Eve closed her office door and threw her jacket at the coat rack standing in the corner. She missed. Unconcerned, she sat down at her desk and stared at the mountain of paperwork. She sighed miserably.

Exhaustion was starting to set in from lack of sleep. Placing her arms on her desk, she rested her head against them, trying to find a way to rest. Whatever it took, she refused to let her subconscious mind have its way with her in her dreams; she refused to let herself dream of Julian Crane again.

Her eyelids heavy, she pried one open with her fingers, letting the other rest in hopes of achieving some relief that way. ‘I am not going to dream of Julian. I won’t…’ she thought, switching eyes. One eye at a time, she switched back and forth, only to make herself more tired than she already was. Finally, after half an hour of failed attempts, Eve unwillingly fell asleep…

As a pauper’s wife, Eve was used to sleeping on straw beds with worn-out homemade blankets that did nothing for her soft delicate skin, except toughen it up against the harshest material. The straw itched sometimes when it found its way through the blankets, but that was life as a pauper, and she wasn’t the only one living it.

But today, for some reason, the bed felt so good…smooth, silky, unlike anything she had ever slept on. Surely she was dreaming. Eve smiled, relishing in the softness of the bed, afraid that if she opened her eyes, it would all go away.

The light grazing of a finger across her cheek felt deliciously sensual against her smooth skin. A slow smile crept onto her lips. Thaddeus certainly wasn’t his usual gruff self this morning. Well, the bed wasn’t its usual itchy self either. Eve giggled silently. She wasn’t about to wake up any time soon. This dream was too delicious to waste.

Her smile deepened when his finger brushed across her lips, kneading gently until they were a rosy pink. ‘I wonder what has gotten into Thaddeus; this is so not like him…not that I am complaining,’ Eve thought, parting her lips as his finger applied pressure to them. She gasped at the sudden wave of desire that rushed through her when his finger slipped past her teeth and into her mouth. Immediately she responded, gliding her tongue against it, just like she used to with…

‘Julian!’ Eve’s eyes flew open. Her heart raced as she realized this wasn’t a dream; she wasn’t at home in her bed with Thaddeus. She was with Julian, at the palace, in his bed…and she had been there all night!

She should have known! How could she have ever mistaken his touch for Thaddeus’? She should have known it was Julian. It had been so long, yet he was the only man who ever touched her like that, like she was fine china, a delicate rose, a treasure he valued and truly loved.

Her chest heaved with excitement as Julian’s gentle eyes smiled down at her. “Good morning, my love.”

Eve parted her lips to speak but no sound came out. Her mind was a blur as she gazed into his handsome face.

Last night… She remembered their passionate night and blushed. Deep into the night they had loved each other, trying to make up, somehow, for all the lost years. Emotions and desire had run at a feverish pitch, both of them giving and taking, barely getting enough of each other, till finally, completely spent, they had fallen asleep in each other arms. And now it was morning, and the look in Julian’s eyes promised to repeat the previous night’s endeavor.

“Julian…” she whispered, tears flooding her eyes, her heart aching to belong to him.

“Shhh…” He leaned down and brushed his lips against her forehead, trailing them down her nose, to her cheek, and then on down to her mouth, where he lightly nibbled across her lips.

Eve trembled, her back and head rising slightly to get closer to him when he pulled back briefly.

Smiling at her eagerness, he traced his fingers across her cheeks to her ear and then sank them in her beautiful hair. Cupping her head with the palm of his hand, he drew her up and rolled over onto his back, pulling her on top of his chest and crushing his lips to hers.

As Eve settled on Julian’s chest, his other arm came up and wrapped around her body, holding her tightly against him.

Kiss for kiss, love and desire burned between them, consuming them. They paused only for a moment, to breathe, before swollen lips joined in a fervent kiss once more.

Delirious from the passion he aroused in her, Eve clung to him, her legs tangled with his and her arms wrapped tightly around him, pressing closer still, as their bodies became one. Gazing into his eyes, she could hardly believe what she was feeling, as Julian one more time shared with her the sweetest pleasure she had ever known.

The sweat on Julian’s neck glistened as Eve panted against his moist skin, kissing him lightly on the side of his throat, inhaling his masculine scent.

“Hmmm,” he murmured against her shoulder. “I can’t remember the last time I woke up this pleased.”

Eve raised her head. “Me too.” She smiled, raising her head to look at him.

“I love you, Eve. I want you in my bed every morning and every night. I want you with me forever.” He brushed her hair away from her face.

Eve swallowed hard and lowered her gaze. “I know. I want that too, but I am a married to Thaddeus. It isn’t possible.”

Julian propped himself up on some pillows and drew her against his chest. “I have a proposal,” he said matter-of-factly.

“What?” she asked with interest.

“I will have one of my men run him through.”

“What? You can’t kill him!” Eve cried, pushing away from him.

“Fine, I will grant him mercy and throw him in the dungeon instead. We can then announce that he ran off and left you. That way, you won’t be called an adulteress.” He smiled sweetly.

“You can’t do that either!” Eve gasped in disbelief. “He is a good man. He hasn’t done anything to deserve being locked up till he dies. I could never sleep at night if you did that.”

“He doesn’t love you or treat you like he should. That is good enough for me,” Julian insisted.

