The way you look tonight, p.10
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       The Way You Look Tonight, p.10

         Part #10 of The Sullivans series by Bella Andre
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Page 10

  Author: Bella Andre

  He let that sink in for a moment, let her realize he wasn’t just talking about riding motorcycles and jumping off rope swings into the lake. He was talking about sex. Raw, make-her-blush-down-to-her-brightly-painted-toes sex.

  "I’ve already told you, wild is exactly what I want. "

  Trying to make her understand, he said, "I promise you wouldn’t like the things I want to do to you. "

  When a new flash of interest flared even hotter in her eyes, he suddenly realized he’d just said exactly the wrong thing. Before he could take it back, she asked, "You mean kinky things?"

  Even hearing the word kinky fall from her sweet lips had him on the verge of losing it.

  The purely honest answer would have been yes. But he’d already been stupid enough to say the wrong thing once. More than once, probably, since everything with Brooke was getting more and more mixed up in his head by the second. He couldn’t live with himself if he dirtied her up. She deserved the white picket fence and the perfect guy who worked a normal job and came home with nothing heavier on his mind than whether his cousin Ryan’s baseball team, the San Francisco Hawks, was going to win the World Series again.

  The truth he didn’t want to admit to himself, or to her, was that there was nothing more he wanted than to be kinky with Brooke. God, even thinking about what it would be like to watch the pure and raw reaction in her eyes as he pushed her to the very edge of pleasure, and then beyond—past where she thought she could go—made him harder than he’d ever been in his life.

  But the fact that she was his friend—and that she was beloved by his parents and siblings, as well—made it way too risky.

  If it all went wrong, none of them would ever forgive him. And Rafe would never forgive himself. Not when he knew from the start that he didn’t have a damn thing to give her. . . and would only end up hurting her in the end.

  "So I guess that means you don’t think I can handle being blindfolded or tied up or calling you sir. "

  "I don’t want you to call me sir!" He hoped she didn’t notice that he hadn’t said anything about blindfolding or tying her up. The truth was that right this second, those two things were at the very top of his one-handed fantasies list.

  "Good," she said, "because even though it might be kind of hot in the moment, I’m thinking it would also be a little weird. "

  "It’s not going to be hot or weird, because you and I are not going to be anything more than friends!"

  The roar of his voice echoed back at him off the surface of the lake. Jesus, he needed to get a grip, needed to somehow figure out how to turn this boat in the direction it should have been sailing all along, rather than standing there reeling at the things Brooke was saying to him.

  But before he could, she was asking, "What makes you think you know what the other guys I’ve been with have been like? How do you know none of them have been kinky?"

  Clearly, she wasn’t going to let him off the hook without an honest answer. . . something he couldn’t help but respect after dealing with cheaters and liars for the past seven years. "I know because you can hardly say the word without blushing. "

  "And you can’t say the word kinky at all," she pointed out in that too-calm voice. "So obviously what we can or can’t say doesn’t mean much of anything, does it?"

  "Brooke," he tried again, "I think we’ve gotten off track here. You know I care about you. "

  "I care about you, too. "

  "I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt you in any way. "

  He expected her to finally understand and agree that they shouldn’t go down this road. Instead, for the first time since they’d begun this crazy discussion, she looked hurt by what he’d said.

  "Do I really seem that weak? That soft? That naïve? So innocent, so pathetic, that you really think you can hurt me that easily?"

  "I’ve never thought you were weak," he argued. "And you could never be pathetic. "

  "But the rest of it stands, doesn’t it?"

  Damn it, over the past fifteen minutes the uncharted waters he’d been trying to steer out of had only gotten deeper. "I don’t know a lot of people who are soft, Brooke. Or who have managed to hold on to any kind of innocence at all. I don’t want to be the person who changes you. "

  "It’s hard to believe that in all the years I’ve known you, I never realized just how arrogant you are. Do you really think you could have so much power over me? Or that you could be solely responsible for changing who I am?"

  Her chest was rising and falling as, for the first time, she wasn’t smiling. Instead, she was glaring at him while he worked like hell not to notice the way her wet tank top was stretching tight across her incredible breasts.

  "I don’t—"

  She cut him off. "You’ve been lucky enough to be wild your whole life. Well, it’s my turn now. I thought it would be amazing to be wild with you, but if you’re not interested—or just too plain scared—then I’ll have to find some other guy to be wild with. "

  She was moving past him now, clearly furious. Rafe knew he should let her go, let her cool off. Hell, both of them needed to cool off. But the thought of Brooke searching for—and finding—some other guy to be "wild" with had him seeing red.

  He grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him. The sand was uneven where she was stepping, and he tugged her hard enough that she fell into him, her chest pressing into his, her chin still lifted for battle as she glared up at him.

  "You’re not finding another guy to be wild with. "

  "And just how do you plan to stop me? Especially since you’ve already told me you’re not going to tie me to your bed. "

  A man could only be pushed so far. . . and that final taunt pushed Rafe a thousand miles past his limit.

