Make this Ours

Stefan wandered the halls of Wyndemere. Curiously he checked all the places she might have gone. There were not enough hours in the day to check all the rooms and corners that Wyndemere possessed, so he contented himself with checking the logical places.

With no luck. As he turned a corner, he heard the sweet sound of her voice as she sang softly. Stefan shook his head wryly. It should have occurred to him that she was not the type for logical things.

It was a major contradiction that he had discovered during these short few months since their wedding. If truth be told, that she married him at all should have been his first indication.

Curiously he approached the suite ahead. He had ordered it closed and no one had dared enter it without his permission. But she did not know his wishes where this particular suite was concerned.

Stefan gazed around the room. Neat and tidy, it contained no trace of its previous occupant. The air was fresh, and he could smell the rain which fell steadily outside. Alarmed, his gaze flew to the open door leading to the balcony. She would not be so foolish, he thought.

Moving quickly, he strode to the balcony door. The sight before him took his breath away, and caused her name to die on his lips.

Some sound alerted her to his presence, for she turned and smiled at him. The rain, which fell steadily but softly, ran in tiny rivulets down the soaked clothing plastered to her skin. God, she was beautiful.

"Dara, my love, come inside." Stefan stepped just onto the balcony. He held out his hand to her and waited.

With a mischievous smile, she shook her head and backed away.

"Dara," his voice grew firmer. "You do not know the danger here. Come inside."

She tilted her head back and let the rain fall softly upon her face. At that moment she looked nothing less than a dark goddess being worshiped by the rain. It caressed her flesh and traveled to places only hinted at by the wet clothing.

"I know this is the balcony Katherine Bell fell from," Dara replied. "And that is tragic." She stared at Stefan, her eyes fixed on his. "But you've made it into a shrine . . . It is time to reclaim this place."

Slowly, so slowly that it seemed unreal, Dara began to peel the wet clothing from her body. As her exquisite body was revealed, Stefan could only wonder at the woman he had married.

At last, she stood naked and wet before him. "Will you? Make this ours?"

With a fierce utterance, Stefan stepped forward and swept Dara into his arms. He carried her into the suite and laid her dripping onto the bed. Never losing eye contact, he began to undress. He lowered himself onto her, and gave her the answer.