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She seemed torn for a minute before she smirked. “Guess we’ll see how long you’ll keep that slow mindset, won’t we?”


“I live for a challenge.” Dalton jerked her against his body and kissed her.


Her mouth opened fully but he denied her the immediate tangling of tongues in a hot soul kiss. Not for any reason besides he intended to take his time with her tonight—even kissing her. He rubbed his lips against hers as their breath mingled. He tracked the soft inside of her upper and lower lip with the inner rim of his, trying to memorize the shape of her mouth.


The strands of her hair slipped through his fingers like silk. He wanted to feel her hair trailing over every inch of his body. His cock pulsed behind his zipper, totally onboard with the idea.


Rory’s head fell back when he moved his lips to plant soft kisses down her throat. He paused briefly at the base to feel the rapid beat of her pulse.


When his mouth connected with the fabric of her shirt, it needed to go. Dalton released her hair, smoothing his hands up her sides and over the curve of her breasts, to the top of her blouse. Snap buttons, thank god. After he popped the first one, he placed a kiss on each new bit of exposed flesh as he undressed her. He pushed the shirt down her arms, letting it flutter to the floor.


She wore a girlie yellow bra covered in pink and turquoise polka dots. Lace edged the cups, highlighting her cleavage.


“I like this,” he murmured, bending down to run his tongue along the lace.


“I’d like it if you’d tear it off. Preferably with your teeth.”


“I’ll take it off.”


“Ah, now?”


“Nope.” Dalton dipped his tongue inside the cup.


Rory tried to pull him closer, her hands gripping his hair, mashing his face into her almost bare chest.


He stepped back. “Huh-uh. Hands by your sides.”


“But Dalton.”


“My pace,” he reminded her, pulling her arms down. “And believe it or not, I can go slower.”


Dalton captured her snappish response with his mouth and set his hands on her waist. For being so tall, there wasn’t a bulky thing about her. Rory’s torso was long and lean, flaring into curvy hips and thighs. His fingertips traced the skin above the waistband of her low-cut jeans.


She kissed him harder, her eagerness obvious.


He unhooked the button on her jeans and lowered the zipper. He moved his mouth to her ear. “Lose the jeans, Aurora.”


A delicate shiver rolled through her and she shimmied the denim down her legs.


“I can get it from here.” Dropping to his knees, he kissed her belly as his fingers tugged the denim to her feet.


She kicked them away impatiently.


Dalton stroked the outside of her legs from her anklebone to the lacy edge of her panties. He tipped his head back to look at her. “Damn, woman, you’ve got a set of legs on you.”


“It’s part of why I’m so tall,” she deadpanned.


“Get on the bed.”


He saw the wheels spinning, taking in the inequality situation. Him in jeans, her in a bra and panties.


But whatever had caused that frown line disappeared. She grinned and threw herself back on the bed. Then she spread her legs and crooked her finger at him. “Come and get me, cowboy.”


Chapter Twelve


Rory could get used to seeing that lustful glimmer in Dalton’s eyes.


But she’d really, really like to get his pants off.


“What are you waiting for?” she asked.


“Just soaking in the moment. Convincing myself that you’re really here and this isn’t another damn dream.”


Would he be soft and sweet and loving tonight? Instead of showing that dangerous edge she’d seen in him?


Then he crawled across the mattress toward her—all sinuous movement and animal hunger. Definitely dangerous.


Rory reached for the button on his jeans only to have him circle her wrists and pin her arms above her head.


“I don’t think you realize how serious I am about taking this slow,” he said softly.


“I don’t think you realize how serious I am about us getting naked first.”


“Are you gonna counter everything I say?”


“Are you willing to compromise on the pace?”


“Maybe.” Dalton lowered into a pushup position and slowly rolled his hips. The jean material rubbed the inside of her thighs as he dragged the hard bulge beneath his zipper across the rise of her mound. Over and over. With perfect precision.


She hadn’t realized he’d released her wrists until she arched up, wanting skin-on-skin contact.


He placed a kiss on the top of each breast. As his mouth followed the edge of her bra, Rory clamped her legs around his hips and propelled her body forward, forcing him to roll to his knees.


“Whoa. Neat trick.” Dalton grabbed her ass and hoisted her more securely onto his lap. “All right. Since it’s obvious you ain’t gonna do it entirely my way, lose the bra so I can put my mouth on you.”


Rory ditched her bra in two seconds flat.


