Chapter 17

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Dr Shawn leans over to me, speaking close to my ear. “You look gorgeous Anastasia,” the growling whisper leaves little doubt in my mind, no matter what he says, that he thinks of this as a date.

“I hope you’re not going back on your word,” I tut, “we’re just friends remember? This isn’t a date.” I keep my tone light, playful even but I’m hoping that reminding him will be enough to keep him in his place.

He avoids commenting and deftly changes tract, “so where’s the possessive ex tonight? I was half expecting him to wait for me, shotgun in hand.” His remark is dry but the twist of resentment is unmistakable.

I smile at the thought of angry, jealous Christian – intimidating as the image can be it’s also smoking hot. At least it shows he cares. “He’s in Seoul, on business.” My tone doesn’t brook further discussion.

On the elevator ride down to the basement where we‘re to meet the security for the evening I reflect on how gutsy it was of Dr Shawn to show up here after last time’s heated encounter, not trying to avoid Christian. Brave or plain stupid, I’m not sure.

When we reach the basement I’m greeted by a shiny, stretch limo – compliments of the hot Doc for the evening. Carl is smiling from ear to ear, not only is it big enough to accommodate our two man entourage but it’s bullet proof as well. Dr Shawn has outdone himself. Fifty will be pleased!

As pleased as he can be with you gallivanting around the city with a man he told you to stay away from!  My subconscious is scowling at me and mentally I narrow my eyes at her in warning.

I catch Carl and the second security officer I have yet to be introduced to, arguing about who gets to drive. It seems Carl’s superiority secures him the driving rights and he turns to me, an uncharacteristic grin on his face. “Ms Steele, this is Brandon. He’ll be our second pair of eyes and ears tonight.”

Dr Shawn shakes hands with both men and motions for me to climb in. After I smile my hello I slip into the back seat. On the short drive to the Fairmont I allow myself a tiny thrill. I haven’t had an over-the-top evening like this in a long time. I look forward to a bit of glitz and glamour.

The Fairmont doesn’t disappoint. Its old-school luxury screams classic elegance and as we glide our way up the Grand Staircase to the Garden room, I get swept up in the excitement. The terraced event room is filled with vibrant lush plants and boasts a running waterfall creating a magical sound that compliments the soft, lazy tinkling of the grand piano in one corner.

One entire side, running the length of the room is made up of floor to ceiling Palladian windows that lead off to a romantic, open air balcony. The seductive, winking lights of the velvet Seattle night serving as the perfect backdrop.

The round tables are decorated with crisp white tablecloths, white plates and masses of white flowers creating achromatic havens of tranquillity amongst the riotous colours of the flowers and foliage of the plants in the room.

It’s spectacular, offering a little justification for the extravagant $4000.00 per plate charge. Dr Shawn is the consummate host – an attentive gentleman – taking my wrap, pulling my chair out and offering champagne. He excuses himself to greet some benefactors and colleagues and I happily wave him away, content to be on my own.

Idly I watch the room fill as I sip my chilled bubbles. The women mingling reminds me of bright, bold paint strokes against the sober, understated tuxedos of the men and I notice that Dr Shawn holds the monopoly on looks for the evening – drawing longing female gazes in his wake as he makes his rounds.

His tall frame is easy to spot around the room and I enjoy watching him wooing, wheeling and dealing. To my great amusement I realise that the heavy charm he’s laid on me isn’t exclusively for me and I feel a little relieved. Good thing I didn’t fall for him, imagine being in love with a pathological flirt – and an outrageous one at that.

I begin to relax, secure in the knowledge that his flirtatious ways are just who he is and grateful that I won’t have to fight him off to protect my virtue. I entertain myself by spotting celebrities and making small talk with the other guests around our table until he joins us again.

Soon the liveried waiters deliver the entrees with a well-practiced grace and the conversation dims down to a low hum. It signals the arrival of the speeches with Dr Shawn’s being the first. He strolls, in that laidback way of his up to the lectern, already in command of the room, ordering every woman’s head to turn.

I have to stifle a giggle at their rapt attention, knowing full well that I’m under that same spell when it’s Christian’s turn, speaking passionately about a topic close to his heart. My mind does what I suppose every other female’s mind would do in my shoes and draws a comparison between these two fine specimens of maleness.

The sinful, edgy beauty of Christian – sleek, strong, hard and intense with an undercurrent that is undeniably sex and power contrasting with Dr Shawn’s rugged, towering outdoors look. Sensual yet casual, a smidgen of wild and unkept that only ads to his approachable appeal. Both men arrogant and comfortable in their own skin, excelling in their careers and obviously used to getting their way in all things – calling to that part in every woman that craves a real man.

