Chapter Thirteen



I hook all six shopping bags—hush, I’m gonna wear all of this, and I didn’t have hiking boots, which I totally need in the flatness of Athens—on my left arm, and shove my free hand in my cross-body bag, to fish out the bar keys. It takes more rummaging than you’d expect, to locate them in a bag barely wider than my splayed palm, but I manage to. I jingle them till I close my fingers around the correct one, and I let myself inside the bar.

I don’t need to switch on the overhead lights; it’s barely two in the afternoon on a sunny day, and filtered by the tinted windows, sunlight bathes the wide room in a warm amber glow. It forms a golden halo around Dionysos, who’s sitting on a barstool, twirling his phone on the bar.

“Hey.” My heart jumps in my chest. Why? This is his bar. It makes sense that he’d be here. And his location shouldn’t give me heart palpitations anyway.

Ignoring logic, his slow, timid smile has said heart hammering against my ribs. “Hey,” he says. “I’m sorry about this morning. I’m not used to waking up next to someone.”

It’s quite possible he’s a player and that was a line, but the open honesty in his voice slams into my twirling self-doubt so hard, it sends it skidding to the back of my mind. It wasn’t something about me that had him running for the door; this was as new to him as it was to me.

“I understand,” I say.

“Good.” He stands and approaches me slowly, as if afraid I’ll bolt. “Because I liked what we did last night, but I want to take things slowly. Get to know you. I’m not… I don’t have the best record with relationships, and I don’t wanna fuck this up.”

I catch myself nodding, mesmerized by his boyish grin. Why does he have to be this charming?

“Let’s take things slowly, then.” A wild joy expands my chest, but I clamp down on it. If he sees how happy the idea of being with him makes me, how addicted to him I already am, how his mood affects me to a visceral level, will he back out of what he just suggested?

His smile widens, as he reaches for my hand. “Let’s get your things to a nicer room, and then we’ll have our first proper date. How does lunch sound?”

My stomach answers with a growl, before I can say, “Perfect.” I could protest the room again, but it’s obviously important to him, and I plan on paying for it anyway.

A drive along the beach, stealing glances at each other, could be romantic, but it feels awkward. Silence stretches between us in the car, even as electric jolts spike from my thigh to my core every time his knuckles brush my leg as he shifts gears.

“You really don’t need to do this,” I say for the hundredth time. “I can afford a hotel or pay you rent for the backroom. I just wanted to save up. Doesn’t mean you need to—”

“I don’t need to; I want to.” His fleeting smile when he glances my way thaws some of the ice lingering on my spine since he tumbled out of bed. “Besides, it’s not like it’s costing me anything. Sei can spare the room, and the cot in the backroom is gonna hurt your back.”

Is that the only reason he wants me out, or am I cramping his style? He said the room was only there if any of his staff wanted to crash for the night. Was that true? What employer does that for his employees?

Oh my God, that room must be a fuck-nest.

Then why didn’t he fuck me last night, when I was so obviously his for the taking?

He glances at me, his eyes almost fully silver. Is this change of color a condition I should know about?

I scrunch my nose and return his smile. “I could count the springs, but I didn’t mind. Had great company, too.” Shit, that sounded so lame. I have the star-struck look on, don’t I? Need to tone down the doe eyes and act like an adult woman in the presence of her date.

Also need to remember to keep my jaw from dropping when he leads me up the stairs to the Glyfada Olympian Suites, his palm spreading warmth from the small of my back to the center of my chest.

Dionysos lets a valet take my bags from him and hands the man what looks like a folded twenty-euro note. “Thanks, Mike,” he says. “I’ll be in my brother’s room.”

I nod at Mike with a distracted smile, too busy taking in my surroundings. Glyfada is an expensive area to live in, and it makes sense for hotels here to be classy, but this place takes opulence to a whole new level. The marble floors and walls, gold accents, crystal chandeliers, and impeccably dressed people could have been ripped from a Hollywood movie.

