"Tell me," he urged, the spark dancing even brighter in his eyes now as he reveled in her sensual torture. "Are you aching, Brooke?"

She swallowed hard and tried to corral enough brain cells to hit him back with, "Are you?"

"Like never before," he confirmed, then lowered his mouth to her br**sts, cupping them together so that he could lave both ni**les with his tongue. "Does that help?"

"No." God, no.

He was so beautiful when he smiled at her that she almost forgave him for what he was doing to her, for making her need this much.

"What if I did this, instead?" At long last, he slid his thumbs into the sides of her panties. But instead of sliding them down, he used his leverage to pull her closer and scatter the rest of her brain cells with a kiss.

Despite her frustration at being made to wait patiently for her pleasure, how could she do anything but unclench her fists and move her hands to cup his face and kiss him back just as passionately?

As if it were her reward for good behavior, he began to inch the final piece of silk down while they kissed. When her panties were down just below her hips, and without breaking their kiss, he moved his hands from the blue silk to cup her bare bottom.

Brooke’s legs automatically opened as he dragged her even closer. It was pure instinct to rub herself over the thick bulge behind the zipper of his jeans and, thank God, he didn’t stop her this time. She’d never done anything this wild before, had never tried to get herself off against her lover with her panties around her thighs. Rafe’s hands on her hips urged her to move higher, faster, against him and her lower belly fluttered as she came closer and closer to an explosive climax.

At the last second, Rafe stepped back. "Take your panties off the rest of the way and climb up on the bed."

His command was rough and as ragged as her heartbeat. She was nearly completely naked now. He was still fully clothed. She vowed to one day reverse that pattern.

But with pleasure this close, she simply slid the blue silk down to her ankles, then stepped out of her underwear to move with shaky legs over to her bed. He hadn’t said how he wanted her, and she instinctively waited with a hand on the colorful quilt, looking over her shoulder in silent question.

"Jesus, Brooke. The way you’re looking at me..."

He ran a hand through his hair as if she’d just pushed him too far—even though she’d done nothing more than stand naked before him. Clearly, he was doing everything he could to keep hold of what was left of his control.

It serves you right, she thought as her own desperate need raced through her system.

"I know you didn’t want me to blindfold you, but maybe," she suggested in as steady a voice as she could manage, "you should blindfold me."

Muscles were jumping in both his jaw and temples now as he growled, "We’re not going to use a damned blindfold." But she could see how much he liked the idea of it, and how hard he was trying to convince himself that he didn’t. "On your back. That’s how I want you. With your eyes wide open so I can see your reaction to every single thing I do to you."

A thrill shot through her at his command. Yes, it was sexy, but underlying the sheer eroticism of his words was the warmth that had always been between them, long before they’d decided to go to bed together. And, of course, he would never have asked her to do anything he didn’t know for sure that she wanted, too.

She would have moved faster if she could have, but it seemed Rafe had so much power over her that even her muscles obeyed his earlier command for patience. The velvet patches sewn into the quilt felt impossibly sensuous as they brushed over her bare skin, as did the tips of her hair as they moved over her back and br**sts. A heron called out for her lover from across the lake, and just as the male bird answered with a deeper call, Rafe moved onto the bed with Brooke.

His gaze roved from her face to her br**sts to the slick skin between her legs. That was where they stayed and where his hands went, too, moving to her thighs so that she was completely open to him.

At last, there was no more teasing, no more need for patience, as he lowered his dark head between her legs and gave her the naughtiest kiss she’d ever experienced. On a cry, she arched up into his mouth. Needing something to ground herself with when it felt like her body was shattering from the center outward, one cell at a time, Brooke clawed at the pillows, finally gripping the iron headboard for dear life.

The sound of iron creaking had Rafe looking up from between her legs. She wouldn’t have believed his eyes could get any darker, could grow any fuller with desire, if she hadn’t seen it right then for herself.

Because when he saw her holding onto the headboard, it was as if something snapped inside of him. And inside her, too, as the dangerous heat on his face tossed her straight to the top of the peak she’d neared so many times already...and then all the way over.

Her hips moved all on their own now, chasing ecstasy. He lowered his head again, and his tongue and lips were joined by his fingers, working together to draw her climax out. When he finally let her go limp from pleasure, she knew she was the luckiest woman on the planet as Rafe slowly kissed his way up her body.

And now it was her turn to make him feel just as good...

Chapter Fifteen

Rafe was amazed to realize that Brooke’s sensuality was just as fresh and innocently seductive as the rest of her. In the same way that he’d thought he could eat just one of her chocolates last night at the bonfire and then had devoured nearly the whole box, still hungry for more, Rafe now realized that one more perfect climax beneath his tongue wasn’t anywhere close enough to filling the deep well of need he had for Brooke.

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