Authors: Valerie Douglas
It was more than a little odd to lie down next to a total stranger but she knew he was pretty much passed out. His heartbeat and breathing remained steady though. She’d been tired even before she left the office where she’d been working earlier. Add that to the excitement and fear and she was pretty drained.
Lying on her side beside him though, Ariel studied his strong face, his square hands, the lines of his face and mouth. He was definitely an attractive man. She tried not to notice the solid lines of his body. Lean but well-muscled, not overdone.
What would he look like naked?
She couldn’t think about that. The familiar pain in her chest returned – the burning ache around her heart that never seemed to completely ease. Resolutely she turned away, curled her arms around the other pillow and went to sleep.
Not quite awake, mostly asleep, Matt was vaguely aware it was morning but he was far more conscious of a warm female body nestled close to his and his body’s very natural and predictable reaction to it. A warm body that smelled of some soft scent. Silky curls brushed against his cheek and the soft skin of her throat was against his mouth. Nuzzling closer, he brushed his lips over velvet skin. She tasted as good as she smelled. He ached and hurt in places but right now this felt just fine.
There was cloth between him and her but warm fullness underneath it that he could touch.
The lovely feel of a woman’s breast, nice and full, filled his hand nearly completely and very sweetly – and he had big hands.
Gently massaging, kneading, stroking, he simply enjoyed the feel of it, the texture and weight, as the nipple grew taut beneath his palm.
That was nice, that was very nice.
He slid his hand down to her waist, up over the curve of her hip to the smooth skin over the muscle of her thigh. That felt good, too, silky. He slid his hand up beneath the fabric to the juncture of thigh and hip, to real silk and what lay beneath it.
She sighed with pleasure in her sleep and shifted a little beneath his hand to give him access.
He was hard and getting harder, awakening slowly. Not that he wanted to wake up, not now. Not really. There was no hurry. Not right now.
God, she felt good.
It was a dream, a sweet dream.
Ariel yielded to gentle hands that caressed her as no one had in years.
Warmth gathered, heat tugged and pooled low in her belly. A pleasant, familiar ache grew between her thighs. She shifted, sighing at the memory of a time when someone had touched her this way, had loved her… Old grief moved through her and a yearning, a longing, for what had been, for what was, for the comfort of it.
Such a sweet dream. She didn’t want it to end. She didn’t want to open her eyes to find that was all it was, just a dream. Not yet. Not again.
Barely awake, Matt rubbed his cheek against the yielding fullness of that breast and felt the nipple tighten beneath the cloth. He pressed his mouth over it and heard a gasp as the warmth of his breath penetrated the thin cotton. His fingers found dampness beneath the silk. Then he slid them beneath the silk. Between her thighs. Hot and wet. Oh, that was nice.
Stroking delicately, he teased the petal-like tissues, the warm, slippery, moist cleft there.
A soft moan escaped her, then a deeper one as he slid a finger into her hot, tight depths. She closed around it. That was nice. She was so hot, so tight, as he slid his finger more deeply inside her. Beneath the thin cloth her nipple was taut. She quivered, her hips pumped, the slick muscles within her tightening as he stroked his finger inside her.
He was so hard. He wanted to slide himself into that hot, tight wetness, feel it tighten around him.
Matt opened his eyes to look into startled blue ones and froze.
Vaguely he remembered a fight, this woman, a two-by-four and their desperate escape. Memories crowded.
It hadn’t been a dream.
Still half asleep, her body on fire, Ariel stared into eyes as clear as green glass with incomprehension.
Heat moved through her, shockingly intense.
It had been so long since someone had touched her. It was crazy but she knew that even though she didn’t know him, didn’t know his name, didn’t know anything about him, she needed this, needed him now that he was here. She needed this touch, this pent-up yearning released.
She wanted it desperately.
It had been so long since anyone had touched her this way. There was a sweet deep ache inside her, a need to be filled. She hung on the precipice, on the very edge of satisfaction. She’d denied herself for so long and his hands were so gentle. The desire was so strong her eyes stung and she was terrified she would cry. More terrified by the shock in his eyes.
“Please, don’t stop,” she whispered before she could stop herself.
Those green eyes focused on her.
He’d been about to, to be honest, even though she felt so good. He’d gone so far. He was so hard and she was so hot, so tight, the slick muscles within her clenching as her body opened to his touch. He wanted her badly. It had been a while since he’d made love to a woman.
That last time… It hadn’t been like this. It had been nothing like this, so giving, she was so responsive to his every touch.
He wouldn’t think about that, not now. What had he been thinking? He didn’t even know her. She’d probably saved his life and this was how he thanked her?
Then she said those words. ‘Please don’t stop.’
Matt looked into her brilliant blue eyes and saw the desire, and the need. She wanted him just as much as he wanted her. That wistful yearning was in her eyes, along with a deeper sorrow. A deep and abiding grief. Something in that look tore him to pieces.
The truth was he didn’t want to stop, not really, not now. He wanted to bury himself inside her, feel that searing heat cupped beneath his palm take him in and surround him.
Almost against his will, his arm tightened to draw her body against him.
