As Arnav smoothed the Aloe over Khushi's lower back, his head began to fill with images of what would have happened had Payal or he not intervened…
His eyes drank in the reddened patches just above from her hips…
"This would sting...but what if her hair had fallen…what if she started burning up...If Shyam loves Khushi, why would he threaten her safety like this?"
She hissed slightly and Arnav moved closer, resting his hand on her shoulder…
"Is it because I have her…?" he started to feel fury rise inside him…"It IS because I have her...it's because she is MINE. ..and if he can't have her, he doesn't want anyone else to…"
Trying to keep his voice as calm as possible, he asked…"Khushi...why didn't you scream out?"
Her head turned briefly…
She could feel his eyes watching her intently from behind…
"What...What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean...When Shyam had you over...over the stove...why didn't you scream? Or call for help?"
"I…" she struggled to find the right words…"I was…"
"The stove wasn't on to start with...he leaned over me...and then turned it on...I was afraid...if he was willing to PUT me in that position, he would be willing to do much more…"
Arnav was reaching his anger breaking point once again…
Carefully, he covered her bare skin back up, and moved to kneel down beside her…"Khushi…"
Maintaining eye contact with her was now drilling into him…
She could sense his anger, and this time, she could see plainly that it wasn't aimed at her…
"Khushi, I am so sorry…"
"But… but you didn't do any-"
He rose up higher, commanding her attention…"I am sorry Khushi…"
That moment, Payal, Anjali and the driver returned…
Arnav gave Khushi one last determined stare, and then he got to his feet.
"Di, stay with Khushi...Payal, you need to come with me...I need to go to the office."
Anjali tried to question him, but without so much as looking back, Arnav marched out of the house, Payal following closely behind...
"I don't understand what we are doing?"
Arnav changed gear and turned into the police station…"YOU witnessed what happened. YOU are going to tell the police. I called them earlier and told them what Shyam did. I now need you to tell them what you saw."
After a lengthy stay at the station, the police finally had enough to keep Shyam behind bars until his hearing in a months time.
As he dropped Payal back at home, he knew that he should be feeling more at ease, but he still felt as if something wasn't right…
"Are you coming in?" Payal questioned…
"No. I will go to the office to finalize some things...I will be home later with Akash…"
Payal nodded and slowly ascended the front stairs…
3 hours later…
As Arnav and Akash turned into their driveway, their eyes were flooded with bright lights…
Police cars surrounded their home…
Arnav pulled the car to a stop and sped inside the house, pushing through the myriad of police screaming..."KHUSHI!"
As soon as his eyes found her, he bolted towards her, nearly knocking her off her feet…
He held onto her tight…
"Are you okay? Talk to me! Tell me you're okay!"
"I'm...I'm okay...shhh…" she managed to wheeze out…"Didn't you receive my message?"
Arnav pulled back, running his hands over her body…"No...what message? Khushi?"
A police man approached them and spoke loudly…"Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada? We need to ask you some questions. Where were you at around 6.15pm today?"
Akash, who was now inside, called out from across the room…"He was at the office…Bhai, what is going on!?"
The policeman turned to face Akash, "And you can vouch that he was there?"
Akash, shifted uncomfortably, "I was in my own office, but I know he was there! We just drove home together!"
Turning back to Arnav, the officer continued…"I'm going to need a witness stating that you were there Mr. Raizada."
Arnav stood protectively in front of Khushi…"What is going on!?"
"You are the only suspect at the moment sir."
Arnav was getting irritated…"The only suspect for WHAT!?"
"For the attempted murder of Shyam Manohar Jha."
Everyone went quiet.
"What!" Nani finally shouted…
Akash and Payal rushed to Anjali who was standing wide-eyed and emotionless…
"We had taken Mr. Jha into custody as advised by YOU, Mr. Raizada. We then took your statement, and another statement that you asked us to keep anonymous...And not 20 minutes after you left, we found him laying on the floor of his cell, severely wounded..."
Khushi couldn't believe what she was hearing.
She couldn't imagine Arnav trying to kill anyone...but now...with all the evidence pointing at her husband, she began feeling faint…
"How?" Nani asked frantically…
The policeman turned…"Stab wound."
Payal and Nani both cringed and clung to Anjali's arms…
"Di...Di are you…? Di?"
Anjali still, had not spoken.
