nd a sigh. I remain standing beside the bed, staring blankly out the huge window. Could I really have seen my mother for the first time in eighteen years? Or was it just a hallucination brought on by stress?
For my partner in crime. Some people are just meant to be in your life. She’ll always be in mine. Katie Fanny Cooke, thank you for being there every day. Thank you for letting me be me and loving me for it. Thank you for knowing when I need to be left alone and for pushing me when you know I need to let it all out. Thank you for reading me like a book. Thank you for . . . everything.
One Night: Unveiled
Jodi Ellen Malpas
About the Author
Also by Jodi Ellen Malpas
A while ago, I made my soul on paper available for all to read. The fact that I didn’t think anyone would actually read my debut novel, This Man, seems a little silly now. And here I am, two years down this amazing road I’ve found myself on, bracing myself for you all to dive into my sixth novel. I’m not going to question the destiny gods. If my destiny is to take you into my imagination and help you live it through my words, then I’ll do it with pleasure for the rest of my days. For all of my devoted followers, thank you for allowing me to wreak havoc on your emotions. As ever, I have a huge amount of gratitude to everyone who works behind the scenes to help bring you my stories, and especially my editor at Grand Central, Leah. Unveiled took everything out of me emotionally. I was exhausted, and she was there every moment to help me through the conclusion of Livy and Miller’s tale.
Now you get to lose yourself in Miller Hart’s world one last time.
See you on the other side.
William Anderson had been sitting in his Lexus on the corner of the familiar street for over an hour. A whole damn hour and he still hadn’t located the strength to get out of the car. His eyes had been rooted on the old Victorian terrace for every painful second. He’d avoided this part of town for over twenty years with the exception of one time. To bring her home.
Now, though, he had to face his past head-on. He had to get out of his car. He had to knock on that door. And he was dreading it.
There were no other options left for him, and boy had he searched high and low in his fraught mind for an out. Nothing. ‘Time to face the music, Will,’ he breathed to himself, sliding out of his car. Shutting the door softly, he started towards the house, annoyed that he was incapable of steadying his thumping heart. It was vibrating in his chest, echoing in his ears. Each step he took, her face was becoming clearer and clearer, until he was clenching his eyes shut in pain.
‘Damn you, woman,’ he muttered, shivering.
He found himself outside the house far sooner than he liked, staring at the front door. His poor mind was being blasted with too many bad memories to cope with. He felt weak. It wasn’t a feeling William Anderson often experienced because he made sure of it. After her, he made damn fucking sure of it.
Letting his head fall back on his shoulders and his eyes close briefly, he drank in the longest inhale of air he ever had. Then he raised a shaky hand and knocked on the door. His pulse accelerated when he heard footsteps, and he very nearly stopped breathing when the door swung open.
She hadn’t changed a bit, except now she must have been . . . what? Eighties? Had it been that long? She didn’t look at all shocked, and he didn’t know if this was a good thing or a bad thing. He’d reserve judgement until he left here. There was a lot to talk about.
Her now-grey eyebrows raised coolly, and when she started shaking her head mildly, William smiled a little. It was a nervous smile. He was beginning to shake in his boots.
‘Well, look what the cat dragged in,’ she sighed.
It’s perfect here. But it would be even more perfect if my mind wasn’t awash with worry, fear, and confusion.
Rolling onto my back in the queen-size bed, I gaze up at the skylights built into the vaulted ceiling of our hotel suite, seeing soft, fluffy clouds littering the bright blue sky. I can also see skyscrapers stretching up to the heavens. I hold my breath and listen for the now-familiar sounds of a New York morning – car horns, whistles, and the general hustle and bustle are all detectable from twelve floors up. Mirrored skyscrapers close us in, making this building seem lost amid the concrete and glass jungle. Our surroundings are incredible, yet it’s not what is making this nearly perfect. It’s the man lying next to me in the squidgy queen-size bed. I’m certain that beds in America are bigger. Everything in America seems bigger – the buildings, the cars, the personalities . . . my love for Miller Hart.
We’ve been here for two weeks now, and I miss Nan terribly but speak to her daily. We’ve let the city swallow us up and had nothing to do except immerse ourselves in each other.
My perfectly imperfect man is relaxed here. He still has extreme ways, but I can live with that. Oddly enough, I’m starting to find many of his OCD habits loveable. I can say that now. And I can say it to him, even if he still chooses to ignore the fact that he is crippled by obsession in most elements of his life. Including me.
At least there are no interferers here in New York – no one to try to take away his most prized possession. I’m his most prized possession. And it’s a title I’m thrilled to have. It’s also a burden I’m willing to shoulder. Because I know that the sanctuary we’ve created here is only temporary. Facing that dark world is a battle hovering on the horizon of our current almost perfect existence. And I hate myself for doubting the strength within me to see us through it – the strength Miller is so confident I have.
