The way you look tonight, p.13
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       The Way You Look Tonight, p.13

         Part #10 of The Sullivans series by Bella Andre
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Page 13

  Author: Bella Andre

  She yawned against his shoulder, and he made himself shift back. "You worked hard all day, not only on your chocolates but also on scrubbing down my house. I should let you get to bed now. "

  "I’d rather stay up with you. "

  He shook his head. "We both know what will happen if you do. "

  That little line came back between her eyebrows, and he had to press a kiss to it.

  He felt the warm puff of breath fall from her lips at his touch just before she asked, "Tell me again why you think it’s so important that we wait?"

  He knew it wasn’t a good idea, but he couldn’t stop himself from pulling her closer. "Because I care about you. And I want to make sure you have time to think about this. I would never forgive myself if we slept together in the heat of the moment and you woke up the next morning and decided it was a mistake. "

  She looked up at him, her mouth just inches from his. "Are you sure I’m the one you’re worried about?"

  No, he wasn’t sure about a damned thing anymore. Only that he needed to kiss her more than he needed to take his next breath.

  Her mouth met his halfway, her lips soft and cool from their ride. She tasted like red wine and cake and a sweetness that was entirely her own. He couldn’t get enough of her, couldn’t remember one single reason why they weren’t already in her bedroom, stripped down and having each other.

  She kissed with the same innate sensuality with which she did everything else, from making truffles to splashing with him in the water to teasing him over dinner. He threaded his fingers into her soft hair and tilted her head back so that he could have full access to every corner of her mouth. He was starved for her, desperate for more even as he was taking everything he could. . . all the while sensing that he’d never be able to get enough of her.

  He wanted so badly to do the right thing, but he was quickly coming to realize that where Brooke was concerned, he wasn’t even close to being a strong enough man to follow through on it.

  "Brooke—"

  She pressed her fingertips to his mouth. "The only reason I’m not inviting you into my bed tonight is because I don’t want you to think being with me is a mistake, either. Good night, Rafe. " She went onto her tippy-toes to press one more soft, sweet kiss against his lips. "Sweet dreams. "

  As he watched her walk inside her house, the same question kept repeating in his head over and over: What the hell had he been thinking to insist on making them wait twenty-four hours to have each other?

  But he knew the answer to that already. Brooke had said she could be casual about sex, but he knew better. It wasn’t who she was.

  And yet, did he even have a prayer of resisting her, even with all the warning bells going off?

  Knowing he wouldn’t be getting any more sleep tonight in the house with her than he had the night before, he grabbed a couple of thick blankets from one of the chairs on the porch and headed down to the beach. Lying back with one arm under his head and the blankets thrown over him, he stared up at the stars and worked to focus on the beauty of the clear night, the sound of the light breeze rustling through the leaves, the frogs calling back and forth to each other…but his head was spinning, reeling still with the taste of Brooke and his desperate need for more of her.

  Only twenty hours to go. . .

  Chapter Ten

  The next morning, Brooke wasn’t surprised to wake up and find Rafe’s bedroom door open and the room empty. He wasn’t the kind of man who could ever be idle, especially not when he was trying to distract himself. Hopefully, she thought with a grin, he wouldn’t be too exhausted at the end of their twenty-four-hour wait. Because once he was finally in her bed, she wasn’t planning on letting him do much sleeping at all. . .

  She hadn’t thought she’d be able to sleep a wink with all the anticipation shooting through her veins, especially not after a goodnight kiss that had completely rocked her world, but she’d ended up getting a fantastic night’s sleep. Probably because she wasn’t at all nervous about being with Rafe.

  She was looking forward to making love with him as the best darn treat she’d ever have, better than the richest, most decadent truffle could ever be. Yes, there was a chance that he could change his mind and decide not to risk their friendship by throwing hot sex into the mix, but given the way he’d kissed her the night before—a shiver followed by a bolt of heat went through her just from thinking about his kiss—she figured the odds were pretty darn low that that would happen.

  She’d intended to help him with his house again today, but she’d meant what she said about not wanting to rush him into being with her, either. Something told her that the two of them together in the same house, even with brooms and hammers in their hands, would have both of them quickly forgetting all about giving each other more time to think things through. And the truth was, she did have a great deal of work to do, especially since Rafe had gotten her insides so spun up last night that she’d completely forgotten to check out the pictures of the boutique space in Seattle that Cord had emailed her.

  * * *

  Ten hours later, she’d not only approved the Seattle storefront and transferred the funds to her partner, she had also finally gotten her Summer’s Pleasures recipe exactly right. Rafe might have distracted her from her work the night before, but today she’d felt so energized, so incredibly alive, that everything she touched had been right.

  Making chocolate had always been such a wonderfully sensual, all-senses-involved process for her, but never more than it was now. With every saucepan of heavy cream she heated up, she thought of the way his body heated hers as he pulled her close. With every stroke of her whisk through the creamy chocolate ganache, she thought of the way Rafe had stroked across her skin with his big, slightly rough hands. And when she let a newly made truffle melt on her tongue, she thought of how delicious his mouth had been over hers. . . and how she couldn’t wait to taste the rest of him, too.