"Look," Arnav interrupted fiercely…"I will not pretend that I CARE...but I WILL say that I had nothing to do with this…"
The officers voice faded into as Arnav felt Khushi's hand loosen on his arm…
Khushi's world began spinning…
She knew first hand what Arnav's anger could do...but now that her heart was clinging to him, she didn't want to believe he was capable of such violence anymore…
As the room started going black, the last thing she heard was Arnav calling out her name as he caught her in his arms…
Khushi's eyes flickered open…
She could hear voices chattering outside her bedroom door…
"I am NOT leaving this house with my wife in that condition!"
"Chote, you must go with the Police so that they can figure out who did this! We will look after Khushi bitiya...Anjali is in shock. She has not even spoken yet…"
"Nani, I care about Di, but I care more about Khushi, and I'm NOT leaving her…"
"Arnavji, I will stay with Khushi, she's my sister, and I know she'll be FINE! She just fainted from the shock of it all…"
Khushi's eyes shut tight as she heard Arnav firmly open their door and shut out the nagging voices of their family…
He slowly began to walk towards Khushi, but stopped when he saw her eyelids flutter and her hands grip the sheets…
"She's afraid?" he thought as concern grew evident…"Oh God, she doesn't think that I…"
Relaxing his stance, he took a step back and gently spoke…"Khushi...I know you're awake…"
Her eyes opened cautiously…
He smiled softly…"Hi...are you alright? You really had me worried…"
Her lips parted as to speak...but the only thing she could think to say was..."Did you?"
Knowing that he subjected her to violence made him understand her fear, but this was one thing he was willing to go the distance to prove himself innocent…
"Khushi...I did not. I won't deny that I wanted to...but I would never, EVER go that far…"
Khushi began to shift to sit up and Arnav ached to rush towards her, but chose to stay back…
Once sitting upright, Khushi tried to think clearly…"You...You should go…"
His heart began to feel like it was choking…"What!?"
"I mean, you should go to the police station…"
A loud knock on their door rudely interrupted them…
"Mr and Mrs Raizada? We will need you BOTH to come with us…"
Arnav felt as though he was going to explode…"What the fuck!?"
He marched towards the doors and pulled them open with a harsh swing…"Are you fucking kidding me!? I ask you to lock up that bastard to keep my wife safe, give you all the proof and information that I can, and then you come into MY house and accuse me and now my wife!?"
The Policeman lifted a hand to quieten Arnav…"I am not holding EITHER of you under suspicion anymore. We contacted your staff and you have a solid alibi. But we need to take you and your wife into protective custody."
Arnav instantly straightened blocking the doorway even more…"What do you mean? Why?"
"Because we do not know who is responsible...and until we do, we would like your wife somewhere safe…"
Sensing that there was more the man wasn't saying, Arnav treaded forwards…"What aren't you telling me…"
The policeman glanced at Khushi briefly before focusing on Arnav once again…"You were right about Mr Jha's obsession with your wife. Along with the statement of your wife's sister, we have found more evidence...he has been keeping many many detailed records on her whereabouts, her clothing, her eating...it's quite sick and perverted...and there is also a detailed plan of attempt to kidnap her...or end you…"
Arnav's rage was building with each word that he heard…
"I can't believe I let this happen…"
"Mr. Raizada. Pack clothes and necessities. We're taking you both to a safe house tonight."
Khushi sat silently, straining to hear whatever was being said.
Finally Arnav shut the door and faced her…"We have to go away for awhile…"
Filling with fear, she jumped to her feet…"No. I am not going anywhere."
He hated seeing her afraid again, but this was not up for debate…"You are. Pack only what you need."
Khushi started to feel her own defiance rise inside her…"I said NO. I am not leaving. I can't leave Jiji, I can't leave Di! She must be so worried! I can't!"
Stomping to their cupboard, Arnav pulled out a small bag and stuffed it full of random clothes…
Khushi rushed over and began pulling at the bag…"NO! I said I am not going anywhere!"
Arnav finally snapped…
He pulled the bag away with such forced that she fell with a thud against his chest.
He wound his arm around her tight…"You and I are going. Tonight. And YOU don't get a say in this! I have neglected your safety for the last time! Understand!?"
Her wide, unblinking eyes were his only answer.
She resignedly watched as he zipped up the bag, grabbed her hand, and they walked silently from their room.
Khushi felt tears coming as she could merely watch her family from afar as a police official escorted them out of the house towards a dark, tinted windowed car.