I try not to dwell on how lucky I was to have had that with Christian, maybe one day I’ll be ready to put myself out there again but I’m fairly sure that it will never be quite like it was with Christian.

Dr Shawn finishes his speech to an appreciative house, many people making their way to the front to congratulate him – a lot of them woman – ready to steal a kiss disguised as salutations. By the time he reaches our table the main meal is served and the chatter turns from business to pleasure as the guests start to unwind and enjoy themselves.

By 9:00pm I’m desperate to talk to Grace and find out if all went well with Chris. I’ve already checked my phone countless times throughout the evening, careful not to miss any calls but it’s been silent and now, I can’t stand it anymore.

With my wrap around my shoulders to ward off the cool night breeze I step onto the dark balcony. It’s beautiful, the outside echoing the design from the inside.  Large potted shrubs and small trees are randomly dotted along the length of the marble tiled floor reminiscent of a maze. It creates private corners from which to admire the view or for a romantic tryst. Collins and Brandon are on either side of me but tucked into the far corners, well out of my way.

I make my call and am ridiculously grateful when she answers after only two rings, “Hi Ana, checking up on us?” it’s not said with malice, just the friendly ribbing that can only be done by another mother who’s shared a similar pang of worry for her child’s wellbeing in the care of relative strangers.

I smile, at ease at once and play along, “absolutely, I know how much grandparents like to spoil the little pups, it’s all ice-cream and late nights with you.”

“Oh Ana, he’s a delight. We’ve had a wonderful time, thank you for trusting us with him.” her joy is tainted with the wistfulness of time lost.

I can kick myself, the growing awareness of the importance of telling them the truth is a stain overpowering the small step toward wholeness I’m trying to take. I’m going to hate hurting them like that. I wish them a good night and lean onto the balustrade, looking deep into the inky night, the prospect weighing heavily on my conscience.

Dr Shawn’s Irish lilt puts me back in the moment. “Ana, I’ve been looking for you. I hope you’re not hiding from me.”

I smile and move to face him, “No, just getting some air.”

“I know what you mean, I hate these things but it’s a necessary evil – schmooze with the money if I ever want to reach my goal.” He explains.

I giggle, “Schmooze?”

“Ay, it’s my new word. It’s perfect, very descriptive.” His delivery is dry, punctuating his dislike.

I nod my agreement, still smiling, “so what’s this big goal then?”

He turns pensive for a moment before he answers, “have you ever been to Africa Ana?”

I just shake my head, a tad embarrassed by my poorly travelled status. Thankfully the dark hides the tell-tale pink patches on my cheeks.

“It’s wonderful and wild and magical but it’s also harsh. So many sick and hungry people, the poorest of the poor. Countries embroiled in age-old famines with corrupt governments pocketing every last cent destined for aid and relief. It’s heartbreaking.” He leans forward, bending at the waist and rests his elbows on the balustrade, his gaze far away, in another place. “You have all these aid agencies trying to make a difference: UNICEF, UNHR, WFP, WHO, UN, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders and hundreds more, some of them with access to fantastic resources but still, aid trickles to those who need it most.”

None of what he’s saying is news to me but I guess that the west has become jaded with the world’s poverty issues. I glance around, suddenly feeling awkward and ashamed of the splendour and opulence we find ourselves in.

He sees my discomfort and nods, understanding because he shares the same infliction. “What I would love to do is fund a range of supply centres, placed in strategic, accessible cities across Africa, maybe five or six, stocked with food and medical supplies, centralising the supply of donations. The aid agencies on the ground, who run the camps and clinics could draw from these when needed, cutting out the need for monetary monitoring and eliminating the endless, time wasting red tape.”

“Wow!” I breathe in admiration, “That’s amazing, quite the vision you’ve got there.”

He turns his body to mine, still leaning on the rail, those emerald eyes lit with his passion but marred by the regretful line of his mouth. “Therein lies the problem, it’s just a vision and as much as it’s a noble one, it doesn’t feed the hungry or heal the sick until it’s a reality.” He looks away, ponderous again.

“Ah, I get it. Money makes the world go round.” This is something I know from my own personal experience, not nearly on that scale but still.

“Clever and beautiful,” he says and sweeps a fly tendril behind my ear, brushing my cheek along the way. “Ay, lots and lots of cash.” I note that his good humour seemed to have returned somewhat in spite of the weighty subject. “Even after the personal funds I’ve poured into it.”