In my jeans and Leave me Alone, I’m Hung Over T-shirt, I stick out like a sore thumb.

“Relax. Confident stride. You were born to be here, and they all know it.” Dionysos’ breath caresses my cheek, as his thumb draws a soothing circle on my back.

Blatant lie, but I appreciate the sentiment. I lean my body into his and inhale his cologne. It makes my head light, as sure as his proximity makes my heart race. He nods to people, smiles, and even introduces me to the stunning receptionist who hands me a card key and gives Dionysos an odd, tubular thing, but I don’t register her name any more than I do the room number. My conscious is concentrated on the few square centimeters of skin the heat of his palm seeps into through the cotton of my shirt. Can I come by this contact alone?

Dionysos chuckles.

Startled, I glance up at him, but he shakes his head as he leads me into the waiting elevator car. He drives the tubular thingy into a slot in the control panel, twists it half a turn, retracts it, and puts it in his pocket.

People are heading our way. Dionysos must see them too, because he presses his thumb into the Open Doorsbutton. No, wait. He’s pressing the button that closes the doors.

“Rude,” I whisper and tug on his arm.

He drops his hand with a sigh of resignation, as an elderly man wedges his shiny cane between the doors moments before they slide all the way closed. He rustles it, and the doors open, allowing him and his much younger female companion to enter.

“We should have used Sei’s private elevator.” Dionysos’ hushed voice is for my ears only. He wraps one arm around me and pulls me in front of him, facing the doors, as a tall brunette in her early fifties gets in.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her before. Maybe she’s a singer? I’d know more if I saw her eyes, but they’re hidden behind huge, black sunglasses. A guy in a suit follows her, and the shopping bags in his hands make the rest of us squish against the walls.

Well, not me. I’m squished against Dionysos, and something hard is digging into my back. I wiggle, and his hold on me tightens.

“Naughty,” he says in my ear. Only his face is nowhere near my ear. And his hand is caressing my lower belly. And moving lower still.

Three more people squeeze in. I only see their heads fleetingly, as they turn toward the exit. The elderly man in front of me blocks my view, and that’s a good thing, because he’s also blocking them from seeing Dionysos sneak his hand under my top, to squeeze my breast.

I rise on my tiptoes and press my ass to his erection. He moans, but nobody around us seems to notice, as the elevator starts moving. His second hand finds its way between my thighs, and he rubs at the seam of my jeans.

I rock against the delicious friction, and his hips mirror my movements, his fingers pinching my nipple that’s swollen and diamond hard.

The elevator stops, and the famous lady and her escort get out. Those left shift to fill the empty space. They may see us, but I don’t care, as Dionysos’ palm skates down my stomach to slip into the waistband of my jeans.

He closes his lips over my neck and nibbles, and I throw my head back, to allow him better access.

The elevator ceiling is a mirror. I can’t see Dionysos’ hands from this angle, but I see his head is leaned back against the wall, his eyes closed.

How is this possible, when I feel his teeth on my shoulder?

His eyes snap open, and he turns me in the cage of his arms. I can no longer see our reflections, but I don’t care. I only care about the man in front of me and his lips that taste of grapes when he slants his mouth over mine.

There’s muttering behind me, but I pay no attention. Dionysos cups my ass, and when he shoves a thigh thick with muscle between my legs, I climb on it. I ride that thigh—inhaling his breath, sucking on his tongue, moaning into his mouth—through two more elevator stops, if I count the dings right. My pussy is so wet, he has to feel it. I’ll stain his jeans. I don’t care. The lace of my bra grazes my nipples and sends fresh waves of desire tingling down my spine.

I cup him through the denim. He’s big and jumps at my touch. I do it again. I need to feel him in my hand. In my mouth. Inside me.

Is there anyone left in the car with us? I don’t dare look. My cheeks burn. I don’t do things like this. I don’t make out in elevators with near-strangers. Especially near-strangers I work for.

But maybe I could, this once? Maybe I could drop to my knees, pop his fly, and wrap my lips around his cock?

