MASON

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Chapter 41

The curtains pulled open and I gasped at the perfect view in front of me; the buildings and the Eiffel Tower were staring straight at me, and the weather was a bit windy and chilly that was almost just perfect. It was so beautiful and breathtaking, I could stand here all day and never get tired of it. Tears threatened to prick my eyes because I never thought I would be happy.

I could never even begin to thank Mason for bringing me here. This was exactly what I needed and he had known that; time away from everything.

The soft sound of the door closing made me turn around and leaned back against the window, watching the man I love strode into the bedroom like he owned it, like everything in the room would fall at its knee for him, and I still couldn't believe he was mine. This hard, muscled, perfect man, all dangerous, powerful and cold, beautiful, all mine.

My eyes absorbed every inch of what every other woman would drool for, helplessly running my gaze up and down his form; his sculptured arms, his narrow waist, and broad shoulders.

And his face; his hard jaw, his bright silver eyes and the sexy look he always got without even having to try, his expression; the one that tells you he wanted to rip you apart and mend you together only to rip you apart again. He's got danger and trouble written all over his face, and bold letters that said the only person who would ever defeat him was himself.

The butterflies in my stomach awakened when those eyes set on me, and a smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth, the sexy smirk that would melt any living soul that now blazed through me and sets my heart on fire; a burning touch that only him had lit.

I loved him so much. He didn't know it yet, but he would know it soon. Until I had completely painted myself on him like he was my canvas, I wouldn't be able to breathe. My heart wouldn't be at ease because women loved him. When he walked in a room, he drew attention like he secretly had a magnet implanted inside him. But he didn't. It was just him.

When we were in the hotel lobby, I could see various women checking him out, assessing him and wearing their flirtatious smile, hoping he would check them out, and completely ignoring the fact that I was there with him. I had wanted to scream at them, but I didn't have to. He had only eyes on me. It was me he was holding hands with, me he had given his heated gaze to, and me that had been walking beside him. Only me—

WHAM!

I didn't see it coming. If I did, I would have dodged the pillow that had smacked right into my face and left me groaning a little. I bent to grab it, hurling it right back at him, but my aim wasn't good and it steered right past through him, making him chuckle at my weak aim.

"Was that necessary?" I glared at him, turning around to plug my phone to my charger, wondering how many texts I would get from Beth. She was probably freaking out right now that she wasn't getting hold of me and knowing her, she could be thinking that Mason had done something to me.

"What were you thinking about?" His body heat enveloped me as he came up from behind and tucked me into his body. I felt warm. Protected.

I grinned at the wall, placing my hand on his arm and rubbing my thumb over the soft fabric of his shirt. "Nothing."

He poked me in the side. "Try that again."

"I was just thinking about how beautiful the suite is. I thought we were going to have two separate rooms, but we are married and that would have been weird." Not going to lie, the thought did cross my mind. We weren't really official, and we haven't talked about us or put a label on whatever this was. We sort of went with our feelings.

Hopefully, on this trip, we could have a sit-down and discuss the future. I have already decided I was going to confess my feelings for him. And I wasn't sure if he loved me because of his past relationship, or if he would ever love me, but I knew what I wanted to do was to be honest with him. If he rejected me, I wouldn't push him. It was better than not saying anything.

"Are you sure it wasn't because of what happened at the lobby? The women that were thoroughly checking me out?" he asked in a teasing tone, and I turned around.

Heart pounding, mind spinning, I told myself I wouldn't take the bait. But my stomach was in knots and my nerves were skittering like live electrical wires. He knew it bothered me. No point in denying it now. And it was kind of ridiculous now that I thought about it. Mason would always have people wanting him. It wasn't his fault that he was attractive.

Our eyes met, and a shiver of awareness ran through me as I stared into his face. "What women? I didn't see anything." I waited and his eyes twinkled.

"Is that so?" he asked cockily, one eyebrow high. "You wouldn't mind escorting me back to the lobby? I could show them to you."

"Sure, why not? It's not like I'm doing anything."

"Lovely. Let's go." The sparkle of mischief in his eyes made me grit my teeth, so I stomp on his feet and yanked myself free. "Fuck!"

I delighted in hearing him cry out in pain as he shot me a dark glare that I responded with a toothed smile. When he recovered, he went straight for me and pinned me to the wall, setting his forehead on mine and his gaze completely territorial.

"You're cute when you're jealous. Do you think I'm yours? Do you feel possessive of me?" He lifted a hand and cupped my face so gently. His eyes were a darker shade of grey with emotion. "Because that's exactly how I feel about you, Lauren. I don't like sharing. I break people when they take things that are mine. And you, you're the most valuable thing in my life. Remember that."

Heart beating in my chest, I cupped his jaw and kissed his cheek, running my hands through his hair. He pulled me off the wall and we started to walk backward until I felt his hands on my shoulders, guiding me to the bed as he lowered me to it.