A mild stirring beside me pulls me back into the lavish suite we’ve called home since we arrived in New York, and I smile when I see him nuzzle into his pillow on a cute murmur. His dark waves are a mussed mess upon his lovely head and his jaw shadowed by coarse stubble. He sighs and pats around half asleep until his palm feels its way up to my head and his fingers locate my wild locks. My smile widens as I lie still and let my gaze linger on his face, feeling his fingers combing through my hair as he settles again. This has become another habit of my perfect part-time gentleman. He’ll twiddle with my hair for hours, even in his sleep. I’ve woken with knots on a few occasions, sometimes with Miller’s fingers still caught up in the strands, but I never complain. I need the contact – any contact – from him.
My eyelids slowly close, soothed by his touch. But all too soon, my peace is bombarded by unwelcome visions – including the haunting sight of Gracie Taylor. I snap my eyes open and bolt upright in bed, wincing when my head gets yanked back and my hair pulled. ‘Shit!’ I hiss, reaching up to begin the meticulous task of unravelling Miller’s fingers from my hair. He grumbles a few times but doesn’t wake, and I rest his hand on the pillow before pulling myself softly to the edge of the bed. Glancing over my naked shoulder, I see Miller lost in a deep sleep and silently hope his dreams are serene and blissful. Unlike mine.
Letting my feet find the plush carpet, I push myself up, having a little stretch a
‘Tell me what’s troubling that beautiful mind of yours.’ His sleepy rasp interrupts my thoughts and I turn to find him lying on his side, praying hands resting under his cheek. I force a smile, one I know won’t convince him, and let Miller and all of his perfection distract me from my inner turmoil.
‘Just daydreaming,’ I say quietly, ignoring his doubtful expression. I’ve mentally tortured myself since we boarded that plane, replayed that moment over and over, and my quiet pensiveness has been silently noted by Miller. Not that he’s pressed me on it, leaving me certain that he thinks I’m reflecting on the trauma that has landed us in New York. He would be partly right. Many events, revelations, and visions have plagued my mind since arriving here, making me resentful that I can’t fully appreciate Miller and his devotion to worshipping me.
‘Come here,’ he whispers, remaining still with no gesture or encouragement, only his quiet, commanding words.
‘I was going to make coffee.’ I’m a fool to think I can avoid his questions or concern for much longer.
‘I’ve asked once.’ He pushes himself to his elbow and cocks his head. His lips are pressed into a straight line, and his crystal blue eyes are burning through me. ‘Don’t make me repeat myself.’
I shake my head mildly on a sigh and slip back between the sheets, crawling into his chest while he remains still and allows me to find my place. Once I’m settled, his arms encircle me and his nose goes straight to my hair. ‘Better?’
I nod into his chest and stare across the planes of his muscles while he feels me everywhere and takes deep breaths. I know he’s desperate to comfort and reassure me. But he hasn’t. He’s allowed me my quiet time and I know it’s been incredibly difficult for him. I’m overthinking. I know it, and Miller knows it, too.
He pulls out of the warmth of my hair and spends a few moments arranging it just so. Then he focuses worried blues on mine. ‘Never stop loving me, Olivia Taylor.’
‘Never,’ I affirm, guilt settling deep. I want to reassure him that my love for him shouldn’t be of any concern – none at all. ‘Don’t overthink.’ I reach up and drag my thumb across his full bottom lip and watch as he blinks lazily and shifts his hand to clutch mine at his mouth.
He flattens my palm and kisses the centre. ‘It’s a two-way street, gorgeous girl. I can’t see you sad.’
‘I have you. I couldn’t possibly be sad.’
He gives me a smile and leans forward to plant a delicate kiss on the end of my nose. ‘I beg to differ.’
‘You can beg all you like, Miller Hart.’ I’m quickly seized and pulled onto his front, his thighs spreading so I’m cradled between them. He clenches my cheeks in his palms and reaches forward with his lips, leaving them millimetres away from mine with hot air spreading across my skin. My body’s reaction isn’t something I can help. And I don’t want to.
‘Let me taste you,’ he murmurs, searching my eyes.
I push forward, colliding with his lips, and crawl up his body until I’m straddling his hips and feeling his mood, hard and hot and wedged under my bum. I hum into his mouth, grateful for his tactics to distract me. ‘I think I’m addicted to you,’ I murmur, cupping the back of his head in my palms and pulling impatiently until he’s sitting up. My legs find their way around his waist and his hands palm my bum, pulling me farther into him while we maintain the smouldering slow dance with our tongues.
‘Good.’ He breaks our kiss and shifts me back slightly before reaching over to the cabinet and grabbing a condom. ‘Your period must be due soon,’ he observes, and I nod, reaching to help him, taking it from his hand and ripping the packet open, just as eager to commence worshipping as Miller. ‘Good. Then we can get rid of these.’ It’s rolled on, I’m reclaimed, lifted, and then he clenches his eyes shut as he guides his arousal to my damp opening. I slip down, taking him to the hilt.
My moan of satisfaction is broken and low. Our joining sends every trouble away, leaving room for nothing but unrelenting pleasure and undying love. He’s buried deep, holding still, and my head has dropped back as I dig my nails into his solid shoulders for support. ‘Move,’ I beg, grinding down into his lap, my breath stuttering with need.
His mouth finds my shoulder and his teeth grip gently as he begins guiding me meticulously on his lap. ‘Feel good?’