My eyes widen in surprise at his admission. He obviously has money and if he’s willing to use his own to fund something like this, I think it’s admirable but his tender caress has me nervous and I draw my wrap a little tighter around my shoulders.

My show of nerves sparks a salacious, carnal smile that leaves his eyes glimmering with hunger. I swallow hard, my muscles tensing for my inevitable refusal but I still have hope that it won’t come to that.

“So a lot then,” I say to keep to the unsexy topic of poverty.

“Yes,” he murmurs and nodding slowly, “like the type of money your ex has.”

My body stiffens at his words and his unashamed watch as he regards me with renewed interest. “What’s up with the two of you? I see the way he looks at you – like a starving wolf.”

I snort, “I don’t think so.” My statement is thick with scorn.

“He told me to stay away, that you and Chris belong to him.” he continues to keep a searching eye on me, digging and probing.

Ah, that’s what Christian spat at him when he was leaving Escala.

My mouth responds with a rueful turn. “I suppose that’s true.”

A puzzling V burrows into his forehead, “you told me that you weren’t together yet you stay with him in his apartment but when he’s away you come out with me.”

I give him a testing look, “I didn’t know he’d be away when I said I’d consider coming with you and you made a point of telling me that I would be doing you a favour, as a friend.”

He holds up his palms in surrender and grins. It’s hard to stay mad at him. “So what’s with the possession thing? Don’t get me wrong, if you were mine I’d be insanely jealous, I might not ever let you leave the house.” The grin turns into a naughty smirk.

I roll my eyes, “he’s no right to be jealous, we aren’t together but that doesn’t make me any less his. I belong to him because he has my heart.” I want to cry at the truth of my words, burning with longing for my love to be requited.

It’s his turn to look taken aback, “you want him and he doesn’t want you? Is he blind?” The space between us suddenly crackles to life, the light in his eyes turns dark as his body curves to mine.  His back is against the rail and he’s taken me with him, snaking a strong arm around my waist and pulling me close enough to feel the heat radiating from his solid body. “I bet I could change your mind,” he growls at me and slips his free hand into my hair, leaving his thumb resting just in front of my ear.

“I bet I could make you forget,” his gaze is locked into mine and I shake my head, trying to step out of his steel hold.

I’m not scared, just really annoyed – I guess I was wrong about him after all.

I catch movement in the corner of my eye, it’s Collins getting ready to intervene but he stops abruptly and before I can process the possible reason, Dr Shawn opens his mouth a fraction and determinately bears down on mine.

I raise my hands to shove his chest. “I said no!” My voice is unwavering, clear and just as I’m about to lift my knee to his already straining groin another arm dives between us, gripping like an iron vice just below my breasts while something fast dashes past my head and delivers a swift, sure punch with the practiced ease of a prize fighter on Dr Shawn’s surprised face.

“I warned you to leave her the fuck alone!” Christian’s menacing growl splits the silence of the night while Dr Shawn’s head judders to one side as he stumbles back, finally releasing me. My feet barley touch the ground as Christian throws me over his shoulder and stalks off, our security team scuttling to keep up.

Only then does my brain register what just happened, my heart still beating wildly and shock keeping me mute. It doesn’t take long for the indignation of being carried like a sack of potatoes begins to burn me. “Put me down! You have no right to do this! Let me go!” I kick my legs and struggle against his grip.

Christian slides me down his body and sets me back on my feet. I cocoon myself in my wrap and glare at him, “I was handling that! I don’t need you to come charging to the rescue,” I wave a frantic hand through the air, “I’m not some weak damsel in distress!” Hot lust licks at my belly at the sight of him in his tailored tux, his grey eyes boring into mine. Like water and oil it frustratingly opposes the cold fury of my resentment.

I notice that we’re in a guest restricted corridor of the hotel, somewhere in the bowels of the building. The ping of the arriving service elevator behind my back makes me jump in surprise and Christian spins me by the shoulders, marching me inside along with Collins and Brandon. I shrug his hands off and face him again, impatiently waiting for his answer.

“I know,” he says, regarding me with a small smile, “it’s just that I’ve been waiting for a reason to punch that fucker ever since I saw him salivating over you and Chris in my apartment.”

I gasp, stunned at his response but also because there’s no trace of anger in his eyes. They glow gently, following every curve of my face and I’m trapped in it, knowing that I shouldn’t let it affect me but unable to help myself.

