He could feel the edge of the pleasure that pulsed through her, wanted only to bury himself inside her, feel those muscles clench around his cock. Sweat beaded along his spine as he stroked her down from the orgasm instead.
The single thing that made it bearable was that he’d done this to her, to his smart, sexy, stubborn . . . and vulnerable J.
Rising to brace his palms on either side of her when she slumped onto the bed, her chest heaving, he took a kiss. Another. She gave of herself without hesitation, her body limp beneath his, her skin sheened with perspiration. “Feeling more relaxed?” he murmured.
Sophia lifted her lashes to see pure wickedness in the gorgeous bitter-chocolate eyes looking down at her. “Yes, thank you.” Her own lips curved—something that felt sparkling, new, and sublime in its perfection. “Did I rush you?”
“A little, but I plan to get my revenge.” Another Max kiss—as if he had all the time in the world to taste her. “Now, just lie back and enjoy.”
Right at that moment, she couldn’t have done anything else. Intellectually, she’d known about orgasms, but it was quite a different matter to have one tear through her body. “Is that what it’ll be like when we have sex?”
“Yes. Exactly. So don’t worry.”
She thought she caught a strangled edge in those words, but Max had dipped his head to kiss his way along her collarbone and it became difficult to think. Managing to raise her arms enough to touch his back, she pulled at his T-shirt. “Will you take this off?”
He raised his head. “You okay with that much tactile contact after what we just did?”
It was tempting to say yes at once, but she took a moment to think about it. “Yes.” A strange feeling in her chest, a mix of pleasure, anticipation and . . . laughter. “You’re wonderfully blockheaded.”
His laugh sounded startled out of him. Getting up to straddle her on his knees, he grinned. “Guess being wooden’s taken on a whole new meaning around you.” He stripped off his T-shirt with an economy of motion that struck her as very male. It was as he twisted to throw the T-shirt off the side of the bed that she caught it.
“Wait.” Rising up on her elbows, she tried to see around to his back. “What is that?”
To her surprise, color streaked across his cheekbones. “A memento of my misspent youth.”
She was even more curious now. “Show me.”
Muttering under his breath, he leaned down to kiss her instead. “You can look at it later.”
His mouth swept over hers, all demand and a tightly wound hunger. Oh, she thought, oh. And that was all her mind had the capacity to think because he was pressing her down onto the bed and the skin-to-skin contact was a shocking whip of fire through her body. But rather than drawing back as she would have once, she arched toward him. No more fear, she thought. This was life. This was Max.
“Sophie, my sweet, sexy, Sophie.” His jaw brushed over her neck as he lowered his head to kiss her br**sts, his mouth possessive in a way she’d never known she craved until this moment, until this man. Twisting under the grip he had on her rib cage—holding her in place for his maddening caresses, she felt the oh-so-intriguing outline of his erection pressing against her thigh.
“Max, please.” She pushed at the sleek heat of his shoulders.
He lifted his head, his hair hanging messy and touchable across his forehead. “Sophie?”
“I want to see.”
Shuddering, he let her roll him onto his back. His jaw was a brutal line, the muscles in his arms rock hard as he gripped the bars in the headboard, but he said nothing as she rose beside him, as she ran her hand down the muscled plane of his chest in sensual exploration. “Your chest is smooth.” Dark gold and free of hair. “Except here.” A thin line of black that began just below his belly button and arrowed inexorably downward.
Max hissed out a breath as she followed that path with her finger. Looking up at him through her lashes, she felt something a little bit sinful come to purring life deep within her soul. “I’m a very quick learner, you know.”
He said a word that turned the air blue. “I’m not exactly in the mood to be teased.”
“Are you sure?” Feeling an odd exhilaration in her blood, she went to the button of his jeans and found it already undone. She could see why. He was straining against the zipper. Tugging at the metal tab, she went to pull it down when Max said, “I’ll do that,” and reached for it.
She caught his hand, lacing her fingers through his. “Don’t you trust me?”
A heated look. “You touch me and it’s over.”
“So we’ll start again.” Pressing her lips to their clasped hands, she untangled their fingers. Though he gave her a scorching look, he didn’t try to halt her again when she skimmed her hands over the lean-hipped beauty of him, began to tug at the zipper. She was careful, but not hesitant. And that was Max’s gift to her. With no other man could she imagine being this open, this vulnerable.
Max’s abdomen relaxed a fraction as she finished unzipping him. He was—only just—contained within his briefs. Curiosity swept over her in a wave of unashamed lust. She’d seen medical images of men, been taught about sexual organs in her health lessons, but no one had ever told her that everything would change when it was her man. Her fingers itched to stroke him, her heart thundering in excitement, mouth dry with anticipation.
Looking up, she saw that he’d closed his eyes, the cords of his neck strained white against the warm tone of his skin. And she knew he wouldn’t stop her, no matter what she desired. Trembling with need that made her skin tight, her body slick, she gave in to the luscious molten heat uncurling in her stomach and began to kiss her way down that thin path of hair. The texture of it was surprisingly silky rough against his heated flesh, and it was instinct to stroke her hand over his skin as she tasted.