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Ava matched his stance, switching her focus between the activity below and the buzz of helicopters and airplanes in the distance. She glanced at him when he snickered. “What?”


He raised his head and grinned at her slyly. “The little redneck boy inside me wants to spit over the side and see where it lands.”


“You can take the man out of Wyoming…but a little tobacco juice always remains.”


He chuckled.


They were shoulder to shoulder, enjoying the view when he turned around and pointed to the main space. “What’s around the corner?”


“A living area with a kitchen and a bathroom. Behind that, a bedroom with two bathrooms.”


“Handy.”


“Very.” A cool blast of air eddied around her and she shivered.


“C’mere. I’ll keep you warm.” Chase stepped behind her, wrapping his arms around her middle. When he nestled his chin on his shoulder, he sighed, “Well, that ain’t gonna work. You’re blocking my view, bein’s you’re taller than me.”


“Do you mind that I’m taller?


“Not so much anymore. Especially not when I see how sexy them sky-high heels makes your legs look.”


“But you still won’t dance with me.”


He brushed his lips across the shell of her ear. “I don’t recall you asking me recently.”


“So if I turned on music up here?”


“I’d two-step with you all night.” Chase swept his thumbs over her nipples until they hardened. “Well, maybe not all night. I might have time for a little mattress dancing if you play your cards right.”


“I’ll cheat at cards if have to, to make that happen.”


He laughed. “How often have you stayed in the penthouse?”


“Never.”


That seemed to surprise him. “Why not?”


“Because it’s usually rented with weddings and parties. My visits to New York are spontaneous. As much as I love the penthouse and the view, hanging out up here all by myself is kind of a waste.”


“Mmm.”


“But I do sneak up if there isn’t an event scheduled. There’s something very humbling staring across all these high-rise buildings. I get that same feeling when I stare out at the ocean.”


“What feeling is that?”


“Insignificance. Here, I’m one of millions of people. On my beach, I’m as trivial as a grain of sand. Seeing proof of my irrelevance puts things in perspective for me, especially when I’ve been puffed up by my own self-importance and have lost that insight.”


“I hope you don’t lose that humbleness, Ava. It’s one of my favorite things about you.”


She snuggled into his arms, wishing she owned the right to be in them every night, fearful of bringing up the “what happens next” question.


Silence lingered as they watched the city lights blaze against the indigo sky.


Chase’s hot mouth trailed kisses up and down the side of her neck.


She tilted her head to the side, offering him full access.


He murmured, “You’re so beautiful all the time. But especially so tonight in this light. I want you.”


A shudder of need rolled through her. “I suppose that means I should show you the bedroom.”


His arms tightened. “No. I want you like this. Right here. Right now. With the city lights shining like your eyes.”


“But the paparazzi—”


“Won’t have a clue what we’re doin’.” He gestured with is chin to the closest building, half a block away. “Can you see in the windows from here?”


“No.”


“Then no one will see us, Ava. We’ll look like two lovers lost in each other, admiring the view.”


The idea of making love in public, but in a private setting, appealed to her. Yet, she couldn’t help but compare it to her last rendezvous at her beach house. The humiliation when an intimacy simply became gossip fodder. She’d never put Chase through that. “Chase—”


“Besides, like you said, who’ll notice us in a city of millions?”


It wouldn’t be the same at all. Chase isn’t like that other guy who wouldn’t man up. Even if you are caught, Chase would stand beside you. He wouldn’t be embarrassed about anything you do together because he loves you.


His sweetly seductive warm lips brushed the shell of her ear. “Please,” he whispered. “I need you.”


Need. Not want. Ava turned and caught his mouth in a deep kiss.


He pulled back and his lips curved against her cheek. “I’m takin’ that as a yes.”


“Yes.”


“Lean forward a little and hold on to the partition.”


She heard his clothes rustle. Then his rough-tipped fingers were teasing the backs of her thighs as he slowly lifted her dress to her hips. One finger traced the thin strap of her thong down the crack of her ass.


“Move your feet out, tall girl, so I won’t have to go on tiptoe to fuck you.”