The elevator stops on the eleventh floor and his look takes on a darker turn. I get the impression that he’s waiting for me to catch on to his game but I’m lost. He takes me by the elbow and steers me towards a suite, still watching my every move until it hits me. Not a suite but the suite, the Cascade suite – our suite.

I wrench my elbow out of his clasp and stop dead in the corridor not bothering to curb my sudden tears, “What are you doing? Why did you bring me here?” It’s a plaintive, breathless plea.

He sweeps a hand through his hair, bewilderment then irritation flashes across his face. “For the love of all things holy will you please go into the fucking room? I don’t want to make a scene out here.”  He says though we’re alone. The security team has melted away, leaving him barking his orders at me. “We never got to finish talking about your contract.” His tone only mildly tempered now.

“What?” I stare at him, incredulous. “I don’t think I have the stomach for the rest of that conversation.” I shake my head, already backing away with what must be a look of panic in my eyes but if it’s closure he’s after I can give him that. “The truth is that I don’t blame you, not one bit. I understand what I did was deplorable and unforgivable but I can’t talk about it anymore.” My head drops in a dejected slump, the familiar burn of tears hits the back of my throat and I will myself to fight it.

“This is my fault. I shouldn’t have left you like I did.” A curled finger lifts my chin in order to meet his concerned gaze.

“It’s fine, I’m fine. It’s just… I can’t do this anymore.” I’ve resorted to begging as I whisper these words to him.

He straightens abruptly, almost standing at attention as formal Christian appears, “Anastasia, I’m asking you for five minutes, thereafter you’re free to go.”

I eye him dubiously, weighing my options but guilt wins out and I follow him meekly into the suite that’s filled with so many bitter-sweet memories.

The fire is lit like it was that night but instead of warmth it brings a chill to my soul that I try to dispel with my ineffective wrap. I throw the lose end over my shoulder like a scarf.

Christian offers me a drink and motions me to a chair. I wish I could take my shoes off and curl into the sumptuous stuffing but I sit demurely waiting for him to say his piece. This is all too familiar by now as weariness drapes my body in an unnatural pose.

When he hands me a glass I slug it back in one go, not tasting a thing. I feel it travel down my throat and along my limbs.

Christian takes his own seat and I presume, searches for a way to start. “The contract, did you consider the implications of what you’re offering?”

I glare at him mutinously, is he really expecting me to relive that moment of utter vulnerability and rejection? By the stern slant of his face I garner my answer and resign myself to a further five minutes of humiliation.

“Look, the contract wasn’t meant to be taken that literally – not that there’s anything in there that I wouldn’t do,” I clarify quickly and check to see if I’ve earned his ire, “but the point was to show you that I understood where our problems lie and that I was so sure that I wouldn’t leave again that I didn’t need the right to that choice anymore.” I shrug my shoulders miserably, my voice turning low and uncertain, “I…, I thought that if I left the power to terminate the relationship with you, you might reconsider your previous standpoint.” I look down as the crimson shame steals across my features and I worry my lip with my teeth to distract myself from the awful disgrace I feel vibrating off me.

I can sense his eyes on me but I’m not brave enough to meet his slate watch. “So there you have it, it was silly, I know. I hope I’ve given you the closure you needed.” I push myself up and turn to go.

“Anastasia,” I close my eyes against the sound of my name on his lips, desperately willing it to become meaningless, “I wasn’t looking for closure.” I hear him making his way to me, stopping at my back and placing his hands on my shoulders to halt my exit.

I sigh, “What do you want Christian?” I don’t move but angle my head to be in profile to him.

I feel his warm breath on my cheek as he speaks, his words carefully measured. “We were just about to take off in Seoul when I learnt from Taylor that you were planning to come here tonight – with him,” I can hear the scornful note in his spitting remark.

“I was angry. So fucking angry Anastasia, furious beyond reason.” His grip tightens on my tensing shoulders. The ferocity of his emotion evokes the image of a madman, a man way past logic and sense and control and it sends an involuntary shudder racing down my neck.

“At the time I was busy reading an e-mail from Kate, chewing me out for rejecting you after the countless times I wished to have you back.” Those words suddenly have my whole being invested in the conversation, every cell of my body listening intently. “It was clear that the two of you spoke but in the light of how inconclusively we left things just before I flew to Seoul, I didn’t understand why she thought we were finished.”

What’s more conclusive than no?

He pauses for a moment, awareness of him prickles across my skin as my lungs labour to draw a proper breath.

Where is he going with this?

