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The Sweetest Oblivion: Chapter 27

Elena

“Lust will be the death of us.”

—Unknown


THERE WAS NOTHING BUT SILENCE. In fact, the quiet seemed to eat at me the entire drive. And the worst thing about it was his car smelled so damn good. The events of today hit me like whiplash, leaving a numbness behind that only his masculine scent seemed to penetrate. Instead of the prickling feeling of panic, his close proximity and the idea of his hands on me were driving me insane.

It was as though my body focused on the primal aspect I’d been craving so I wouldn’t be traumatized by the event. A protective mechanism.

I was equating marrying Nicolas to severe trauma.

Truly, it didn’t seem far apart.

There was a difference between lusting after a man and wanting him to be the father of your children. The idea pulled me in two resilient directions: thrill, and terror.

The feelings were so tenacious I remained only numb, leaving room for one thing. Warmth hummed between my legs, my skin a nesting ground for electricity and ice.

My mamma had watched me walk out the door with Nico carrying my bag, her eyes wide as if I were being sent to the slaughterhouse. Even my sister had rushed down the stairs, mouthing, “I’m sorry,” before the door shut behind me. Papà never came out of his office, and Tony and my cousins only watched Nico like he was stealing something.

I wanted to stay detached from this man, as indifferent as I possibly could, but as the city passed before my eyes in a blur of concrete and bright sun and we grew closer to his place, impassive was not a word I would even recognize.

When we pulled up to a familiar red-brick house, my throat grew tight. “Why not the penthouse?”

“Expecting something more lavish?”

My eyes narrowed. “What? No. I just expected the penthouse. That’s what you chose for Adriana.”

“It’s not what I choose for you.”

I tensed. He wasn’t letting me forget he owned me now, and it cut through the numb haze that caged me.

I didn’t know what to feel: nervous, terrified, determined to keep some autonomy, or aroused by the possibility of his hands on me. It became a mixture of all four, dancing along my skin as I got out of the car.

Nico grabbed my bag from the backseat, and I followed him into the house. It was larger than it looked from the outside. The back door entered into the kitchen, with steel appliances, gray granite countertops, and low lighting.

An office sat to the right of me, the cherry desk visible through the cracked door. Except for that and a small bathroom and laundry room to my left, the space was an open floor plan, with a staircase running upstairs. You could watch the flat-screen TV while standing at the island. It was simple, masculine, and comfortable.

I swallowed when he shut the back door with an unmistakable click. I was still in shock about this turn of events and didn’t know how to process it completely, or at all. I was going through the motions while my thoughts lagged behind.

He dropped my bag into an armchair and then his keys on the kitchen counter. This place might look the epitome of comfortable, but I had no idea how I would ever feel that way in his space.

I stood planted next to the door, while he poured himself a drink from the minibar near the front windows. A strong feeling consumed me that if I moved, something would attack me—maybe him. The curtains were closed, and only small shards of light got through, leaving the room dimly lit.

It was nine o’clock in the morning and he was drinking whiskey. I prayed he wasn’t an alcoholic. He might have stopped my uncle from hitting me last night, but knowing a few alcoholics, especially on my mamma’s side, nothing about them was predictable.

He wore all black, and the way he looked at me from across the room made me fully aware of his reputation. He was the most dangerous man in the city, and soon I would have to call him Husband.

He watched me as he leaned against the small bar, and the longer he did it my heart pumped faster, pushing nerves through my veins.

The thoughts I would have processed over a matter of time all rushed in at once. I wondered how many women he had been with, what he expected of me. I wasn’t a virgin, but I wasn’t far from one. I’d had sex with one man, and only enough to fill a weekend. I was inexperienced and worried he would chew me up and spit me out.

He pulled on his tie while walking into the kitchen. He set his tumbler on the island, then looked at me. “You gonna stand near that door all day?”

I swallowed and nodded.

With his hands braced on the counter, he gave his head a small shake. My stomach fluttered when he glanced at me, his eyes molten.

“Come here.”