‘Better than anything I can imagine.’
‘I concur.’ His hips drive up as he grinds me down, pulling pleasure from both of our heaving bodies. ‘Olivia Taylor, I’m so fucking fascinated by you.’
His measured rhythm is beyond perfection, working us both up slowly and lazily, every rotation edging us closer to explosion. The friction against his groin on the tip of my clitoris when he brings me to the end of each swivel has me whimpering and panting, before my body is journeying back around, relieving the delicious pressure, only briefly, until I’m back at that wondrous pinnacle of pleasure. The knowing in his gaze tells me it’s all so very purposeful, the constant slow blinks and the parting of his lush lips only intensifying my desperate condition.
‘Miller,’ I gasp, dropping my face into his neck, losing the ability to keep myself upright on his lap.
‘Don’t deprive me of that face, Olivia,’ he warns. ‘Show it to me.’
I pant, licking and biting at his throat, his stubble scratching at my sweaty face. ‘I can’t.’ His expert worshipping never fails to render me useless.
‘For me you can. Show me your face.’ His command is harsh and delivered on an upward bolt of his hips.
I yelp at the sudden deep penetration and fly upright again. ‘How?’ I cry out, frustrated and delighted all at once. He’s holding me in that place – the one between torture and otherworldly pleasure.
‘Because I can.’ He flips me onto my back and re-enters me on a shout of satisfaction. His pace is increasing, and so is the force. Our lovemaking has become harder in recent weeks. It’s like a light has switched on and Miller’s realised that taking me with a little more aggression and force doesn’t make our intimacies any less worshipful. He’s still making love to me. I can touch him and kiss him, and he reciprocates, responds, says continuous loving words as if reassuring himself and me that he’s in full control. It’s unnecessary. I trust him with my body as much as I now trust him with my love.
My wrists are seized and held firmly above my head, and he braces himself on his toned forearms, blinding me with the acres of cut muscle on his torso. His teeth are clenched, but I can still detect that mild beam of victory. He’s happy. He’s delighted by my clear desperation for him. But he’s equally desperate for me. My hips rise and begin to meet his firm pumping, our centres clashing as he withdraws and sinks back in, over and over.
‘You’re clenching around me, sweet girl,’ he pants, his wayward curl bouncing on his forehead with each collision of our bodies. Every nerve ending I possess begins to twitch at the onslaught of pressure accumulating at my core. I’m trying desperately to fight it back, anything to prolong the stunning sight of him above me, dripping wet, his face etched in a pleasure so intense it could be confused with pain.
‘Miller!’ I shout, frenzied, my head beginning to shake but my eyes still holding his. ‘Please!’
‘Please what? You need to come?’
‘Yes!’ I gasp, and then suck in air when he pelts forward, pushing me up the bed. ‘No!’ I don’t know what I want to do. I need release, but I need to stay in this faraway place of raw abandon.
Miller groans, allowing his chin to drop to his chest and his fierce grasp to release my wrists, prompting them to shoot to his shoulders. My short nails dig in. Hard. ‘Fuck!’ he roars, his pace picking up further. This is the hardest he’s taken me, but there’s no room amid my earth-shaking pleasure to be concerned by it. He’s not hurting me, although I suspect I am him. My fing
ers are instantly aching.
I let off my own little round of expletives, absorbing every pound until he abruptly stops. I feel him swell within me, and then he rears back slowly and pushes forward smooth and slow on a groan. It sends us both tumbling into an abyss of indescribable, wonderful sensations.
I’m taken out by the intensity of my climax, and Miller collapsing to my chest with no concern for his weight atop me tells me he is, too. We’re both gasping, both still pulsing and both completely wiped out. That was powerful, frantic lovemaking that I think may have transformed into fucking, and when I feel hands begin to caress me and a mouth creeping up my cheek, searching for my lips, I know Miller is registering this, too.
‘Tell me I didn’t hurt you.’ He dedicates a few moments to worshipping my mouth, taking it gently, delicately nibbling at my lips each time he pulls away. His hands are everywhere, stroking, skimming, tracing.
My eyes close on a satisfied sigh and I absorb all his slow attention as I smile and muster some waning strength to cuddle him and squeeze some reassurance into him. ‘You didn’t hurt me.’
He’s heavy, resting all over me, but I have no desire to alleviate the weight. We’re connected . . . everywhere.
I draw a deep breath. ‘I love you, Miller Hart.’
He slowly rises until he’s gazing down at me, eyes sparkling, his beautiful mouth tipping at each corner. ‘I accept your love.’
I try in vain to narrow my eyes on him in irritation, but just wind up mirroring his amusement. It’s impossible not to when his rare smiles are being dished out so willingly and so often these days. ‘You’re such a smart-arse.’
‘And you, Olivia Taylor, are such a divine blessing.’
‘Same thing,’ he whispers. ‘In my world, anyway.’ Each of my eyelids is kissed sweetly before he lifts his hips and slips out of me, sitting back on his heels. Contentment heats my veins and peace spirals in my mind as he pulls me up to his lap and directs my legs around his back. The sheets are a pile of messy material surrounding us and he isn’t in the least bit bothered.