“The whole flight I thought of little else. What the fuck you were up to with him and about what you told Kate. Then it occurred to me, how you could have heard my last words and I felt your pain, hating that I was responsible for it.”

My brow knits together, “I don’t understand.”

“I came here, straight off the plane to get you. I was about to put the doctor straight when I heard you. I heard what you told him and I knew I was right.”

I pivot around slowly, my head tilted up to search his face, “right about what?”

He gently sweeps the ringlets curling down my chest back over my shoulders, concentrating on his effort like it’s a vital part of our conversation. “You said that you belonged to me because I had your heart.” When his ash gaze locks into mine his eyes turn darker, fervent.

I’m still confused; surely this can’t be news to him.

“I knew then you didn’t want to be with him.” He takes a breath before he continues, “Anastasia, when I said I didn’t want you as my girlfriend it wasn’t because I didn’t want you at all.” He’s running his fingertips rhythmically along my arm in hypnotic strokes while the other claims my wrist. His three middle fingers resting in the hollow of my pulse, as if to reassure himself of my vitality.

“I could never go back to being something less when I once had you completely. That’s why I wanted to discuss the contract – negotiate?” his questioning brow has me nodding my head.

Negotiate how?

I feel a little off-balance, dizzy even from the lack of oxygen but I’m so completely, wholly immersed in his eyes and his mesmerizing words that I’ve no capacity for even the most rote of tasks – insignificant things such as breathing.

His silky whisper reverberates through me, reaching the deepest part of my being. “I wanted to know if you would consider amending the contract, instead of being my girlfriend, would you consider being my wife?”

My startled inhalation finally brings with it a gush of oxygen, rushing to my stupefied brain and generating only one coherent thought: please don’t let this be a dream.

Christian anticipates the effect of the oxygen surge, his strapping hold has me anchored to his body, his right hand cradling the column of my neck beneath my hair, the left urging into the small of my back well before even I realise I’m close to fainting. My eyelids flutter as I wait for my head to stop swimming. My legs find their footing again and when I manage to open my eyes, I find grey pools of adoring affection, a look that’s more than capable of stealing my sanity.

OH MY!

My lips part to accommodate both accelerated breathing and talking but I only master a gasp – in awe, in shock, in revelation. He’s smirking, acutely aware and by the looks of it, very pleased about the effect he’s having on me. He leans into me, running his nose along mine. “So, are the terms negotiable Anastasia?”

I feel his lips brush my cheek then follow a path down to my jaw. My body unconsciously yields to his touch, arching my back to open my neck for him, receptive and oh so willing. “Yes,” it’s a voiceless breath and I shiver from his ministrations as well as the wrap slipping gently off my shoulders and slithering to the floor.

He doesn’t stop his fervent trail, kissing and nipping softly when he asks, “Yes what? You’ll be my wife or yes, the contract is negotiable.”

I don’t know how he’s able to concentrate on anything right now yet I feel him smile against my neck, teasing my incoherentness. I close my eyes in an effort to block out some of the engulfing sensations in order to get a handle on my faculties, “both,” I’m powerless to improve on my last, single-word sentence.

He stills, drawing away from me ever so slowly, his focus on me a force in itself. “Where do I sign?”

The smile spreading over my lips and into my eyes is unmeasurably wide and grateful – elated. I obviously don’t have the contract with me but an idea floats gently into my head. I place my hand over my heart, the low cut of the dress allowing me to put it directly onto my skin, “here,” I say, willing him to make the connection to lipstick lines drawn over no-go zones.

His gaze follows my hand and he inhales sharply, the implication filtering through. He slides his hand over mine, his fingers slipping between mine before curling them into a hold and pulling it away. At the same time he reaches for the other hand and steps back, taking stock of the dress. It’s the first time he gets an eye-full of the top that was hidden beneath the wrap.

As his eyes sweep up and down my body, I see in them a spark of anger coupled with a fire so hot I think it’s fuelling my blush. “Is this the dress he bought you?” he’s using that soft, guarded voice, the one that almost always precedes the loss of his temper. Naturally I don’t even blink at the fact that he knows that Dr Shawn sent me a dress.

I offer him a solemn nod, not willing to risk igniting his incense with words. My heart is beating a frantic rhythm as he continues to let his watch roam the outline of the dress. Finally he lifts his eyes, looking at me from under his lashes with a lazy smile that drips with revenge and passion. “I. Can. Not. Wait. To take the pleasure of being the one to tear it off you.” His erotic promise leaves me shivering and faint.