I didn’t think it was possible for any woman to ignore that command from him. I had an awful, awful impulse to listen.

With an erratic heartbeat, I took the short steps toward him.

As soon as I reached him, he grabbed my nape, threaded his fingers into my hair, and then buried his face in my neck. He made a masculine noise of satisfaction that I could feel deep in my stomach, before it settled into a weight between my legs. I rocked back, not fighting him, but shaken with this lightning bolt exploding in my chest and fizzing through my veins.

My breasts pressed against his hard, warm abs and a shiver rolled through me. He ran his face up and down my neck, as though he was savoring my smell, or maybe languishing in the fact that he’d caught his next meal.

“Fuck. You feel good,” he groaned against my throat.

He wrapped an arm around my waist and lifted me, setting me close to eye-level on the island. The counter was cold against my thighs as he stepped between them, forcing them further apart.

My heartbeat drummed in my ears, and a cold sensation crept through me. Fear. He pressed his lips to my throat, kissing a slow line down it. Each one sent a sizzle between my legs, and I tilted my head to give him more access, a moan escaping my lips.

This man had changed roles from a tempting someone I couldn’t have, to owner, lover, and fiancé. The whiplash had given me no time to act but on instinct alone. I wanted him, but at the unknown, a cool breath of fear dripped into my subconscious.

I grasped the edge of the counter on both sides of me, trying to ground myself to earth somehow, while he worked my neck with slow kisses and scrapes of his teeth. As his presence consumed my own, my reservations dissolved into smoke.

His large hands ran down my sides, from underneath my breasts to low on my hips, his thumbs brushing bare skin beneath the band of my shorts. It was a maddening sensation, and I was dying for him to go a little further, up or down. To just freaking pick one.

His erection pressed against the inside of my thigh, and if he would only step forward a few inches, it would be right where I wanted it, needed it.

I swayed, my eyes heavy-lidded, when a solid grip came to the side of my neck to hold me still while he pressed hot, wet kisses to my throat. My head fell back on a moan, my hair skimming the countertop with the next nip of his teeth.

His hips lined up with mine, his hands grasping the top of my ass, and then his hard-on pressed against my clit in a slow roll that stole my breath. A quiet growl fanned against my neck, while an emptiness pulsed between my legs.

He only ground against me once, when I needed it over and over, before he pulled back. His hands left me and grasped the counter beside my own. I’d yet to even touch him while stuck in this dream-like state.

His gaze was more black than amber. “Take off your shirt.”

Each bossy, gravelly word was a slow hum in the empty ache between my legs. The cold sense of fear snuck its way back in, cutting through the haze. A part of me needed to comply, to do everything this man asked of me. To give him anything he wanted, but I couldn’t. Not yet.

With a shaky breath, I shook my head.

His gaze narrowed at the edges.

“Promise not to kill the father of Adriana’s baby and I will.”

His expression hardened even more. “I don’t like ultimatums.”

“It’s not an ultimatum. It’s an . . . incentive.”

He shook his head and started to pull away from me, but I grabbed him by the belt loop. “Please . . .” My voice was throaty, sounding different to my ears. It was coated in thick, deep lust, and he paused, his attention all mine. “For a wedding present.”

He glanced down at my finger hooked through his belt loop, his jaw ticking with thought. After a moment, he said, “You’ll take it all off. Whenever I ask you to.”

Elation zipped through me, and he must have noticed because his voice took an edge. “And I’m still beating the shit out of him.”

I nodded with hesitation. Not an ideal situation for Ryan, but I knew this was much better than death and I wasn’t going to push my luck. “What about my papà?”

“I’ll talk to him.”

“How do I know you aren’t lying?”

“Guess you’ll have to trust me.”

Maybe it was stupid, but I did trust him—on this matter, anyway. My finger slipped from his belt loop, and a huge weight released from my shoulders. Maybe I was taking my sister’s situation personally, or maybe I thought righting this wrong would erase mine. It wouldn’t, but at least Adriana didn’t have to live with the heartbreak and regret.

