Still need convincing? Have an excerpt:
After a while I settle for reading in a big leather armchair, but I can’t focus. I’m reading the same paragraph of Alice in Wonderland, the only English book I could find in the Kiev train station before I left, over and over again, listening for a knock on the door.
I read it again. Think about the dessert table. Squirm. Read the paragraph.
I want to take it off you with my teeth.
Read the paragraph again.
There’s a noise on the balcony, and I freeze. Even though I’m on the second floor of a literal fortress, I reach up and turn off the light, then turn off all the lights as I move through my rooms, still in my formal gown.
Quietly, I walk to the French doors and stand behind the curtains. Part of me thinks I’m being crazy, and part of me is remembering that someone wanted the king dead. Maybe they’re trying again and they have the wrong room.
In the corner of the balcony, a hand grips the railing of the balcony, then another. I realize there’s a third option and I’m an idiot.
I swing the French doors open and lean in the doorway just as Kostya pulls himself up and over the stonework railing, then stands on the balcony.
His formal jacket is open to his white undershirt and he’s breathing hard from the climb, his chest expanding against the thin fabric. Slowly, he reaches up and takes a rose from between his teeth.
If this were in a movie, I’d roll my eyes, but as it is I’m breathless with desire, totally captivated as we stare at each other.
“I told you I was coming,” he says, just a hint of a smile on his face.
“I believed you,” I say.
Kostya walks toward me across the balcony and holds out the rose. It’s ragged at one end where he ripped it from the bush, and I take it from his fingers, my heart beating so hard I can feel it in the soles of my feet.
“You should have told me you were going to climb the balcony,” I say, holding the rose up to smell it.
“Why’s that?” he asks, but he’s smiling.
“I’d have let my hair down so you could climb it,” I say.
Kostya puts one fingertip in the hollow of my throat and then slides it down my sternum, still smiling, his eyes lit up like he’s laughing at some joke.
I shiver as his finger moves between my breasts, my nipples hardening instantly.
“You’re impossible,” he says, his voice low and gravelly.
I want to lean back against the doorframe and beg him to put his hands on me. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this, and now he’s torturing me with one fingertip.
“Why?” I whisper.
“I climbed up a stone wall in my dress uniform, and now you’re making fun of me,” he teases, moving forward. He’s still warm from the climb and I can feel his body heat radiating off of him, making every inch of me feel warm and feverish.
“Don’t you think climbing a tower with a rose in your teeth is a little too fairy tale?” I tease back.
He just chuckles, then wraps his hand around my back and pulls me to him.
“If you think I’m here to rescue you, you’ve got the wrong idea,” he whispers into my ear.