He watches me, enjoying my reaction as his words sink in then turns on his heel, bearing to the desk in the corner of the room. He rummages in the drawer and when he finds what he’s looking for he strides back to me.

He uncaps a black, felt-tip marker in permanent ink, a mischievous grin stealing over his delicious mouth. I can smell the chemicals that make up the ink as he brings it closer, deciding how to angle his approach. He chooses to start at the bottom and write his way across my heart over the swell of my breast. He signs his full name, the black scroll staying in the wake of his writing, carelessly leaving a stain on the dress. It’s so loaded with significance for us that my heart clenches along with my thighs, the slickness becoming impossible to ignore.

Again he steps away, admiring his work. “There. It’s done. Signed and sealed.” With storm grey eyes drilling mine he regards me carefully – like me, he craves the reassurance of our fresh and fragile union. “You. Are. Mine.” His possessive authority resonating with my memories of those words.

I skim the side of his face and he leans into my touch. “Always,” I breathe, “in the past, the present and the future – body and soul.”

This moment is more real to me than anything has ever been and I’m burning with the awareness of my sincerity and unwavering commitment to this man. I don’t feel like an onlooker, viewing the fairy tale from the outside – I’m part of it, part of him. For the first time I feel that I deserve to be here, maybe because I fought so hard for the honour.

An overwhelming need to tell him crashes over me like a breaking wave, “I love you.” Worship you, adore you, revere you, crave you – I want to say all of it but not one seems adequate to measure the depth of my feeling for him. I feel it oozing out of me, emotions storming to be expressed but I fail to find the words.

Christians senses the change in our bubble and he closes his eyes, head back with lips parted he bathes in the swirl, drinking it in like it’s essential for his survival. He draws a long breath as his eyelids lift to reveal a scorching desire. “I’m going to kiss you now.” he only leaves a millisecond for me to process before his mouth crushes mine.

There is nothing tentative about the way he kisses me, devouring my lips and tongue with a primal greed. All I can do against the force of it is to give in. His hands roam wildly over my naked back, easily slipping under the rim of the dress skimming my behind and the delicate lace of my tiny panties.

The low growl he makes sends my senses in overdrive. He cups both cheeks, pressing my body into his so I can feel his growing need.

“Ah,” I gasp into his mouth, I’m not sure how long I can still stand; weeks – no years of denied passion leaving me a quivering, wanton mess – on the verge of orgasm with a single kiss.

When Christian breaks our contact his eyes are cloudy, unfocussed by intense desire, almost like he’s drugged and we’re both breathing hard. “Ana.” He shakes his head, also seemingly at a loss for words.

When he regains a measure of his control his focus turns to my dress, a wicked smile warning me of what’s to come. He bends to take a closer look at his signature and gently blows on his name to ensure the ink is dry. The sudden cool breath chase goose bumps across my skin, making my nipples strain against the snug silk.

He skates the back of a single knuckle over the hard tip making me convulse. It’s clear that he likes this reaction and he tries to elicit another one. He laves across the smooth fabric, swirling his tongue around the stiff point. When it’s thoroughly wet, he stands back to review his feat. The dress is moulded to my nipple, revealing even the tiniest bump. He’s inordinately pleased with himself and I’m riveted watching him bend to blow on the wetness again. His saliva goes ice cold, the nipple rock hard and he bites on the bud, the delicious pain darting straight to my groin.

“Aahh,” I moan. I can’t believe how close I am. One more of those and I’ll be screaming my release.

“I know baby, hang in there.” He’s still so powerfully in charge of my body.

He straightens and brushes four fingers from the base of my neck to the well of the deep dipped neckline of the dress, between my breasts. He slips two knuckles-deep under the edge of the silk and repeats this process with the other hand. He shifts his hold so that both hands rest on either side of the V. He pauses for a beat before I feel his fingers tense with a stronger grip. He rips the dress right down to my navel and his hand travels along the revealed path, skimming my shivering, heated skin all the way.

When he reaches the new edge he tears it again, ripping it in two. He wears a roguish grin as he pins me with an intense, victorious gaze. “Shrug,” comes his hoarse command.

I obey with a gentle roll of my shoulders, the remains of the dress glide down my body, whispering along the way. Naked now except for the low cut panties, I suffer a pang of nerves, this is the first time he’s seen my body since I’ve had Chris. I bite my lip and register the spectacular flush exploding across me features.

