Breathless (Merciless 3) - Page 31

“I’ll tell you something that maybe you don’t find obvious, Carter.” Aria finds her strength and it gives me hope until she speaks. “I hated the men who killed them before. I just didn’t have a face to associate with their deaths.”


“What?” she questions and in even a single word, I feel the hope start to rise inside of me again.

“Direct your hate there, not at me.” Maybe I’m a coward for hiding behind Romano while I can, but she can’t hate me. I don’t know what I’ll become if she does.

She lies back slowly on the bed, ever so slowly, and stares at the ceiling before she asks, “This, wasn’t you?

“I haven’t had to do anything yet, but things have changed.”

“What’s changed?” she immediately asks, but her voice is even, devoid of emotion. I can hear her swallow as she asks me, “What exactly has changed?” She bunches the top sheet in her hand absently, waiting for my answer.

I question telling her for only a moment. But ultimately, I decide to give her what she wants. To treat her like a partner in this.

“The number of your father’s men that have moved closer to Carlisle Street.”

“Where’s Carlisle?” she asks with her hand falling back onto the bed, but still gripping the sheet.

As much as she’d like to know what’s going on, she has so much to learn.

“One street up from where our territories are divided, Miss Talvery.” My cock hardens as I speak to her like this as if I’m negotiating with the enemy. My little songbird is playing the part of the queen. And what a queen she would make.

“I don’t like it when you call me that,” she says quietly, but her lips stay parted long after the word is spoken. I watch on the screen as her hand moves to her belly.

“Your father is preparing to invade and conquer and he’s making it obvious.”

“He’s defending his territory.” She’s quick to reply, and I find her logic appropriate. Which makes me sit back farther in my seat.

“Remember who you are, Aria.”

“I’m still figuring out who I am, Carter.” The air of dominance wraps around her like a cloak when she talks to me like that, with only a whisper of submission. When she gives herself to me with no pretense, only honesty.

And I take that moment to tell her exactly who she is and will always be. “You’re mine.”

“Am I?” Her voice is coated in sadness as she closes her eyes.

“Yes,” the word is practically hissed as I lean closer to the screen, wishing I were there with her now.

“And if I leave this place; if I leave… to see someone?” she asks me, and I know exactly what she’s talking about. “Would I still be yours?” My pulse hammers in my ears and I bite back the initial response and the next.

I give her the only truth I know, “You will always be mine.”

“Carter,” Aria’s voice breaks and she covers her eyes with her hand as she talks. “I’m scared.”

“You’re brave,” I tell her, and she lets out a humorless laugh on the other end of the phone.

“I’m afraid I’m going to fail and we’ll both be left with no one,” she tells me, wiping under her eyes and repositioning herself on the bed, once again wincing. My gaze flicks to the nightstand where I left the cooling balm, still right where it was last night.

Ignoring her statement and refusing to think of that possibility, I ask her instead, “Are you still hurting from your punishment?”

Again, I’m given that huff of a laugh before she answers, “Yes. You left your mark on me, Mr. Cross.”

“It’s not the only mark I want to leave on you, songbird.”

I hear her breathe in deeply on the other end and I lower my voice, forgetting everything but the two of us when I ask her, “Do you love it when I call you that?”

A second passes before she whispers, “Yes.”

Again, I reach up to the screen, wishing I could touch her right now. But I can’t. Not when I know the enemy could come at any moment. My men will stay with her and protect her. So long as she’s safe, that’s all that matters.

“You need to use the balm I gave you,” I tell her and watch for her reaction.

She glances at it but doesn’t move. The tension rises inside of me at her ignoring the request. A request made to help her.

“What if I want to feel it?” she asks me before I can scold her, and confusion runs through me. “What if I think I deserve to still feel the pain and I don’t want the balm?” Her voice cracks slightly, but she holds her ground.

My poor Aria. The weight of two conflicting worlds is resting on her shoulders. And the consequences are heavier than any one person could possibly bear.

Tags: Willow Winters Merciless Erotic
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