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Because We Belong

Because You Are Mine - 3

by

Beth Kery

My heartfelt thanks go out to Leis Pederson for her patience, guidance, and support as we traveled along this new territory together. Mahlet, as always, I appreciate your honest, constructive feedback. A special note of gratitude and admiration to the Berkley art department for the elegant, sensual covers for the Because You Are Mine series. And as always, my deepest gratitude to my husband. You are my rock.

Prologue

Francesca walked out of the dressing room carrying a blouse, jeans, and underwear, pausing when she saw Ian enter the suite. Her fiance met her gaze, somber as a judge, and locked the door. A smile pulled at her lips.

“I was about to shower,” she said.

His eyebrows went up, his bland expression conveying wry disbelief. You’re doing no such thing, she could just imagine him thinking. Francesca chuckled. She knew what he intended every time he locked that door. His actions would have made her smile—not to mention her heart begin to pound faster—at any time, but today, it made her uncommonly happy. He’d been so preoccupied and worried about his mother’s health, tortured that he’d made a wrong decision in regard to her medication and care, convinced there was something else he should be doing but wasn’t. The care and protection of his mother had been ground deeply into his very bones since he was a child too young to be forced to consider such matters. He couldn’t escape the heavy responsibility as a man. Sadly, Helen Noble was making little-to-no improvements. Ian had been making frequent trips to London, crowding his already packed work schedule.

“Lucien and Elise are coming for dinner. We don’t have time,” Francesca reminded him.

He walked toward her. She wondered how long it would last—that shiver of anticipation she experienced— every time she saw that hungry gleam in his blue eyes and that predatory stalk. They’d been together now for over half a year, and her excitement had only grown. His recent preoccupation and worry only made that need to join with him sharper and more imperative.

“I called Lucien and asked them to come an hour later,” he said calmly as he removed the garments from her hands and set them on an upholstered chair.

“And Mrs. Hanson? She’s busy making roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.”

“She’s turning down the temperature in the oven. I told her I needed a nap.”

She studied him as he came toward her again. His “lie” to Mrs. Hanson, the housekeeper, was a true one. He looked as arrestingly handsome as usual, wearing a white-and-blue-striped dress shirt open at the collar and dark blue trousers—casual wear, for Ian—but the months of worry over Helen Noble had taken their toll. His facial muscles were drawn tight from tension and there were shadows beneath his eyes. He swore he hadn’t lost weight, and his clothes hung on his tall, fit frame as appealingly as ever, but Mrs. Hanson and Francesca agreed that he looked thinner. He’d been trying to diminish his anguish through his already rigorous exercise routines, the result being a leaner, harder . . . impossibly more intense man. She reached up and touched his jaw as his arms encircled her waist.

“Maybe you really should rest. It would do you good,” she said as he pulled her against him. A jolt of arousal awakened her body at the sensation of his masculine contours fitting against her so perfectly.

“It would do me much, much more good to watch your beautiful face while you’re tied up and helpless,” he said quietly before he leaned down and kissed her.

She opened her heavy eyelids a moment later, drugged by his potent kiss and the sensation of his body hardening against her.

“Helpless against what?” she murmured next to his plucking lips.

“Helpless to resist me.”

“But I . . . don’t . . . want to . . . resist you. You know . . . that,” she managed between kisses, her body melting against him as he leaned over her, demanding every existing modicum of her attention. He lifted his head and his hand slid down her arm. He grasped her hand and led her toward the bed.

“The ropes will just reassure me,” he replied.

“Ropes?” Francesca asked, dazed. He’d used cuffs to bind her during foreplay and sex, and padded restraints and whatever else he might improvise with on the spur of the moment, including his own hands. But ropes?

“Don’t worry,” he said once he’d led her to the edge of the bed and encouraged her to sit. He leaned down and nibbled at her lips fleetingly . . . but convincingly, Francesca decided. “The ropes are made of silk. Do you think I’d ever put anything next to your beautiful skin that would mar it?” he asked near her ear a moment later, his low, rough voice causing goose bumps to rise along her nape.

She just stared up at him, enraptured by his small Ian-smile.

* * *

Less than ten minutes later, she lay completely nude horizontally at the foot of the large, luxurious four- poster bed, her hips at the corner and her torso along the bottom edge. She’d watched in amazement and growing arousal as Ian had meticulously—and knowingly—bound her wrists to her calves in an elaborate, precise design of black silk rope twists and knots. She lay on her back, her knees bent toward her chest, her thighs spread wide. He’d instructed her initially to hold her calves, the pressure of her gripping hands pressing her folded legs into her body. Then he’d begun to bind her, forearms to calves and then calves to thighs.

She was trussed up good and tight, although she was not uncomfortable. Unless the erratic pounding of her heart and the mounting need for friction on her exposed, naked sex counted as discomfort.

She watched Ian anxiously as he returned from the room at the right side of the suite, their private sanctuary—the room that was typically kept locked and contained all manner of instruments for bondage, punishment, and pleasure.

“What have you gotten from your room to torture me with?” she asked teasingly, her head twisted to see what he held in his hands. She saw little, however, with his body blocking what he set on the top of a bureau. He turned toward her, still completely dressed. Her nipples prickled beneath his hot stare as he examined her, as ever his gaze striking her as cool and assessing and blazingly possessive at once.

My room?” he repeated as he came toward her. Her clit twanged in conditioned excitement when she saw the small pot of cream he held in his hand. It was the clitoral stimulant that he always rubbed on her when he was doing something new to her . . . something challenging. Francesca had dubbed it a “wicked cream” because it was known to make her want in ways she’d never before imagined. It was known to make her beg.

“Yes. Who else would the room belong to?” she asked distractedly.

“You, of course,” he said, holding her stare and untwisting the cap of the cream. She watched his every move with tight concentration as he dipped a thick finger into the little pot, a dull ache mounting in her by the second.

“You are the only one who has a key,” she said as he withdrew his finger and a dollop of white cream. He placed a knee on the trunk at the foot of the bed and leaned over her supine, bound form. “Therefore it is yours.”

“I control the room, yes,” he said, reaching. She lifted her head off the mattress, holding her breath as he neared her spread pussy, her mouth watering uncontrollably, her nipples tightening into almost painfully hard points. He’d conditioned her body so exquisitely. “But the room exists for your pleasure,” he continued. She gasped, and her head fell back as he knowingly massaged the cool cream between her labia and onto her clit. “Therefore, it is fair to say it is both of our domain, wouldn’t you say?” he growled softly as he rubbed.

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