I’m rewarded by his hard inhalation and big, round eyes. “Fuck Anastasia,” he’s still fully dressed but seems eager now to rectify that oversight. “I might let you keep the shoes,” he says as he makes a start on his bow tie. He tugs at the end, unravelling it along with my senses. Dextrously he opens the top three buttons of his shirt before he pulls it out of his pants. His eyes never leave mine as he steps out of his shoes and rids himself of his socks.

“You’re going to have to make certain allowances tonight,” a crooked, sheepish smile licks at his mouth.

I nod, “anything,” thinking that he’s talking about our relationship.

“It’s…., been a long time,” he’s stalking toward me, unfastening the rest of his buttons before he balls the crisp white shirt and throws it onto a corner.

My pulse leaps at the sight of him and I lick my lips, I can’t quite piece together what he’s trying to say. I’m too distracted by the view, desperate to get my hands on his naked skin. I bop my head a second time in an effort to rush him as I reach for his chest, sliding my hands across his defined pectorals. I revel in the firmness, combing my nails through his chest hair, loving the way he responds to my touch when I hear him drag in a fast breath.

He closes his eyes, savouring the contact. “This is going to be quick and hard baby, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to control myself.”

I halt my roaming hands and gape at him in shock, blinking startled eyes. My pelvic muscles clench in response, loving the thought of amorous Christian, falling to pieces in his need for my body.

“Not that I think it will be a problem, it doesn’t look like it will take much to push you over the edge…” his teasing tone and wolfish smirk alone has me shuddering – as usual his assessment is devastatingly accurate. I would be annoyed at how easy my body succumbs to him but I can think of nothing but my trembling muscles so close to climax.

He cocks his head to one side, eyes glowing their hunger, “do you want me Ana?”

My mouth is bone dry, I barley manage the “yes” I force out but I long to do the same to him, make him burn for me with words. I reach for his belt that I undo and slip it out of the loops. When I open his fly button I look into his eyes, breathing my own flaming terms, “only you, it’s only ever been you.”

His pants pools at his feet and he grabs me roughly, using both arms to secure me to his length. Another all-consuming kiss leaves me reeling while I hold on to his flexed biceps for support as he grinds his impressive bulge into my panty clad folds.

Fuck!

I want to climb inside him – possess him, be possessed. I curve my arms around his neck and wrap my legs around his hips. He takes my weight as if it’s nothing and he backs me up against the wall.

“Let’s see how you’re doing,” he says still licking into my mouth. His back arcs to accommodate his exploration while his hips hold me in place. Pulling aside my panties he sinks an urgent finger into me, his thumb flicking over my clitoris and I come undone. Juddering and shaking around him. I feel like I leave my own body and then forcibly slam back into it.

“Aaaaahhhh!” it’s a primitive moan, excluding everything but the stunning sensation. Christian groans along with me, into my open mouth.

When my eyes finally resume their focus they come to rest on the face of a man close to the edge. “I love to watch you come Anastasia.” His voice is chocked with desire. He withdraws a slippery finger and greedily stuffs it into his mouth. When he’s had his fill of my taste he pushes the wet digit into my mouth. I groan my acceptance and suck, wanting nothing more than to do this to something else.

I wriggle my behind, into his hand cupping me there as I find my legs again. I push him away with a flat hand on the unforgiving slab of his abdomen. I smile encouragingly into his stare and he backs away. I slip my eager fingers under the boxer’s waistband and draw a slow circle around the rim before hooking my thumbs over to drag them down. He springs free, the swelling alarming and arousing at once.

I go down with the undies and watch his reaction through my lashes as I lick across his tip. He’s pupils have eclipsed the grey of his eyes but stays riveted to my tongue on his straining flesh. The thrill chugs through me like a freight train and I take him in, right to the back of my throat. He thrusts into the movement, humming deep and low.

“Ana, I…” but I interrupt him with my mouth going harder, faster, wetter. He cups my head in reply. His mouth is a ferocious snarl as he bites down, neck muscles corded with the effort to hold back the barrelling pleasure. I grip one buttock to maintain my relentless rhythm and apply the other to his balls, fondling and squeezing gently.

I soak up the sound of his ancient cry as he pulses an obscene amount of scorching, thick fluid down my throat. For a moment I sense him losing his balance but he steps back to correct himself and pulls me up, rather roughly by my upper arm.

“Holy fuck Ana, that was….” He shakes his head in amazement, our gazes glued together.

