Draken Marcor is probably one of the only Aleucians who doesn’t hate being assigned to Hope. Taking over as Director of Education isn’t exactly his dream job, but it beats the hell out of living under his father’s thumb. The position also comes with certain perks—like access to the beautiful and perplexing kindergarten teacher who has filled his thoughts every day for nearly two years. Too bad she already belongs to someone else.
Jaiyu Zhao has been half in love with Draken since their first meeting. It doesn’t matter that he’s pushy and unreasonable, arrogant and frustrating. Her heart doesn’t seem to care that he’s the last person in the city she should get involved with. When he smiles at her, it makes it easy to forget that anything beyond a professional relationship would certainly end in disaster. Too bad he’s completely uninterested in her.
But even secrets and misunderstandings can’t keep the pair apart forever, especially when Draken is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is to make Jaiyu his…forever.
READ NOW WITH
“I didn’t know you liked kids,” Jaiyu said when the door closed behind the chattering brood. “You’re really great with them.”
Draken shrugged. “Kids are easy. They don’t expect much.”
She didn’t know who had told him that lie, but that hadn’t been her experience at all. “I would disagree. It’s just that their expectations are different than adults.”
They expected adults to be safe and reassuring, to ask the right questions and know all the answers. They didn’t demand perfection, but they did require honesty. Kids hated being lied to, maybe even more than adults.
“Fair enough,” Draken conceded. In a casual move, he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. “Are you ready to leave, isha?”
“Yes, but you don’t need to walk me.”
“I do, but it won’t just be me. Zevon and Aziza are going to help.”
That gave her pause. “Draken, I appreciate your concern, but I really don’t need a small army to escort me home.”
Draken gave her a droll look. “They’re coming to help you pack your stuff and—”
“—move it to my quarters.”
Sure she’d heard him wrong, Jaiyu gaped. “You want me to move in with you?”
Chuckling, he secured both arms around her waist as he dipped his head to rest their brows together. “Well, I am your boyfriend, after all.”
She wasn’t joking, though. “Are you sure about this?” The idea of moving in with him didn’t bother her as much as it probably should, but she didn’t want him asking out of some misguided sense of guilt. “I can request a transfer from Human Resources. This really isn’t your problem.”
His expression turned stony, and he growled as his arms tightened around her. “You are mine. Your problems are my problems. Don’t ever doubt that.”
Her heart fluttered at his possessive declaration, but it also confused her just as much. “Just like that? You won’t even kiss me, but you’re ready to stake a claim and move me into your quarters? Right.”
“Right,” he echoed, but there was no anger in his voice. “I wasn’t rejecting you. I was trying to give you time. I didn’t want you to think I was taking advantage of you after all the shit you went through with Jason.”
When he said it that way, it made a lot of sense. Her only defense was that in all the time she’d known him, she wouldn’t have listed patience as one of his virtues. If he wanted something, he took it. So, in her mind, if he wanted her, he’d have had her long ago.
Instead of trying to explain the inner workings of her mind, she settled on something simpler. Something that couldn’t be misconstrued. “I don’t need time.”
He stared at her, his eyes tracing every line of her face. Nodding once, he slid his hands up her back, over her shoulders, and along the column of her throat until they cradled her face. Another moment of pause, then his mouth was on hers, hard and searching, his tongue sliding past her gasp to plunge between her lips.
This was the male she knew, the one she’d wanted since the moment they’d met. He didn’t seek permission or approval. He made no allowances, demanding she keep pace with him rather than slowing to meet hers.
When it was either stop kissing him or pass out from lack of oxygen, she reluctantly wrenched her mouth away, burying her face against his shoulder as she gasped for breath. Her heart pounded so violently, her entire body trembled, and she arched against him, a silent plea for more.
Draken chuckled, but he didn’t cave. Nor did he offer her empty platitudes or flowery words. He didn’t question her resolve or ask if she was okay. Instead, he made her a single promise that meant more than any romantic murmurings ever would.
Brushing her hair back, he leaned close, growling the words against her ear. “You’ll never regret being mine.”
READ NOW WITH