Once inside, she felt cold.
Arnav's heart was bleeding with angst…
More than anything, he wished he could turn back time and believe every word she had ever said…
He wanted to change what had happened and throw Shyam out before he could hurt everyone more…
Khushi spoke quietly..."We left...without talking to anyone...without…"
"We HAD to Khushi…" he reached for her hand and tried to warm her cold fingers…"We don't know who is responsible for this...the rest of the family are not under threat...YOU are…"
Pulling her hand from his, she glared…"I don't care! Think of Di! Think of her baby! Think of MY sister! My family! They all need us! Why !? Why are you doing this!?"
Arnav wanted to hold her…
He wanted to comfort her…
But she was now slipping away once again…
It was long past midnight when they arrived at a small cabin in the middle of nowhere...
She listened as one man informed where he was stationed…
Only a few miles down the road…
They were out of reach.
And apparently, they were going to stay there for the next few days…
They would receive daily updates on the safety of their family, and on whether the suspect was found.
The small cabin was filled with bottled water and food.
A double bed.
And a tiny bathroom.
The moment they were alone, Arnav tried to talk to her, tried to encourage her to eat something, but she sat down on the bed and stared into space.
Deciding to give her some time, he crouched down beside fireplace…
It was late and cold, so he stoked the logs and kindling and started a fire…
Warmth began to flood the room…
Khushi felt her cheeks begin to grow rosy…
She could only think of Anjali and her sister…
"They must be so worried...they need comfort…" Khushi thought despondently…"I need to get back...I need to help them…"
Without thinking, Khushi go to her feet and bolted for the door…
Mindless as to how she could get home, not even knowing where they were…
Arnav looked up…"Khushi!? Stop!"
He reached her just as she opened the door...
His broad shoulders loomed over her... “I though that you would stay willingly.... That is why I have been patient with you...but now...Now, my patience has run out.”
“Patience! I’m practically a prisoner...”
“Fine!...for now, you are...”
Panic flickered in her eyes, and Arnav knew that he must act swiftly before she did something impulsive.
He hated seeing her so afraid…
But right now, he wanted to shake her as much as he needed to protect her…
She was a constant ache for him.
His hands flashed out to grab her just as she turned, caught her footing on the step at her feet and began to fall.
He let his weight act as an ally, carrying her with him to fall full-length on the hard ground…
Arnav half-turned, taking the brunt of the fall on his shoulder and hip.
Khushi began to struggle as soon as they hit the ground, her desperate battle making her arch and cry out.
“Screaming? Really? You're not in danger from ME!” Arnav warned
Khushi grew still, as he’d hoped she might.
Her eyes flashed furiously up at him, and he felt a surge of regret.
She may hate him for this...but he had no choice...
“Arnavji, please,” she said through stiff lips, and he saw what it cost her to plead with him... “Is there nothing I can say that will convince you to take us back?”
The endearment slipped out before he could stop it.
Shifting position so that his weight didn’t hurt her, he brushed back a strand of her hair...
“I love your dignity and courage...but I need to keep you safe...”
She swallowed as her eyes flashed angrily, the silky, gold-tipped brush of her lashes shadowing hot, angry sparks.
Arnav shook his head…"No...no more anger...please…"
He bent his head to brush her mouth with his lips, winding his fingers in her hair to hold her head still when she tried to avoid him... “Open for me,” he murmured huskily when she pressed her lips tightly together...“I want to taste you.”
“...no...let me go...” She tried to twist away, but Arnav held her fast.
He kissed her long and hard, until he could feel the slightest trace of a response.
He lifted his head to gaze down at her flushed face and the hazy gleam of her eyes.
Tears streaked her nose and cheeks, and coated the long sweep of her eyelashes.
He felt the tremor of her muscles against him, and relented.
There was a trace of surprise in her face when he rose to his feet, pulling her with him.
With a swift swing, he scooped her into his arms and carried her back into their cabin…
Setting her down on the bed, he quickly turned back to bolt the door and windows shut…
He drew the thick drapes closed and took a deep breath…
"Khushi...get undressed while I light a fire…"
She shot to her feet and let out a small squeel…“You’re not only cruel,” she managed to sputter, “but you’re crazy!”
He was faintly relieved to find her more angry and outraged than afraid.
He threw logs onto the already small fire and stood back up…
Khushi felt her pulse skyrocket as he began to get closer…
They held eye contact for what felt like ages, until Arnav quickly yanked her against him…
Holding her firmly, he began to strip away her clothes.
