His Unlikely Lover (Unwanted #3)(4)

By: Natasha Anders


“I’m such a fool.” Her voice was so low that he had to bend his head a few inches to catch the words.

“No, you’re not. Why would you say that? Did somebody say something to upset you?”

She raised a slender, slightly calloused hand to his cheek and stroked the flesh softly. He found the combination of soft and hard on his skin disturbing and unthinkingly dragged his face away from her gentle touch, leaving her small hand hovering in midair. Her eyes immediately filled with pain, and he felt like a complete ass for putting that look on her face. He didn’t know what was going on with her tonight, but he had no doubt that the amount of alcohol she had consumed would have her regretting her actions in the morning.

She dropped her hand down to her side, and he reached up to cradle her delicate face between both of his hands.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” he murmured, and watched with a perplexed frown as her eyes filled with tears. Bobbi hardly ever cried; in fact he could count on one hand the number of times he had seen her cry over the last twenty years. He didn’t know how to respond to this. He watched as a single tear slid down her smooth cheek, until it collided with one of his thumbs and formed a tiny pool beneath the digit.

“I’m a fool,” she repeated, her tone numb.

“Bobbi, I . . .” Every thought fled from his mind when she went up onto her toes and firmly planted her soft, sweet lips on his mouth, catching him in midsentence. The next breath he inhaled was hers. It filled his lungs and he held it in for one long, possessive moment until he had no choice but to relinquish it back to her.

Oh my God! It was the only coherent thought he had as he found himself taking control of the kiss that she had initiated, sweeping his tongue into the sweet, hot depths of her mouth, relishing the taste of her, the smell, the feel . . . God, she felt good—a small, perfect armful that he couldn’t seem to get close enough to. He moved one hand down to the small of her back, anchoring her to him, bending her backward in an attempt to get even closer.

Oh my God!

Every delectable inch of her was plastered to him from chest to thighs, and he wanted her even closer. Some distant part of his mind was making faintly alarmed noises, but most of his higher brain functions had short-circuited the moment her soft lips had touched his. Sure they’d exchanged kisses before, perfunctory pecks that were nothing like this. Where the hell had this come from?

She tasted like champagne—sweet and tart—and her kiss effervesced through his system, sending his nerve endings tingling with ebullient messages that were hard to ignore.

He lifted his mouth from her intoxicating lips for a second, needing air, but all he inhaled was Bobbi . . . the heady scent of vanilla and freesias. Why had he never known how good she smelled before now? he wondered absently before angling his mouth to take hers again.

She murmured his name, and despite the music and noise swirling around them, the fractured sound registered just as he reclaimed her lips, and it was as effective as being doused in ice water. He jerked his head back and shook it to clear his befuddled brain.

What the hell am I doing?

He stepped away from her a second after that thought rang through his mind, putting some desperately needed distance between his aroused body and hers. He was still too close to her for his liking—her every gasping breath threatening to bring her chest within touching distance of his ribcage—but the crowd made it difficult to move farther away from her.

She had her face tilted up toward his, her heavy-lidded eyes were liquid with longing, her every breath emerged on a hitched sob, and her skin had a flushed, dewy look that immediately betrayed her arousal. It was all he could do to prevent himself from reaching for her again. She was drunk, he reminded himself. He was the one who had to maintain control; he couldn’t take advantage of her. It was unthinkable—this was Bobbi! That thought immediately dampened his arousal and brought his body firmly back under his control.

He clung to that: Bobbi. It put things into jarring perspective. He didn’t know what the hell had just happened, but it had to have been a temporary aberration.

This was Bobbi.

He pushed memories of her as a small girl with a gap-toothed grin and pigtails into his brain, and then as an awkward preadolescent, a gawky teenager, and lastly a permanently disheveled young woman in overalls, with grease smeared on her face, and he immediately felt . . . less. Just less.

He forced one of his hands to reach for her elbow and ignored the residual tingling in his fingertips as he latched onto her silky skin. He dragged her to the side of the dance floor and looked around until he found an empty chair in a relatively quiet spot. He led her to it and urged her to sit down. She still looked a bit dazed and thankfully sat down without protest. He sank onto his haunches in front of her.

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