The C.O.O. Must Marry (The Valente Series #2)(6) by Maxine Sullivan

But would Nick even notice?

Or care?

Thankfully, when Sasha came out of the bathroom Nick was nowhere to be seen. Feeling awkward, she took off her silk robe and slipped beneath the covers in her nightgown, pulling the sheet up to her chin.

In the lamplight she lay there for a few seconds looking like she’d been mummified, then gave a nervous laugh. Make that petrified.

Of Nick?

No, she was being absurd. Nick would never physically hurt her. Realizing she was letting her nerves get the better of her, she sat up against the pillows, only just managing to cover herself with the sheet a moment before Nick opened the door.

His gaze flashed over her. “I see you’re already in bed.”

She blinked, suddenly confused. Should she have sat on the brocade chair instead? Or stood by the window? What was the protocol on one’s wedding night of a marriage of convenience?

“I thought this was where you’d want me.”

“Oh, it is.” An intense look filled his eyes. “I’d want you anywhere, Sasha.”

“That wasn’t what I meant.”

“It’s exactly what I meant.”

“Nick—” She stopped speaking as he came toward her carrying a bottle of champagne and two glasses. He wore a navy bathrobe, his long legs bare and masculine. She could feel herself grow hot.

“I like the way you’re looking at me,” he said huskily.

Her gaze darted away, then back as she tried to get some sort of mental balance. “It feels strange being here like this with you,” she said, her excuse lame but all she had.


She should tell him now.

She took a deep breath. “Perhaps because I—”

“Hell, you don’t think of me like a brother, do you?”

His question took the wind from her sails. She blinked. “No.” That was the last way she’d ever think of him. Hadn’t those two mind-blowing kisses told him that, if seven years between?

“That’s a relief.” He was joking but she knew the question had been partly serious.

He held out a glass of champagne toward her. “Here, this should help you relax a little.”

Grateful for something to do, she accepted it and took a sip, letting the bubbles slide down her dry throat. Perhaps drunk was the way to go, she mused, then dismissed the thought. If she were drunk she might say too much.

He sat down beside her on the bed, a sudden predatory gleam in his expression. “Why did you look shocked after I kissed you before?”

So he’d noticed she’d been taken aback by the power of that kiss.

“Um…at the wedding?” she said, deliberately misunderstanding him.

“No, not that placid little kiss I gave you at the wedding ceremony. I mean the one just before by the window over there.”

She cleared her throat, then decided on the truth. “I guess I didn’t expect to…enjoy it so much.”

“I did.”

“Nick, I—”

“Have the most delectable looking mouth I’ve ever seen,” he murmured, then put his glass down on the table beside the bed and did the same with hers. He leaned toward her. “I want to taste it again.”

She moistened her lips, wanting to tell him about being a virgin but a mere second later his mouth settled on hers and she forgot everything but him. He nibbled on her lips until she sighed with delight, then took advantage by slipping his tongue inside.

In one swoop he was a part of her.

She shuddered. The kiss deepened and stole the breath from her lungs, sending excitement zinging to every pore in her body. She’d never known a kiss to be so all-inclusive.

And then he slowed the kiss and edged back a little to stare into her eyes, probing even. “There’s something very unusual about you, Sasha.”

She held her breath. Had he guessed?

“You haven’t slept with many men, have you?”

“Um…no.” She swallowed. “Does it make a difference?”

“Oh, yes,” he rasped.

She couldn’t read his expression and suddenly she was terrified he wouldn’t make love to her if he knew she was a virgin. And that would be the biggest waste of her life. She was married to him, yes. And they would make love eventually, yes. But she’d missed out on her dream wedding. She didn’t want to miss out on her honeymoon, too.

Not tonight.

“Kiss me, Nick.”

A light flared in the back of his darkened eyes. Without hesitation, his mouth found hers again and he kissed her with a hunger that filled her with new awe. This kiss took her to places she’d never been before. She didn’t want it to end.

She held her breath, her heart tilting with relief as he feathered kisses along her chin and down her throat. She couldn’t bear him to leave her now.

He placed his lips at the center of her cle**age and murmured, “I’ve always thought your name suited you. Soft, sexy Sasha.”

She shivered, never expecting this man would say something like that to her. It was the talk of a lover…a soon-to-be-lover.

He moved back and slid the thin strap of her nightgown off her shoulder, exposing one of her br**sts to him. His hot gaze lingered on her for a long moment. She gasped when he began tracing her nipple with his fingertip, then held it between his fingers for his mouth to take over.

He suckled, and she almost came apart. She’d never realized her br**sts were so sensitive to touch…to Nick. Oh God, this was Nick making love to her. Nick drawing on her nipple with his mouth. Nick who was sending such delicious sensations rippling through her. Everything he did, every move he made, was overshadowing everything else in the world.

The suckling continued, and she felt an odd sort of curl start at her toes and run its way upward. It tightened as it climbed higher through her thighs…higher and tighter still as it reached the core beneath her panties. She stiffened as something marvelous took hold and held her there, making her exhale in little gasps that seemed in rhythm with her body.

It was over almost before it began, the tightness diminishing, then disappearing as quickly.

Nick was looking at her curiously. “Did you just cl**ax?”

“I…I think so. A little.” She could feel herself blush. She wasn’t sure. “Can we turn out the light, please? I’m embarrassed.”

“No need to be embarrassed. Nothing should embarrass a man and a woman when they make love.”

“The light, Nick. Please.”

“No, I want to see you. I need to see you, sweetheart. All of you.” And with that he took the hem of her nightgown and lifted it over her head.

Lamplight shone through the room, showing her na**d body to him for the first time. “Beautiful,” he murmured, reaching out and resting the palm of his hand on her stomach, leaving it there as if soaking up the touch of her skin. Her pulse shimmied through her veins, building anticipation. She wanted him to touch her more.

So much more.

Instead he leaned down and placed his lips against her there and just as she recovered from the shock of it, he gave a deep groan and pushed himself off the bed.

Her gasp was not because he’d left her, but because he was shrugging out of his bathrobe. In the blink of an eye her focus was on him, her sensibilities shocked at seeing a man in his full glory for the first time. Transfixed, she reached out to touch him. She could see her hand shaking but once she slid around him, he was her rock.

The air grew thick.

“Sasha,” he said in a guttural voice.

She thrilled to the sound of him, to the sight of him, and now if she could just keep on…

“I need to touch you, Nick.”

He made a low sound deep in his throat and that was all the encouragement she needed. Tentatively she ran the tip of her finger over the head of his erection. She wanted to see what power she had over him.

He jerked. “No more,” he growled and took her hand off him, twisting away to take a condom out of the bedside drawer and roll it on himself, entrancing her by his very masculine action. She’d read about all this in magazines, but the reality was overwhelmingly intimate.

“Slide over,” he ordered, and he joined her on the bed, where he grasped her waist and rolled her on top of him.

She felt a rush of heat at the full length of his body against her own for the first time, and the feel of his hands cupping her bottom.

Their eyes met.

She wanted to look away but couldn’t. Not when she could feel that curl starting in her toes again, making her want to tighten her legs and grind herself against him.

Suddenly he rolled her over and slid on top of her like he was meant to be there. And then he nudged her legs apart and pushed inside her a little.

She winced at the slight pain.

He stilled, his eyes widening in shock. “You’re a virgin?”

She wanted to deny it. Wanted to say that she was experienced so he would keep making her feel this way. Only she couldn’t lie.


He swore but amazingly didn’t pull out. He took a deep breath and then began to move slowly, his eyes never leaving her face. Carefully he filled her, and when he was fully inside her he stopped.

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