Nico grabbed his drink and leaned against the opposite counter, taking a sip of whiskey like he was settling in at a strip club. Though his expression appeared as if he were standing in line at a grocery store checkout.

Now, fear rushed like an icy river beneath the surface of my skin. My breath came out in shallow pants as I reached for the hem of my t-shirt. With an erratic beat of my heart, my shirt hit the floor. The quiet noise of fabric on hardwood sounded loud and suggestive as the still kitchen air met my bare midsection. My breasts pressed against the fabric of my bra, tingling in expectation. Before I had a chance to think it through, I unclipped the back of my bra and dropped it to the floor.

A blush spread from my cheeks to my chest as his burning gaze caressed my bare breasts. The silence filled with the drum of my heartbeat.

His posture remained indifferent, but his eyes singed like paper around the edges. He ran his tongue across his teeth and flicked his gaze from me before taking a sip of whiskey. I didn’t know why, but I had the feeling he was trying to shake his attraction off. He didn’t want to want me. I didn’t know how I was supposed to take that, but for some reason a rush of confidence spread through me.

I had never undressed for a man before. The only one I’d been with had done it himself, but I should have known Nicolas Russo would demand I do it for him. I wanted to do it for him, whenever he wanted.

Grabbing the waistband of my shorts, I pushed them down my thighs, letting them drop to the floor. I sat there in only a hot pink thong while he stood across from me, in a button-up and tie.

His attention was now all mine and the thrill of it stole my breath.

Slowly, without taking his gaze off mine, he set his glass on the counter and walked the short steps to me.

“I haven’t finished,” I breathed, but he didn’t hear or didn’t care.

I shivered when he gripped my neck, sliding his hand upwards into my hair. His hold on my nape pulled my face to his, so close his breath touched my lips, warm with a hint of whiskey. Nerves vibrated deep down, because he was going to kiss me. But when he leaned in to brush his lips against mine, I turned my head.

He went still, his body tensing.

I avoided his gaze. “You can have anything you want, Nicolas. Anything . . . but that.”

There was only one way to protect myself in this situation. I couldn’t lose myself in this man, when I could already feel the pull of how easy it would be. I needed to maintain my autonomy, my distance. My heart didn’t need any more incentive to fall into his clutches. I knew I couldn’t keep sex from him, knew I wasn’t that strong, but I didn’t have to make love to him.

couldn’t make love to him and then watch him do it with someone else. And I already knew he had no desire to remain faithful, from what he’d told me in the alley that night. I couldn’t share myself with someone so carelessly, so indifferently, especially now, after my past mistake. So I could only give him a part of me—the only one he would want—and hope I would survive.

I didn’t expect him to argue, or to even care about my refusal. Kissing was romantic in a way, and I couldn’t see him wanting to share that with me.

My hands still gripped the counter on either side of me, and when he glanced at my left, the one with the ring, his gaze turned black with contempt. I could taste his sudden animosity on my tongue. Anger wasn’t a reaction I’d expected from him, but I guessed telling this man he couldn’t have something was only a way to make him want it more.

“Spread your legs.” His command was cold, rough, and rattled the existing fear.

With an unsteady inhale, I complied.

His palms ran up my legs as I did so, his thumbs pressing into my inner thighs with a harshness that made my stomach tighten in an unexpected way. His rough hands felt so absolute against my soft skin.

Legs spread, cool air brushed my panties and I was suddenly aware of how wet they were. His gaze touched me there, warm and thrilling yet still tinged with anger.

He yanked me closer by the back of the neck until my bare breasts pressed against his chest. My breathing was erratic as he growled in my ear, “You’re so goddamn hot it pisses me off.” And then he nipped my neck, hard.

I yelped at the short pain, but it turned into a moan when his thumb pressed down on my clit through the fabric of my thong. His grip tightened in my hair, forcing my head back, and then he sucked a nipple into his mouth. A spark ignited in my lower stomach, the flame spreading through my body like wildfire.

