Casada Con Un Prncipe: (A Mistake, a Prince and a Pregnancy) | Chapter 17 of 20

Author: Maisey Yates | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1583 Views | Add a Review

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CHAPTER TEN

 

“YOUR belly is starting to show.” Maximo put his arms around Alison from behind and caressed her bare midsection. She had been examining herself in the mirror in the master suite, sucking in her expanding stomach.

She swatted at his hand. “Just what every woman wants to hear!”

“It’s sexy.” He nuzzled her neck and kissed the hollow just beneath her ear. “You must know how sexy I think you are.”

She knew. Maximo had spent all night showing her just how sexy he thought she was. It had been a revelation. She’d discovered a whole, huge part of herself she hadn’t even known existed. A part of herself she’d spent far too long suppressing. She’d given her control over to Maximo for a while, and it had been freeing in a way she’d never imagined it could be. And now that they were out of bed she had her control back, and her heart was still intact. She could do this. She could maintain her independence and have a relationship with him. She wasn’t going to love him, or need him in any way beyond the physical.

“The feeling is definitely mutual.” She turned and wound her arms around his neck and traced his squared jaw with her fingertip. A tidal wave of possessiveness crashed over her. He was so very handsome. And he was hers. “I’m going to hold you to that forsaking all others bit in the marriage vows.”

“I will keep my vows, Alison. Why take them otherwise?”

“Millions of people make the same vows all the time. It doesn’t guarantee the promise will be kept.”

“It may surprise you to know that I’m familiar with the issues people face in marriage.”

She winced. “Sorry, but I told you I’d talk to you if I had issues. I just wanted to let you know I was feeling possessive.”

He offered her a tight smile. “I appreciate that. Maybe if Selena had talked to me we wouldn’t have grown so far apart.” He moved away from her and walked to the closet, pulling out a T-shirt and shrugging it over his head. “Of course, even saving our marriage wouldn’t have changed anything in the end.”

“You couldn’t have saved her if you were there, Max. It was an accident. It wouldn’t have changed anything. You did what you could in your marriage. It isn’t your fault that she wouldn’t talk to you.”

He shook his head. “She depended on me. I should have tried harder. Instead I got frustrated. I worked more. I should warn you that I’m not a very good husband. I’m not good at reading emotions. I travel a lot. I get absorbed with my business.”

She put her hand on his arm. “You’re a good man, Maximo. You’re going to be a good husband, and a wonderful father. In my line of work I’ve dissolved more marriages than I care to think about, and then, at the Children’s Advocacy Center I saw a lot of men who were lousy husbands and fathers. You’re not like them.”

“You say that, Alison, and I think you even mean it, but you’ve only known me for three weeks. Selena had seven years to grow disenchanted with me.”

“I think all marriages can lose their luster if you let them,” she said firmly. “But we’re getting married for a reason.”

“The baby.” He put his hands over her rounded belly and rested her palm over them.

“Yes. That reason is never going to go away. We’ll always have our child in common.”

“And that’s enough for you?”

She gave him a level stare, her eyes never wavering from his. “It has to be, doesn’t it?”

He nodded firmly. Decidedly. “Yes.”

“Then it is. We’re going to make this work for our child. We’re going to make a family. That’s all that matters. When I make my vows I’ll keep them.”

Maximo ignored the tightening sensation in his chest. Ignored the voice in his head berating him for allowing this woman to settle for so much less than she deserved. “Then you would be in the minority.”

She shrugged one delicate shoulder. “I’m used to that by now. I was a twenty-eight-year-old virgin until last night, remember?” She gave him a sly grin.

“How could I forget?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps you need your memory refreshed.” And then she was in his arms, stroking his back with her hands and practically purring.

This was enough. Enough for both of them. He would do everything in his power to make it enough.

 

 

“Alison?” He cupped her bare hip bone with his hands and did wicked things to the indent that led from there to her femininity.

“Hmm?” she half moaned.

“I want to show you something.”

“You already did that—” she snuggled into him “—twice,” she added playfully. “Not that.”

She sighed. “I suppose we have to get out of bed at some point.”

“It is advised.”

