Temporarily His Princess - By Olivia Gates
Six years ago
Vincenzo froze as he heard someone fumbling open the door.
She was here.
Every muscle turned to rock, every nerve fired like a high-voltage cable. Then the door slammed with an urgent thud and frantic footsteps followed, each jarring his equilibrium with the force of an earthquake.
There’d been no alert from his guards. No doorbell had announced her arrival. She was the only one he’d ever given unlimited access and keys to his penthouse.
But he’d given her more than access to his personal space—he’d given her dominion over his priorities and passions. She’d been the only woman he’d fully trusted, believed in. Loved.
And it had all been a lie.
The spear embedded in his gut twisted. Rage. Mostly at himself.
Even after he’d gotten proof of her betrayal, he’d clung to the belief that it would be explained away. She’d had him that deeply in her power.
That alone should have alerted him something was seriously wrong. It wasn’t in his nature to trust. He’d never let anyone come that close or become anywhere near that vital. As a prince of Castaldini, he’d always been suspicious of people’s intentions. After he’d become the rising-star researcher in the cutthroat field of energy alternatives, he’d believed any hope of a genuine relationship was over.
Until her. Until Glory.
From the first glance, he’d reeled at the attraction that had kept intensifying. From the first conversation, he’d sunk into a well of affinity, the deepest he’d ever known. It had been magical, how they’d hungered, connected. She’d aroused his every emotion, appeased his every need—physical, intellectual and spiritual.
But he’d just been a means to an end. An end she’d achieved.
After the first firestorm of agony had almost wrecked him, logic had doused it with its sobering ice. Seeking retribution would have only compounded the damage. He’d decided to let pain consume him, rather than give her more than what she’d already snatched from him. He’d walked away without a word.
Not that she’d let him walk away.
Her nonstop messages had morphed from worried to frantic. With each one, his heart had almost exploded, first with the need to soothe her, then with fury at falling for her act yet again. Then had come that last message. A heart-stopping simulation of a woman going out of her mind fearing for her loved one’s safety.
The pain had been so acute it had seared him with clarity.
He’d realized there could only be one reason behind her desperate persistence. Her plan must not be concluded yet. Even if she thought his avoidance meant he suspected her, she seemed to be willing to risk anything to get close to him again, to pull the strings of his addiction to her for the opportunity to finish what she started.
So he’d let her find out he’d returned. He’d known she’d zoom right over to corner him.
But though he’d planned this face-off, he wasn’t ready. Not for the sight of her, or for what he had to do.
Mannaggia! He shouldn’t have given her the chance to invade his life again for any reason. He just wasn’t ready….
A pale creature, who barely resembled the vibrant one who’d captured him body and heart, burst into his bedroom.
She stumbled to a halt, eyes turbid and swollen with what so convincingly looked like incessant weeping, and stood facing him across the bedroom where they’d shared unimaginable pleasures for the past six months.
Before another synapse could fire, she exploded across the room. Before he could draw another breath, her arms were around him, clinging like a woman would to a life raft.
And he knew. He’d missed it all, every nuance of her. He’d yearn for her, the woman he’d loved but who didn’t exist, until the end of his days.
His mind unraveled with the need to crush her back, breathe her in so he could breathe again. He struggled not to bury his aching hands in her hair, not to drag her face to his and take of her breath. His lips went numb, needing to feel hers, just one last time….
As if sensing his impending capitulation, she surged up, pulled his head down and stormed his face in kisses.
Temptation tightened around his throat like a noose. His hands moved without volition.
They stopped before they closed around her, his body going rigid as if guarding against a blow as what she’d been reiterating in that tremulous, strangled voice sank into his fogged awareness.
“My love, my love.”
Barely suppressing a roar, he clamped her arms before she sucked him dry of will and coherence.