It wasn’t tears that rose inside her, it wasn’t depression. She hadn’t been a call girl, but the world would see her as one, if that report ever became public. According to Desmond, it had taken an irrational amount of money to keep it from becoming public.
“Do you care what you should expect?” His head tilted to the side as his fingers slid into her hair, holding her in place as he gazed back at her, demanding answers.
“I don’t think I care,” she answered despite the tremors racing up her spine. “Would it do me any good to care, Travis? Would it make that report any easier to swallow?”
His fingers tightened in her hair for just a second as something hard and brutal flashed in his gaze. There was a glimmer of rage, carefully banked but not hidden. He didn’t like that report any more than she did, possibly less.
He had been her first lover, he had been her only lover, but there was a part of her that was terrified to trust him. A part of her desperate to trust him.
Believe in me, Lilly. His voice whispered through her mind now as it did in her dreams. No matter what, Lilly. Trust in me. But she was terrified to trust anyone.
“The report doesn’t matter,” he growled. “Do you hear me, Lilly?”
“Unless the international news stations get hold of it.” She felt her lips tremble and fought to stop it.
She was not a crier. Her father had taught her she wasn’t a crier. She kept her chin high, a cool smile on her face, arrogance gleaming in her eyes. She was royalty. Well, distant royalty, but royalty nonetheless.
Or she had been.
Travis watched her eyes, he always watched Lilly’s eyes. Once, they had been a pretty, clear hazel. They had been filled with innocence and ideals. She had been young, sweet, and lying through her teeth whenever she had played the sweet, curious little cat.
She wasn’t lying now, though. He could see the humiliation that flashed in her eyes at the thought of the investigator’s report, at the thought of those she believed to be her former employers showing up at her family’s party.
There was no fear in her eyes, but there was pain and confusion. And a hunger for something more than sex.
“I promise you, Santos and Rhiannon don’t want that report revealed any more than you do.” He wanted so desperately to tell her the truth, to at least hint at the fact that she had been playing a role, that she had never been a woman for hire.
“Isn’t that reassuring.” She moved to pull away from him.
Travis refused to release her hair, knowing it would hold her there, hold her in place. She had never moved whenever he caressed her hair, let the tips of his fingers caress her scalp.
She stared back at him, but her gaze still had that edge of steel, that cynical distrust that gleamed beneath the still-present arousal.
“It should be very reassuring,” he promised her. “Lilly, no matter what you fear, there is no one who wants to see the past become a risk to your life now.”
He released her hair, let his fingers trace down the side of her cheek, to her jaw, as his thumb caressed her trembling lips. The woman he had known as Lady Victoria Harrington had been soft, gentle. She had been a true lady. The woman known as Night Hawk had built herself a new life. She had trained, she had learned. She’d gone from mission to training and back again. She had never stopped, she had never rested.
“That past is still a risk,” she informed him. “If it’s true, then I’ll never be free of it, will I, Travis?”
If it was true. She was pressing him, asking, testing him.
“You will never be free of that past, Lilly,” he agreed.
Before she could say anything more, ask him anything that could, at this moment, endanger them both, he let his lips cover hers, let his kiss steal the questions from her lips.
They weren’t safe here. She had been betrayed by someone within this house.
He let the hunger overwhelm her for a few precious moments. Lips to lips, tongue to tongue, his hands caressing beneath the robe, stroking satiny flesh, tracking the few scars her body held. At her thigh, her hip, along her shoulder. He found them, caressed and stroked them, and stoked the fire beginning to rage between them.
It was always there, just below the surface, awaiting him. A fire hot enough to burn through the coldest night and to warm the hardest heart.
Stroking his hands back to her thighs, he let his palm slide between them, felt the soft, silken curls, the rain of sweet juices that slickened the plump folds.
It was like a rain of honey meeting his caress. Her thighs shifted apart as her breathing became hard, jerky. Sliding into the dew-rich slit, he found the plump swollen nubbin of her clit, so sensitive she arched and moaned in hunger as he caressed a tight circle around it.
Locking her to him, he let his fingers stroke over the tight little bud, rubbing to the side as he knew she liked, stroking the thin little hood over the delicate, sensitive bud.
Her head fell back, her hips arched forward, and Travis could have sworn her clit swelled tighter, harder, as she began to tremble in his arms.