They had spent most of the morning in bed and it was late afternoon now. Alison was languid, satisfied in a way, but far from sated. There would never be a time when she wouldn’t crave the way Max made her feel. When he kissed her, caressed her, entered her, she felt complete.

“All right, but you have to feed the baby and me first.”

“I wouldn’t dream of being neglectful.”

He made good on his promise and fed her lunch—a creamy pasta dish that made her very happy. Now that her morning sickness had passed she found she was loving food again, more than usual even. After she was finished, Max took her hand and led her out of the villa and into the courtyard.

“Why do I get the feeling I’m being led astray?” she asked, the wicked grin on his face making her stomach flutter.

“I have no idea. I promise you my intentions are entirely pure.”

“Somehow, I very much doubt that there’s anything pure in your mind except for purely naughty thoughts.”

He laughed and the sound made her heart jump in her chest. “No. You’ll see.”

There was a small whitewashed building that rested on an outcrop of rock that overlooked the beach below. It seemed as though it was nearly carved into the cliff, a part of nature. It had obviously been built years earlier than the villa, the mature, creeping vines that covered the side attesting to that fact.

“This is lovely,” she said.

“It’s one of the reasons I picked this location to build the villa. The natural lighting inside the studio is amazing.” He took a key out of his jeans pocket and put it into the ancient keyhole.

Alison was surprised by the renovation that had been done to the inside, which was light and airy, modern.

“There’s a bedroom and bathroom through there.” He pointed through the galley-style kitchenette and to a door that stood closed. There was sparse furniture in the main room, a couch, an easel and paintings lining the walls, all beautifully, photo-realistically done.

“Max…you did these, didn’t you?” She could see it in each brushstroke, so controlled, so carefully placed. Maximo captured the essence of what he painted, kept the life that possessed his subject in the real world and translated it to the canvas. It didn’t possess the freedom of expression, the broad, abstract work of a modern artist, but it wouldn’t have been Max if it had.

“Yes.”

“Does anyone know?”

He shook his dark head and came to stand close behind her. “It’s something I’ve dabbled in over the years, but never devoted much time to.”

“That’s a crime! Max, these are beautiful!” She moved up close to a landscape portrait of the waves crashing on the rocks. It was the view out the window it was placed next to, and it rivaled the real thing. The water was alive and the wind was a living thing, too, moving the grass in a sea of green ripples.

“It isn’t what’s popular. I invest in art. I wouldn’t invest in these. They’re the kind of pictures that hang in a doctor’s office.”

“They’re amazing.” She reached a hand out, letting it hover over the exquisite work. “Do you only do landscapes?”

“So far. As I said, I haven’t had much time to devote to it.”

“Selena never saw them?” she asked gently, watching his eyes darken with stormy emotion.

“No.” Just no. No explanation. She didn’t need one. Selena had not loved the man standing before her. She may have loved the idea of him. The powerful, handsome prince with the gorgeous body and amazing bedroom skills. But she hadn’t loved him. He was so much more than what he chose to show the world. And she had been blessed with a window into his heart.

“I’m honored that you showed me.”

He turned to her. “I want to paint you.”

“Me?”

He laughed. “Yes. I have never done a portrait. I haven’t been inspired to. But I want to paint you.”

This was more intimate for him, she realized, than making love. He was sharing something with her that he had not shared with any other woman, any other person, period. That did something to her. It made the most bittersweet pain twist her heart, made her stomach tighten with longing.

“I would like that.”

He put an arm around her and took her chin in his hand, tilting her face up so that their eyes met. “I want to paint all of you.”

Realization of what that meant dawned slowly. “I can’t do that!” she protested, her cheeks heating at the idea of getting naked in such bright daylight and lying exposed for hours on end.

“I’m realizing that you’re the kind of woman who can do anything she decides to do, and heaven help the man who stands in your way. But I wouldn’t want you to be uncomfortable.”

She bit her lip. Still unsure.

“Have I ever done anything to hurt you? Disrespect you?” he asked gently. She shook her head. “And I never will.”

She nodded slowly. And she realized that in this moment he would be as bare as she was. Because this was a part of himself he’d never shared before. And he was exposing it to her, revealing himself. And she wanted to do the same.

