Page 24

Author: Cora Carmack

After that, slow became a thing of the past.

His mouth crushed down onto mine. His hands left the door to tangle in my hair, and my back hit the wall with a loud thud. There was nothing sweet or delicate about this kiss. The guy who’d traced the lines on my skin was replaced with someone hungry and desperate. His hands held me in place as his lips conquered mine. I gave myself up to him and wrapped my arms around his neck.

He released my hair, and I whimpered at the loss, but then his hands found my thighs. He bent his knees and curved his fingers around the back of my legs. He lifted, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I clenched my arms and legs around his body, and I could feel the length of him pressed up against my center. My breath caught in my throat, and his hips bucked into mine. My lower back hit the door again, and I was happily trapped. His tongue traced my collarbone, and I fisted my hands in his hair. He cupped my behind and kept our hips locked tightly together.

His mouth moved down my chest, but he was too tall to reach where both of us wanted him to be. There was a small dining table to the right, and he spun and laid me down across the top. Then he bent and took the tip of one of my breasts into his mouth.

I cried out and arched up into him. His hands slipped beneath my back, and kept me there, my body bowed up toward his mouth. He flicked his tongue over the peak, and then traced a branch on my tree to the other side. The tension in my belly was so strong that I was going to fall apart from this alone.

I used my legs around his waist to pull his hips to mine and begged, “Please.” Cade ignored me and continued pressing kisses across my chest. I forced his face up to mine and said, “I thought you weren’t able to say no to me?”

He ducked and placed a quick kiss on my sternum and said, “I’m not done exploring this part of you.”

I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him up so his chest aligned with mine. “Explore that part of me later.”

His smile was so damn sexy.

“I like the sound of that, but I also like hearing you beg.” I pulled his face to mine and covered his mouth with mine. Between kisses I whispered against his lips, “I like you when you’re a little less golden.”

He pulled me up off the table, so that we stood in the middle of his living room with my legs wrapped around his waist. For once, this put me looking down at him. I pushed some of the curls off his forehead and gazed down at him.

He was beautiful in a way I wasn’t accustomed to. I’d been with plenty of attractive guys, but he was different. He was movie star gorgeous. Untouchable. Just to squash that thought, I touched my fingers to his lips. He was mine for tonight at least, and I was sure as hell going to enjoy it.

“I want you,” I murmured. “How many times are you going to make me say please?”

He turned and started moving toward a door that I hoped led to his bedroom.

“I think that one did the trick.”



She looked so good spread out on my bed. I hadn’t had nearly my fill of kissing her, but I was just as impatient as she was. She uncurled her legs from my waist, and I knelt on the bed between them. I reached for the button on her shorts and slid them and her tights down her legs. Her hips were perfect. Her legs were perfect. And the black underwear that matched her previously discarded bra were pretty damn perfect, too.

Something devious glinted in her eye, and she pushed on my abs until I stepped off the bed. Then she kneeled at my feet, and unbuttoned my jeans. Whatever blood was still left in the rest of my body rushed south. I fisted my hands at my sides to try to stay in control, but when my jeans and boxers hit the floor it was a lost battle. Her mouth was heaven and hell all at the same time, and the tables of control turned so fast that my head was spinning.

“God, Max.”

I groaned and laced my fingers into her bright red curls. I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted more. Part of me wanted to take our time, while the rest of me wanted to screw going slow. There would be time for all this later.

It was torture pushing her back, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I pulled her up to stand in front of me, and slid her underwear down over her hips. She was so gorgeous that it hurt to breathe. She sat on the bed and scooted back toward the pillows. I wanted to follow, but I made myself stop and grab a condom from my nightstand. Then I crawled toward her until my body hovered above hers. I hesitated, knowing how powerful the press of our bodies would be. Her eyes were closed in anticipation, and she was biting her kiss-swollen bottom lip. I pressed my lips against hers and sucked that bottom lip into my mouth before lowering myself into paradise.

I started slow, mostly because I was trying to memorize the way she felt around me. I hated that she’d been with that asshole, Mace. I hated that he’d seen her like this, but I was happy to know that she was mine now. I took her hands from around my neck, and laced our fingers together. I pressed her palms down into the mattress at the same time that I rocked my hips into hers. Her mouth opened in a silent cry, and she tilted her head back. I wanted to hear her, so I did it again, harder.

She bit her lip, and let out the smallest whimper. Each time I pressed into her, her reaction was a little less inhibited. I ran my hands from her knees, down her sweat-slicked legs, to the curve of her bottom. I snapped my hips forward and pushed up on her hips at the same time. She twisted and arched beneath me, moaning my name. The sound of it nearly pushed me over the edge, but I made myself slow down.


Her eyes fluttered open, and she looked at me from under half-lowered lashes. I pressed a kiss to her forehead, and then rocked my hips again. Her eyes closed, and I slowed my movements again.

“Look at me, Max.”

She whimpered but did as I said. The next thrust made my vision go spotty, and though her body contorted underneath mine, and she tried to tug her hands free from my grasp, she kept her eyes open.

There was too much pleasure, too much want, too much beauty beneath me. There was too much everything. The world seemed to expand to accommodate the power of that moment. Something shifted between us—small and ineffable—but we ceased to be whatever we had been before and became something new.