Eve got up off the bed. “I will not stay here one more moment. He has done nothing wrong, and I will not stay with you if you do this.” Eve looked around for her clothes.

Julian got off the bed and approached her. Pulling her into his arms, he kissed the side of her head. “I can’t lose you again, Eve. I love you too much. It kills me to think of you going back to that ungrateful man. I want you with me. I want to love you, to protect you.”

Eve trembled as tears ran down her cheeks. “I love you too, Julian, but I will not go with you like this. I will not have Thaddeus killed or thrown in prison so that we can be together.”

Turning her in his arms, Julian raised her face to his. “I will find a way, my love. No matter what it takes, we will be together again…as husband and wife, the way it should have been. I promise!” He bent and kissed her tenderly……


Eve’s head slipped off her arm and hit her desk with a thump. Confused, she jumped up and rubbed the tender area for a moment. “What happened?”

“You were sleeping with your head resting on your arms, and I guess it slipped off,” Julian explained, getting up from his squatting position beside her chair. “The door was open, so I came on in. I was just trying to wake you. It is almost eight o’clock, and you look so tired. I thought maybe getting you to lie on the couch to rest would be better.”

Eve stared at him for a moment and looked around her office. “I must have been dreaming again.”

“Dreaming? What about?” Julian walked around to the front of her desk.

She looked at him and recalled the dream. Blushing, she said, “Nothing, just a silly old dream.”

Julian cocked his head sideways. “I don’t believe you.” He smiled slowly. “You are blushing.”

“I am not,” Eve replied, her face getting redder by the minute. Getting up, she went to the door and opened it. “Get out; I have work to do,” she said, irritated that he always saw right through her.

He approached her and stopped. Taking her hand off the door, he raised it to his lips, his eyes never leaving hers as he kissed it. With his foot, he kicked the door shut. A slow, lazy smile crept onto his face as he leaned closer to her.

Eve stood, rooted in place, her knees threatening to give out on her. She could not let him see how much his presence affected her.

“I can see it in your eyes, Eve. Something is going on. You never behave like this unless I am about to kiss you…” He leaned close to her, barely a breath’s whisper away. “Like this…” he whispered as his lips settled on hers.

Before she could step back and break the kiss, he pulled her into his embrace and held her tightly, kissing her softly on the upper lip. Pulling back slightly, he looked into her glazed eyes. He smiled; she was definitely putty in his arms.

Eve couldn’t help it. First the dream and now reality… She was too weak to resist him. As his lips claimed hers once more, she sank against him, allowing him to invade her mouth and kiss her passionately.

Like smooth, silky velvet, his tongue glided against hers, encouraging her to return his kiss. His heart pounded as he moved his hands over her back and down to her backside, molding her firmly against his hips.

Her wet lips, hot against his own, moved in response to his ardent kisses. Her arms wrapped around his neck and back, pressing him closer, crushing her breasts against his chest. When she sought after his tongue, he caught hers and gently suckled, pulling it into his mouth, desperate to get closer, desperate to make love with her.

Eve’s heart pounded madly as liquid heat flowed through her veins, her body naturally responding to his erotic kiss. When one of his hands moved up and lightly grazed the side of her breast, she trembled against him with forbidden desire, wanting him to take it further than ever.

Julian suddenly broke the kiss and moved her back against the door, his head dropping onto her shoulder in an effort to control himself. “I want you, Eve. I can’t take not being with you. I need you,” he breathed heavily into her neck.

Eve’s eyes flew open at the sound of his voice. It was as if an alarm went off in her head. “Oh God, what are we doing? I can’t do this. I am married to TC,” she cried, shoving Julian away.

Julian stumbled back, feeling as if she had just dumped ice water on his head. He reached out and pulled her roughly into his arms. “You wanted me as much as I wanted you,” he rasped, reeling from the sudden rejection.

Eve stared at him in shock. “You are hurting me!” she cried, when his grip on her tightened.

He loosened his hold slightly. “You want to be with me. I felt your body respond to mine. I tasted your sweet mouth, your tongue, as you returned my kisses. Admit it, Eve; you want me to make love to you as much as I do…maybe more,” he added arrogantly.

Disgusted, Eve shoved him hard, breaking his embrace. “No! It was a mistake. It was the dream… I didn’t know what I was doing.” She suddenly regretted mentioning the dream.

“Soooo, you did dream about me. What happened? Did we make passionate love like we are going to…very soon?” He peered at her, studying her face.

“No,” she said firmly and opened the door again. “Get out before I call TC to come throw you out.”

Julian laughed. “I will go for now. But remember, you will be mine again. I will make sure you don’t forget that…ever!” Blowing her a kiss, he stepped out of her office.

Eve slammed the door and sank weakly against it. Wiping her hand across her mouth, she tried to erase the memory of his burning kiss. She closed her eyes, not believing how close she had come to giving in to him, to letting him make love to her right up against her office door. “What am I going to do?” she questioned out loud. “I can’t keep going on like this.”

Outside the door, Julian listened, recovering from the torment of Eve’s brief but sweet surrender. “Ah, my love, I won’t let you continue this way for much longer.” He pushed off the door and whistled happily as he strolled down the hall. “Because I can’t take much more of this either.”