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.