Born of DefianceBy: Sherrilyn Kenyon
But if he didn’t go right now, he wouldn’t be able to return to her for weeks. “I’ll see you in five days?”
She gave him an adorable pout. “Is that your next liberty?”
“That seems like a long workweek.”
She wasn’t kidding about that. Prior to Anatole’s appearance, his life and schedule had been much easier to manage. Now it sucked to extremes.
“Beauty of the military. They own my sorry ass.” He winked at her.
“Five days, then.” She pressed a light kiss against his lips that did nothing to settle the heat in his blood.
Hard and aching, he forced himself to leave her, even though all he wanted was to stay with her for a while longer. She would definitely be worth the write-up and punishment.
His breathing ragged, he took one last look at her before he stepped into the elevator to return to work.
Felicia didn’t move until Talyn was gone from her sight. An inexplicable pain hit her as she felt his absence like a physical blow. How weird. She barely knew him. Had only met him twice, and not even for a total of half an hour.
But no one had ever been so kind to her. So thoughtful or concerned. He didn’t treat her like a paid whore.
He treated her like a treasured wife. Like she mattered to him. Something that was completely at odds with what her friends had told her to expect. And it was definitely not what she’d learned from her research.
Then again, they didn’t know him. At all. The reporters were speculating, and none of her friends had ever met Talyn. They were commenting on rumors, too.
You know better than to listen to those.
The heartless monster they’d warned her about wouldn’t have gone to this length to make her comfortable and safe.
Tears filled her eyes as she looked around the massive condo he’d provided for her. Housing in Eris was so expensive, and that included the cheapest sections. Not even in her wildest dreams had she ever allowed herself to envision such a place as her residence. She’d expected something small, hopefully clean, and without vermin.
Laughing, she ran through the huge open rooms, amazed at how beautiful they were. How elegant.
Until she came to the master bedroom.
Her jaw went slack at the humongous bed that faced the most incredible view of the city she’d ever seen. She could even see the outline of her school from here.
The tray ceiling above was trimmed in gold and painted to look like a celestial sky. An ebony ceiling fan was suspended over an ornate, hand-carved platform bed. A matching settee was to the right of an elaborate dresser. But more intriguing than that was a huge bouquet of flowers, and a wrapped present on the bed that had her name on it.
Almost afraid to see what it contained, she approached the flowers first and took the card from the small envelope.
There’s a wallet in the dressing room table with charge accounts for your use. If you don’t like the decor of the rooms, please let the manager know and they’ll redesign the condo for you. Don’t hesitate to make it yours. Your happiness, safety, and comfort are my priority.
Her heart pounded at the beautiful, masculine script. No, he wasn’t the beast they called him.
Biting her lip, she set the card aside and opened the box to find a beautiful thick bathrobe and slippers. Along with a stuffed lorina.
A lorina with a diamond bracelet attached to its neck. Gasping, she could tell by the workmanship that it was real. And very costly.
Her breath caught in her throat. Before she could stop herself, she picked up the link and called Talyn.
She savored the rich, deep baritone of his voice. “Talyn?”
There was a brief pause. “Is something wrong?”
She sniffed back her tears at his honest concern for her. “No. I found the presents you left… Thank you.”
“My pleasure. I hope you like them.”
“They’re wonderful. I just wish you were here for me to thank you in person.”
“You don’t have to do that. I only want you to enjoy them, not feel obligated because of them. They are freely given… Beautiful females deserve beautiful things.”
Felicia closed her eyes as she savored those precious words. “You’re very sweet.”
He snorted. “Don’t say that out loud. You’ll ruin my ferocious reputation.”
Laughing, she shook her head. “Ferocious, huh?”
“Absolutely. How you think I got my rank at this age?”
“Your sexy sweetness?”
His warm laughter filled her ear. “Yeah, sure,” he said drily. “That always works for rank advancement. You sweet-talk the enemy. They fall over, laughing at you.”
“See. I knew it.” She switched on the video feed and waited for him to accept it or deny her request. To her delight, he turned it on. From the looks of it, he was riding an airbike through traffic. All she could see was his helmeted head and the sky over his shoulders, until he lightened the shield on his helmet so that his handsome face was showing through it. “Is there really no way for me to see you sooner than five days?”
“Between training and work, no. They keep a really tight leash on me.”