He felt his way down her legs in spite of her shocked struggle, and peeled away every remaining barrier.
Khushi’s fight had sparked an inevitable fire in him despite the cool night, and she must have felt it.
She came to an abrupt halt when he finally let her naked body go...
Her eyes, still ablaze, began to haze over as he then began to undress…
Night sounds were softly echoing around them, the shrill of insects, the murmur of birds, and the rush of the water.
There was a bittersweet edge to the night…
Khushi could now feel him moving towards her…
Sliding his hands up the lush curve of her hip, he let his palm rest on the swell in a gentle caress.
The surrender was there, in her eyes, in the way she let her small hands rest atop the curve of his shoulders in a trusting hold.
He quieted her with his mouth, kissing her, feeling her shivering body as light as a feather in his arms.
He resisted the urge to crush her to him, to plunder her sweet mouth with his tongue.
Instead, he went slowly, shifting to kiss the corners of her mouth, then her ear, and her throat.
He ran a hand down the gentle curve of her back, his fingers skimming over the bump of her spine, then spreading to cup her hips and lift her up and closer to him.
She gave a small cry against his mouth, and he kissed her lips again, muffling her cries to moans.
Her breasts pressed against his bare chest, the tight, pebbled surfaces of her nipples raking erotically and making his desire rise higher.
Heat was rising in him, mounting so high and so hot he was shaking with the force of it.
He was so close now, so close to making her yield…
He was still amazed by the fierce need he felt for this one woman above all others.
It was a driving ache that had brought him to this point, brought both of them to this trembling urgency.
Khushi rested her forehead against his chest just beneath his throat, her wet hair tickling the underside of his jaw.
“...don't...don't force me again...” she whispered.
“I will NEVER...” Arnav rasped... “I can feel your need...And I want you more than my next breath...Let me ease this ache for both of us...”
Her head lifted, and he saw the startled look in her huge hazel eyes...“I do...That feeling you bring me to...that intense feeling...I need that...”
Her soft admission tore at him, and he had to wait a moment before he responded...
“Khushi,” he said roughly when she buried her face against his chest…
Even though the fire heated the room, he could feel her shivering…
Arnav reached out a hand and took her gently by the wrist. “Come lie down with me... I’ll warm you...”
Moving as if in a dream, Khushi took the two steps to the bed, saw the fire reflected in the deep brown of his eyes, and almost retreated.
But his soft smile stilled her heart…
She now knew that she loved both sides to him…
This almost gentle man with promise burning in his eyes and a tender touch…
And the fierce, brutal business tycoon filled with anger and hungry for power...
Then there was no more time for abstract thought, because he was pulling her to him, his arms holding her in a tight, possessive embrace.
“Kiss me Khushi...” he coaxed, tilting her face with a finger beneath her chin.
His voice lowered to a rasping whisper... “I love you...I want you...Kiss me.”
As he set his mouth over hers, Khushi closed her eyes.
The kiss was smothering, consuming, and she felt dizzy from it.
Her hands moved to hold his upper arms to keep from falling, and she felt the smooth, powerful flex of his muscles beneath her fingers.
A moan vibrated in the back of her throat, and when she opened her mouth to gasp for air, he took immediate advantage. H
is tongue slid inside in a smooth thrust that sent a shock wave to her toes.
In spite of her fear, Khushi couldn’t help a tremor of response.
Arnav felt it and gave a low growl of satisfaction, and deepened the kiss until she was weak and clinging to him with both hands.
Shuddering, her head fell back, and he ran his tongue over the exposed arch of her throat in a trail of sizzling fire that made her moan again.
She felt as if she were moving through heated honey, warm and thick beneath his searching hands.
Arnav slid one hand to hips and once again pulled her against him, pressing her stomach against the hard bulge at his loins.
She shivered again, fully aware of his arousal...
The ache was back, that insistent throbbing between her thighs and the heightened sensitivity of her breasts to his touch.
Need catapulted her into restless motion, and she heard his deep groan when her hips grazed against the heat of his groin.
“You’re beautiful...” he muttered thickly...
But he wasn’t listening.
He pushed her gently back, and his eyes glittered in the dim light with a black fire that made her breath catch.
Desire sharpened his features and made him look fierce and predatory.
There was no hint of mercy, only a ruthless need that hurled her into resistance.
