“When you are done, don’t dress.” His eyes slid down my body and I felt my nipples tighten. “I want to see you. All of you.”
My cheeks heated then. He wanted to look at me, to see me bare and exposed. I should have been fearful, but it only made me… eager. If it had been anyone else who’d made such a blatant statement, I would have been mortified and appalled and fearful. But with Luke, I felt… God, aroused and eager to please.
The man was virile and dominant and yet he waited for me to accept his expectation. If I didn’t, I knew somehow that he’d be gentle instead. But this was what he wanted, what he needed and would not hide that. It only made me more eager for him.
Licking my lips, I nodded and went into the other room. Leaning against the door, I caught my breath. That had just been a kiss and I was so aroused. Could I survive more?
There was no question that he wanted me, that he would take me. Did he know that when he stopped, when he offered me a chance to bathe, it only made me more eager for him? I’d think of nothing but the kiss, of him seeing me naked for the first time. For other things. The wait was arousing.
Going to the copper tub, I adjusted the knobs until hot water poured in and I watched as the steaming water slowly filled the tub. Somehow, he had restraint, but only so much of it.
I had no idea how much time had passed once I sank into the steaming water, but he knocked once, then called my name.
“Yes?” I answered, my hands gripping the edge of the tub.
“May I come in?”
If I said no, I knew he would stay on his side of the door. I didn’t even know him, yet I was confident in this, confident that he would not push me. But did I want him to stay out? I licked my lips as I knew the answer. I wanted him to come in. I wanted more kisses. I wanted… more.
“Yes,” I said, my voice quiet. I was about to repeat it louder, but he heard me.
The door opened and Luke entered. His looked me in the eyes as he said, “I could not wait any longer.”
I liked that he admitted to his desire, that he plainly shared the truth. It was obvious in every line of his body. His jaw was tense, his hands clenched in fists and I couldn’t miss the very prominent bulge in his pants.
It was my turn now. He was waiting to see what I would do next. While I’d made the decision weeks ago to become a mail order bride, chose to board the train, this was the moment. This was the decision that made me his.
Luke wanted me. I wanted him. The connection had been instant, the attraction real. He didn’t just want to take me as John had. He wanted me.
Pushing off the sides of the tub, I stood then, letting the bath water sluice down my naked body. Let Luke look his fill. My body wasn’t perfect. My breasts were on the small side, my hips wide, but the way his eyes narrowed, the way he ran a finger over his mouth made me feel beautiful.
He didn’t say anything, only took a bathing towel from the chair in the corner and held it out for me. Carefully, I stepped from the tub and into his arms. He wrapped the towel about me, but instead of letting go, he lifted me into his arms and carried me into the other room, lowering me so we knelt before the fire.
“I don’t want you to catch a chill,” he said, now using the towel to dry me.
Slowly, he worked the towel over me, my arms, my back, then my chest as his eyes followed his motions. The soft material brushed over my breasts and I held my breath.
A groan slipped from Luke just before he lowered his head and took a nipple into his mouth. He suckled at it and I tangled my fingers in his silky hair, holding him in place. I cried out his name in a mixture of surprise and pleasure. I had no idea my nipples were so sensitive!
At my cry, Luke’s restraint fell away completely. His hands moved to my body, stroked over it, pushed me back so I laid down on the soft carpet as he loomed over me. The warmth of the fire was almost too much, for his body radiated so much heat of its own. I was not cold. I knew then that whatever the weather raged outside, I would be warm in his arms.
I was breathing hard as he looked down at me, raked his gaze over my body. “I can’t hold back, Celia. I wanted to be gentle our first time, but… I can’t.”
I shook my head. “No. Don’t hold back. Please.” I didn’t mind begging, for I was desperate for him. His restraint had only made me more eager for him. It was as if it only built my need for him to an even greater level than if he’d taken me when we’d kissed earlier.
Now, now I ached for him. To prove to him I was not afraid, I bent my right leg and let it fall open in invitation. It was a wanton move, but Luke seemed to want me this way, to offer myself to him. My blatant interest didn’t disgust him. Based on the way his jaw clenched as he looked down my body, then tugged at his pants, it only made him lose a little bit more of his control.