“You’re stunning, too,” she whispered, body wriggling, hand moving, sliding, squeezing.
He sucked in a tight breath, holding on to his control as he feathered his hand along her thighs. He stared into her bottomless eyes. She stared back as his fingertips climbed higher, and her hands roamed further, each of them daring the other to crack.
Her beautiful mouth parted. Her eyes glazed. Her hand convulsed, and he pulled her to him, slipping slowly, surely, solidly inside.
She gripped his shoulders and leaned in for his kiss. He melded his mouth to hers, slipped his hands beneath her and settled the angle, settled the rhythm, let the roar in his ears and the pounding in his brain obliterate everything but the incredible sensation of Melissa.
He wanted it to go on forever. He was determined to make it last. She finally cried out, body pulsating before going limp. But he kept on kissing her, muttering words of need and affection.
And then she was with him. All over again, building toward a second crescendo. And he held back until the very last second before allowing himself to tumble over the cliff with her, his body drenched with sweat, his mind filled with amazement.
He carried her spent body to the bed, climbing in beside her, settling the quilt around them as he drew her into the cradle of his arms.
“You okay?” he whispered as his head found the indent on her pillow.
She drew two deep breaths while he kissed her hairline, then her temple, then her ear. He burrowed into the crook of her neck, inhaling deeply. How could a woman possibly smell so good?
“Define okay,” she whispered back.
“Nothing strained or broken?”
“Want to do it again?”
An hour later Melissa could barely lift a finger. But she could see why Jared was the fantasy of half the women in Chicago. Word had obviously gotten around.
She was lying on her back, eyes closed. The covers were a tangle at their feet, and a cool breeze relieved her heated skin. Jared was beside her, propped up on one elbow, his fingertips feathering a small zigzag pattern over her stomach. She was amazed he could move anything.
“You still breathing?” he rumbled.
He chuckled at that.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this exhausted,” she said.
“Never?” There was a hint of pride in his voice.
“Well, maybe once,” she couldn’t help teasing. “The day my brothers decided to build a tree fort. I was eight and insisted on helping. They nearly killed me.”
“You’re saying I’m a close second to your brothers?” The pride was gone.
She opened her eyes and managed a grin.
“Still feisty,” he said.
“Even when I’m beat.”
“Tell me about these burly construction-worker brothers of yours.”
“What do you want to know?”
“If they’ll have my name on a hit list when I get back to Chicago.”
“If I was eighteen you might be in trouble.”
“If you were eighteen, I wouldn’t be in this bed.”
She chuckled. “But they’ve mellowed over the years. Caleb wouldn’t hurt a fly. Eddy’s head over heels for a kindergarten teacher right now. He doesn’t even call anymore. Adam, Ben and Dan are married with little kids and more important things to worry about than their sister’s virtue.”
“It’s strange to hear all that,” said Jared. “I keep picturing you as an orphan. How does such a big family let you wander off on the bus system without money? It doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s my pride. I don’t talk to them about money.”
“Still, if it was Stephanie-”
“What about you?” Naked in Jared’s arms, Melissa really wasn’t in the mood to have to lie to him. “Extended family? Niece and nephew prospects?”
“No niece and nephew prospects. Stephanie’s too young, and Royce…well, you haven’t had a lot of time to spend with Royce. It’s hard to picture him with a wife and a white picket fence.”
“And you? Do you really want four kids?”
“I like kids,” said Jared. “But I wonder…”
“It’s not like you can’t afford them,” she put in. And he’d certainly have his pick of women. She could give him a list right now if he was interested.
His hand stilled on her stomach. “Money isn’t everything.”
“Said like a man who has plenty.”
“There’s love, affection, fidelity.”
“Fidelity?” she questioned.
He didn’t respond.
“Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself?” she asked. He might want to marry the lucky woman before he planned the divorce.