“Sorry.” Out of habit he slammed the door shut behind them. Her bedroom was a black hole. But he’d gone beyond caring. He’d spend time paying her naked body proper homage after he had her once.

The front of his shins hit the foot of the bed and they fell on the mattress. Somehow he managed not to crush her. Somehow he kept kissing her even as he fought to get his shirt off. He palmed a condom after he unzipped his jeans. Next he yanked her pajama bottoms until her smooth, bare skin rubbed against his. When he kissed her knee and let his lips follow the curve of her quad, Tierney shrieked and scooted across the bed away from him.

He laughed. “It’s a little late to play hard to get, doncha think?” He balanced on his haunches and put on the condom. Then he was trying to read her body position in the pitch dark. Ah. There she was. The warm, soft, female part of her.

His fingers gently traced her slit as he scattered kisses up her torso. “I wanna flip on the lights and look my fill of you.” He licked the indent of her solar plexus and nibbled the bottom curve of her breast. “Take my time and taste you everywhere. But I’m too damn impatient. Been waiting for this for so long, Tierney.”

“Me too.”

He growled. “I wanna f**k you. Feel you wrapped around me. Inside and out.”

She made a soft noise, which he took as a sign that she wanted the same thing.

Renner nuzzled her chest, her neck, her jawline. So soft. So sweet-smelling. So f**king desperate to have her now, he layered his body atop hers, parting her thighs with his hips.

But Tierney’s entire body instantly went board stiff beneath him. Legs clenched, her arms woodenlike by her side, her head turned away from his questing lips.

“Sweetheart?” he whispered, wishing he could see her eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“Just go slow, okay?”

“Sure. Anything you want.”

The tip of his c**k nudged her entrance. She didn’t cant her pelvis or circle her legs around his waist. Renner began to push inside her. Although she was wet, she was extremely tight. That, coupled with the motionless way she lay there, tensed from head to toe, barely breathing, not touching him at all, gave him the impression she’d never done this before.

Don’t be ridiculous. She’s got experience. She sure as hell didn’t blow you like a woman unfamiliar with a cock.

Sexual pep talk aside, he forged inside her channel inch by inch, gritting his teeth against the temptation to thrust hard and fast and as deep as he could.

Jesus. She was so snug. And hot. And slick.

And not moving. At all.

Renner lowered his head and kissed the first piece of flesh his lips connected with, the skin below her ear. He murmured, “Sweetheart, help me out here,” and eased inside her to the hilt.

She gasped.

A groan left his throat. He counted to sixty. Then he rubbed his cheek over hers. The moisture on her face could’ve been from sweat, but he started to suspect another source. As he moved his mouth down, he felt the dampness on her jawline, the cool skin beneath his lips and the taste of salt. Not Tierney’s sweat. Tears.

He froze.

What the f**k?

Renner wanted the lights on right goddamn now. Wanted to know why in the hell she was crying while they were having sex, for f**ksake.

Just as he was about to pull out and scramble off her, she turned her head, pressing her face into his throat, almost as if she were trying to disappear into his skin. “Sorry. I just didn’t know it’d hurt this much. It’s sort of obvious I don’t know what to do.”

“Darlin’, you’re confusing me. What do you mean you don’t know what to do?”

Her nonanswer was his answer.

No. This couldn’t be. “Do you mean this is the first time in a long time you’ve had sex?”

“If by a long time you mean ever, then yes.”

“Ever,” he said slowly, “as in . . .”

“The dreaded V word. Yes. I’m one of those. Or, I was one of those until a few moments ago.”

Renner was so shocked he couldn’t think of a blasted thing to say.

“Please. Can we talk about this later? After . . . ?”

“After what, Tierney? After you get this over with?” What the hell kind of game was she playing?

“No. After you teach me what to do.” Her fingers tentatively moved up his arm. “I don’t have any hands-on experience in this either.”

“Why didn’t you tell me—”

“Because I didn’t want it to be like this. It’s not about me; it’s about us, being together as lovers. Show me how to be your lover. Please. Don’t stop. Renner. I want you or I wouldn’t be here. I just need a little . . . direction. And probably some patience. Lots of patience.”

Tierney’s bewilderment coupled with her curiosity did him in. He commanded, “Put your hands on me. Touch me.”

“Where?”

“Everywhere.”

Her fingertips arced over the dip of his shoulder and slid down the length of his back. She paused; then her hands squeezed his ass.

Gooseflesh rippled up his back. “I love that. Now, I’m gonna move.”

“Move . . . how?”

Renner smiled at the panicked note in her voice. So Miz Brainiac was the play-by-play type. He pulled out halfway, then thrust home again. “Like that.”

“Oh.”

He paused, waiting for her signal. Damn, damn, damn, she was tight. Sweat beaded in his hairline and he gritted his teeth against the temptation to plow into her.

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