I may have had two drinks, but I'm fully cognizant of what I'm about to do with Luka Ivanov in his office.
In the past two days, Luka has made me feel far more than that loser ever did. Why was I going to marry Mark?
Oh, right, stability.
Luka's hands are rough and strong as he pins me against the cold leather. His whispered words, "I want to hear you scream my name," cause me to shudder.
It's been too long since I've felt the impending tide wash over me. Sex had become a chore, a duty.
I get the feeling it won't be like that with Luka. It certainly wasn't the last time. How could I forget that night?
He drags his tongue along my neck, gasping as I struggle beneath his weight. I wrap my legs around him, pulling him down against me, wanting to feel his weight above.
"You want to come, don't you, Zaya?" His lips trail down to my stomach as he releases his hold on my arms.
"Zaya?" Is that his nickname for me?
I loosen my legs around him, letting him take control, just this once.
He doesn't answer in words. Luka inches my cotton shirt higher as his tongue dips into my navel, and he traces a path of warm kisses across my abdomen. His fingers tease the waistband of my bottoms, caressing my bare skin.
My stomach flutters from his touch.
"Condom?" I ask.
"Not something I keep in my office," Luka mumbles against my stomach.
"That's not why you keep a leather couch in your office?" I should feel relieved that he doesn't make it a habit of bringing women in here.
He smiles warmly, his eyes shining down at me. "No, it's not."
I move to sit up on the sofa, and Luka drags me back down.
He straddles my hips, his hands clenching mine, pinning them into the sofa. "Where do you think you're going?"
"You don't have a condom," I say.
"Not in my office. I have one upstairs, in my bedroom." He leans down, his lips teasing mine apart as I drink him in.
I want to kiss him. Taste him. Devour him.
"I didn't tell you my deepest, darkest secrets so that you'd have sex with me," I confess. That wasn't why I told him about Mark. I'm not sure why I said to him that the sex was terrible, and I've been craving the touch of a real man.
Luka's eyes glint. He doesn't move from his position above me, trapping me between him and the leather couch.
"Trust me, that's not why I'm doing this, Zaya," Luka says. "You deserve to be worshipped, but I'm not a selfless man."
I lean up for a kiss, silencing him. He's set my body on fire, and I don't want this moment to end. Luka is nothing short of perfection, and I haven't even unwrapped the prize.
His lips move to my neck, and his hand grazes my side. I whimper from the recent bruises that Mark left on my skin. The scars are still fresh and sore.
Luka senses my discomfort. All sense of calmness is abandoned. "I'll kill him," Luka growls as his top lip snarls.
His words send a shiver down my spine. "This was a mistake," I say.
Luka's brow tightens. His scrutiny makes me feel as exposed as the wounds Mark left behind. I press a hand to Luka's chest and gently push him away.
I'm not ready for this, for us.
Luka moves off the sofa and gives me plenty of space. He runs his fingers through his hair, breathing deep and heavy as he steps farther back toward his desk.
"Are you mad?" I move to sit up on the sofa and fix my clothes that are a bit disheveled from our activities.
"Why would I be mad?" Luka asks. He drops his hands to his sides.
I don't answer. Isn't it obvious? "I disappoint you," I say.
He drops down to his knees, brushes a strand of hair behind my ear, and tilts my chin up to meet his stare. "You could never disappoint me, Zaya."
"What about Hannah? Does Hannah disappoint you?" I ask. It sounds weird, my name coming out from my lips, but I don't know why he keeps calling me Zaya. That's not my name. Does he wish that I were someone else?
He pulls me onto his lap as he sits back down on the sofa. "It's a pet name, an endearment," Luka whispers. His fingers stroke my hair, playing with the strands. "You're mine." Luka's grip tightens as he holds me against him.
My mouth is dry, and my voice comes out hoarse and raspy. "Yours?" He's lost his mind. "We've known each other all of two days, Luka."
"We have a daughter together."
He's crazy. That's the only explanation for his possessiveness. "Yes, you helped conceive Bay, but she's my daughter."
"She's as much mine as she is yours." Luka's voice booms in the small space. "I'd have been there for her and you if I knew she existed."
I climb off his lap and stand, folding my arms across my chest. "I tried to get ahold of you. I did everything I could, I went back to the bar where we met, but no one knew who you were."
Doesn't he believe me?
"I know, you told me last night," Luka says. "I do not doubt you. I don't like that I missed out on Bay's birth, her first words, or first steps. I want to be there for her and you."
"You barely know me," I say. "It's crazy, me living here with you." Doesn't he think it's too soon? Why did I jump at the opportunity? I could get a hotel for a few nights and keep away from Mark just as easily.
Luka doesn't stand. He gives me space as he stares up at me. He clasps his hands together. His tone is firm and unapologetic but not the least bit threatening. "I disagree. Mark is out there, and until I know with absolute certainty that he won't hurt you or our daughter, I can't in good conscience let you leave."
I laugh at his words. He's not serious. "You're keeping me here against my will?"
He presses his lips together. "Don’t turn this into a battle, Hannah. You're free to come and go as you please, but I don't trust Mark, and I don't think it's safe for you to return home."
"Mark's leaving my apartment." Isn't that what Luka told me? Mark understood it was over between us, and he would be out of our lives. "He's packing up his belongings, and he'll be gone soon."
"Yeah, but what will keep him from coming back? Men like Mark don't just go away on their own."
"What do you suggest I do?"