‘How could you possibly know that?’
‘Because of the way you talk about Ellie.’ She gave him a watery smile. ‘You use the same tone my father used to use when he was talking about how much he loved me and my sister, and my dad was a great dad.’
He absorbed her words for a moment, then asked again, ‘Do you really think I would have been a good daddy?’
Her smile was bright and she nodded. ‘I know it. The way you look after me, the way you make me rest—it all makes sense now.’ It also explained the veiled anger and desperation she’d seen him convey towards Margaret. ‘I’m not going to do anything to jeopardise the health of this baby or myself. That’s why I brought you in, why I eventually agreed to hire a locum.’
‘I know.’ He reached out and brushed a few strands of hair from her eyes, tucking them behind her ear. ‘You’re willing to ask for help. You’re open and honest about your limitations. I like that about you.’ Whereas Abigail had hidden everything from him. She’d been drinking for months—he’d never known why—and whilst he carried his fair share of the blame in the situation, he’d also come to realise that Abby also bore that blame and had paid for it with her life.
Now, with CJ, it was as though a new world was being opened for him. A world with laughter and a tinge of hope on the horizon. Was it possible he didn’t have to keep punishing himself by working day and night, staring down the barrel of an early grave? He stared into CJ’s dazzling green eyes and cupped her cheek with his hand before leaning a little closer, the atmosphere between them changing from one of support to one of heightened awareness.
He couldn’t stop looking at her mouth and she couldn’t stop looking at his. It was as though leaning forward, bringing herself closer to him, to within kissing distance, was the most natural thing in the world.
‘CJ.’ He whispered her name, the sound soft, delicate and intimate. As he neared, their breath began to mingle, the pheromones blending to form a heady combination. When she licked her lips in anticipation, he exhaled slowly but continued to decrease the space between his mouth and hers.
Before she knew it, Ethan’s lips were pressed to hers, much the same as they’d been before, but this time there was more pressure, with the heightened need to figure out exactly what existed between them. She breathed in a deep, shaky breath before sighing into the kiss.
Bringing his other hand up to fully cup her face, he took his time exploring the tastes and flavours she exuded. She was sweeter than anything he’d ever experienced. She filled his senses completely. He could feel himself going under, wanting more, needing more, and she didn’t disappoint.
He’d thought that one kiss might get her out of his system. That one kiss might help him to sleep at night. That one kiss would be all he would ever need from her. He was wrong. Groaning, he leaned closer, sifting his fingers through her loose hair, the silkiness of the tendrils only adding fuel to the fire that was already burning wildly through him.
How was it possible to barely know someone yet feel such an undeniable attraction? How was it possible to trust someone, to experience the primal need to take everything being offered? And it was being offered, on both sides. Both of them were one hundred percent involved in the moment, in the heat and delight. What it meant, CJ had no clue but while the exquisite torture continued, she was going to ensure she savoured every moment.
This was passion as she’d never felt it before. How could he stir such incredible longing with a few teasing and exploratory kisses? It was incredible and she felt as though she were floating…lifted up on the wings of desire—desire she was thrilled to discover was mutual.
As though he wanted to continue the slow discovery of every part of her mouth and the secrets contained therein, he sighed with delight, his mouth moving over hers in a sensual caress—a lover’s caress. She wasn’t sure how she was supposed to cope. She had thought she was on fire before with his testing kisses but now…now the flame had been fanned into something more—a fire that was taking her senses up on an internal climb so high, she felt as though she’d erupt like bright fireworks. Fire-stars, she’d called them as a child and now the term seemed appropriate to describe how he was making her feel. Fire-stars bursting brightly, one after the other as his mouth moved carefully and meticulously over hers.
It was as though he had to memorise every part of her. You do, he told himself, because this moment in time needs to last you for ever. Now that he’d done it, now that he’d given in to the urge to kiss her, he wanted it to be thorough.