She was halfway down the road to the lake, walking with her arms wrapped around herself, when Nikolai found her.
She didn't expect him to come after her. Oh, hell! He shouldn't have followed her, not when she had left for the sole purpose of being far away from him without having to relive these erotic daydreams of hers.
She stopped walking and waited for him to catch up.
"Did you want something?" She asked, when she noticed that he was coming straight at her.
"Yes." Was the last thing she heard before he wrapped his arms around her and his lips came crashing down on hers. The kiss was hard and unbelievably warm. She felt as though she had just be scorched by the sun.
She had to be dreaming again, she thought. Why else would she be kissing him back with the same passion that he was kissing her with?
It was a kiss that she both wanted and needed- without any thoughts of hesitation.
His tongue swirled in her mouth. Teasing, tasting and demanding that she understands that this felt right.
She hummed quietly when he finally pulled away. She stared up at him and was temporarily speechless by the raw passion and emotion that his eyes held. It was clear to her that the kiss had the same effect on him as it had on her.
"Tell me to leave." He said in a raspy, demanding voice.
"Tell me to leave. Tell me that you don't want to see me ever again and I swear Victoria, you won't."
"I -" Victoria swallowed.
It was a simple request, and she had done it before, but only out of anger and fear because he had frightened her and made foolish when he had confronted her about indecent proposal to a complete stranger.
Just say it, Victoria, she thought to herself. Say it and be rid of him for good.
For good? A sharp pain twisted at her heart at the thought. She didn't particularly like thought of that, and him kissing her had only proven that the chemistry was still there.
"I can't," She said, "I can't tell you that, Nikolai. Because you see, Chad wasn't in bed with us. Despite the fact that I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't all things that he'd said I was, it was only you and I. And you're right, there is some sort of chemistry between us and it scares me."
There was a ferocious look in her eyes and the vulnerability in her voice made him ignore all the little warning lights going off and on in his head. He reached up and gently pulled a strand of her hair behind her ear, the allowed his hands to drift to her shoulder.
"Why?" He asked
"You know why."
He released a breath and gently took her in his arms, gently holding her close to him.
"He doesn't need to know, Victoria." He said softly. "What we do is our business and not his."
"You don't get it." She said, pulling away from him.
"No, you don't get it." Nikolai returned, pulling her back in place. She needed to understand that she was old enough to make her own decisions, and that her father couldn't control her unless she allowed him to.
"I really don't care about what your father thinks, but if pursuing whatever this is between us means running around behind his back, then I'm all for it, for your sake. But only if you are in it as much as I am."
Victoria stared at him and sighed.
"But what about your business with him? Nikolai, if he finds out--"
"It's only a few buildings, Victoria. I won't go bankrupt if he pulls out of the contract. There are other deals out there that can be made."
Voices from a distance caused the both to turn their heads around to see if it was of familiar faces. Nikolai was the first to turn his attention back around, and he caught the worrisome look on her face. He wanted pull her into his arms again and kiss away all of her fears. But instead he lifted his hand and cupped her chin and tilted her head to face him again.
" How about we go back to my hotel and we can figure out the details of this mess?"
A short laugh erupted from her throat at his chosen wording for whatever it was that they were getting themselves into.
"But what about Daisy?"
"She took a taxi. Said something about not wanting me to go back and forth." He replied, then paused, raising his brows at her. "Shall we?"
Victoria parked her rental car next to Nikolai's. She turned off the engine and gave the hotel a quick scan. Nikolai rounded her car and opened her door so that she could slide out.
He blocked her path with his body and she looked up at him. He took advantage of her slightly parted lips to steal another kiss.
"You seriously have to stop doing that." She said softly, when he pulled away.
"Doing what?" He asked
"Catching me off guard with those kisses of yours.
He chucked, grabbing hold of her hand, leading her inside the hotel.
Victoria glanced around the lobby, taking in the unfamiliar environment. She felt Nikolai's hand leave hers and made its way around her waist, pulling her close to him, as they made their way up to his suite.
"Make yourself comfortable." Nikolai said, kicking off his boots.
Victoria glanced around the room, then back at him when she noticed that the only available place to sit was the bed.
"Is this some fancy way of seducing me?" She asked.
Nikolai looked over to the bed then back at her, and chuckled. "Unfortunately, no. This was the only available room and since it's only for one night, it makes no difference to me." He replied, moving over to the mini bar.
"What's your poison?" He asked, revealing a miniature bottle of whisky and vodka in his hand.
Her eyes widened at the thought of drinking alcohol straight out of a bottle.
"What?" Nikolai frowned. "Don't tell me that you've never..."
Victoria shook her head " Oh, god no." She looked st him and he marveled at the rosy stains in her cheeks.
As silly as it may seem, she never really dared to try. Not when she had been told over and over again that it wasn't ladylike. "I was told that it was inappropriate."
He walked over to the bed and patted down on it, gesturing her to come sit. "Another first, Princess." He smile tilted as he offered her the vodka.
"Go a head, laugh. But it's the truth. I've never drank beer neither."
"I'm not laughing, Princess." He said, "Sit. I want to know what else you've been missing out on."
Victoria eyed him at first, but then she released s breath and walked over to where he sat and took the bottle.
"Go ahead," he said, when he noticed her hesitation to open twist the cap off. "Try it." He urged.
She open the bottle and brought it to her lips, then paused, "This is ridiculous.'' She said, giving herself a brisk shake. "I can't believe that I'm doing this."
She then tilted her head back slightly and allowed the cool liquid to settle in her mouth before swallowing. She licked her lower lip and smiled, all oblivious to Nikolai, who was watching her with great interest.
A minute went by, and then Nikolai cleared his throat. "See, there's nothing to it."
Victoria giggled. "Mrs. Fred will die if she ever catches word of this."
"Nevermind that. Do you have another one of these?"
"Yeah, but how about we slow down. Here," he said offering her his hand and when she grabbed it, he drew her to her feet.
"What are you doing?" She asked curiously.
"Do you hear the music?" He asked, taking her into his arms.
She did. It was drifting in through the open window along with the soft swaying sound of the leaves.
"Dance with me," he said and began to slowly move to the romantic tune.
Victoria felt silly once more. Dancing was something you did in the ballroom, with your hand on your partner's shoulder and his paced lightly at the small of your back. St least that's Mrs.Fred had taught her.
But Nikolai was breaking that rule. He held her against him with both of his arms around her and his hands low on her spine.
"Relax," Nikolai whispered in her ears, " just feel the music."
But she couldn't relax because she could not feel the music. What she felt was him. His heat. His breath against the sensitive skin of her neck. His muscles underneath her palms and the steady beat of his heart.
Victoria closed her eyes and rested her head on Nikolai's shoulder. His arms tightened around her.
"I've missed you, Princess."