Nerves overpowered her compliance, and she struggled when he stroked a hand down over her body to cup her breast in his palm.
He looked faintly surprised...“Easy, easy,” he soothed her... “...relax...you know I won't hurt you...”
His dark head lowered as he kissed her throat, the delicate curve of her collarbone, then lower.
Khushi arched upward in mute protest, but his mouth moved to cover her nipple.
Her cry drifted upward, a cry of shock and reaction as his warm, wet mouth seared with exquisitely delicious sensations over her sensitive flesh.
The remembered ache intensified, and she half-sobbed.
Her nipple felt afire, and his actions increased that sensation as he sucked strongly, his cheeks flexing with the motions.
There seemed to be a direct connection with what he was doing and the strengthening, fluttering ache between her thighs.
Writhing, Khushi pushed weakly at him until he lifted his head to stare at her with burning eyes.
Slowly, he laced his fingers in hers and drew her arms up and over her head, pressing her hands into the downy softness of the blankets.
His action served to thrust her breasts upward in an inviting appeal, and she saw his gaze shift from her face to her breasts.
The single word drowned in the back of her throat as his mouth covered her nipple again, and she felt him transfer her wrists to one hand as he began to tease the still-damp peak of her other breast.
His body fit her from knee to waist, and she could feel his hard maleness against her.
Her breath came in short, tortured gasps for air, and the heat that he’d begun coiled downward, converging on the burning ache between her legs.
She felt the roll of her hips almost as if someone else was rocking her, and knew that she had lost control of her own body.
Arnav's caresses and kisses were overpowering her, making her thighs part when he nudged between them, made her hips arch upward and her body strain toward the familiar release.
She was on fire with it, aflame with need.
Uttering a low, harsh sound, Arnav lifted his body from hers for a moment, and aligned their bodies...
The memory of his hard body had not faded one bit, and the fear she’d felt at her first sight of him returned full-force.
His dark, hard-muscled body held no secrets from her.
His desire was plainly revealed in the light of the fire, rising thick and erect from his groin.
He looked formidable, too large, too—male.
"I'm...I'm nervous again…"
A brief smile touched one corner of his mouth…"I'm going to make you feel such pleasure that you won't have time to be nervous...“
Arnav lowered his lean frame back over her, nestling between her thighs.
She could feel the hot nudge of him against that soft, damp place.
"I'm...I don't think by body is…"
“Khushi...” he muttered thickly... “By the time we come together as meant to be, you’ll be ready for me.”
She didn’t bother arguing with him.
He coaxed her thighs wide for him, his hands gentle and disturbing against the hidden folds of flesh.
Khushi tried not to think about what he was doing, but when he began to caress her, his hands stroking the highly sensitized spot that made her catch her breath, she forgot her anxiety.
Tension built up as he rubbed his thumb against a small nub, making her bite her lip to keep from screaming.
He seemed to know it.
She could hear his labored breathing, as it excited him to touch her there.
Caught up in the waves of sensation he created with his hands and his mouth and the husky words he whispered to her as she writhed beneath him,
Khushi heard her own moans fill the air....
Her thighs fell apart and her hips undulated, and she began to thrash restlessly, seeking an end to the fiery torment he was creating.
Someone was calling his name, and she realized it was her voice, her cries.
Her eyes opened, and she saw the hot, glittering fire of his gaze on her, the sensual slant of his mouth.
To her utter bewilderment, the tension inside her grew hotter and higher, almost painfully so, and she struggled to keep from exploding with it.
“Ar...Arnavji...” she moaned, her head rolling on the cushions, but he paid no attention to her.
His hand moved, and his mouth sought her breast, and she shattered as if made of glass, fracturing into a thousand tiny pieces.
The explosion made her cry out in shock and delicious ecstasy, and for a long moment, she felt suspended in time and place.
Arnav was panting as if he’d been running.
Turning her head, Khushi buried her face against the slick skin of his shoulder.
She could feel the rapid rise and fall of his chest beneath her cheek, smell the musky male scent of him.
He turned her head back and kissed her again, his mouth coaxing a response from her lips.
When he settled closer between her thighs, replacing his hand with the rigid thrust of his body, Khushi could not help the small moan that escaped
“Shhh...relax...” he said, stroking her hair back from her eyes with a gentle hand.
“How can ...can you say that?”
“Have I hurt you jaan?”
Khushi met his eyes.
