady sensations, completely unprepared for it. This may not have been what we intended, but this… this was happening.
Aiden lifted his head. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” I breathed. “I’ve never been more sure.”
His hand trembled against my flushed face. “Have you gotten…?”
He was asking if I’d had my shot—the Council-mandated birth control for all half-blood females. I nodded.
The silver eyes flared. His hand trembled against my cheek again and as he lifted up, his eyes roamed over me. My newfound courage all but disappeared under his scalding stare. Somehow sensing my nervousness, his kiss was gentle and sweet. He was patient and perfect, coaxing away the shyness until I wrapped myself around him.
There was a near-panicked edge to him, driven by the knowledge that there was no pulling back, no stopping this time. With a thrusting kiss that left me shaken, his hand drifted with such exquisite detail. His kisses followed the same pattern and when he paused, his eyes begged for permission. That simple moment, that tiny act brought tears to my eyes.
I couldn’t—didn’t want to—deny him anything.
Aiden was everywhere—in every touch, every soft moan. When I thought I couldn’t take anymore, that I would surely break, he was there to prove that I could. When his lips descended on mine again, they did so with a fevered pitch.
“I love you,” he whispered. “I have since the night in Atlanta. I always will.”
I gasped against his skin. “I love you.”
He broke. Whatever control he had wrapped around him finally slipped away. I reveled in it, the pure simplicity of being in his arms and knowing that he felt the same keen madness that I did. Supporting himself with his forearm as his kisses took on the same sense of urgency that I felt, he lifted his mouth to whisper something in a beautiful language I didn’t understand. I was nearly over the edge, rushing towards a glorious ending.
We were surrounded by our love for one another. It became a tangible thing, electrifying the air around us until I was sure we both would ignite under its power. Then in a mindless moment of pure beauty, we weren’t a half-blood and a pure-blood, we were simply just two people madly, deeply in love.
We were one.
I awoke some time later, tucked in Aiden’s arms. The candle still flickered by the bed. The sheet had tangled around our legs, and the comforter was pushed to the floor. I realized that I’d been more or less using him as a pillow. I lifted my head and drank him in. I could never grow tired of looking at him.
His chest rose evenly under my hands. He looked so young and relaxed while he slept. Locks of dark waves tumbled against his forehead and his lips were parted. I leaned down and placed a soft kiss against those lips.
His arms immediately tightened, betraying that he was not as deeply asleep as I’d originally thought. I grinned at being caught. “Hello.”
Aiden’s eyes fluttered open. “How long have you been staring at me?”
“Knowing you,” he drawled lazily, “you’ve been staring at me since I fell asleep.”
“That’s not true.” I giggled.
“Uh huh, come here.” He tugged me down. My nose brushed against his. “Not nearly close enough.”
I shifted closer. My leg wrapped around his. “Close enough?”
“Let me see.” His hands slid down my back and rested over the curve of my waist with the slightest pressure. “Ah, that’s better.”
I flushed. “Yes… yeah, it is.”
Aiden grinned wolfishly and a wicked glint filled his silver eyes. I should’ve known at that point he was up to something, but this side of Aiden—this playful and sensual side—was unknown to me. His hand glided lower, eliciting a pleased gasp of surprise. He sat up in one fast fluid motion and I found myself unexpectedly in his lap.