She wiped her hands on a towel. “Exactly. I haven’t felt that before. Plus, it’s slightly possible that I might have some trust issues, given my whole family situation.”
“Your mom sending you away.” He stood and walked around the counter. “My dad walked out on me when I was a kid.”
“So you know what I mean.”
He stopped in front of her. “We could be on Oprah,” he said, staring into her blue eyes and wondering how it was possible for them to be such a beautiful color.
“Or Dr. Phil. I’m sort of addicted to him.”
They were close enough that she was all he could think about. Her mouth beckoned and tempted, her body seemed to sway toward him. The kitchen crackled with electricity. When her eyes dilated, he knew she felt it too.
“Oh,” she breathed. “But this was supposed to be a bad idea.”
“It still is.”
“But it’s why you came over.”
Was it? He hadn’t consciously thought about it, but she could be right. “Tell me no and I’ll go away.”
“Just like that?”
She looked at him for a long time, then reached up and rubbed her thumb against his lower lip.
“What is it about good women and bad boys?” she asked softly. “You’re a kind of a temptation I’ve never had to resist before.”
“Do you want to resist?”
Did she? Gracie wasn’t sure she had an answer. Of course not being able to think was part of the problem. With Riley standing so close, staring at her as if he wanted her more desperately than he’d ever wanted any other woman ever, she found herself melting inside.
Her body ached. Every inch of skin longed to be touched by him. She wanted to feel him against her, in her. She wanted to lose control and take him with her. She wanted them both aroused, desperate, helpless in the face of their desire, then she wanted to be with him afterwards, when they touched and kissed in the wonderment of what they’d just done.
Of course this was Riley whose philosophy with women didn’t exactly lend itself to tenderness. Was she prepared for him not sticking around? Was she prepared to be part of the three F’s?
He lightly stroked her cheek. The soft brush of his fingers shouldn’t have been all that exciting, but she felt her body respond to the flash of what could only be described as sparks.
And then she knew it didn’t matter about after or what the neighbors would say or her past or his. Because the Riley she’d wanted fourteen years ago had been little more than a cardboard cutout. She hadn’t known enough to make him real. While the man in front of her was pretty spectacular.
“You’re going to hurt yourself with all that thinking,” he said. “Look, Gracie, if you have to talk yourself into it, I’m not interested in—”
She raised herself on tiptoes and pressed her mouth to his, effectively cutting him off in midsentence. The hand by her cheek dropped to rest on her shoulder, but otherwise he didn’t move.
Ah, so he was going to make her prove to him she wanted this. That was fine—she was more than up to the challenge.
As she moved her lips against his, she grabbed his shirt and pulled it free of his slacks. Even as she stroked her tongue against his bottom lip, she slipped her hands under the shirt and rubbed them across his belly then up his chest.
She was prepared to do more—a lot more—to convince him, but it turned out to be unnecessary. His mouth parted and he claimed her in a kiss so deep, she thought she could get lost in it forever, even as his arms came around her and hauled her hard against him.
Her hands were trapped between them, but that didn’t matter. Not when his tongue stroked hers, circled, danced and caused the sparks to explode into a whole fireworks show. He was warm and strong and when she shifted her hips, she found out he was already hard.
Instantly her stomach clenched, as did her thighs. Between her legs she felt both heat and dampness. Wanting exploded.
She pulled her arms free and moved her hands around to his back. She was still under the shirt so she could feel his bare skin. Muscles bunched as she moved over them. She slipped lower to his hips then his butt where she gently squeezed the tight, high curve.
Oh, yeah, this was good, she thought hazily as he surged against her. She rotated her pelvis, bringing herself more firmly in contact with his erection. Desire flowed hotter and faster.
He pulled back a little and lowered his head so he could kiss her neck. He lingered at the sensitive spot below her ear, nibbling and licking until her entire body tingled. He reached for the hem of her T-shirt and tugged at it. She released him long enough to let him pull it over her head.
When he’d tossed the garment aside, he stared into her eyes. She looked back at all the passion swirling in his and felt herself surrendering more.
“I want you,” he breathed as he set his hands on her waist and began to move them higher.
Anticipation swelled within her. Her breasts ached, her nipples tightened. Touch me, she screamed silently, but what she said was, “I want you, too.”
As he asked the question, he brushed his thumbs across her nipples. Sparks moved past fireworks and became an entire electrical storm. She arched her head back and silently begged him to do more, to never stop, to keep—
He bent down and took her nipple in his mouth. Even through the fabric of her bra, she felt the heat and moisture, the light grating of his teeth. She clutched at him, as much to keep her balance as to hold him in place. He couldn’t stop. Not ever. It felt too good.
He reached for the two hooks on the back of her bra. When it slid down her arms, she released him long enough to shove it away. Then he was back, his mouth on her bare flesh and it was all she could do not to scream.
“Oh, yes!” she moaned, eyes closed, breathing shallow.