She didn’t reply.
Her breasts tingled, and the strong ache between her legs returned while he caressed her.
When he began kissing her again, deeply, his tongue teasing a reluctant response from her, Khushi again felt the rise of heat.
In spite of his words, their situation wouldn't let her relax.
But her body felt limp and uncontrollable, opening for him of its own volition.
Her breath caught in the back of her throat when he lowered his body on her and held her with his weight, his hand reaching between her legs again to guide himself into her.
Arnav’s breath feathered over her cheek in quick pants.
A gut-deep groan burst from him, and he muttered... “You’re so tight, so very tight.”
He kissed the curve of her cheek, then her mouth... “You feel so good, so good.”
Khushi heard him as if from a distance, heard his soft words turn into groans, then felt him go deep inside her with a single, fierce thrust.
“You're going to relax...” he said against her lips. “Only pleasure...”
Resting his weight on his elbows, Arnav levered his body up to look down at her.
A frown creased his brow, and he brushed aside damp tendrils of her hair with a fingertip.
Without speaking, he comforted her, his hands soft and gentle and his kisses tender.
He kissed the corners of her mouth, the arch of her eyebrow and the tip of her nose.
Khushi’s tension eased as she felt the heavy weight of his body impaling her.
He held himself still for a time, but when he finally moved, withdrawing the slightest bit, then thrusting forward again, she found herself clinging to his arms.
His penetration and withdrawal began slowly, then grew to a faster, fiercer pace, igniting the slow heat into a fire again.
Her response was slow, her body still numbed by the shock of his invasion, but it finally grew inside her, that heat, that thrilling pleasure.
The quickening made her hips move under him, actually meeting his thrusts, opening wider for him.
Everything was heightened, his harsh, rasping breaths as he moved inside her, the searing stab of his body, and the friction as he withdrew, the
pop of the fire and the smell of his heat, the new scents of their lovemaking.
Arnav’s possession of her was enough for this ultimate surrender of her body.
With the increase of his movements, the faster, harder tempo of his body slamming into the cradle of her thighs, she felt the increase of tension.
It grew, higher and hotter than before, threatening to consume her.
She began to whimper, and her eyes opened to see him looking down at her, his features drawn and sharp, intense with passion.
His gaze held hers as he rocked against her, his hard belly scraping against the softer mound of her stomach, his strong arms planted on each
side of her, his thighs holding her legs apart as his body moved in that tantalizing rhythm.
"Arnavji...” she whimpered, hoping he would understand…
His eyes were a brown so dark as to be almost black, his mouth stretched in a taut line, and his throat corded with strain.
The powerful flex of his muscles gleamed in the soft firelight, and she heard him groan.
Then, her eyes widening with shock, she felt the waves of release sweep through her in a shattering rush that made her hips arch and her legs lift to
lock around his lean waist.
"That's it…" he encouraged...
His hard, driving thrusts splintered any control she had left, and she cried out again, a high, husky sound that echoed in the night.
With a last, fierce lunge, Arnav thrust forward and went still and taut, his sturdy body arching backward as Khushi dissolved in a convulsing climax.
Seconds later, she heard the harsh, guttural groan that signalled his own release.
Collapsing together, they held each others gazes until sleep took over...
It was getting close to sunrise.
The interior of the cabin was the smallest bit lighter.
Soon, the sun would break out...
Khushi blinked at the gray slits of light filtering through the thick blinds...
Her glance drifted to the man at her side.
He was powerful and strong, one muscled arm flung carelessly across her, his thigh wedged between her legs in a still-possessive hold.
There was a slight, raw ache down there, and her mouth and breasts felt swollen and tender to the touch.
A faint flush suffused her face as she recalled their love, and passion...
Her heart swelled with love…
She had taken him into her body—and back into her heart.
She must have made some sound or movement, because when she glanced toward Arnav, she felt him watching her.
Pale fingers of light made his eyes glitter; the thick brush of his lashes shuttered them briefly.
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Are you okay?”
Her flush felt hot, heating her cheeks so that she couldn’t look at him.
His hand drifted from her bare shoulder in a gentle glide, gaining purchase on the rise of her breast and making her breath come faster.
His thumb rotated gently on the rapidly puckering bead of her nipple, and Khushi bit back a moan.
He stopped immediately...“Was I too rough? Khushi? Talk to me...Does that hurt?”
