I feel like that’s a reasonable question. I mean, really. Why else would anyone be this neat? But Nick lets out a bark of laughter. “Sorry to disappoint, but this is all me, baby.”

I smile back at him. As flaws go, I can live with neat freak. Especially one who can cook…

“Oh no! The pasta!” I pull away and grab the tongs, but I know even before I’ve pulled the first noodle out of the water, it’s overcooked and ruined. We both stare at the sticky mess. Then each other.

And say at the same time:


“Lord of the Rings?”

Chapter Forty-Eight

   We barely make it through something about a ring before we’re half naked and racing each other up the stairs. We get to the door of his bedroom in record time, and I expect him to toss me down on his bed and rip off my clothes—or better yet, let me rip off the rest of his clothes. But instead, he carries me straight past the bed and into the bathroom.

“What are we…” I ask, wondering if he’s got some kind of mirror fetish or something. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I can definitely get on board with seeing both the front and the back of this man at the same time.

“It’s been a long day,” he murmurs as he slowly slides my body down his, making sure as he does that all the good parts of me touch all the really good parts of him. “And a long night. I thought we could both use a hot shower.”

“Oh, right.” I let out a slow, uneven breath at the thought of being able to touch him as warm water sluices over all his smooth, gorgeous skin. I’ll have to save the mirror fantasy for another night—or at least another round.

“You feel good,” I tell him as I lean into the pleasure.

As I lean into him.

“You feel better than good,” he answers, his fingers moving to the buttons of my blouse.

“I can do that,” I tell him, but he just grins.

“I know you can do it, but I want to do it.” His smile turns soft. “Okay?”

I nod as his nimble fingers make short work of my buttons, then sigh a little as he slips the blouse off, his finger skimming across the skin of my shoulders and arms as he does.

I rest against him now, relishing the feel of his body touching mine, and he holds me for long seconds, his hands stroking over my skin and down my back. But when I reach behind me to take off my bra, he stops me with a hand over mine.

“I’ve got you,” he whispers, and there’s something in the words—something in his eyes and his hands—that has my heart trembling in my chest just a little.

I ignore it, tell myself it’s hunger, since we never finished cooking dinner, and focus instead on the way his big, warm hands feel sliding over my lower back and up my spine until he reaches my bra clasp. He flicks it off one-handed in about two seconds flat, and I almost tease him about his prowess, but before I can say anything, he’s sliding my bra off and cupping my breasts in his hands.

He toys with my nipples for just a moment and I gasp, all thoughts of teasing him—all thoughts of everything—slipping right out of my head. And when his lips brush against mine, once, twice, I fall headlong into sensation. Headlong into him and the fire that burns between us even before his fingers move to the buttons of my suit pants.

Within seconds, they’re pooled on his travertine floor—along with my underwear.

He wraps his arms around me then, presses soft kisses to my cheeks, my jaw, the hollow of my throat, the sensitive spot where my neck meets my shoulder.

It feels good—amazingly good—but it’s not enough.

“I want your mouth,” I tell him, my hands smoothing over his warm, naked chest.

He answers by pressing a string of openmouthed kisses to my neck and jaw that has my knees weakening and my heart beating fast and hard.

But when I drop my hands to his belt buckle to return the favor, he stops me.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, confused.

Nick grins as he steps back and opens the door to one of the most decadent showers I have ever seen. When he turns on all three water sprays, the environmentalist in me has a heart attack, but the hedonist is completely on board. Even before he drops his pants and completely distracts me by my first unadulterated view of his beautiful body tonight.

But when I reach for him, he takes my hand and tugs me gently into the shower.

Unlike at Aunt Maggie’s, the water here heats up almost instantly, and I nearly moan in delight as the hot water hits muscles still sore from my mowing adventure. Nick laughs, then wraps his arms around my waist as I relax against him.

We take several breaths while he does nothing but hold me, his body strong and heated and aroused against mine. I wrap my arms around his waist, too, then start to kiss my way across his chest.

And for a moment, he lets me. Then he moans, his arms tightening before he eases away.

“What—” I start, but before I can ask him what’s going on, he slides his fingers into my hair and tugs softly until I tilt my head back and let the water cascade over me. Then he reaches for a bottle of shampoo and squirts some into his palm.

No one has ever washed my hair before. When Karl asked me to take showers with him, it was just a euphemism for a quick blow job. But with Nick…with Nick it’s anything but quick and it is focused entirely on me.

Gently, he massages the shampoo into my hair, his fingers making small, thorough circles against my scalp. It’s a slow, sexy process, one that feels so good, it turns my entire body to mush. I collapse into him, more out of necessity than choice, and he takes my full weight with a grin that lights up his face.

When he’s done with the most amazing scalp massage of my life, he guides my head back under the water and painstakingly washes out the shampoo.

He repeats the process with the conditioner, and by the time he’s done, my entire body is on fire. My hands are on his hips, my nails digging in as I press hot, desperate kisses to every part of him that I can reach.

But just as I start to drop to my knees, he stops me with a gentle hand to my jaw. Then he leans forward and kisses me until I can barely remember how to breathe, let alone how I thought this was supposed to go.

He reaches for his shower gel then, squirting some into his palms, then running his hands over my shoulders and down my back before sliding over my ass. He circles around to the front, his fingers toying with my belly button for long seconds before slipping over my rib cage to my chest and lowering his mouth to mine.

I twine my arms around his neck, pulling him closer. He lets me for one second, two, before settling me on the bench that runs the back length of the shower. Then he drops to his knees in front of me.