His rough-toned words were the best kind of foreplay. Heat and hardness pressed into her backside. Beneath the silky fabric of her sundress, Chase’s hand followed the curve of her hip to the rise of her mound. His finger delved under the elastic band of her thong and stroked her slit. He groaned softly as he discovered she was already wet and ready.


“Cant your hips back, baby.”


Soon as she moved, she felt the condom covered head prodding her entrance.


Chase fed his cock into her slowly, his hot breath tickling her ear. “Ever done it standing up?”


“Ah, no.”


“Ever done it this close to the edge of a twenty-one-story building?”


“No. But every time you touch me, Chase, you take me to that edge that always makes me dizzy.”


“I love this sweet talkin’ side of you. I love all sides of you, Ava.” That said, he thrust into her fully.


Ava bowed into the solid wall of his chest.


Eroticism bombarded her from all angles. The sights and sounds of the city. The temperate breeze washing over them. His firm grip on her left hip. The perfect friction of his shaft tunneling in and out on a slow glide. Then arbitrarily ramming harder. The teasing flick of his fingertip over her clit. The feel of his mouth tasting her skin from her bare shoulder to behind her ear.


“Chase…I’m already…”


“Christ. It’s too goddamn good with you. Every. Fucking. Time. Hold on. I don’t wanna push you forward and send us crashing through the glass for the big finish.”


She twined her left arm back and gripped his neck as he rammed into her more forcefully.


When he shoved deep and stayed lodged inside her, she shattered.


Chase breathed raggedly against her nape, his pelvis still bumping into her in tiny increments. “Ava.”


“I know.” She turned her head, rubbing her damp cheek against his.


“Do you?” he whispered.


“Yes.”


“Say it.”


“You love me.”


He sank his teeth into her neck and she squealed.


“Okay, okay. I love you, Chase.” She loved his playful side. She loved his passionate side. She loved they fit together, no matter where they were. No matter who they were with. But she really loved just the two of them together.


Chase’s voice dropped to a barely discernible growl. “That’s what I wanna hear.” He scooped her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom.


With pure male heat and hunger, he undressed her, then himself. This wasn’t a sensual exploration resulting in an achingly sweet union of bodies. No. This was raw mating. He demanded. Took. Teased. And ultimately gave all of himself with such unending passion, he left her knowing no other man would ever reach inside her like he did.


Sated, spent and sleepy, Ava stretched out on her belly next to Chase as his fingers lazily trailed up and down her spine.


“Was I too rough?”


Did he sound worried? She rolled over to look him in the eyes. “No. Why?”


“I got a little carried away.”


“I like that about you.” Ava pecked him on the lips. “Every time I think you can’t top the last go-round? You do.”


“Mmm.”


“And because I know you’re always famished after you ravage me, I took the liberty of ordering food.”


“What kind of food?”


She traced the scar below his collarbone. “You seemed to like it when I hand-fed you, so the chef whipped up two trays of appetizers.”


Chase froze.


Laughing, she kissed his nipple. “I’m kidding. I didn’t want to be interrupted so we’re having steak salad and other stuff that can be served cold.”


“This has been great tonight. Just the two of us.” He sighed. “You’re always thinking of me, so I’ve gotta admit…”


“What?”


“I’m always thinking of you too, and I lied to you the other day. I did buy you something at Tiffany’s. I’ve been carryin’ it around in my pocket because I ain’t sure you won’t think it’s stupid.”


Ava perked right up. “A present? For me? I love presents.”


“There’s news,” he said dryly.


“Hand it over.”


Grumbling, he moved and rummaged though his jeans pockets.


Her eyes focused on what he’d clutched in his hand when he returned to bed.


“Close your eyes.” Something cool and hard landed just above her cleavage and his finger fumbled with the necklace clasp below her hairline. “Okay. You can look. But if you don’t like it, won’t hurt my feelings if you wanna return it.”


Ava glanced down as her fingers lifted the charm. A miniature rose. The twisty stem and tiny leaves were antique silver. The bloom, the size of an eraser, was milky white shot through with pink undertones. Delicate, old-fashioned and absolutely perfect.


“I couldn’t find one like your grandpa gave you, and this was the closest I could come. The rose is carved out of rose quartz, which is all over Wyoming.”

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