Dionysos groans and breaks our kiss. His head thunks against the elevator wall. “We’re here.” His voice sounds gruffer than usual, as if talking takes effort.

I force myself to straighten and turn around. We’re alone. Good.

The car stops with another ding, and Dionysos clasps my hand and weaves our fingers together, as the doors open to reveal what must be a suite.

I say must be because A) I’ve never been in one before, and B) it very well could be a palace. The shiny marble floors sneer at my lowly sneakers, and I’m pretty sure my ass isn’t worthy of sitting on the velvet sofa facing the million-inch television.

“Uh…” I’m not good enough for this place, but can I come out and say that? He’s used to the lifestyle that comes with this suite. Reminding him I’m not will point out how very different we are. How incompatible that makes us.

Dionysos pulls me through the spacious living room and toward the first door on the right, on burgundy carpets so thick they swallow our feet. “This entire hotel needs to be brought into the twenty-first century. All this—” He glances at me with a grimace of distaste. “It’s just too much, you know? But I guess oil moguls expect this in-your-face display of wealth.”

Relief sweeps over me, and I spin on my heel to plaster my body to his. I all but devour his mouth. This isn’t his normal any more than it is mine.

Begrudgingly withdrawing from his lips, I nibble my way along his chin and down his throat, hands roaming his sculpted chest and abs. When I meet his gaze, his eyes are pools of silver light. “Moira…” It sounds like a warning.

“I know we said we’d take things slow,” I whisper, “but I want you.” I clasp the hem of his white T-shirt with both hands and lift it so I can press my lips to his stomach. I flick my tongue over smooth skin, and he hitches a breath. I do it again, this time lingering to suck on the flesh and then blow on it. When I nuzzle his stomach, he breaks out in goose bumps.

My next open-mouthed kiss is below his navel, and as I fumble with the buttons on his jeans, he digs his fingers in my hair. “You don’t need to…”

I tug at his fly, and it pops open. His cock, hard and thick and glistening with precum, juts from the opening. Ignoring the sting on my scalp, I lower my head and swirl my tongue around the tip like his dick is a lollipop. Mmm… It’s better. He tastes of meadows and wine—which maybe should worry me, but desire overtakes reason as I shape my lips into an O and suck him in slowly.

He’s so big, my jaw hurts before he’s even halfway in, but I make a valiant effort, closing my fist as much as possible around the rest of his shaft and pulling on him in time with sucking. My tongue barely has room to move. I move it across his underside as I glide him out of my mouth until the tip pops out with a slurping sound. Greedily, I wrap my mouth around him again, digging my teeth on the inside of my lips as I drag them up and down his shaft.

He fists both hands in my curls, but it feels more like he’s grounding himself than directing my movements. His hips jerk, costing me my balance. I reach for the floor, to steady myself, but my palm doesn’t press into the plush carpet. Instead, what feels like blades of grass tickle my hand. What’s happening?

My eyes are closed. When did I close them? No matter. I force my eyelids open and look up at Dionysos. I can’t make out his expression, because he’s backlit by the sun blazing high in the sky. I nearly fall back, and he slips out of my mouth. I barely have time to notice the trees around us, before they and the bright sky fade into the Glyfada Olympian suite.

“How…? Did you…?” What am I supposed to ask? If he made the room disappear? If he somehow beamed us into a meadow?

His dick bobs between us, judging me, but my clasp on the shaft is now halfhearted. There’s something here other than my bad judgment and his undeniable erotic magnetism. But what?

Dionysos lets go of my hair and steps back, pulling himself free. He closes large palms over my upper arms and lifts me upright, before tucking himself in. “Let’s grab a bite, and then—” He rubs his chin. Scratches the back of his head. “I’m trying to find a decent way to finish this sentence.”

I wipe my mouth on the back of my hand. “Yeah. Okay.” Not what I want to say. I want to ask what happened. If he saw it too. If he caused it. But if he has no idea what I’m talking about, he’ll think I’m crazy.

Am I?

