To Claim His Heir by Christmas(8)

By: Victoria Parker

Stupefied, he rocked back on his heels as she blew past them like a hurricane, leaving her signature trail of destruction in her wake.

A flash fire started in the pit of his gut and his mood took a deadly turn. The voracious heat was exploding to sear through his veins, to fire his blood as pure, undiluted anger blazed through his system.

Had she actually denied knowing him? Him? Prince Thane of Galancia? Had she actually walked away from him? Again?

A haze of inky darkness clouded his vision, his mind.

Ah, Princess. Big mistake. Huge. Massive, grave error of judgement.

He wanted answers. Now. Wanted to know if she’d known his true identity all along. If she’d been toying with him. Why she’d vanished in the middle of the night after she’d promised she would stay. Why she’d plunged him into the pit of Hades for months on end—something he would make her pay dearly for. But most of all he wanted her away from this sleaze-bag. Thane may no longer want to bed her, but he’d be damned if he stood by while Augustus took what was his.

Fact was he wanted her full attention. And, by God, he would get it.

* * *

This was not happening. This was just not happening.

Luciana shoved her clothes into her suitcase with one hand while she grappled with a cordless phone in the other.

Lord, she was shaking so hard she was likely calling Venezuela. One touch from that man and it was as if she’d been dormant in some cryonic stasis for five years and he’d plugged her into the national grid. Twenty minutes later her body was still burning; incinerator-hot, making her feel like a living, breathing flame.

Dangerous. That was what he was.

Worse still, when she’d literally crashed into him for a split second she’d thought she was dreaming again. That she’d conjured up his memory to save her from the nightmare her return had condemned her to. So often she slept with him in her bed, his fingers a ghost-like touch drifting over her body. Caressing, devouring with a fervour she longed for. And during that breathless moment in that hallway suddenly, shockingly, she’d wanted to cry. Weep in sheer relief that he was here. Holding her once more. Wrapping her in his ferocious unyielding strength.

That body… Such inordinate power that he vibrated with it. She’d met some powerful men in her time but Thane… No comparison. None. His every touch was a jolting shockwave of acute pleasure and pain. And it had been so long since she’d been touched. She’d almost begged him to crush her against his hard, muscular chest for one blissful second, just so she could live in the illusion that he was here and she was safe.

But that was all it was—a fantasy. A fallacy. She would never be safe in Thane’s arms.

So why did a part of her still crave him? Even knowing what and who he was?

Luciana moaned out loud. Her father was right—she was an absolute disgrace.

She’d do well to remember that invariably her dreams turned dark and his hands turned malicious and she woke in a cold, clammy and anguished sweat. That in actuality he was the most lethal, autocratic man in Europe, who co-ruled his country and his people with a merciless iron fist.

And that look in his glorious dark eyes when he’d gazed at her… As if she was his entire world… A lie. Her cruel imagination. If she needed proof to substantiate that theory all she had to do was recall his blistering disgust and anger as he’d ground out her title. Realised her true identity.

His granite-like countenance hadn’t broken her heart. Certainly not. The man was rumoured to be a mercenary, for pity’s sake.

Imagine that man getting hold of your son and using him as a pawn in his power-play?

Over her dead body.

That hypothesis was akin to someone upending a bucket of cold water over her head and she calmed enough to hit the right keys.

‘I need a car outside in five minutes and a private jet waiting at the Altiport to take me to Arunthia. Can you do that?’

‘Yes, madame.’

‘Thank you.’

Depressing the call button, she flipped the lid of her case and yanked the zipper all the way around.

She had to get home. Get Natanael out of the country until she was sure Thane wouldn’t come after her. The savage vehemence pouring off him as she’d left had scarred her for eternity. That was not a man you messed with.

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