To Claim His Heir by Christmas(6)

By: Victoria Parker



A faint frown creased her brow and Thane narrowed his eyes as she raised one hand and rubbed over the seam of her lips with the pad of her thumb.

A pleasurable shiver of recognition rippled over his skin and his entire body prickled with an unfathomable heat.

Ana used to do that. Stroke her mouth that way. When he’d asked her why, she’d said it likely came from sucking her thumb when she was a little girl. Thane had smiled and cracked some joke about her still liking things in her mouth, and she’d proceeded to prove him right. Many times over…

The brazen fires of lust swirled through his groin, and when the woman inhaled deeply—the action pushing those full, high breasts of surreal temptation to swell against the thin silk of her dress—ferocious heat speared through his veins until he flushed from top to toe.

It couldn’t be. Could it? His Ana? Here in the Alps? No, surely not. Ana’s hair was sable-black. Her body far more slender.

Look at me, he ordered. Turn around, he demanded. Now.

And she did. Or rather she spared a glance across the room in his direction, then wrestled with her poise, giving her head a little shake.

Thane’s hands balled in frustration. But he kept watching as she reached the slightly secluded archway leading to the restrooms. Alone, doubtless believing she was unseen, she tipped her head back, glancing skyward as if praying to God, and graced him with the elegant curve of her smooth throat.

Another flashback hit with crystalline precision—his woman, arching off the bed, back bowed as she seized in rapture beneath him, inarticulate cries pouring from her swollen ruby-red mouth. And for the first time in his life—or maybe the second—his insides started to shake. Shake.

Dios, was his mind playing tricks on him? Months he had searched for her. For that trail of sable hair, that mesmerising beauty mark above her full lips, those clothes that harked of dark blood, a roaming gypsy. No stone had been unturned in Zurich, since that was where they had met, where she had claimed to live. Torturous years of not knowing whether she was dead or alive. Living with the grief. The ferocious anger and self-hate that choked him at the notion that he might not have protected her. That she could have been taken from him because of who he was.

He blinked and she was gone. Disappeared once again. And before he knew it he’d shoved his chair backwards with an emphatic scrape.

‘Thane?’

‘Restroom,’ he said, and followed the dark blonde, his heart stampeding through his chest.

Thane thrust the double doors wide, then took a sharp right down the first corridor—and came to a dead end. A swift turn about and he flung open the double doors to the wraparound balcony. Empty.

Impatience thrummed inside him. The notion of being thwarted tore at his guts. He closed the doors with a quick click, turned and—

Slam.

‘Ooof.’ He ran straight into another body so hard and fast he had to grab hold of her upper arms to stop her from careening backwards and crashing to the floor.

‘I…I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going. Please…’

Just the sound of her voice washed clean rain over him. She was breathless, winded, clutching his lapels as if he was her life raft in the darkest, most turbulent storm.

‘Please. I need to…’

That soft, husky whimper flung him back in time, sent electricity sizzling over every inch of his skin. And the way she’d jolted—he would hazard a guess she’d felt it too.

Stumbling back a step, she jacked up her chin and their gazes caught, clashed…

Madre de Dios!

‘Ana?’

Brandy-gold eyes flared up at him as bee-stung lips parted with a gasp. And for the endless moments they stared at one another she seemed to pelt through a tumult of emotions. He could virtually see them flicker over her exquisite face. Fancied each one mirrored his own. She was astounded. Bewildered. Likely in denial. Half convinced she was hallucinating. And all the while Thane drank her in as if he’d been dying of thirst and his pulse-rate tripled to create a sonic boom in his ears.

He wanted to take her in his arms. Bury his fingers into the luxurious fall of her hair. Hold her tightly to him. Despite the internal screech of warning not to touch, not become ensnared in her again.

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