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“I want to see you,” he muttered harshly. “When you speak, I want to know what you’re saying! When you laugh, I want to see your eyes light up, and when I make you come”—his voice lowered sexily—“I want to see you scream even if I can’t hear it.”

“I don’t think . . .” she began uncertainly, preferring to make love with him in the dark, where she could fool herself into believing that he was the old Bryce, the one who had pretended to love her, even if he now claimed that he never had. A shaft of agony pierced through her as she recalled his confession at dinner, and she tried to move away from him but he would not permit it. He pinned her down, his eyes boring into hers, so that she was unable to hide her pain from him. His brows lowered into an intimidating frown, and she flinched, wondering what scathing remark he had in store for her this time.

“You were crying at dinner,” he said almost accusingly.

“What do you expect?” she asked bitterly. “You can’t keep cutting me without spilling my blood, Bryce.”

“Such drama.” He grinned caustically. “Don’t cry again, it irritates me!” The demand was so ridiculously petulant that she gaped at him in astonishment. He took advantage of her open mouth and swooped in for another hungry kiss.

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“I want you,” he groaned, grinding against her so that she would have no trouble mistaking his meaning. “I want to make love with you.” He raised his head to look down at her, trying to gauge her receptiveness.

“Only it’s not ‘making love,’ is it?” she asked bitterly. “Without love it’s nothing more than a cheap screw.” He made a dismayed little sound and covered her mouth with his own before she could say anything more. Bronwyn soon forgot everything as his mouth wove a seductive spell over her. His wicked fingers seemed to be everywhere at the same time, and his mouth soon followed.

He paused when he reached her braless breasts and he stared at them for a long moment. Bronwyn squirmed uncomfortably as she fought the desire to fold her arms over her petite assets. She had always been self-conscious about her small breasts, but Bryce had always loved them. Now he was staring at them almost analytically, and she found herself flushing to the roots of her hair.

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“They haven’t changed,” he murmured, almost reluctantly raising his eyes to meet hers. “I expected them to be different . . . you know, after Mikayla?”

“I couldn’t breastfeed her.” She shrugged. “I was ill for a while after the birth, and by the time I was well enough, she was on the bottle and my milk had dried up.” His eyes darkened.

“Ill?” Not wanting to discuss that right now, Bronwyn distracted him the only way she knew how, she arched her back until her nipples brushed his naked chest. She hissed as they made contact with the hot, silky flesh that was lightly dusted with soft, golden hair. He groaned at the contact and lowered his eyes back down to her breasts; they were barely a handful—creamy little mounds with raspberry-red tips. His breath caught on a sob of pure desire, and he bent down and did what she was aching for him to do: he took one of the distended tips into his mouth. She squealed, nearly coming off the bed at the electric jolt that swept through her body, and he raised his head to grin at her.

“They’re still as sensitive as I rem—” He was cut off when she lifted impatient hands and pulled his head back down, forcing him to focus on the task at hand. He laughed wickedly and proceeded to give her what she wanted with as much enthusiasm as she was taking it.

Soon they were both completely naked, and Bryce paused above her, his arms planted on either side of her head as he held himself aloft. He stared down into her face with an intensity that unnerved her, before reaching over to the nightstand and fumbling open a drawer to yank out a condom. For a painful moment, Bronwyn wondered why he had a handy stash of condoms in the drawer, before he spoke again, immediately distracting her.

“Still such innocence in those eyes, such trust, they still stare at me with such adoration,” he muttered, half to himself as he dragged on the condom. “How can your eyes tell such lies?” Shocked by the near hatred in his voice, Bronwyn gasped in horror as she recognized that this act of sex, if completed, would be another cruel means of hurting her, just another weapon to use against her. Before she had a chance to formulate any kind of protest, he entered her with a gentleness that belied his harsh words and took what she had so heedlessly and freely offered just moments ago. She was so well-primed for it that despite everything, she moaned and her slender thighs clenched around his hips. Her long legs wrapped around his waist as she welcomed him back into her body. He had gone completely still, and she opened her eyes to see him staring down at her triumphantly. Her eyes filled with tears and he glared down at her.

“Don’t you dare,” he warned darkly. “Don’t cry.” She couldn’t help it, tears overflowed even as she shoved herself up against him. He groaned and met her lunge with one of his own.

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“Don’t cry.”

Bronwyn found herself whimpering desperately in time with his thrusts, even while her tears continued to flow and her heart continued to break.

“Please don’t. Please don’t,” he continued to almost beg, kissing the tears away. His tenderness acted as a balm to her ravaged soul and worked to end the weeping as nothing else could have. “My beautiful, Bronwyn . . .”

Her body arched as the sensations heightened and he reached down between their bodies to find her sensitive little clitoris. His long, clever thumb rubbed across the excited nubbin and that, combined with his thickness inside of her, sent her hurtling over the edge of reason. Her breath hitched in her chest and her head tilted back while her entire body convulsed and clenched around him. She screamed as the powerful orgasm swept through her, and Bryce half-laughed incredulously.

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