“Have you ever done this before?” she whispered, her gaze hidden under a sweep of dark lashes.
“No. I have personal rules against this kind of thing,” he admitted, knowing the words might break the intimate moment, but his nature compelling him to be honest no matter the cost.
“So why are you breaking all the rules for me?”
“I haven’t gotten you out of my head since I saw you on TV. There’s something inside you. Something you don’t let others see. I get that.”
“Am I seeing the real you right now…in this moment?”
“Warts and all.”
She tapped a finger against her lip. “I don’t know…you seem devoid of flaws to me.”
He needed to break free from the serious turn the conversation took. He had this chance, this night, the last thing he needed to do was start the long fall into love or anything resembling it. Not when he had family obligations locking him down in Stamford and she’d be making tracks all over the globe for years to come.
He squelched that niggling part of him that wished there could be more, knowing damn well, even if he were that lucky of a son of a bitch, he’d never try to hold her back and tether her to his life. She had a limitless future ahead of her.
He had the constant weight of responsibility sitting on his shoulders. Well, tomorrow. Right now, he had this. “Yeah, well, you didn’t hear my muttering like a lunatic at intersections an hour ago and paying fifty dollars for three condoms because I didn’t want to waste time waiting for change when I could be here with you.”
“Condoms… bold move. Confident. And to think I didn’t know if you’d show up,” she said.
A frisson of doubt clouded her warm eyes.
Yeah, he couldn’t have that.
He took her hand and drew her to him. Letting her go to cup her jaw, he tilted her head back until her eyes met his.
“Hopeful,” he said. Her warm breath danced over his thumb as he grazed her bottom lip, and her eyes drifted shut. “I wanted to be prepared, just in case. There was no way I was going to miss this,” he whispered just a fraction of an inch from her lips.
Tilting his head, he tasted her. Her soft lips moved with his, a hint of peppermint lingering on her mouth, a taste he found a whole lot more desirable delivered by her velvety lips.
Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pressed against him, her lips moving with his, her tongue darting out to taste.
His rough groan filled the air, mingled with the sound of their harsh breaths tangling with one another as they feasted on each other’s mouths.
God, how he wanted to untie that belt at her waist and watch that robe fall to the floor, but he fisted his hands at her hips and held her to him, the silk bunched up in his fingers.
Her nails scraped along his scalp, shooting fire through him as she anchored her hands in his hair. The sensual tug of her fingers kicked his heart into overdrive.
A surge of need, so powerful that it terrified him, took over, and he knew if he didn’t take a step back, break the contact, he’d take over.
He couldn’t do that. Still her show.
He’d never been more sure of what he wanted, but as long as any doubt lingered in her, the ball would forever be in her court.
Their lungs heaved as they stared at one another, her lips swollen from their fiery kiss. She reached for the knot of silk at her waist, the robe which just moments ago seemed like decent armor between them, now just one more weapon in the arsenal of their growing attraction and his fervent need.
The fabric shimmered and danced as though it were a living, breathing part of her that shifted with her every move, gliding over her nipples with each intake of breath as they stood there, gazes locked on one another. The tantalizing fabric hugged her hips, danced over the naked swell of her ass, and grazed over her like a lover’s worshiping hand drawing out the anticipation.
It all changed here.
Rules shattered, the shards raining to the floor around them.
“Be sure, Nikki,” his words rumbled out, raw and full of need. “Because when that silk falls to the floor, everything under it becomes mine for the night. I’m a thorough man. I won’t leave anything unexplored. Even the parts you don’t want me to see.”
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