Say My Name
He cupped my face in his hands, then bent low and brushed his lips gently over mine.
The kiss was soft and sweet and altogether too fast, and when he pulled back, I saw both heat and a question in his eyes.
I didn’t think. I didn’t hesitate. I simply eased forward, rising on my toes to bring myself closer. To claim. And, yes, to surrender.
He didn’t wait for my lips to reach his. I saw the change in his eyes—the moment when gentleness was pushed aside in favor of lust and need and the hard, demanding ache that throbbed between us. His hands shifted, one sliding into my hair and cupping the back of my head. The other snaking around my waist.
He pulled me close, his mouth open to mine, his hips hard against me. I felt his erection straining against his jeans, and my body thrummed in response, my skin prickling and my sex hot and heavy and desperate for his touch. I felt his palm cup my ass and pull me in tighter even as his mouth warred with mine, his tongue finding and tasting me, thrusting and demanding. Taking everything I had to give and more.
I’d been kissed, but never like this. Never so hard and deep and thoroughly that it felt like sex. That it swept me out of myself, making me forget my past and not care about my future. Making me want only this moment and this man.
Making me wish that I could cry, because when he finally pulled away from me, I wanted nothing more in that moment than to weep with regret.
I was completely out of my element, my mind in a sensual whirl. Instead of closing off, I’d opened up. Instead of walking away, I’d slid right into his arms.
Those weren’t my normal reactions, not by a long shot, but I couldn’t deny that I wanted more. That I wanted him.
All of that should terrify me, but instead it enticed me. And that simple reality had thrown me completely off center.
“Tell me,” he said, as his fingers slid through my short hair. “Tell me why you look like a rabbit about to bolt.”
I hesitated, but answered honestly. “You scare me.”
He shook his head. “I don’t think so. No, I think it’s because I don’t scare you.” His eyes narrowed. “You’re an enigma, Sylvia Brooks. I think that’s why I want you. I saw you the moment you walked away from the crowd and headed out to the veranda. I asked your name and I’ve watched you all night. Polite, yet distant. You’re never rude, but it’s as if you’ve got a line drawn around you that you don’t let anyone cross.”
I gaped at him, because he was absolutely right. What frightened me was that he saw so quickly what I prided myself on hiding so well.
“I’m in that circle now,” he continued. “And it’s not because I scare you.”
I licked my lips. “No? Then why?” I felt hope mixing with desire inside me, because I truly wanted to know what he was going to say. I didn’t understand this thing I felt for him. This fierce, fast punch that had knocked me sideways and left me dizzy and giddy and, miraculously, wanting more.
“It’s because you don’t understand it, either.”
I fought the urge to hug myself in defense against the goose bumps that were rising on my arms. “Don’t understand what?” I asked, though I knew exactly what he was talking about.
“This,” he said, gesturing between the two of us. “You don’t understand it, but you feel it as palpably as I do. And so you let me in.” He moved closer, and I caught the scent of him, smoke and wood, like a forest after a storm. “You may not understand it. But, sweetheart, you need to trust it.”
I wanted to. So help me, in that moment, I’m not sure I’d ever wanted anything more. But …
I tilted my head back so I was looking right into his eyes. “What if I can’t?”
“Then I’ll just have to convince you.” He drew me close and kissed me again, this time slow and sweet, but it still set my head to spinning. And so help me I craved more. So much more.
When he broke the kiss, he stepped back, and I felt my body move with him, unwilling to let the distance between us increase.
“I’m going to take you home now.”
His words were a command, underscored by the kind of certainty that would normally make me run or rebel. I did neither. Instead I clung to the one small fact of which I was certain—that if I said no, he would let me go. He might not want to, but if I asked, he would let me turn around and go back to the party.
I didn’t want to, but I held tight to the knowledge that at the core of it, the decision was mine. And right then, that was enough. I nodded. “Yes,” I said. “Take me home.”