Fires of Kiev
Five years ago, Meredith St. Claire fell in love. Her romance with Kostya Dychenko ended after three whirlwind days in Kiev when she quietly slipped out of his arms at dawn. Returning to her life in the United States, Meredith tried to forget Kostya. Now a call from Immigration sends her to face the man who still haunts her dreams.
Kostya, who stumbled on surreptitious information about resurrected Soviet-era missiles in Cherkasy, has fled to America seeking asylum—and the help of the woman who disappeared from his bed five years ago.
Together Kostya and Meredith return to the Ukraine and face the terrorist group, Fire of Dawn, to stop the imminent missile launch. But will the fates that brought them together again unleash circumstances that endanger them both?
Even though it had only been such a short time, she wondered if she’d ever experience a love like this again. Could she leave Kostya after this? Would she always wonder what the fates would have written for them? It was an impossible situation. There was no life for her here. No life, except for Kostya.
He ran his finger along her jaw, lifted her chin, and brushed his lips against her forehead and eyelids.
“I can never forget this.” He kissed her lips, slowly and softly at first, but rising in intensity. Her heart pulsed, and she could feel her body flushing as Kostya pulled back slightly, pressing forehead to forehead, still breathing her air.
“Stay,” she whispered. Neither one of them moved, frozen in each other’s touch.
“I don’t expect…”
“Stay,” Meredith said again, this time more insistent. “I want you to. I want this to last as long as it can. I want to share the night with you.”
Kostya’s breath became harder and he gazed into Meredith’s golden eyes. “Yes.”
Meredith slid the keycard into the door and Kostya led her into the room. He pressed against her, bringing her lips to his. “Dushen’ka.” He circled her waist with his arm and swung her up into his arms, carrying her across the threshold of the room. He kissed her while lowering her to the ground and pushing her against the wall.
The relaxed pace outside the room exploded with need and desire inside. Meredith arched her back to urge him closer. He slipped his hands in the back pockets of her jeans pulling her hips into him. His legs, straddled across one of hers, pressed against her thigh, proving he was just as affected as she was.
Meredith’s body was dizzy with need, drunk from his touch, and high from the adrenaline coursing through her. Yet inside, her doubts couldn’t be silenced.
Am I really doing this? Meredith’s heart pounded as she fingered the buttons to his shirt. Shaking as she loosed each one, she giggled quietly when her hands slipped.
Flashing his dimples, he asked, “What’s so funny?”
“I think I’m just nervous.” She locked gazes with him. “I don’t do things like this—I mean—not ever.”
Kostya breathed, patiently watching her fumbling actions. “Never?”
As soon as the buttons were loose, Meredith looked up at him. “Um, no.” Stepping back she dropped her eyes and stammered, “I wanted to… I mean… I wanted it—him—us to be special, and it just never happened.” Her face reddened with her confession.
When Meredith looked up, Kostya was staring at her with a hungry intensity that warmed her all over. “Do you think I am special?”
Meredith couldn’t help but smile. “Beyond what I ever dreamt, Kostya.”
“Then come here, dushen’ka.” He quickly pulled off his shirt. “I’m glad you don’t—you know—do this. But I have a secret.” Meredith raised her eyebrows. “I don’t do this very much either.”
Meredith’s lips turned up coyly, a show of bravery to hide her quaking insides. “Perhaps it’s time we both got some practice.”
Bursting with a grin, Kostya pulled his undershirt swiftly over his head, and Meredith ran her fingers over the lines of muscle on his chest and stomach. He weaved his hand through the back of her hair, freeing the ponytail she had worn and stroking her curls. Guided by his hand, she leaned forward and kissed his chest, then tilted her head up to find his parted lips waiting.