  Still, even as she’d worked happily in her kitchen on her new batch of truffles, all day long she’d been looking at her watch.

  Only one hour left, thank God.

  Rafe hadn’t come back to her house, but she’d seen him out the kitchen window, working even harder than he had the previous day, a look of intense focus on his face. He hadn’t looked her way once, which left her free to stare all she wanted whenever he came outside.

  Her mouth watered even now just thinking about how beautiful he was, the way his muscles rippled and tensed as he moved. She’d had a couple of nice men as lovers over the years, but although she had a perfectly fine time in bed with them, her world had never spun off its axis, either. Some people, she’d assumed, were meant to give their passions to other things. Her parents had the law and economic theory. She had chocolate, and she’d tried to be satisfied with that, even though she’d always had a sense of it not being enough.

  With nothing more than a handful of kisses, Rafe had stirred up her deeper passions in a way she hadn’t believed could be possible. And Brooke now knew she’d never be satisfied with anything less.

  When the clock ticked down to the final forty-five minutes, and she finally left the kitchen to go back into her bedroom to strip off her clothes, Brooke shivered at the thought of Rafe melting on her tongue the way one of her chocolates did. It wasn’t hard to guess that she probably wasn’t like the women Rafe normally slept with. Not only because he’d used the word innocent to describe her, but also because tall, dark, handsome men like him were always with the sleek, exotically beautiful female equivalent.

  She didn’t need to step in front of her full-length mirror to know that she was anything but sleek and exotic. Deliberately reminding herself that Rafe had already seen her in a bikini and had clearly liked what he saw, she went to take a shower. She’d never been a high-maintenance woman, but tonight she shaved and smoothed lotion on nearly every inch of skin in heady anticipation of his
touch.

  Wrapping a towel around herself, she blow-dried her hair, then opened her closet door and stared at her clothes.

  What does one wear to be kinky? Especially given that her wardrobe was entirely lacking in leather and chains.

  Well, she definitely didn’t want to look like she was trying too hard. Good thing that would be hard to do, with a wardrobe that consisted almost entirely of sundresses, shorts, jeans, and tank tops. In the end, while she chose a simple white cotton dress with spaghetti straps and a fitted bodice, it was what she chose to wear under it—or not wear under it, to be more specific—that had her feeling truly sexy. Maybe even borderline kinky.

  She couldn’t wait to see how Rafe reacted when he realized that she’d left both her bra and her panties in her dresser drawer.

  Because no matter what he’d said about being more than she could handle, she knew she was safe with him. Only a true friend could give her such a great gift: the chance to play with fire, knowing all the while that he’d never let her actually get burned.

  She was reaching for her makeup bag when she looked into her bathroom mirror and realized that her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were already bright enough without any blush or mascara. Even her mouth was pink, as if just thinking about Rafe’s kisses had been enough to give her a just-kissed look.

  Five minutes left.

  Her heart had been beating a little bit faster all day long. Now, it pounded like crazy.

  All night, all day, her brain had kept replaying his words: "Last night, you called me wild. You’re right. I am wild. " Brooke took one last look at herself, but barely saw her reflection in her rising excitement.

  How had she possibly lasted twenty-four hours?

  She opened her bedroom door and walked barefoot into the living room. The way the soft cotton of her dress slipped and slid over her naked curves only increased her breathlessness, especially when she realized Rafe was already there.

  He turned from the window, his hair still damp from a recent shower. He smelled clean and masculine and utterly delicious and looked beyond gorgeous in his jeans and T-shirt. Even his bare feet were tanned and beautiful.

  For a long moment, they stood and stared at each other across the room, just as they had two nights earlier when he’d arrived on his motorcycle and she’d just come from swimming in the lake.

  Finally, Rafe broke the heady silence. "The way you look tonight. In that dress. Jesus, Brooke, you’re beautiful. " He seemed to lose the breath for anymore words at that point, and then they were both moving toward each other.

  She didn’t know who reached whom first, just that her hands were suddenly in his and he was tugging her close. Every single movement, every touch, felt so right. So perfect.

  So meant to be.

  "It’s been twenty-four hours. " He slid both hands up her arms and shoulders and neck until he was stroking her cheeks with the pads of his thumbs. "How do you feel?"

  "I ache. " Her confession was barely more than a whisper.

  His dark eyes flashed with so much heat that the breath she was barely able to take caught in her throat.

  "You ache," he repeated in a raw voice. "Where?"

  "Everywhere. "

  On a groan, he was lowering his mouth to hers, and she could almost taste him when he stilled barely an inch from her lips. "Last chance, Brooke. "

  God, she could hardly think straight when she wanted to kiss him this badly, but she knew it was important that she make sense of what he’d just said. "For what?"

  "To change your mind. " A muscle jumped in his jaw. "Tell me to let go of you, and I won’t touch you again. "

  Just the thought of his not touching her made her gut twist painfully. "Don’t you dare let me go. "

  She clenched her hands in the fabric of his shirt to pull him closer, and their mouths met in a hot, borderline frantic kiss. She was desperate to make up for the one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes they’d lost, badly needed to fill in all the kisses they’d missed out on.
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