I saw the same wonder in her eyes that I felt in my chest.

Then I saw the fear chasing on its heels.

I saw her start to close off, and knew I needed to do something. I took hold of her hips and flipped us over so that she was on top, so that she was in control.

Her eyes were closed, and when she opened them that flicker of fear was gone. She smiled and pressed her palms into my abdomen. She shifted her hips over mine, and breathed. “I had a dream about you like this once.”


It was my turn to groan, and the thought of her dreaming about me was so sexy that I had to grasp her hips and still them until I got myself under control. She leaned over and kissed me. The press of her breasts against my bare chest didn’t do anything to help me, but it was too good to push her off. After a minute, I lifted my hands and let her move again. She sat up and raised her arms above her head to tangle in her hair.

The sight of her like that was the most erotic thing I’d ever seen, and I didn’t think I would forget it as long as I lived. It also made it hard to hold on. I slid my hand to where our bodies met to help her along, and she slammed her hips down hard on mine in response.

If I were an artist, I would paint her just like this. She reminded me of the spirits and nymphs that populated so many of Shakespeare’s plays. She was wild and free and inhumanly beautiful. The only other time I’d seen her this vibrant was when she was onstage.

Her legs squeezed around my hips, and her hands dropped back to my chest. Her fingernails scraped down my stomach, and I bucked up into her. She threw her head back, and I pressed my fingers harder against her. Then she moaned, and my world was awash in color and heat and . . . God, she was so tight.

Her eyes met mine, and they shone dark and glassy. I sat up and held her to my chest. Her body convulsed around mine, and I pressed my forehead against hers as I gave in to the pull.

I don’t know how long we stayed there, wrapped around each other, foreheads pressed together, gaze locked. It could have been minutes or years. All I knew was that I never wanted to move. Our bodies fit perfectly together, like a lock to a key. I kissed her, soft and slow. I didn’t want to think past the feel of her skin or the curve of her hips or the smell of her hair. But for now, I would settle for lying side by side with her in my arms.



I was relaxed and numb and glorious.

Until I wasn’t.

Until the glow faded, and I was assaulted my all the thoughts that my mind had been too preoccupied to think before. His arms were tight around me, secure and comforting and caging all at once.

Sex had never been like that for me. It had always been about bodies and sensations and simplicity. Sex with Cade was confusing. It was adding one plus one and getting an answer other than two. It was more than it should have been, and it threw my world off balance.

Cade got up to go to the bathroom, and I slipped my panties back on, and then went to the living room to hunt for my shirt. Cade’s place was the opposite of mine. He had pictures of friends and family on walls and bookshelves. Those shelves actually had books on them, along with mementos and keepsakes that apparently meant enough to him to bring all the way to Pennsylvania with him. His place felt homey. It felt nice and comforting, just like him.

Unease flitted around my chest, but I pushed it down. I tiptoed back to Cade’s room, and my nerves started to rattle. I stared at the rumpled sheets on his bed and just couldn’t make myself get back inside it. Cade was wonderful. Mind-blowingly wonderful. Tonight had been one of the most intense moments of my life.

But that was the problem.

We’d known each other ten days. I looked at the clock, and it read 3:00 A.M. Make that eleven days, but still . . . eleven days. There at the end, he’d looked at me in a way that no other man ever had. I couldn’t even put into words what that look had done to me.

It wrecked me, completely.

It was so honest and raw that it made the rest of my life feel fake and insignificant in comparison. Everything was changing too fast. Even now, thinking about it, I felt like something in me was disintegrating faster than I could hold it together.

I jumped when Cade’s arms wrapped around my middle. His chest pressed into my back, and he placed a few kisses down the side of my neck. His touch was almost enough to deflate my worries, but they stayed there, lurking at the back of my throat, making it harder to breathe. Even so, my body was at ease with his. I leaned back into his arms.

His lips hovered next to my ear, and he whispered, “Have I told you how gorgeous you are?”

I swallowed. “Not in a few minutes.”

“Mmm . . .” The scruff on his jaw tickled the sensitive skin of my neck and he said, “As long as you know.”

He was too good for me. That much was abundantly clear. He was sweet and thoughtful and generous in every way. He never missed an opportunity to reassure me or compliment me or touch me. I wasn’t used to that kind of affection. I shied away from it in every other part of my life, but coming from him I soaked it up like rain on arid ground.

I was tired of thinking, so I turned in his arms and wrapped myself up in his embrace. His chest was still bare, but he’d slipped on a pair of pajama pants that hung low on his hips. I pressed my cheek to his chest and looked down. Seeing our bare feet facing each other pulled something in my chest, and my breath caught in my throat. The intimacy of this embrace made me panic, but at the same time, the thought of moving out of it was painful.

He tugged me down onto the bed and pulled the covers over us. I concentrated on breathing normally as he slipped an arm over my waist. He reached over me to turn off the lamp beside the bed. In the dark, he pressed a kiss to the back of my neck, and I shivered.

I felt like crying.

I just . . . this wasn’t my life. Things like this didn’t happen to me, and if they did, it never lasted. Girls like me didn’t get guys like Cade.