Letty gasped at the beauty of the ivy-covered pergola decorated with fairy lights near a lit lap pool gleaming bright blue in the warm September night.
Above them, distant stars sparkled like diamonds across a dark velvety sky. Past the glass walls of the terrace, the night skyline of Manhattan glittered.
She kept her distance from the edge, afraid to go too close. But Darius went right to it. He leaned against the short glass wall, totally unfazed and unafraid of plummeting seventy floors to his death. He looked out at the city.
Letty crept closer, her heart pounding. “This terrace is amazing.”
“All the flowers remind me of home,” he said simply. She wondered if he meant Greece or Fairholme, but didn’t have the nerve to ask. She slowly turned her head, marveling at the lavish beauty of a rooftop garden that treated all of Manhattan as nothing but a backdrop.
“You’re king of the mountain now,” she said softly. “Looking down on a valley of skyscrapers.”
Turning to her, he came forward. Then he abruptly fell to one knee in front of her astonished eyes.
Reaching into his tuxedo jacket pocket, he pulled out a small black velvet box.
“Rule it with me, Letty,” he said quietly. “As my wife.”
Shivering, she put her hand on her heart. “I already said...”
“You said yes when you thought I’d back out. This is a real proposal. I expect a real answer.” He held up the black velvet box. “Letty Spencer, will you do me the honor of marrying me?”
He opened the lid. Inside the black velvet box was an enormous pear-shaped diamond set in platinum. It was the hugest, most outrageous ring she’d ever seen.
But that wasn’t what made her lose her breath.
It was Darius’s face. His dark, yearning eyes. As he looked at her in the moonlight, she saw the man who’d just bruised her with the intensity of his kisses. Who’d just defied all of Manhattan and paid five billion dollars for her. The man whose child she carried.
In his eyes, she saw the shadow of the younger man she’d once loved, strong and kind, with such a good heart. The one who’d loved her so fervently. They were the same.
Letty’s heart skipped a beat.
It’s an illusion, she told herself desperately. He’s not the same. But as she reached out and brushed her fingers against the diamond engagement ring, it sparkled like the stars. Like the lights of this powerful city.
Like the smolder in Darius’s dark eyes.
“It would destroy us,” she said shakily, but what she really meant was it would destroy me.
Darius slowly rose in front of her, until his tall, powerful body towered over hers. Waves of blue light from the pool reflected against him as the warm wind moved across the water. Putting his hand on her cheek, he lowered his head.
“Say yes,” he whispered. “Say you’ll be mine.”
His kiss was tender at first. She felt the rough warmth of his lips, the gentle hold of his arms.
Then his grip tightened. His embrace became hungry, filled with need. Spirals of heat twisted through her body, and she gripped his shoulders. Until he pulled away.
“Say it,” he demanded.
“Yes,” she choked out.
A flash of triumph crossed his starkly handsome face. “You will?”
She nodded, tears in her eyes.
“There will be no going back,” he warned.
“I know.” She tried to ignore the thrill that crept into her heart. Excitement? Terror?
Right or wrong, disaster or not, there was nothing to be done. What he’d said was true. She’d always been his. In many ways, this decision had been made for her long ago.