He circled her nipple, then sucked on it. He caressed the other breast with his fingers. It was incredible. No better. It was need and heat and wanting all merging and growing until she could only gasp with the pleasure.
She ran her fingers through his hair, then over his shoulders. Suddenly she wanted him naked. She wanted to touch him.
“Riley,” she whispered as she reached for the button on her khakis. “Take your clothes off.”
She liked that she didn’t have to ask twice. He straightened and immediately went to work on his shirt. After unfastening the cuffs, he simply pulled it over his head, tie and all. He kicked off his shoes, pulled off socks, then dropped his trousers and boxers in one easy movement.
She’d managed to shed the rest of her clothes and enjoy the view for all of three seconds before he moved in and claimed her with a kiss that stirred her down to her soul. They clung to each other, holding, rubbing, reaching, grasping.
He started nudging her backward. She couldn’t stop kissing him to figure out where they were going. Then his hand was on her breast and it didn’t matter.
She reached between them to caress his arousal just as she felt herself bump into the table.
Riley leaned around her and swept the surface clean. Pans and racks went flying to the floor. The crash of metal on tile reverberated in the room, but she didn’t care. Not when he lifted her up onto the smooth wood of the table and positioned himself between her legs.
She opened herself wide for him, expecting him to claim her that minute. Instead he slid one hand behind her head and the other into the swollen wetness of her desire. His fingers found that one spot she liked best and began to circle it.
“Look at me,” he said when she would have closed her eyes. “I want to see if you like it.”
She smiled. “I like it a lot.”
“Yeah? What about when I do this?”
He gently squeezed his thumb and index finger around the sensitive flesh, moving up and down in a quick motion that took her breath away.
Speech became impossible as she lost herself in sensation. Her body tensed as liquid pleasure poured through her. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything but stay impossibly still and silently beg him to never stop.
He didn’t. He kept on touching her until her release became as inevitable as the tide. She slowly closed her eyes, then held on to his shoulders as she got closer and closer until—
He stopped. She opened her mouth to protest. She’d been seconds from—
He kissed her. At the same moment he claimed her mouth, he pushed deep into her, replacing his fingers with something far larger and more impressive. She groaned, then wrapped her legs around his hips to hold him in place.
Even as their tongues mated, he moved in and out of her. She felt his thickness rubbing her, pushing her already aroused body past any reasonable limit to that place where pleasure is the only possibility. She clung to him, wanting, needing, straining until at last she lost herself in the wildness of her climax. Muscles contracted, released, then contracted again. She gasped as it went on and on. He continued to fill her, getting harder and thicker until at last, when she’d nearly finished, he shuddered and pushed into her one last time.
Gracie would swear she’d actually lost consciousness for a second or two. When her brain resurfaced she found herself leaning against him, breathing heavily. His arms held her tightly against him as if he would never let go. His heart thundered in her ear.
She raised her head and smiled at him. “Not bad.”
He chuckled, then cupped her face in his hands and lightly kissed her. “I was going to say that.”
“So you’ve had worse?”
He kissed her again. “Not possible.”
She felt relaxed and comfortable and just a little squishy inside. Why was there never a box of tissues around when you needed them? Usually she did this sort of thing in her bedroom where there were supplies, like tissues and condoms and—
Oh…my…God. She pushed him away and slid down until she stood on the floor and faced him.
“What?” he asked. “Did you get a leg cramp?”
“We didn’t use any protection.”
Good humor faded as if it had never been. “You’re not on the Pill?”
“No.” Several things happened all at once. The smell of burning cake suddenly filled the kitchen just as she noticed the smoke pouring out of the oven. Riley took several steps back, as if to put physical distance between himself and what they’d done, and someone started pounding on her front door.
Gracie shrieked and reached for her clothes. “I’ll accept anyone but my mother,” she said as she pulled on her panties. “And don’t you give me that look. I didn’t do this on purpose.”
“Not every woman in America is on the Pill.”
“I know that, too.”
“Then you have no right to be mad at me.”
“I’m not. I’m mad at myself.”
She didn’t think that was any better. The pounding continued, along with a faint cry of “Gracie? Gracie? Are you home?”
“I think it’s the woman who lives next door,” Gracie said.
She fastened her bra, then stepped into her pants. Riley had already pulled on his slacks.
“Could you get the oven?” she said. “I don’t want the smoke detector coming on.”
He did as she requested. She grabbed her shirt and shot out of the kitchen. After tugging the T-shirt in place, she smoothed her hair, then pulled open the door.
“Hi,” she said, smiling brightly and hoping her neighbor, whose name she couldn’t remember, wouldn’t notice anything was wrong.
“Oh, Gracie. I’m so glad you’re here. It’s Muffin. She fell in the pool and I can’t get her out. She won’t come to the steps. She’s just swimming around and it’s been so long. Please. Please come help me!”