He brushed his thumb over my clit, up and down, while holding a fistful of my hair so I couldn’t even look down. He groaned from deep in his chest and switched breasts, licking and then sucking with a slight scrape of teeth. An embarrassing sound escaped me, but I was so hot everywhere I didn’t care.

I leaned back on my hands, my hips starting to rock under his touch. His mouth was so hot as he licked and played with my full breasts, until I thought I would die from it. When his hands left me, protest screamed in my veins.

With a dark gaze that wasn’t entirely angry anymore, he fisted my thong at my hip and pulled it down my thighs, dropping it to the floor with the rest of my clothes.

I spread my legs once more, past the point of rational thought. His gaze fell between my thighs. He gave his head a shake, running a hand down his tie. “Fuck.” That’s all he said, before his arms wrapped around the backs of my thighs, he jerked me to the edge of the counter, and then his head lowered between them. I shuddered under the first hot, wet touch of his tongue. A deep rush of pleasure flooded me, a stronger wave rolling through me at every soft, slow lap he took from the entrance to my clit.

This dangerous man was being surprisingly gentle, reverent, in what he was doing. Something touched me in the chest.

However, he wasn’t that docile.

His arms held me so securely I couldn’t move my hips an inch, while he took his time licking me, like he was doing it for himself and not me.

“Oh, God,” I moaned, digging my hands into his thick hair, running my blunt nails against his scalp. I’d said this man’s name a handful of times since I’d met him, but I found it slipping from my lips when he swirled his tongue over my clit before sucking.

He tensed, and I realized too late he didn’t like it when I called him Nicolas.

“What’s my name?” he rasped before his tongue pushed into my entrance.

I made a throaty, porny noise I never knew I was capable of.

When I didn’t answer, his mouth left me, and his smoldering gaze found mine. His words were sharp. “What’s my name?”

“Nicolas,” I breathed.

His eyes flashed, and then a feeling of fullness came over me when he slipped one finger inside me. Pleasure ignited, the wick burning through my bloodstream. He held his finger still and I tried to rock, but his grip around one thigh was immovable.

“Name?” he pressed.

I shook my head, hating this game. I had “Nicolas” on the tip of my tongue, but when he pulled out his finger and then plunged two inside me hard, I choked on it and it unwillingly came out as “Nico.”

A tremor went through me when his mouth found my clit, licking and sucking while his fingers moved in and out of me, again and again. He did it so leisurely, making deep noises of satisfaction every once in a while.

He was taking his time, slowing down when the pressure built, driving me mad until “Please,” escaped my lips. Then his fingers curled inside of me, the flame growing hotter.

When he slowed again, I shook my head in panic, my hands tugging at his hair. I didn’t know what I’d turned into, but all I found myself repeating was “Please,” over and over. He finally gave me what I wanted. His firm laps steady, he fingered me faster, harder, until there was nothing but deep, hot pressure.

His dark gaze found mine.

My last thought before the final please left my lips and the pressure exploded through my veins like an inferno was: He loves to be begged. The fire dissipated into a languid heat, spreading tingles throughout.

As I lay against the counter, slack, I pulsed around his fingers, and he only made out with my inner thigh and continued to slowly move them in and out until it stopped.

I let out a shaky breath, running my fingers through his hair, not ready to let it go. It was the only part of him I got to touch.

That was the first orgasm I’d ever had with a man, and I hated to admit it for my future health, but it was the most addictive thing I’d ever experienced.

When his hands ran up my thighs, nerves came to the surface.

Did he want me to reciprocate?

Or did he expect sex?

A shyness overcame me as I sat up, and I was sure, as he braced his hands on the counter and met my gaze, that he could see it all.

He’d yet to even shed his tie while I sat naked in front of him. After the heat settled, it all appeared so much more obscene.

“You’ll call me Nico from now on. No more of that Nicolas bullshit.”

I nodded hesitantly. All my pleases still echoed in the kitchen, his words cutting through them with an abrasive knife.

I didn’t know what I expected then, but I knew it wasn’t for him to turn his back on me, leave the house, and then shut the door behind him.

I exhaled, falling against the countertop.

Merda.

I was in over my head.


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