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When Rey woke to the sound of someone at the door, it took her a moment to recall that she wasn’t in her own room. Ben’s body wrapped solid and warm around her, his chest pressed to her back, his long arms holding her prisoner. He grumbled into her hair at the noise and began to untangle himself from her. “I’ll kill them and be right back.”

“Don’t actually kill them,” she mumbled into the blankets, rubbing a little drool from her cheek. She heard him huff as he left the bedroom, leaving the door cracked to let a ribbon of light through. Rey could hear the hiss of the door to his rooms, and a voice she vaguely recognized came through low and urgent.

Blinking against the sleep crusting her eyes, Rey went to the bedroom door and peered into Ben’s sitting area.

A live wire of emotion shot up her spine as she saw Ruby’s long dark hair and beautiful face in profile, peering up at Ben from a kneeling position. She didn’t wear her bulky armor, only the sleek black bodysuit.

Rey tamped down the desire to insert herself into the scene and focused every molecule on listening.

“…banished me to an outpost on an uninhabitable planet, and I didn’t do anything to deserve it. Please, Supreme Leader, only you can save me now. I don’t know why her ladyship hates me–”

“Don’t you?” Ben asked silkily.

Ruby’s voice was clogged with tears. Rey might have felt sorry for her if she hadn’t gotten a front row seat to her fantasies. Rey could have forgiven the delusions of grandeur, but Ruby had made a grave mistake when she’d included Ben.

He belongs to me, Rey thought fiercely, and the corners of Ben’s mouth twitched. Rey grimaced. She had less control than she thought if that had leaked through their bond without permission.

Ruby’s shoulders slumped in relief, thinking the smile meant he would intervene. “I’ll do anything,” she continued in a hopeful voice. “Anything.” Rey had no doubt as to what “anything” meant, and she had to forcibly hold back a growl. Ruby certainly made a pretty picture, her bosom thrust forward dramatically as she knelt in supplication before Ben’s tall form, her face tipped upward and lips slightly parted. “Please save me, Supreme Leader.”

He gazed down at her, his eyes hooded and hair tousled from sleep and Rey’s fingers. He bent close to Ruby and spoke in a low, intimate rumble.

When he drew back, Ruby’s eyes had widened and her chest rose and fell with rapid, shallow breaths, her body frozen on her knees.

Ben snarled, once, and Ruby scrambled toward the door. She escaped the room and Ben’s presence, and he watched her go with ice in his gaze.

He didn’t move until Rey touched his arm, and he wrapped it around her and pulled her close.

“What did you say to her?”

“That if she didn’t get out, she wouldn’t make it off this ship alive.”

“She still might not,” Rey growled.

He smiled down at her. “She seemed to think I could control you.”

Rey wasn’t in any mood to smile back at him. “She thought she could sleep with you in return for protection.”

He raised a brow. “Reading minds again?”

Rey leaned into him, letting his warmth ease her tense muscles. “Didn’t need to. She couldn’t have been more obvious if she’d walked in naked.”

“Hm,” he murmured, dropping a kiss on her hair. “You think I should have accepted? I could still chase her down…”

He shifted toward the door even though his arms didn’t release her. Rey punched him lightly in the stomach, and he laughed. “Don’t even think about it,” she mumbled against his chest.

He leaned down to nuzzle her ear. “I like it when you’re jealous.”

She fought a smile. “Ben…”

His big body enveloped her, his words hot and teasing against her skin. “Can’t you tell?”

Rey’s heart picked up, thudding roughly against her ribs as he coaxed her hand over his chest and down his abdomen, his breath turning ragged the lower she went. He stopped guiding her, his fingers gripping her hips hard enough to bruise as Rey continued to explore on her own, her small hand hesitating close enough to his sex that she felt the heat of him.

He said her name in a desperate gasp, his body trembling. The fabric sloped upward, a clear path showing her the way, and she followed it slowly, lightly, barely brushing against him.

He clung to her, breathing audibly as he pressed his face against her neck, his hair brushing soft against her jaw.

Rey forced air into her lungs, overwhelmed by the moment as her fingers slid gently around him.

Ben whimpered her name and clutched her harder.

“Look at me,” she whispered, holding him in a loose grip as he shook and quivered against her.

He drew far enough back to stare into her eyes. His face was flushed, his mouth twisting with the effort of holding himself back. “Please.”

Rey felt the leashed power under her hand, the effort it took for him not to shift and drive himself into her fist. Every muscle in his body strained, wanting. He could have taken her, stripped her naked and fucked her brains out right there on the floor. He had the strength, the advantage of height and weight, and the liquid heat between her thighs meant she wouldn’t have put up much of a fight, but he kept himself in check, relinquishing total control to her.

