“I could still say no, pay you and call this crazy thing off,” she whispered.
“But you don’t want to do that, do you?”
“Not at all.”
He lifted her fingers to his lips and kissed them one by one as he’d done at the bar. As he gently sucked their tips, she shuddered.
He slid a fingertip inside her robe and very slowly pushed it aside a fraction of an inch. “What do you want?” he murmured against her earlobe.
His hand coaxed the thick terry off her shoulder, and she gasped.
“You mean, I get to tell you what I want?”
“You hired me, remember. That was our agreement. I mean…er…bargain. Do you like it straight…or kinky?”
“Kinky? I…I…I’m not sure I know or want to know what you mean by that.”
He laughed. “So what do you want?”
“I…I want you to undress me and then give me a massage and then maybe make love to me very, very slowly.”
“I can’t wait,” he whispered.
He heard her breath catch even before his hand found the terry-cloth tie at her waist and he unthreaded it all the way. He slid the robe off her shoulders, and it tumbled in a heap to the tile floor.
“Pink bra, pink panties, edged with black lace,” he murmured, cupping her breasts. “Nice.”
“I bought them at Illusions,” she said.
When his thumbs brushed her nipples through the black lace, her hands closed over him through his jeans.
“No, no,” he murmured. “Let me do my job. After all, I am the…”
Again, he couldn’t bring himself to use the graphic term for what she thought he was.
“Pleasure provider,” she offered. Reluctantly her fingers, which had been seeking to fondle him through the soft denim, fell away.
Gathering her to him, he led her to the wall. “Pleasure provider?”
“Professional. Whatever term you prefer.”
Her back was against the cool plaster as he knelt, at eye level with her belly. Using his hands, he spread her legs. Even before he began to kiss her navel, his tongue delving, she sighed. Then his callused palm began to stroke her from her waist to her ankle, gliding over her skin in slow caresses meant to tantalize.
“You’re good,” she gasped in a strangled tone.
“Worth every penny.”
On a low growl, his mouth followed the path of his rough palm, kissing her thighs, her calves, lifting her feet and sucking each bare toe. Then he did the same thing to the other leg. When he was done, his mouth lingered on her pink satin panties, on the area that covered the dark curls between her legs.
When a fingertip entered her, she clutched his head closer and let out a sob that made him groan.
“I want you so much,” he said. Then he ripped her panties down and hauled her to bed.
As he settled himself on top of her, a knock sounded loudly against the outer door. “Room service,” an impersonal voice called.
“Damn. Damn.” He jerked free of her. “Who the hell ordered room service?”
“You.” She giggled.
“You said we had to have strawberries.”
Sucking in a breath, he let her go. Then he picked up her robe and helped her into it.
“You stay here,” he ordered.
“Tell him to add the tip to the bill.”
“I think I can handle it.”
She was still standing against the wall, clutching her robe to her body when he returned with the tray of food. His blue eyes were fierce and hot, his black curls damp against his brow.
“You look adorable,” he said.
She bit her bottom lip. “Come back to bed.”
“Sometimes it heightens pleasure to stop and start.”
He carried the tray out to a shaded loggia and set it down. He plucked a bunch of purple grapes and went back to her. He nibbled half a grape and then shared the other half with her. It was sweet, yet tart.
“Did you really have a late lunch?” he murmured.
“No. I am…a little hungry, but I can wait.”
“No, if you’re hungry, let’s eat now.” He led her outside, pulled out her chair and seated her, placed a plate, napkin and silverware before her, and then opened a bottle of wine.
The evening was darkening rapidly. Birds settling in the nearby treetops twittered noisily. Delicate, fleecy clouds were lit up by the moon and the town’s lights.
“We call clouds like that pecorelle, little sheep,” he said.
“They look like they’re on fire.”
With another sigh, she breathed in the scent of the sea and flowers, as if she were, at last, relaxing in his presence.
“So, you’re a lawyer?” he said.