“Put your hands on my shoulders and press your tits together so I can get to both those sweet nipples.”


The instant she moved, his lips encircled one rigid tip. He suckled forcefully, then softly, switching back and forth between her nipples. He tortured her with his sinfully talented mouth. Scoring her delicate skin with his teeth. Rubbing his cheek and his chin across the tips of her breasts, nuzzling and then returning to tiny licks.


Dalton sucked and tongued her nipples until they were wet and tight. His hot, ragged breath on her damp skin had her vibrating from head to toe. Wanting more. Wanting everything.


He nibbled on her throat as his hands slid up to the middle of her back. He slowly angled forward, returning her to the mattress with him on top.


A subtle scent of apples and cinnamon wafted over them as the heater kicked on, stirring the candle-scented air. Rory turned her head until her face connected with his warm neck. She breathed him in, needing something familiar in this unfamiliar situation in which she had no control.


Dalton was in charge. And he intended to prove it.


His lips traveled from her temple down to the edge of her jaw and to the tip of her chin. Nipping kisses followed the arch of her throat back to her breasts.


This time he ignored her nipples.


His soft mouth on just the outside curve of her breast drove her out of her mind. The butterfly light touches of his fingertips were beyond a fleeting tease, but a sensual stroke that electrified her as if he’d run his fingers across the nerve endings on the inside of her body.


Energy crackled between them. He didn’t tell her how beautiful she was. Or how much he wanted her. His hands on her and his mouth on her conveyed far more heat and need than any words ever could. Dalton’s silence was more arousing than a play by play.


Finally those deft fingers slipped beneath the lace waistband of her panties and he tugged them off. When she grabbed his forearm, he brought that arm above her head and commanded, “Leave. It. There.”


“I want—”


Her words were cut off by the brutal possession of his mouth.


Dalton curled his big hand over her mound. His middle finger stroked the outer rim of flesh beside her clitoris. Almost touching it, but not quite. Teasing it until she swore her clit swelled just to reach that stroking finger. Then he’d sweep his finger across that hot spot a few times and return to teasing.


“Dalton. Please.”


Maybe please was the magic word because he pushed back and shucked his jeans. Then his boxers. Picking up the new box of condoms on the dresser, he opened it, pulling out a strip of six. Ripping off one, he tossed the rest on the dresser, tore open the packet and suited up. His palms slid up her legs, over hipbones, ribcage and breasts.


Her breath caught at the sexy, slinky way he’d covered her body, letting the heat and the roughness of his skin skim hers.


Planting his hands by her head, he stared into her eyes.


So fiercely male. Yet in the glow of the flickering candles, so utterly sensual.


Rory reached between them and circled her hand around his cock. She rubbed the head through the slickness at her opening. “You make me wet. Your hands on me and the way you kiss me gets me so hot and ready—”


“Aurora. Stop.”


Gave her the good kind of chills when he said her name in that deep raspy murmur.


He kissed the slope of her shoulder. “I never thought I’d get the chance to be with you like this again.” He continued to drag openmouthed kisses across the same section of skin. The eroticism of it had her head spinning. “That’s why I want to take it slow. Savor it. Savor every inch of you.”


In the past she would’ve discounted his flattery. But cocky Dalton McKay almost sounded…humbled. Since she didn’t know what to say, she didn’t say anything.


Dalton pushed up and moved, gently rolling her onto her stomach. He kissed her spine above the dimples of her ass. “I found your tattoo.” He dragged his lips across it. “A rose. I’m not surprised.”


His heated breath and soft lips sent chills dancing across her body.


“I want you like this.” His muscular body covered hers. His hard chest on her back, his hips digging into her ass, his legs outside of hers. His mouth—that warm, hungry mouth—worked the back of her neck until she writhed beneath him.


He threaded his fingers through hers and slipped their joined hands between her thighs. “Touch yourself, baby.”


Rory blushed. She’d never masturbated in front of anyone.


Sensing her tension, he angled his hand to stroke her slit. “Can you do that for me?”


“I’ll…try.”


Rough-skinned hands landed on her shoulders and slid down her back to her waist. Then he hiked her hips up and spread her knees apart with his. “I don’t see your hand moving.”


“Because I…I’ve never…”


“I’m gonna have some fun getting you over that bit of shyness.” His fingers followed the cleft of her butt down to where her fingers rested. “Wet, but not wet enough. Push up onto all fours.” Dalton scooted back.

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