Rey tightened her grip around him, drawing a whine from his throat. She kept her eyes locked to his and saw his lips part, his gaze going unfocused as she gave him a squeeze.

“Rey,” he gasped.

“No one but me,” she commanded, smoothing her hand down his rigid sex before dragging it back up.

He swallowed. “Never. Only you.” He shoved a hand into her hair, gripping it as if he could anchor his trembling there. “I only want you. Only ever you.”

Her possessive instincts soothed, she began to stroke him, wrenching lovely, filthy sounds from deep in his chest with every pass of her hand.

He lowered his mouth to hers, his trembling lips slow as she kept his focus on the hard ridge between his legs.

Such a big man, so hot and solid, and she had him completely at her mercy.

“Come for me, Ben,” she whispered against his lips, following her words with a steady pumping rhythm.

Rey.” He practically sobbed the word into her mouth, hunching over hard as his hips twisted and thrust into her grip. When he came, his whole body shuddered with it, his hand fisting in her hair as he jerked against her, and damp seeped into the fabric beneath her hand.

Rey supported a portion of his weight as he slumped against her and groaned.

When he stirred from his daze, it was to rumble, “I need to change pants.”

Rey laughed, burying her face in his chest.

He threaded his fingers through hers, his other hand stroking her hair. “Come back to bed. I’ll change and maybe… return the favor?”

Rey caught her breath, glancing up and reveling in how utterly ravished he looked with his swollen lips and tousled hair.

She’d done that to him.

And now he wanted to do the same to her.

She yielded before him, letting him guide her back to his bedroom. She lay down and waited while he changed in the washroom, thankful for his tact. She might have felt him up, but she didn’t think her nerves could handle nudity just then.

When he returned, he crawled into bed and hovered anxiously above her, his messy hair tempting her fingers to run through it.

“Did you want me to…?” He left the question open-ended, his expression carefully neutral. She knew he would respect any decision she made, but she also knew that he wanted to do this for her. He wanted to give her pleasure, to make her moan and writhe underneath him.

She didn’t even need their bond to tell her. It was written starkly on his face, in the effort it took not to pressure her.

She nodded, unable to say the words, and he let out a breath.

“Come here, sweetheart,” he murmured, helping her shift so he could have easier access, and Rey’s heart thrummed at the endearment.

She tried to hold it in. She tried and she tried and she tried, but his hand pressed against her lower belly, and her heart felt so full, and he looked at her in such a way, and it just spilled out of her mouth before she could stop it.

“I love you.”

He froze, his big body propped up beside hers. He stared at her, and Rey had a brief, terrible moment when the confession felt like the biggest mistake of her life. Her heart stuttered and stopped, and her horror had to have been clear on her face.

Ben brought his hand up from her belly to caress her cheek, and then his mouth was on hers and her heart started beating again with a painful thud.

“I love you,” he whispered between desperate kisses. “I love you, Rey. I love you.”

They kissed and groped and clutched each other on the bed. Ben pushed his hand between her thighs, no longer hesitating, and Rey gasped and rode his palm, lifting her hips desperately into his touch as he ground the heel of his hand against her.

It wasn’t enough. Rey grabbed his hand and pushed it inside her leggings, urging his long fingers to seek out her melting core.

“Ben!” she cried as he swiped a finger through the slippery folds of her sex.

He pressed a finger slowly inside her, his eyes widening and breath catching. He swallowed and watched her face as his touch sank all the way inside.

Rey trembled from the contact, arching her neck when he accidentally brushed his thumb across a point she hadn’t known existed, sending a jolt of intense sensation through her body.

He noticed. He always noticed. He noticed everything, everything she’d ever done, he seemed to remember, so of course he immediately tested that spot again, and Rey bucked her hips off the bed with a muffled shriek.

Her reaction made him chuckle, and Rey would have told him he didn’t have to look so smug, except her brain had taken a vacation, leaving her centered completely on his thumb stroking lightly against that sensitive point and the intrusion inside of her, every little shift of his hand sending fire sparking through her veins.

The long finger inside of her moved, beginning to pump, and Rey came undone. She clenched and fluttered around his intrusion, and Ben’s hot gaze drank her reaction in.

Rey whimpered as the waves of ecstasy faded from her body, his hand still pressed against her slick sex, and she relaxed bonelessly into the mattress. “You’re amazing,” she sighed.

He withdrew his hand, damp with her fluids, and kissed her deeply.

They stayed up longer than was wise, going over their shared past and murmuring words of love peppered with affectionate touches, until at last they fell asleep in a warm heap of happy exhaustion.