“I trust you.” She pushed the top button of her blouse through the loop and separated the fabric that concealed her body from him. Then the next one. And the next. And on to every other piece of clothing until she was standing bare in front of him. She fought the urge to cover up. It was different during lovemaking. He was so busy kissing and touching her, he wasn’t simply staring at her. And she was never fully conscious enough to be embarrassed of her body during sex. But now she was acutely aware of the fact that her stomach was no longer flat and that her breasts had only grown more voluptuous, along with her hips. And he wanted to capture it eternally on canvas.

She felt her whole body flush. “I’m not beautiful like…”

“Don’t say you’re not beautiful. And don’t ever compare yourself to other women. You’re my woman. And I happen to find you exquisitely beautiful.”

She thrilled at the raw, masculine possession that laced his voice. She should find him arrogant, or at least sexist. She couldn’t.

Maximo could barely keep his desire leashed. She was so enchanting, pale and vulnerable, in the midafternoon sunlight that filtered in through the picture window, when she was normally so strong, wearing her independence like armor. The artist in him longed to paint her; the man in him simply wanted to make love to her until neither of them could think or move.

He settled for picking up a sketch pad and a clutch pencil. “Sit on the couch.”

She backed away from him and lowered herself onto the chaise-style couch, reclining. She rested her head on the gentle slope of the armrest and put one arm high above her head, raising her plump breasts.

He wanted to capture everything, every curve, every line. The dent in her sweet lips, the pout in her nipples, the perfect V at the juncture of her thighs… Mostly he wanted the molten fire in her golden eyes to translate to the canvas.

Her body, tense at first, began to relax as he began to sketch. His hand moved fluidly, shaping her curves, shading the dips and hollows of her body. He drew the fullness of her breasts and ached to cup them. She arched her back as though she knew what portion of her body he was stroking with the pencil, as though she knew and wanted his touch as badly as he wanted to touch her. His body hardened painfully.

He added her small waist, her soft belly, the small bump where their baby sat. He moved lower and she gasped, her pulse pounding at the base of her neck. She moaned softly as he traced the outline of her sex on the paper. She pressed her legs together and slid her foot up her smooth thigh as he continued his study of her, as he continued to capture her forever.

A throaty growl escaped her throat. “Max.” It was a plea, and it was one she didn’t need to make twice.

He placed his notebook on the table and joined her on the chaise. Her hands were on him, pulling his shirt over his head, fumbling with the closure of his pants.

“What is it that you do to me?” he growled, moving his hand over her curves, tracing them as he had just done with a pencil. This was much more satisfying; flesh on flesh instead of lead on paper.

He kissed her neck, nibbling the tender flesh of her throat. “I hope it’s the same thing that you do to me.”

“Without a doubt it is.” He shoved his jeans down along with his underwear, and relished the sensation of her hot skin against his. “I think this is going to be fast.”

She gripped his buttocks with her hands and looked him in the eye. “Good. I don’t think I could handle slow.”

He positioned himself and sank into her tight, wet heat. He had to grit his teeth to keep from exploding then and there. It took all of his strength to stay still, to keep it from ending without her reaching satisfaction, too.

He had never felt this, this overwhelming desperation to claim a woman, to make her his, to lose himself inside of her body. Before Alison it had been years since he’d been with a woman. But this was about much more than prolonged, willful abstinence. This was something more…something unfamiliar, something that seemed to have taken on a life of its own.

His self-control snapped. He moved uncontrollably, pounding into her. She pulled her knees back so he could thrust harder, deeper. The only sound was their labored breathing and the slap of flesh meeting flesh. There was nothing gentle about their coming together. It was fire and brimstone, passion and torture. She cried his name out as she came and he followed, pumping into her, releasing everything he had into her body.

She kissed his neck, a smile curving her lips. “You’re amazing, do you know that?”

He had no idea what he’d done to earn the trust he heard in her voice, and he wasn’t sure he wanted it. Wasn’t sure that he could fulfill all of the hopes that he saw shimmering in the depths of her beautiful eyes.

They lay in silence for a long time and he was content to simply move his hands over her curves. A small sigh escaped her lips and he wanted to understand it. And he suddenly realized he wanted to know more than that. He wanted to know everything about her, who she was and why. He couldn’t recall ever feeling that need before, not concerning anyone.

