a/n: Thank you so much for the reviews for last chapter!

"Finally," Dimitri said as he closed the front door behind his family and sank against it. He glanced at the clock. It was nearly three in the morning, and they were just leaving. As his now full refrigerator could attest, his family thought food was the cure to everything. It was casseroles galore, and his house smelled delicious, but aside from their tête-à-tête next to the ambulance, he hadn't had a single second alone with Roza.

Anxious for that, he headed for the stairs, then took them two at a time and strode to his bedroom. Roza was sitting against his headboard with his comforter up to her hips. He grinned at the sight. "I love that t-shirt on you," he said as he dropped down on to the bed beside her.

Roza looked down at the brown t-shirt with the huge cowboy hat smack dab in the middle proclaiming the owner a proud resident of Texas—which Dimitri was not now and had never been. "It would have been mortifying to pull out what I'd brought to wear in front of your mother and sister," she admitted.

Rolling onto his side, he reached for her waist, then pulled her down so she was lying beside him. He bent his head until his nose was buried in the curve between her neck and shoulder and inhaled deeply. "I can't wait to see it," he said, following the statement with a yawn.

"I'll put it on for you," she said, but when she tried to move, he tightened his hold on her.

"Not yet. How are you feeling?"

"Well, let's see. I was held hostage by a crazy man who I'm having a hard time thinking of as crazy, because he was just devastated that he'd lost his job, and then his wife and children."

"The fact that he was waving a gun around and holding people hostage on Christmas day in a convenience store makes him crazy, Roza."

"And then that's chased with your family—also holding me hostage, but with much different intentions," she went on.

"Yes, my family is certifiably crazy," Dimitri said dryly. "No matter their intentions. You think it's bad now, wait until the rest of them land in Russia, then demand a Skype session so they can confirm for themselves that you're all-right."

She froze beneath him. "Are you serious?"

Dimitri chuckled. "I sure am."

"Good God," she said on an exhale. "This family thing isn't as easy as I'd originally thought."

"You'll get used to it," he promised, his voice gruff.

Rose sighed, thinking she would never get used to so many people having a stake in her welfare. She'd spoken briefly to Lissa, who'd told her that she'd called Rose's parents. Their concern had been minimal, asking simply for Lissa to 'call them with any new developments.' How could Dimitri's family, who had just met her, be more worried than her own? While it wasn't necessarily a surprise, it was a slap in the face.

She lifted a hand and to run it through her hair as she contemplated the entire situation. If this had happened forty-eight hours ago, the only person who would have shown up for any reason other than friendly concern or professional reasons would have been Dimitri. But it hadn't happened forty-eight hours ago. It had happened after she'd met the Belikov's, and Dimitri was right. Once you were in, apparently it was for life. His family might have been overbearing and demanding, but wasn't that better than absent? Rose was certainly beginning to think so.

A soft snore from Dimitri interrupted her thoughts, and she elbowed him in the ribs. "Belikov," she snapped.

"Hmm…" he said groggily.

"What are you doing?"

His breath was warm on her neck. "It's called cuddling, Roza."

Confirmation. "Why?"

"You've had a traumatic day," he reminded her.


"And you need to rest."

She craned her neck to look at him; his eyes were still closed.

"And I don't want to take advantage of you."

"My head is clear," she insisted. Shifting her hips until they rested against his, she wriggled her lower back and forth; he hardened immediately. "And you want me." Plus, she admitted to herself, she was scared of what 'cuddling,' when it wasn't preceded by sex, actually meant.

With one swift movement, Rose was on her back with Dimitri's knees on either side of her legs, his hands pinning her wrists on either side of her head. "Retract the claws, wild cat."


"We dating, Roza. Get used to it."

"We haven't even discussed dating!"

"And we're not going to," he informed her. "I'll say we're dating, you'll say we're not, I'll get pissy, you'll get pissier, and eventually…I'll win." He shrugged. "I'm saving us the trouble. We. Are. Dating."


"No but. We're dating. Period."


"Work will deal with it," he promised her. "And if you're worried about our time spent together in the car…don't. I have plans for us."

She sighed. "I just don't think—"

"No, Roza, you do think. And that's part of the problem. You think too damn much."

"I do not think too much," she snapped.

His face split into a sexy, sleepy grin, and he lowered his head until his lips met hers. His kiss was gentle at first, and she held her own—her frown only deepening at his obvious attempt to seduce her into agreeing. But as soon as his tongue lashed against her lips, she was gone. Her mouth opened instantly and he swept inside, his tongue swirling and licking until one of his hands released her wrist to sweep down her side and cup her waist. Her now free hand lifted to the back of his head, pulling him closer as she lifted her body to press against his. Abruptly he let go and fell back down onto the bed next to her. "Now go to sleep, Roza. I'm fucking exhausted."

It had to have been a full minute before her breathing finally evened out. "Fine. We're dating."

"I know. And that's a way better Christmas present than a dozen chocolate glazed donuts," he told her.

"How did you...nevermind. I don't want to know."

He rolled into her once again, a position she was beginning to favor, and pulled her against him. "Merry Christmas, Roza."

"Merry Christmas, Dimitri."

OK, you guys. This is it for this one! Let me know how you liked it, and if you might be interested in an epilogue. As always, thank you so much for reading! Next up: last chapter for Captured!