“Hurt?” Her voice came out in a croak, and she cleared her throat. “No...I’m just . . . sensitive.”
That one syllable denoted satisfaction, and Khushi lay still as Arnav began to explore her body again.
She felt his heavy arousal against her thigh.
His body was hot, a mixture of heat and iron-hard muscle as he began kissing her, taking her hands and dragging them over the ridges of his chest.
“Stop!” she hissed when he began drawing her hand toward his groin.
Her face flamed.
The intimacy was intense enough, but to actually touch him—the searing memory of how big he was, plunging into the intimate areas of her body, was torture enough.
Arnav’s hand stilled, folded over her own.
She could feel him breathe, the even rise and fall of his chest beneath her palm.
He whispered against her cheek, kissing her...“Are you afraid to touch me?” he asked huskily, his breath tickling her ear.
When she didn’t reply, he continued... “I know you are...”
“Yes,” she admitted honestly.
“ Let me... I assure you it will cause me more exquisite torture than it will you.”
He took her hand from the flat, ridged plane of his belly and moved it lower, catching his breath as her fingers found him.
“See,” he muttered hoarsely, “you can make me squirm if you want.”
Her awkward movements became more deft as she stroked him, his hand teaching her the rhythm.
It seemed impossible, but he grew larger, his tumescent body straining against the prison of her palm.
Khushi’s face flushed even hotter, and she felt a strange, unfamiliar breathlessness.
“Enough,” Arnav said after a few moments, his voice a harsh croak.
His steely grip on her wrist drew her hand away.
He was panting for breath, his belly moving in and out with rapid movements.
In the growing light, Khushi could see the sculpted angles and planes of his body, the masculine beauty...
He was truly magnificent.
She'd acknowledged his superb body and muscled power, but not the pure line of grace and strength...
She opened for him, her arms accepting when he lay over her and blanketed her body with kisses.
His mouth seared across her face, shoulders, breasts, and belly, tasting, teasing, his tongue rasping against her flesh and eliciting moans of delight.
He lavished her nipples with hot, wet kisses, lashing them with his tongue until they were tight, rigid peaks.
Khushi moved restlessly beneath him, her breath coming in harsh gasps for air.
This time, there was no urgency in his movements.
He took his time, bringing her to pleasure with a determined slowness.
Khushi could not hold back her response, the cries she gave, or the words she whispered against his throat as he moved over her.
“Arnavji, yes, please yes . . .”
He gave a low growl of pleasure, and moved between her thighs with a swift motion.
Then he was inside her, his body filling her, rocking against her.
Khushi cried out at the scrape of him against still-sensitive flesh, and he went still.
“Are you all right?”
She nodded, unable to speak for the breathtaking mix of pain and pleasure.
She ached for him, but the tight friction of his body inside her made her shudder.
He remained still, holding back until she moved in a restless twist of her hips.
His gaze was hot and dark with desire as he rasped, “You’re sure? I don't...don't want to hurt you...”
Khushi lifted up slightly to kiss him, her arms around the strong column of his neck.
Her mouth grazed his throat, his jawline, then his lips...“I’m sure.”
Then her head arched back, soft cries of ecstasy echoing from her mouth as he surged forward in a smooth, filling slide.
This was so far outside the realm of anything she’d ever imagined, that she couldn’t find the words to explain her reactions to him.
He wanted to take his time, but Khushi’s writhing response, her quickened breathing, and the soft cries she gave made him go crazy.
Her hips moved beneath him, soft invitations, sending jolts of sensation through his veins.
Their coupling was going too fast—much faster than he’d wanted—but he couldn’t slow it down.
He hammered into her, his body answering the urgency that drove them both.
He could feel the impending flood of her release, felt her strong contractions around him and her cries in his ear, and he was lost.
Khushi could no longer hold back for what she knew was coming…
Her arms fell to her sides as she felt her body clamp down hard onto her husbands thrusting flesh…
He held her closer as she began to tremble uncontrollably as her climax roared through her...
With a low, hoarse groan, he emptied his body into her with explosive force.
Her arms clasped convulsively around his neck and held him, and he rested his forehead against hers, too drained to move.
He didn’t know how long he lay there, moving only to shift his weight to one side so as not to hurt her.
"I love you...I love you with my whole heart...I am so sorry…"
“...why?” Khushi asked softly, startling him.
He didn’t answer for a moment.
"For hurting you...For everything I have done before…"
"I know...and I have already forgiven you…"