He tucks me into his side and presses a kiss to the crown of my head. Awesome. Now he’s treating me like a kid. Not the most disturbing thing to happen the past ten minutes, but the one that slices the deepest.

I push away. “What’s happening here? With us? One minute you seem into me, and the next, it’s like we’re buddies. What’s next? Fist bumps?”

“I’m into you.” He drops to the sofa and pulls me so I straddle him. Still hard between my legs, he’s making it difficult to focus. “I’m too into you, if that makes any sense.” He licks the seam of my mouth. Pulls my bottom lip between his teeth. Kneads my ass with both hands. “There are things I haven’t told you about.” An exaggerated sigh. “About my family. The expectations.”

That’s the problem? His family won’t approve of me? We’re not talking marriage. I just want to be with him, and he seems to want the same. “I’m not… I don’t want your money,” I mutter, both hurt and offended.

His chuckle does delicious things to my insides, but I ignore the persistent throbbing of need. “What?” I ask with a scowl.

“I don’t remember my parents.”

That’s a non sequitur. I don’t see what it has to do with what we’re talking about, but he seems to need to say this, so I listen.

“I remember them tucking me in, reading me stories, but I can’t recall their voices.” He laces our fingers together and brings our joined hands to rest between us. “I have pictures of them, but I don’t recall their expressions when they smiled at me or scolded me or whatever.” He purses his lips. “I do remember the car crash, though. I still jump sometimes when I hear tires screeching.” His gaze is heavy on me, and I hold it.

My gut clenches. I know where this is going. The crash must be what took away his birthparents.

“Mom was yelling at Dad about her, as he loaded suitcases in the trunk of our car. I didn’t realize what she meant back then, but now I’m thinking he had an affair.” He rolls his eyes. “Mom said something about a threat, and he called her silly, but they both kept looking over their shoulders until we were all in the car. He reached for her hand, and she took it, and I felt so relieved, I could cry. Maybe I did cry? And then I slept.”

He lowers his lids briefly, before focusing on my face again, his eyes as silver as ever. “I was jolted awake. The car spun. Mom cried out, and then it was like a huge hand threw us sideways into a wall. Mom went silent. The wall was a tree, and—” He swallows. Licks his lips.

“You don’t have to say it.” I squeeze his hand.

“I kept screaming for them, kept fumbling with my seatbelt, but I was only four, and I shouldn’t even remember all this. It was getting cold, and at first I thought the sparks I made out through the windshield were a good thing. We’d all get warmer, and Mom and Dad would wake up and take me home.

“The door to my right was ripped off its hinges, and a white-haired man tore my safety belt clean off. He pulled me from the car and ran, with me wailing and kicking in his arms. He held me to his chest, so I didn’t see the explosion that took away what remained of my parents.”

“I’m so sorry.” I will him to read my sympathy in my eyes. “No child should ever have to experience such tragic loss.”

He shakes his head, as if he’s shaking off my concern. “I don’t miss them anymore. Feels wrong, and I’ve never admitted it before, but I don’t. And it’s not like I was left to fend for myself.”

I know with absolute certainty he’s lying about not missing them, but it’s important to him that I believe him, so I pretend to, and he goes on.

“That man raised me as his own grandson, and gave me brothers and a purpose. Gave all of us a future. Saved us in more ways than one. I guess I’ve always felt like I owe it to him to make the most of what he offered me.”

“And that doesn’t include being with me?” I tilt my head to study his face that seems so very at-home against the baroque background. “He wouldn’t approve of you dating the help?”

His smile lights up his eyes. “Oh, he’ll be thrilled. I’m the one who has trouble accepting it.” I don’t have time to get pissed off, before he adds, “Until now, I’ve always wanted less than I was supposed to. Now, I want it all.” He gives me a look I cannot decipher. “And I don’t know if I can handle it.”

This stinks of relationship-phobia, but can I blame him, when he lost the first people he loved so tragically? I should take a step back. Let him set the pace.


< Chapter 12  | Chapter 14 >

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