  His mouth came down on hers, hard and demanding. She met him just as fiercely, her tongue tangling with his, her lips sucking while he bit at hers, then biting when he was the one sucking in her soft, sweet flesh. One of her hands was caught between their chests where he was holding her wrist, while the other tangled in his hair as if she was trying to pull his mouth even closer.

  She tasted faintly of chocolate, but mostly of pure, sensual woman. He’d been trying to convince himself that she was still just the little girl next door, but it was a woman he held in his arms. One with dangerously seductive curves and hollows that his mouth was perilously close to exploring after he’d had his fill of her lips.

  "You taste so good," she whispered when he finally managed to drag himself away from her mouth.

  He couldn’t lie to her, couldn’t pretend he didn’t want her more than he’d ever wanted another woman in his life. Especially when they were so close that he knew she could feel every inch of his desire against her stomach.

  "So do you, Brooke. So damned sweet. "

  She lifted her head and the softly sensual look in her eyes nearly undid him the rest of the way. "Then forget all of your excuses, all of your reasons, and come to bed. Taste more of me. All of me. "

  He couldn’t help but reach out to trace the contours of her beautiful face with his fingertips. She trembled against him as he gently touched her incredibly soft skin. He had always been dominant in bed, but the reins had slipped from his hands the second he saw her standing there dripping wet in her bikini.

  If this summer fling—one he clearly didn’t have a chance in hell of resisting—was going to have any chance of working, he’d need to work on his control.

  "I’ve known you too long and I respect you too much to treat you like some girl I picked up at a bar. "

  When disappointment clouded her beautiful features, he hated seeing it so much that he did the only thing he could think of to make it go away. Their second kiss was even sweeter than the first, as this time he remembered to savor her more, to slow himself down and start learning the curves and crevasses of her gor
geous mouth.

  Pure pleasure whipped through him as he ran his tongue over her full lower lip, then drew it in between his teeth. The little sounds she was making as his tongue slid over hers, the small tremors just beneath her skin as she pressed her wet body closer to his, had him struggling to contain the wild sensations jolting his system.

  It was going to kill him not to just take her to bed right now, but even if they were just going to be friends who had sex—wild sex, God help him—he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t at least treat her well while they were sleeping together.

  "We’re both going to think things through tonight, and then tomorrow night, if you still decide you want this—"

  "I’m still going to want you, Rafe. Just like I want you right now. "

  He didn’t know how the hell he kept from kissing her again, but one more little kiss would be a direct gateway to taking her right there in the sand. He needed to make sure that she had the time to think things all the way through.

  "Twenty-four hours. " But even as he insisted on the waiting period, he couldn’t bring himself to actually stop touching her. Sliding his hand down her arm to thread his fingers through hers, he said, "And as a thank-you for letting me stay at your house, helping to clean up mine, and for finally getting me back into the lake, how about I take you for a ride into town for dinner?"

  All she would have needed to do right then to push him over the edge of reason was lean in to kiss him again. One more kiss, and he would have been done for in twenty-four seconds rather than twenty-four hours.

  He was more disappointed than he wanted to admit to himself when she simply nodded.

  "Okay, I’ll accept your invitation to dinner, but I’ve got to take a shower first. " She gave him the most beautifully wicked smile he’d ever seen. "A really long shower. "

  On that shockingly seductive note, she slid her fingers from his and began a slow walk up to her house.

  He knew exactly what she was doing, that she was purposely taunting him with visions of her touching herself in the shower while he waited to take her to dinner. He had no doubt whatsoever that sweet little Brooke Jansen was going to keep pushing him closer to the edge during every one of the next twenty-four hours, and that she’d continue to laugh and smile through each and every one of them.

  And hot damn if it didn’t make him want her even more, knowing that the good girl next door not only had such a well-hidden naughty streak. . . but also that it seemed nothing could dim the naturally bright light inside her.

  Chapter Eight

  Brooke dried and braided her hair before choosing a pair of skinny jeans and a blue and white long-sleeved striped top to wear for their motorcycle ride and night on the town. After she’d made her suggestive comment to Rafe about the shower, her legs had just about given out on the way back into the house. She’d never been so bold before, but the rush that had moved through her at his reaction was easily worth the butterflies in her stomach.

  He’d looked stunned. . . and also like he wanted to throw her over his shoulder and drag her back to the nearest bedroom to do dirty things to her.

  She had hoped a few minutes by herself would help calm her enough to make it through dinner with him. Instead, the warm water rushing over her overly sensitized skin had only heightened her need. One kiss was all it had taken to arouse her beyond reason. She was no stranger to self-pleasure, but something told her that instead of taking the edge off, touching herself would only make her crave his touch more.

  Anticipation and heightened pleasure, she also suspected, were quite closely linked. And when she and Rafe finally came together—if the two kisses they’d shared so far had been anything to go by—it would be explosive.

  She should have guessed that just kissing Rafe would be better than any other sexual experience she’d had. He’d tasted so delicious—a little salty from the hard physical work he’d been doing all day, and fresh and wet from the lake at the same time.
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