Realizing she’d gone still, he looked down into her face. Her lips were parted, swollen from their kisses. “Is the visual impact very intense?”
It was such a Sophia way to put it that the almost violent edge of his hunger shifted into something different, exquisitely tender. “I don’t think you’re quite ready for it yet,” he murmured, indulging himself by stroking his hand across her lush flesh.
“Later.” Sucking on her lower lip, he nudged her away from the mirror and toward the bed, not sure he could leash himself in the face of such delicious temptation. She didn’t resist, letting him touch her as he would, lead her as he would.
It was a heady sensation, and one that paradoxically gave him more control. Nipping at her lower lip, he pulled back a little. She looked lost for an instant, until he raised his hands to the front of the shirt she wore to undo the top button. Her head dipped, watching him release button after button until the shirt hung completely undone. Lifting a hand, he touched a single finger on the dip of her breastbone, catching her attention.
Her chest rose up and down in a jagged rhythm as he ran that finger slowly down the valley of her br**sts and over the softness of her abdomen to circle at her navel. Making an inarticulate sound, she gripped his biceps. “That is not an intimate region.”
It took him a second. “Oh yeah?” Spreading his fingers on her, he just barely brushed the curls at the apex of her thighs.
Her fingers tightened on him, her breaths turning shallow. Leaving his hand where it was, he tugged back her head and took another kiss, but this one was slow, lazy, as he attempted to seduce her into relaxing. She responded like wildfire, but her body remained on edge, almost quivering with tension. Kissing his way along her jaw, he said, “Take off the shirt.”
She went motionless, her breath hot against his neck. For a moment, he thought he’d pushed her too far, and went to back off. But she lifted her hands to the lapels of the shirt at that moment, her fingers bloodless from the force of her grip.
“No?” he asked, nuzzling at her, taking the scent of her into his lungs. “Want to stop?”
The answer was soft but immediate. “No.”
“Want me to help you?”
An almost imperceptible nod.
Forcing himself to keep a stranglehold on his own hunger, he lifted his hands to close over hers. Together, they peeled apart the edges of the shirt to her shoulders. “Let go,” he said against her lips.
It took several seconds, but her fingers opened. He held the shirt at her shoulders for a long moment before releasing the fabric. She could’ve stopped its descent using her arms, but she relaxed them and the material slid off her with the hushed grace of a lover’s caress. Instead of gorging himself on the lush beauty of her, he held her close, placing his hand very carefully on her lower back, his eyes locked with hers, his mouth a whisper’s breath from her own.
There was, he was glad to see, no fear in her. A little trepidation, but that, he could understand. Smiling, he kissed her again, lazy, easy, undemanding. Her mouth opened under him, but her body continued to thrum with tension. “What’re you afraid of?” he finally asked, cupping her cheek with his free hand. “And don’t say nothing.”
A long, shuddering breath. “I just want to get it over with once—then I’ll know what to expect.”
Tenderness swept over him, along with a touch of chagrin. “That’s not exactly the kind of thing a man wants to hear when he’s trying to seduce his woman.”
“Max.” A worried look. “I feel as if I’m stumbling in the dark. If I knew, then I could . . .”
“Control it?” A gentle tease.
Her hands fisted at his waist. “You think I should just let go.”
“No,” he said, sipping at her mouth between words. “Everyone’s a little edgy their first time.”
“How about instead of rushing it,” he murmured, “we do what feels good? No expectations, no end goal.”
“But I want to finish.” A stubborn look.
Affectionate hunger rocked through him, at once savage and playful. “Yeah?” He couldn’t help his smile. “Alright.”
Her eyes widened, as if she’d read something on his face that worried her. “Max?”
But he was already swinging her up in his arms and placing her on the bed. Coming down over her, he settled himself in the vee of her thighs. “Wrap your legs around me.”
“That feels . . .” Breathy, almost shocked. “Your jeans . . .”
He shifted against her delicate flesh, knowing the rough material would intensify the sensations. Giving an inarticulate cry, she arched her body. It was all the invitation he needed. Dipping his head, he took one dark little nipple into his mouth and sucked hard, even as he insinuated a hand between their bodies, reaching for the tiny bud in the liquid-soft center of her that could give so much pleasure.
Her fingers dug into his shoulders as she tried to pull him closer and push him away at the same time. Shifting his attention to her neglected breast, he began to play with her clitoris, hard then soft. There. He felt it the instant she reacted, modified his stroke to what brought her the most pleasure, lifting himself off her enough that he could stroke downward to rub at the sensitive entrance to her body as well.
She was wet, slick. He couldn’t resist the temptation to dip his finger within. That was all it took.
A choked scream. Her body arching bowstring tight.