I waited for him to sit beside me, but he kneeled in front of me and my insides fluttered when he started to pull off my shoes and tossed them aside, grabbing both of my hands in his as he buried his head in my thighs. A tangle of emotion hit me when I felt his heart beating, slow and powerful, and I was only left to stare at his dark hair.

I was so surprised I didn't move.

So, I waited. One minute. Two minutes. He didn't move. I dragged my hands out of his hold and grabbed his head, lifting it up for me to pin my eyes on his face, and I held my breath at the conflicted emotion in saw there.

"Hey, what's wrong?"

Mason propped his elbow on my thigh and ran his hand over his face, putting it down to take my hand, guiding it to his head and his voice textured, he trapped me with his gaze.

"I came here with you because it's loud in here," He tapped his head with my hand. "and you help calm me down. I needed this. You. Here. Alone."

My pulse stopped inside me. My heartbeat felt nonexistent. This powerful and most feared man, with all his pride and arrogance, was knelt in front of me, letting me see a glimpse of him and it made me shudder. I felt like there was a bomb inside my stomach that was ready to explode. And he looked back at me with clear and observant eyes.

What do I do with that? What do I say to that? Every time I tried to get him to let me in, he pushed me away. And when he says shit like this, shit that gets my insides turning and my heart aching, he shuts me out. He got me confused. I don't get to ask him the reason. That was how he wanted it to be. He makes my brain explode and then refused to pick up the pieces. He was so complicated and unpredictable.

"What do you want me to do, Mason?"

"To sleep next to me," he admitted with a dragged sigh. "I'm tired."

My gaze was locked on his, drawn in by the tenderness and worn out in his grey irises. The man in front of me was so far removed from the one who used to bully me.

"How come?" He glared at me and I laughed a little. I took his hand and lifted him up on his feet, crawling back deeper into the bed as I pulled him with me.

Mason didn't hesitate sliding next to me as we settled on the comforter. I thought he was going to turn around, but he shocked me when he dropped his head on my chest and snuggled with me, inhaling my neck.

I was immobilized, but I shouldn't be. Mason didn't hide his attraction to me and he didn't fight the way he felt or didn't need to think he was touching me too much or showing me this side of him, and that was what made me ache in deep places.

"What's happening?" I asked, lowering my face to kiss the top of his head as I started running my fingertips through his scalp. If the world could see Mason Campbell like this, people would be in disbelief. Minds would race.

His long arm wrapped itself around me, pulling me to his chest and tangled his legs with mine. "You're seeing another side of me," he whispered into the crook of my neck.

His words touched me.

"It's scary," I admitted truthfully. I wasn't used to it. It scared me deeply to think I had this strong effect on him. He was really good at hiding it from me. I guessed this was why I was finding it so hard to believe it was him on the bed with me, with his arm around me and his head on my chest. Everything I was felt was going straight into my throbbing heart.

"You will get used to it."

"What if I don't?"

He rolled on his back and used one arm to bring me with him. His eyes were closed when he murmured, "It's because of you, Lauren," he paused to tighten his hold on me. "With you, I can't hold back anything. I'm showing you me."

I grinned at the side of his face, so beautiful. "I like this you. I like all of you."

He was laying on his back, one arm behind the pillow and the other trailing my arm. "Sometimes, I don't."

I blinked at him, trying to decipher the look on his face. He looked almost... sad. A dozen emotions danced across his face, tightening his features. Something was churning under the still waters of his soul, and I could feel it bubbling up inside him.

So when his breathing evened out and I realized he had fallen asleep with his arms around me, in the middle of the day, in the biggest hotel room I had ever seen, I couldn't contain the emotions swelling in my chest.

I had never imagined I would have someone like him for myself. The moments we had, the connection we shared even when we had hated each other, I had never thought what I felt for him would ever be reciprocated. I wasn't ready to hear him say he loved me. He might never tell me those words, but I was sure he felt what I was feeling for him. Mason was really hard to communicate with and opening himself up for me could take a while. And we have that. We have months and even years.

Looking up at his sleeping face, I stroked his jaw and cheek, his neck and down his arms, looking up at his perfectly shaped lips, hard and strong jaw, his nose and everything else, quietly loving every inch of him. All mine. I had never felt so complete as I did at this moment. We were in a strange country, in a hotel and sleeping on a bed that wasn't ours, I felt like home. Everywhere with him was home to me.

I raised my head and pushed myself up a bit, touching my lips to his ear. "I love you, Mason," I whispered, closing my eyes. "I love you so much and I can't wait for you to love me back." A light kiss on his neck, I added raspily, "I can't wait to say these words to you."



