He had to know, she thought desperately. He had to. Otherwise, why would he have sought her out? Why wouldn’t he still hate her?
He led her through the awe-inspiring lobby, with its minimalist furniture and twenty-foot ceilings.
“Good evening, Mr. Kyrillos,” the man at the desk said. “Cold weather we’re having. Hope you’re staying warm!”
Darius held Letty’s hand tightly. She felt like she might catch flame as he drew her across the elegant, cavernous lobby. “I am. Thank you, Perry.”
He waved his key fob in front of the elevator’s wall panel and pressed the seventieth floor.
His hand gripped hers as the elevator traveled up. She felt the warmth of his body next to hers, just inches away, towering over her. She bit her lip, unable to look at him. She just stared at the electronic numbers displaying the floors as the elevator rose higher and higher. Sixty-eight, sixty-nine, seventy...
The bell dinged as the door slid open.
“After you,” Darius said.
Glancing at him nervously, she stepped out directly into a dark, high-ceilinged penthouse. He followed her, as the elevator door closed silently behind them.
The rubber soles of her white shoes squeaked against the marble floor as she walked through the foyer beneath the modern crystal chandelier above. She flinched at the noise, embarrassed.
But his handsome face held no expression as he
removed his long black overcoat. He didn’t turn on any lights. He never looked away from her.
With a gulp, she turned away.
Gripping her purse strap, she walked forward into the shadowy main room. It was two stories high, with sparse, angular furniture in black and gray, and floor-to-ceiling windows twisted around the penthouse in every direction.
Looking from right to left, she could see the dark vista of Central Park, the high-rise buildings to the Hudson River, and the lights of New Jersey beyond it, and to the south, the skyscrapers of Midtown, including the Empire State Building, all the way to the Financial District and the gleaming One World Trade Center.
The sparkling nighttime view provided the only light in the penthouse, aside from a single blue gas fire that flickered in the stark fireplace.
“Incredible,” Letty breathed, going up to the windows. Without thinking, she leaned forward, putting her overheated forehead against the cool glass, looking down at Park Avenue far below. The cars and yellow cabs looked tiny, like ants. She felt almost dizzy from being so high off the earth, up in the clouds. It was a little terrifying. “Beautiful.”
His reply was husky behind her. “You are beautiful, Letitia.”
Turning, she looked at him in the soft blue glow of firelight. Then, as she looked more closely...
Her lips parted with an intake of breath.
She’d thought Darius hadn’t changed?
He’d changed completely.
At thirty-four, he was no longer a slender youth, but a powerful man. His shoulders had broadened to match his tall height, his body filling out with hard muscle. His dark hair had once been wavy and tousled, like a poet’s, but was now cut short, as severe as his chiseled jawline.
Everything about Darius was tightly controlled now, from the cut of his expensive clothes—a black shirt with the top button undone, black trousers, black leather shoes—to his powerful stance. His mouth had once been expressive and tender and kind. Now his lips had a hard twist of arrogance, even cruelty.
He towered over her like a king, in his penthouse with all of New York City at his feet.
At her expression, his jaw tightened. “Letitia...”
“Letty.” She managed a smile. “No one calls me Letitia anymore.”
“I have never been able to forget you,” he continued in a low voice. “Or that summer we were together...”
That summer. A small noise came from the back of her throat as unwanted memories filled her mind. Dancing in the meadow. Kissing the night after her debutante ball. Escaping the prying eyes of servants in Fairholme’s enormous garage, steaming up the windows of her father’s vintage car collection for weeks on end. She’d been ready to surrender everything.
Darius was the one who’d wanted to wait for marriage to consummate their love.