“Tell me about your sister,” he said, not sure why it suddenly seemed important to know.

“She was my best friend.” Alison burrowed against him. “She never let having Cystic Fibrosis affect who she was. She was always smiling, even when she was sick. Kimberly was the glue for our family. When she was gone everything fell apart. My parents fell apart.”

“How old were you?”

“I was twelve when she died.”

“They didn’t have any right to fall apart, not when you needed them,” he said.

“No argument from me. But my dad just couldn’t stay anymore. I don’t think he could walk in the house, or look at us without remembering. And that just left Mom and me.”

“And she didn’t look after you, either?”

“She had enough trouble dealing with her own issues. She depended on my father. She needed him for everything. Without him, she had no security and she just… It never pays to lean on someone so much because one day they might just be gone. But then, you know all about that.”

“I do,” he said slowly. “But I didn’t depend on Selena. She depended on me. I wasn’t there for her, and because of that she had to live the last month of her life completely unhappy.”

“That’s not fair, Max. If you could have done some thing to fix Selena then I could have fixed my parents.”

He let silence stretch between them. There was no point debating with her. She had been a child, while he had been an adult man, Selena’s husband. And she’d been hurting, spiraling into depression, and he hadn’t even realized it. Not truly. She’d said she hadn’t wanted to talk, and at that point he’d been so tired of trying that he’d simply accepted it.

Alison ran her soft hand over his abs, and his stomach tightened, his whole body aching, ready for her again. If it was only his body that was affected it wouldn’t be so dangerous, but his chest felt too full when he looked at her, when he touched her. It was too much. It wasn’t what this was supposed to be about.

He thought about what his father had said. About the paternity test. Alison had even commented that if they’d made a mix-up at the lab in the first place, it was possible they had made a mistake and that he wasn’t the father.

If that were true she would be free to go back home. They wouldn’t even have to get married.

He’d imagined that thought might make him feel free, that the prospect of escaping marriage might make the tightness in his chest lessen. Instead it sent an intense pain shooting through him, targeting his heart. It shouldn’t hurt like that to think of her leaving.

“We should have a paternity test done,” he said firmly. “Just in case. Like you said, they made one mistake, they might have made more.”

Her sweet little body that had been so soft and pliant against him went rigid in his embrace. “If you think it’s necessary.”

“It would be responsible.”

She paused for a long moment and he could feel her drawing in short, shallow breaths. “Is there a way to do it without risk to the baby?”

“I’ll find out.”

“Okay.” She didn’t move away from him, but she wasn’t melted into him anymore, either.

“We’re going home tomorrow,” he said, tightening his hold on her and tracing circles over the bare skin of her arm. “I need to get back and deal with some issues with one of the larger casinos.”

“Okay.” The note of sadness in her voice hit him like a punch in the gut. He’d upset her. He’d hurt her.

“You’re disappointed?”

He felt the shrug of her slight shoulders. “This has been wonderful. But it’s kind of like a fantasy. Tomorrow we’re going back to reality.”

“You prefer the fantasy?”

“Well, it was a wonderful fantasy.”

He looked around his studio, the place he’d never shown another living soul. “Yes, it was.”

 

 

After their return to Turan, Maximo’s work schedule kept him away from the castillo during the day. He was hands-on with his work, something she greatly respected, but, despite the fact that she was keeping busy by helping to establish a Turani branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, she missed him horribly while she rattled around the huge castle.

Isabella was a cheerful, fun presence in her life, but she was busy studying her college tele-courses, and in her spare time her parents were practically keeping her under lock and key since their shopping escapade.

But even though Maximo was gone during the day, the nights were theirs. That part of the fantasy, at least, was still intact. Her passion for him hadn’t ebbed, and it didn’t seem as if his had for her. It was a strange thing, going from giving sex no more than the random, cursory thought, to having it be so much a part of her. Her longdenied sexuality was definitely no longer repressed, and honestly, she was happy about that. She felt more like a whole person, a whole woman, rather than someone who had a host of private hang-ups and issues that were so wound up around her she had to find an alternative way to function.