I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand, sharing his awe but not nearly sated for his touch and by the look of things, neither is he. “I know,” my wide-eyed expression mirroring his. I also felt the earth move. When I rake my teeth over my lip he protests by sealing his mouth over mine, this time with a slow sensuality hinting at reverential love. He tucks me against his form, encasing me in his arms so that our connection can spark from every point of skin-to-skin contact.

His kiss turns chaste then breaks away; looking at me with love so much I catch my breath. He picks me up – superman style and I giggle. “Now,” he grumbles, “I really want to make use of that IUD.

Be kind and review, please.

Link to chapter 18

44 thoughts on “Chapter 17

  1. Dena LaManna says:

    No matter how many times I read!!! Never gets old

    Like

  2. Liz ( Atterbury) says:

    The adrenaline that rushes thru just reading this to reach the final paragraphs is so intense, I found my fingernails imbedded in my palms from tension and then the thankful sigh of happiness for them! Beautiful!

    Like

  3. Roslyn says:

    Love it, love it, love it, what a way to end a chapter….leaving me wanting more. How deliciously written. Great writing and so descriptive. Thank you.

    Like

  4. Michele says:

    This is just awesome!!!

    Like

  5. Christa says:

    I’m so loving this!!! Can’t believe how I found myself rooting for Ana & Christian!! Great job

    Like

  6. Sheila Hall says:

    I loved the character of Christian in the books especially when he bopped the young man on the nose in Aspen. So to read this part about the Doctor and Ana and then the arm coming around her, I just knew that Christian was going to bop the Doctor on the nose. I was not disappointed, thank you, loved this chapter along with all the others.

    Like

  7. grublue says:

    FINALLY!!! You took us through 17 chapters to finally give us what we’d been craving for. 17!!! You are nastier then E. L. James who took the readers about 100 pages into the story before she rewarded them with the first lemon.
    This lemon is so good. It’s so rough, so carnal.

    Love that Christian witnessed Ana’s words to the doc. Made the unresolved things between them a lot easier.

    Like

    • grublue says:

      You know, I should take notes while reading the chapters, they are so long, which is goooood, but I keep forgetting what I want to say.

      “For the first time I feel that I deserve to be here, maybe because I fought so hard for the honour.”
      This mirrors so perfectly what Ana 1.0 was struggling with. She thought it was too good to be true because in her opinion she did nothing to deserve Christian. She didn’t understand it was for the sake of the person she was. And unfortunately, lots of people feel they don’t deserve a good thing because they didn’t actually do anything to gain it. (Me included, at least sometimes. :-)) But all that is to do is to gratefully accept the gift.

      Like

    • Monique Lain says:

      Yes, I think hearing it being told to a third party really had to convince him… And I hinted at some sexyness in the previous chapters, it’s not like it was virginal… LOL! I see you want you cake and eat it… 😉 I think I had to work my way up to being brave enough to write it 😉

      Like

  8. Jen says:

    Hands down, the best part of the chapter is…….the tearing of the Valentino…..loved it…..my husband appreciated it too 😉

    Like

  9. Yeah 🙂 🙂 :-)!!! It’s about time the sorry doc got knocked on his ass. It’s about time Christian and Anastasia got back to their senses and set the record straight again.

    Like

  10. Maysylvia7@gmail.com says:

    I loved it! 😉

    Like

  11. amycolsch says:

    Ahh this is almost better than the books themselves!!!! I’ve been reading these chapters almost religiously for around 8 hours and now forcing myself to sleep before the sun comes up!!!! Very good job!!!! I stumbled upon this by accident and I’m so glad I did!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. QS242 says:

    This is awesome!!!! Can’t stop reading.

    Like

  13. Meshai Gisendaner says:

    I just really want to say how well you’ve done. You did a great job capturing the personalities of all the characters. I really was excited to have something to feed my FSOG obsession after it all ended. .. thanks you have a fan in me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sherry says:

    Whoever is haunting them, please let them be caught with no harm to this reunion, I’m just enjoying all this cat get enough.

    Like

  15. knightowl123 says:

    That line of Christian’s. “Let’s see how you’re doing.” Gets me every time! Hehe! Love the red dress ripping part.

    Like

  16. dblackmon says:

    Hi Monique, this is my third read, and I’m loving it as if it was my first time. I’ve thanked you before for writing a great spin on EL’s story, so thanks again! Please don’t take down your blog so that I can start on the fourth read next year while waiting on more from EL. Great story and writing.

    Like

  17. Jenny says:

    F-I-N-A-L-L-Y …. I’m going to have to take my anxiety med now. Loving your story line. Thanks for all you efforts.

    Like

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