Say My Name

Page 16


One simple word, and yet it compels me. I draw another breath, nod, and then settle back into the upholstered theater chair. I turn toward him and find him focused on me. Shadows dance upon his face, and I swear that I could tumble into the brilliant blue of his eyes.
I start to speak, though I’m not at all sure what I’m going to say. Then he leans toward me and places his palm on my leg, so that the heel of his hand rests on the thin material of my dress, but the tips of his fingers graze my bare skin. Every nerve ending in my body seems clustered in that one area, sparkling and sizzling.
I’m desperately, painfully aware of the contact, and I have to fight the urge to draw in a breath, to stiffen as my pulse pounds and a wild heat bursts through me. I don’t want to react to him; I don’t want to give anything away. And I damn sure can’t let go of the tight grip I have on control.
But he is leaning closer, the pressure increasing upon my thigh as his lips come within a whisper of my ear. “What the hell do you think you’re doing here?”
I consider playing it coy, but there is no profit in that. Not to mention the fact that I’m not at all sure I could pull it off. Not now, when he’s touching me. When he’s thrown me so off kilter. “I need to talk to you,” I say simply.
“Do you?” he asks, his voice as smooth and tempting as chocolate. “I’m fairly certain you don’t have an appointment.”
His finger moves slowly on my skin, back and forth, the motion so idle that he might be unaware of it. Except I know that’s bullshit. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
“Do I need an appointment to chat at a party?”
“Is that what we’re doing?” he asks as his finger strokes and teases. “Chatting?”
I feel my chest tighten and a thin panic rise. “Please, Jackson.”
“Please what?”
“Outside.” I hope that he cannot hear the way my voice shakes. “Can we just go talk for a minute in the lobby?”
I try to rise, but he holds me down with a gentle but firm pressure on my leg. In the process, he manages to slide my hem up, revealing just a sliver more of bare skin. It is enough, however, to make me feel even more exposed. Even more vulnerable.
To make me remember the way his hands felt when he was touching me without anger or pretense.
I swallow as a wave of longing and regret breaks over me. “Jackson—”
“You’re so determined to talk, then talk here.” His voice hasn’t lost the velvet, but there is steel under it now.
“We’ll bother everyone around us,” I whisper, determined to regain my equilibrium.
His brows rise, and I see amusement dance at the corner of his mouth. “Will we?” His hand eases higher, pushing my skirt up with the motion. “I didn’t think our … conversation … would be quite that loud.”
“Stop.” I close my hand hard over his, preventing him from gaining even another millimeter.
“Because I said so, dammit.”
“I meant, why do you need to talk to me,” he clarifies. “But the same applies.” He eases his hand higher, pushing my skirt up inch by excruciating inch. “Tell me why you say I should stop. Because you don’t want me to touch you? Because you don’t want me to slide my hand just a little bit higher? Because you don’t want my fingertips to stroke your panties and find you wet and hot?”
My mouth is dry, my body burning. And—damn me all to hell—he is right. I am desperately wet, my thighs hot and my sex throbbing.
“Or maybe it’s because you do want me to keep going? Because you can imagine—can remember—the way my finger feels inside you, teasing you, stroking your clit. Are you wet now, princess?” he asks, his voice as gentle as the finger that still skims along my thigh. “Are you hot and needy and silently begging me to touch you, to slide my finger over your slick, wet heat? Is that what you want? Come on, sweetheart, you can tell me. Don’t you want me to take you there? To take you higher and higher until you tremble in my hand as the orgasm rocks you? Because I think you do. I think you want it so bad you can taste it.”
I close my eyes, determined not to let him see the truth of his words on my face. “Stop it,” I repeat. “You can’t—”
“The hell I can’t.” The soft sensuality in his tone has vanished, replaced by harsh accusation. “Do you think I haven’t watched you tonight? Do you think I didn’t see the way you’ve looked at me? We both know you still want me, and we both know that pisses you off. So tell me, Sylvia. I want to hear it. I want you to say it out loud.”