She spent every night in Max’s bed, in his arms. But she kept her own room, kept her clothes hanging in the closet there, kept her makeup case in the bathroom that adjoined it, because she just wasn’t ready to have everything in her life melded together with Max’s. It would be too much like depending on him, and the very thought of that made her chest feel tight with panic. The wedding was in two weeks and she expected him to want her to move into his room fully after that, but until then she was retaining some sort of independence.

He was already getting under her skin, and if she wasn’t careful he was going to get into her heart, too.

She sighed and checked the time on her cell phone. Max’s personal physician, Dr. Sexy, was due any minute to draw her blood for the noninvasive paternity test. And Max wasn’t there. Alison clutched her orange juice, her sugar boost and last line of defense against passing out when the doctor drew the blood. She was trying not to be emotional about Max’s absence, but she was pregnant and more than a little hormonal so she was finding it difficult to keep tears from welling up.

When Max had asked for the paternity test her heart had felt as if it was splintering. It had become easy to forget that they didn’t have a real relationship. That their baby had been conceived in a lab. His demand for the test had been a stark reminder.

The worst thing was that she wasn’t certain which result Max was hoping for.

When the beautiful doctor arrived it only took a few minutes to collect her blood sample. “All done. And we have the buccal swab from Prince Rossi already, so there really isn’t anything more we need. This is a relatively new way to test paternity,” she said. “If there isn’t sufficient fetal DNA in your blood stream we won’t get a result. But if there is then the results are just as accurate as CVS or amniocentesis.”

Alison nodded, feeling the first stab of anxiety over what the test results might be.

The other woman offered her a sly smile. “Well, good luck. I know if it were me I would really be hoping it was the prince’s baby. He’s incredibly handsome, and of course he’s wealthy enough to take care of you.”

Alison shook her head. “It…it isn’t like that.”

She was treated to a raised eyebrow. “I only know of one reason to test for paternity. But then, what do I know? I’m just a doctor.”

Alison’s hand itched to do something very out of character and very hormonal and slap the smug smile right off the other woman’s face. But just a few moments later she’d collected all of her things, and with a promise to call within the next twenty-four hours she left Alison by herself again.

She collapsed into Max’s plush office chair and tried to fight the tears that were seriously threatening to spill over. She’d wanted him here for this, needed him, despite her best efforts not to. Not even keeping her clothes confined to their own closet had been able to save her from it.

Cradling her face in her hands, she rested her elbows on his desk and let herself wallow in her pain. It wouldn’t hurt to just give in for a while. A tear slid down her cheek and she wiped it away, annoyed at herself for crying. If she’d never found out about Max she would have done all of her testing alone, so it was just stupid to cry because he’d missed the test. But he was the one who’d wanted it, and then he hadn’t even bothered to show up for it.

She lifted her head when the door to the office opened. Her pulse jumped when Maximo walked in. Even when she was mad at him he still had the most powerful effect on her body. On her heart.

“You missed the test,” she said, swiping at the remaining moisture on her cheeks.

“What happened?” he asked, his expression tight.

“Nothing. She came and drew my blood. She’ll tell us the results within twenty-four hours.”

“Then why are you crying?”

She sucked in a deep breath. “I wanted you here.”

“Why? We won’t have the results until tomorrow? Why did you want me here for the blood draw?”

“I…” The words stuck in her throat. “I needed you.”

His eyes darkened. “I thought you didn’t do need.”

“Well, I don’t usually, but I needed you for this.”

He set his laptop case hard on his desk, his body radiating tension. “I told you that my work keeps me away. I may be royalty, but contrary to what you might think about royals, I have duties to attend. I don’t have less responsibility because I’m a prince…I have more.”

“This isn’t about general neediness,” she said, standing up and planting her hands on her hips. “I wanted some support for a paternity test, which you demanded, by the way. I don’t think that’s very outrageous.”

“I don’t have time to deal with temper tantrums.” His clipped words hung in the silence of the room and she let them, let herself absorb how much they hurt.

She brushed past him and out of the office, her heart feeling as if it was cracking to pieces inside of her. She didn’t know how she’d let this happen. But sometime in the past six weeks she’d done what she’d vowed she would never do. She’d started needing someone. And worse than that, she was almost certain that she loved him, too.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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