The warm press of his hand against the most intimate parts of her made Ariel ache even more deeply and an involuntary twitch of his fingers sent a rush of pleasure surging through her. Muscles tightened within her deliciously that hadn’t felt a man’s touch in years.
Insane as it was, she reached out to touch his handsome, rugged face, felt the scratchy roughness of his more than five o’clock shadow. Thin morning light from the window brightened the room and gilded his jaw.
She needed. She wanted to be touched, held and made love to again. Within her, the ache was building. The longing was so intense her head pounded with it.
Please, she pleaded silently. If need be, she would have begged for release.
Matt raised himself up to look down into her lovely face and then he took that soft, lush mouth – gently at first.
Until she responded, her mouth avid as it moved beneath his.
Instantly he was drawn up in her need, in her, tasting her with a slip of his tongue across her lips. They parted to let him in and he was lost. Plundering, probing deeply, he lost himself in the taste of her.
She answered with equal passion. Her silky slippery tongue met his and curled around it.
Deep in her throat, he heard a sound of longing. He felt the moment when she gave herself up to him completely and he engulfed her, crushing his mouth against hers. He drove his tongue deep into the warm, moist cavern of her mouth.
That sweet mouth responded with fervor, sucking, drawing him. He could have kissed her for hours, if the heat inside him hadn’t been so urgent, if the need within her hadn’t been so great.
One by one, Matt freed the buttons on her nightshirt until her body was open to him.
Then there was nothing but his own clothing between them, her heated skin, and her firm breasts pressed against him.
His breath caught at the sight of her body.
She was beautiful, ebony and ivory, with accents of rose at cheek and breast. She was so lovely his breath caught. Her skin was as white as the finest cream and as soft as silk. Her breasts were high, firm, tipped with rosy nipples. Matt was compelled to touch them, to feel the firm, ripe weight of one in his hand, the give as he caressed and molded them. She sighed and arched her back to press them into his palm. Her breasts swelled against his hand sweetly. He brushed his thumb across a nipple and it contracted, hardened beneath his circling palm.
Nearly breathless, he trailed his fingers over her slender body.
Her stomach was flat, taut, dipping in a little to the concavity of her navel, swelling a little to the mound of midnight curls between her thighs. Those tight dark curls were such a contrast to her smooth, pure white thighs. A chiaroscuro, a contrast of light and dark that to him was just stunning, so different from what he’d known.
Sliding his hand down over her firm stomach, he sent it over and beneath her hips to curl around the firm, tight roundness of her bottom. He drew her hips against him.
Pressing his mouth against the smooth pale column of her throat, Matt buried his lips against her, sliding his tongue over that soft skin to taste her as she shivered. He was so hard he could barely stand it. He wanted her so badly, wanted to plunge deep into her and feel that scalding heat envelop him.
He ached. But that longing, that aching yearning he’d heard in her voice, that hidden sorrow he’d seen in her eyes called to him. He would give her more in answer to that. He owed her that much. He owed her his life. Without her, he’d have been as dead as Bill.
He owed her for that as well.
This was certainly no sacrifice.
God, she was beautiful and he wanted her intensely, more so as he touched her. She responded with soft cries as she trembled, her hips pumping against him.
He stroked his finger deep into the hot dampness of her, curled it. Her tightness gathered around the motion of his hand and he took her cry of surprise into his mouth. That gasp sent another bolt of heated want through him. The feel of his mouth on hers, of his tongue sliding between her lips, had been electric. The sensation of her body closing around his fingers greedily was incredible.
A pulsing warmth spread from between Ariel’s legs as she opened to him.
Then there was only his tongue invading her, the metallic taste of him as he penetrated her mouth, as it tangled around her own. Warmth became heat as his fingers moved inside her and pleasure shot through her.
She needed, wanted more. To touch him, to feel him, her hands splayed across the hard muscles beneath his t-shirt. She wanted to see him, to touch his skin. She curled her fingers into his t-shirt, tugged it free of his jeans.
In one swift movement, feeling the pull, Matt stripped his t-shirt and jeans off, kicking them away, needing to feel her skin against his as badly as she seemed to need him.
Then he reclaimed her mouth and body.
She welcomed him back, one hand curling into his hair, while the other caressed his chest before sliding it around to glide up his back.
Ariel drew him against her, feeling solid rippling muscle shift smoothly beneath her hands before she sent them racing over his chest, his back.
There had been only that moment for her to see all of him but what she’d seen had been impressive. He was incredible.
She pushed away the brief stab of guilt.
Broad, smooth muscles spanned his chest, with tight, nicely developed abs below. Strong muscles across the shoulders bunched as her fingers stroked. His skin was smooth and intensely warm as her fingers glided across the curves and contours of his chest and shoulders, over the hard muscles of his abdomen. She relished the feel of him beneath her hands, the pure tactile sense of him as his mouth blazed a hot trail down the side of her throat. She was blind to anything but his mouth and hands on her, to the fingers sliding up inside her and the rush of glorious delight expanding within her.
His sex was rampant, erect. To touch him...to touch that long shaft… Ariel felt that hardness hot against her hip, the long heavy length of it pressed tightly against her as his mouth moved down her throat. Her fingers yearned to touch him. She reached for him, her fingers closing around velvety skin drawn tight over rigid muscle. He pulsed against her palm.