“No,” Gabriella said, low and fierce. Then, a moment later, softer but no less aggressive, “No.” She sucked in a breath, then released it on a shuddering puff. “I didn’t ‘cut you loose.’ How could you think—”

“Think that?” Killian finished for her when her voice trailed off. “We all have our currency, what makes us tick. Mine was you. And until you turned my ass in, I thought I was yours. Until you sold me down the goddamn river then disappeared,” he said, his fucked-up voice rougher than usual.

“You were,” she murmured. She moved forward, lifted a hand, her fingers hovering over his chest, and the air stuck in his lungs.

No, his mind shouted.

Goddamnit, yes, the lust—the foolish yearning—inside him roared.

Before Killian could choose a side, her arm lowered. And he breathed again.

“If that were true, nothing in hell could’ve made you betray me, not trust me,” he rasped. Leave me.

“I did trust you.” A dull red slashed over her cheekbones. A sign of shame? Of remorse? Neither mattered. “I loved you,” she whispered.

A bolt of fire roared through him, scorching a path that almost sent him stumbling back a step. “Don’t say that to me again,” he rasped.

He didn’t want to hear those words on her lips. Those lies. She’d been the only person he’d let in. Trusted not to hurt him. Believed “I love you” from. What a goddamn fool he’d been…that she’d turned him into.

“I wish I could return the years you lost. Or erase all that you’ve suffered. I wish…” She broke off, briefly closed her eyes. “Forgive me.”

“Forgive you,” he repeated softly, lifting a hand and circling her throat. The black fan of her lashes rose, and her eyes locked with his. Shock widened them. Then, an instant later, something dark, something wild, entered her stare, a perfect reflection of the greedy need and something rawer, hungrier that lurked beneath the anger and bitterness spinning in his chest. She stilled under his grasp, not even the whisper of her breath echoing in the silent, sound-proofed room. Reflexively, his fingers slightly tightened around her throat, and when she swallowed, the up-and-down motion grazed his palm. Shit, was she aware of how she arched into his hold on her neck? No other woman he’d been with had so eagerly and quickly taken to the dirty sex he enjoyed like Gabriella. She’d turned her ass up for every swat, had shifted her hands behind her for his cuffs, had spread her legs and cheeks open for his every invasion. And had loved it.

As if scalded by both her reaction and the images rolling through his head, he dropped his hand. Shifted backward, placing much-needed space between them.

“You would be better off asking the moon served up on a platter. There’d be a better chance of getting it,” he said, voice flat.

“Payback,” she murmured. “You said you thought of payback while in jail.” She stepped forward, eliminating the distance he’d inserted, claiming his breath with each sensuous glide into his personal space. “Here I am. Offering you revenge, payback. Me. However you want me. Any way you want me for the next few hours. Take it. All that I’ve denied you these past five years. My body. Yours for one night.”

She rose on her toes, pressed her breasts against his chest. Her breath brushed his jaw and chin seconds before her soft, lush lips did. He ground his teeth against the back draft of pure need that blew through him at the tender, but sensual caress.

Gabriella tilted her head back, met his gaze.

“Take me.”