When I woke up, the bed was not warm, the place Mason had occupied was empty. The sun was still shining outside and I was still so sleepy. I dragged up the duvet he must have thrown over me and snuggled deeper into the bed as sleep took over me again.

The next time I was up, he was the first thing that I saw. We stared at one another, neither of us making any attempt to move. My heart thumped so loud I was sure he could hear it. My eyes drink him in, and he was so beautiful up close. The most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. His eyes were like a giant pool of silver that I was diving right in.

"Morning."

Mason's eyes lowered to my mouth and my tongue darted out, wetting my lips. The eyes returned back to mine.

"Is it, though?" he asked with raised brows, sneaking in a small smile.

It wasn't. It might be around noon or evening, but in my defense, I had just woken up. My brain was yet to kick in.

"Don't sass me." But I did kick him a little with my knee. It was more like a nudge. A playful nudge.

He chuckled, the soft vibrations reaching me and I enjoyed his closeness, his warmth and the scent of his body. He looked thoroughly amused. "No, that's all you."

"You're right," I whispered, my leg between his thighs, our bodies entwined and touching as much as possible. "You can't be a prick and sassy at the same time."

My eyes settled on his body and I realized he had already showered. He wasn't wearing the same clothes he had slept in.

"When did you wake up?"

He sat up and leaned his head against the headboard. "An hour ago. I showered and checked in with Athena. Not sure if I can rely on her to keep things intact while I'm away."

Shaking my head, I followed suit and tucked my legs under me as I faced him. "New rule: No phones, no work," I stated, watching the slight lift of his right brow. "And don't worry, Athena knows you'd hunt her down if something happens to your precious company."

"I don't think I like that rule."

I snorted, not completely surprised he would oppose to that give his nature. "You just can't handle not bossing someone around for a short while, huh?"

"I can't help it. It's in my DNA." His eyes were half-closed when he whispered those words with a slight twitch to his mouth.

"So, are we going out or are we going to spend the rest of the day in bed?"

"Sounds like a good plan," he answered, his voice deep and low. He still had his eyes closed, his arms crossed over his chest and his legs hidden under the covers.

"It does," I agreed, but we couldn't stay in bed all day like we weren't in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. "but we're going out."

"Can we at least wait until you've eaten something?"

Embarrassingly enough, I felt myself respond shamelessly to his words, which weren't a big deal, but I cursed my body and my heart, which now beat out of control.

"You don't see me running towards the door, do you?" I asked sarcastically.

He chuckled.

"Got it."

I looked at him curiously. "Wait, have you eaten?"

"I had coffee."

"You? Coffee? Mr. I-don't-like-anything-that-isn't-tea Campbell."

He shrugged carelessly and looked away before meeting my eyes again, a charming grin visible on his face. "I actually quite like coffee," he revealed.

"Then why did you make me think you don't like coffee? Actually, it was one of your rules," I countered suspiciously, and when a deep, low laugh erupted from his chest, I went on, "Why are you laughing?"

"I only have one rule in my company, which is to never be late."

I blew out air in a sign of impatience, but I held his stare. "You gave me a manual with a bunch of ridiculous and eye-rolling rules."

Amusement teased his lips. "Yeah, I did, didn't I?"

"Mason."

"The only one who has that is you. I made that manual specifically for you. To torment you, I guess." His voice trailed off at the last, and when his gaze became clouded, I wondered if he was thinking about the times he had been a first-class prick, the threats it accompanied with and enjoying the feelings it brought him.

I shoved a pillow to his stomach. "You're an arse."

He caught it and tossed it aside.

"Watching you follow through with them was quite funny actually."

"What do you mean watching me follow them?" I managed to hold on tight to my annoyance and disbelief and managed to make it through when something clicked in my head and my jaw almost dropped. "Did you spy on me?!" That was the only good explanation.

"In my own company? I would hardly call it that, Lauren. I merely spared an hour to watch you in my office. I've got cameras, you know?"

"You're a bigger prick than I thought, stalker." I rolled out of bed and watched him watch me walk over to the breakfast trays that were filled with enough food to feed seven people. On the plane, I really didn't eat, so I was expected to be hungry when I woke up.

Filling my plate with toast, eggs, and bacon with a bowl of fruits, I retreated back to the bed and crawled in it, holding my plate out for him. His eyebrow rose at my action, but I ignored him and moved closer to him.

"I need clothes," I said, guiding the toast to my mouth and taking a bite out of it. "I can't exactly walk around all day with these clothes."

"Already got you covered," he replied, tucking a strand of hair that had fallen in my face behind my ear as I took another big bite. "There are shopping bags in the living room."

"Did you shop for me? Do you even know my size?" He nodded. "And you also got me a bra?" He nodded with a smirk.

I shook my head. "I'm not even going to ask you how you know the size of my bra."

"Isn't that a man's specialty?"

I glared at him.

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