He put his phone on the bedside table as I climbed onto the foot of his bed. I leaned against the wall and curled my knees up to my chest. Arms around my legs, chin resting on my knees I didn’t look at him, though I could feel his gaze burning into me.
The air was electric with the tension between us.
“I don’t know what to do about you,” I said after a stretch of silence. I lifted my gaze to be caught in the nets his green eyes cast for me. My head was spinning with emotions, drowning me until I wasn’t sure which way was up.
The corner of his mouth curled up. “Well,” he said, folding his hands over his stomach, “I don’t know how to help you with that, except to say that I’m here if you want me. But you already know that.”
I took a deep breath and blew out slowly. Releasing my legs from my hugging arms, I tilted my body toward him, laying with my head cradled in my hand. The fingers of my other hand skimmed up his jean-clad leg, from his bare ankle to just below his knee and back again. My eyes following the motion, I brushed the soft skin below the hem, tracing a crescent around the top of his ankle.
“Ella.” My name drew out on his lips, a rumbled warning spiked with lust.
“Hmm?” Still immersed in my roiling emotions, and slowly succumbing to the more lascivious of said emotions, I sounded as I felt: dazed.
It took a moment longer, but I snapped out of my reverie and pulled my hand back. Looking up at him I meant to apologize, but the words caught in my throat at the sight of him. The mellow glow of the night light cast him in muted highlights and shadows, softening his features. The feathers of his hair fell across his forehead in a ready-for-bed tassel. His eyes were dark with desire, and a muscle twitched along his stubble-shaded jaw.
I was fighting myself. One part pushing me away, back to the big bed where my daughter slept. Another pulling me up the length of his legs to snuggle up to his strong, warm body full of so many promises. I needed grounding. I laid my hand on his leg and watched as his eyes went molten.
Wrong ground, Ella, I scolded myself.
I let go of my inhibitions and crawled up the bed into his waiting arms. He pulled me close as I snuggled in next to him. Arms wrapped around him, my head on his chest, I inhaled his musky scent. His fingers combed through my hair with gentle strokes, teasing nerve endings that had been neglected for far too long. My walls were crumbling under his touch and the need to feel like a woman again.
I luxuriated in the soft sensation that his fingers gave as they danced lightly around my ear, down my throat, along my collar. He swept my hair back, and I felt his warm lips caress my neck. The kisses lingered as his mouth moved over my skin, causing my spine to arch with pleasure. I turned in his arms, granting access to my throat, my jaw . . . my parted lips.
As he kissed my exposed throat, I licked my lips. A soft moan escaped on my sigh. Dominic swallowed it as his mouth found mine in a kiss so warm, slow, and deep it brought tears to my eyes. I let myself drown in the tender passion of that one simple act. Relishing sensations I had coveted for so long.
Soft skin blanketed the raw strength of his hand as it slid under the hem of my shirt. Fire erupted on my skin beneath his touch. But he kept his hand low, stroking side to side across my stomach with the only need being skin-on-skin.
I rolled into him, pressing my chest against his as I came to my knees. The hand on my stomach slid to my back, and his other arm came around me as I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him deeper into the kiss.
He broke free of my hungry mouth to run his tongue along my jaw. Stopping at my ear, he nibbled and suckled. “Ella,” his whisper was rough with need. “We can’t do this now. Allison.”
I moved my lips to his ear and teased as he had done to me. “We’re just kissing, Dominic,” I whispered back, trying for a lacing of sensuality.
He moaned at my breath tickling his ear. “You’re torturing me.”
I pulled back and took his face between my hands. Looking into his eyes, I murmured, “It goes both ways, Dominic.” My forehead fell to his. “I’m as tortured as you are. But if this is going to happen, it has to be slow.” I straddled his hips, pushing my core against him. Nuzzling into his neck I whispered, “I want what you want. But I’m not emotionally ready. I feel so guilty.”
He held me tight. “I understand,” he whispered. “We can take it slow.”
“Lay with me?” I said, pulling away to look at his face and stretch my legs.
“Of course.” He stood and helped me climb under the covers. Then he stripped off his jeans and slid under with me. He laid on his back so I could cuddle in close, my head resting on his shoulder, my arm draped across his broad chest. As I curled into him, my leg came across his hips.
“Mmm. Be good, Ella,” he moaned into my hair.
I squeezed him closer in response, using my whole body. His arms cradled me as best they could in that position. “Ahh,” he sighed. “I always loved the way you cuddle in. Like you can’t get close enough.”
I lifted my head a bit. “Dominic? Do you have a gun?”
“Yes, I do.”
My head fell back to his shoulder. “How many? Do you have one for me?”
His sigh was heavy. “If you need it, yes. I have one for you.”
“What is it?”
“El. . .”
“I just want to know what I have at my disposal. Should I need it,” I assured him.
Another sigh from his kiss-swollen lips. “It’s a nine. A Baby Eagle. Holds fifteen rounds.”
That brought my head up. “A Baby Eagle? Really?”
“Yeah. Don’t worry about it now. Go to sleep.”
I didn’t argue, and let him help me relax by playing with my hair. As I drifted into a blissful sleep, I heard him whisper very softly, “I love you, Ella. I won’t let anything happen to you.”