Secrets and Sins:Raphael(6)

By: Naima Simone



“I don’t, what, princess?” he asked again, lowering his head. The dark, surprisingly fragrant sweep of his hair brushed her cheekbone, tickled her skin. His lips, sensual and firm, grazed her ear. “Want to drag you out of here, lay you across the nearest flat surface, and fuck you until neither one of us can stand? Hell yes, I want it. Want you. But this is me trying to be considerate. Take note. It probably won’t happen again.”

How could he make her laugh even as he caused her body to burn? Gavin had never uttered such raw, earthy words to her before. No man had. Almost as if she were too pure, too pristine for the carnality behind them. But when Raphael stated how he wanted to fuck her—God, just thinking it made her blush—he hadn’t struck her as coarse or ribald. He’d sounded…honest. Need and hunger had echoed in the growl that had darkened his voice. For her. In the five years she and Gavin dated and were engaged, she’d never felt needed.

“Noted.” She squeezed her eyes closed and tightened her grip on his jeans. “And appreciated. But if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather skip the drink.”

A newer, fine tension invaded his body. The breath in her ear deepened, roughened.

“Let’s go, princess.”

He stepped back, grabbed her hand, and forged a path through the crowd until they pushed through the front entrance. The cold December air was like a dip in a freezing creek after the sauna-like bar. She inhaled—

“Can’t wait. Just one taste.” The low mutter was her only warning before he whipped around and crushed his mouth over hers. Stunned, she gasped, and he took immediate advantage. His tongue plunged past her parted lips, swept inside, swirled…conquered. No gentle query. No persuasive brush of a mouth seeking permission. It was wild, wet, erotic as if it were their hundredth kiss instead of the first. He demanded her response with the almost-rough molding of her mouth. Insisted on her submission with the unyielding grip at the nape of her neck. With the firm, steadying palm at her back. God. It was fierce. Passionate. Overwhelming.

And she wanted more.

A needy whimper swelled up her throat and joined the erotic dance like a third partner. She rose on her tiptoes, clutched his shoulders, the thick, soft material of his shirt bunching under her fingers even as she angled her head for deeper penetration. Her tongue curled around his, sucked. His taste. She moaned. Oh, it was beautiful. Underneath the tangy scent of beer lay an earthy, sun-warmed-land scent that called to her. She drew harder on him, telling him without words she needed more of him. Of his kiss. Of his touch. He groaned long and low. His fingers flexed hard against her neck and spine.

He tore his mouth away, swore, then as if unable to help himself, crushed another kiss to her lips. “My house is a twenty-minute drive. I’m not gonna make it that long.” He cupped her cheek, pressed the pad of his thumb into her tender bottom lip. “You live closer?”

She nodded. “Yes,” she breathed. “Back Bay. Not far.”

“’Kay,” he murmured, brushing a kiss across her forehead. “No second thoughts? No what-the-fuck-was-I-thinking?”

Regrets?

She regretted spending her entire life trying to make up for being damaged goods to her father. She regretted wasting so much time stifling her passion and dreams in order to conform to an unobtainable image of perfection that she no longer recognized who she was anymore. She regretted devoting five years to a man she’d trusted and believed to be a friend but who saw her as nothing more than a lucrative career move.

Oh, yes, she had regrets. Plenty of them.

But this?

“No,” she whispered. “No what-the-fuck-was-I-thinking.”

He studied her face for another long moment. “Good.”

Nodding, he dropped his hand from her face, enclosed her fingers in a gentle but firm grip, and led her away from the bar. Not far down the street he paused in front of a large black SUV. With a short beep and double flash of his headlights, he opened the passenger door and boosted her into the seat. She shivered against the chilled air as he jogged around the front end and joined her in the truck. He jabbed the keys in the ignition but didn’t crank the engine. His fingers fisted the metal, and she waited, confused, as he bowed his head and muttered something under his breath.

Before she could question him, he jerked the keys free and fell back in his seat. He turned to her. Shadows shrouded the vehicle’s interior, but she could make out the wild tumble of hair around his face, the compressed line of his full mouth, and his eyes… Her breath snagged in her throat. She couldn’t make out the color in the dim light, but the intensity behind the unwavering stare? If he’d reached out and pressed his hands to her shoulders, he couldn’t have more effectively ensnared her.

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