Silently she told herself to relax. She knew all she had to do was surrender to the powerful melting tide that was softening her hips and making her breasts throb in an agony of desire. She’d— been made for this… Any momentary hurt would quickly pass, and then all she would know was the pleasure…
When he finally penetrated her all the way, Georgia was unable to hold back her cry of pain. Keir’s surprised glance searched her face with stunned enquiry, and his hard jaw momentarily tightened.
Moving her hand behind his head, Georgia leaned up towards him and pulled his face down to hers. In less than a moment he was kissing her with renewed passion, her pain forgotten, his demanding thrusts inside her body growing deeper and harder, enforcing— a rhythm between them that built with urgency at each passing second.
Just before she sensed his whole body tense and then finally let go, the muscles in the tops of his arms bunching like iron as she held on to them, Georgia rode the sweetly fierce tide that swept her up in its powerful current and felt as if she was flying. Ripples of intoxicating delight ebbed through her body, again and again and again. A strange kind of calm stole over her in its dizzying aftermath. Dazed, she accepted Keir’s final powerful claim on her body, and then he stilled and laid his head against her chest. She sensed him shudder violently with his own release. She shut her eyes in silent awe…
What had he done? His heart feeling like a bass drum, pounding out its rhythm inside his chest, Keir rolled away from Georgia and lay on his back, breathing— hard. Good God! He’d never in a million years anticipated such an unbelievable surprise. As soon as she’d cried out he’d known that this was her first time…her first! Astonishingly Georgia Cameron,— until a few minutes ago, had been a virgin. And Keir had accepted the gift of her innocence with scant hesitation—choosing to ignore the gravity of the deed to achieve his own lustful satisfaction.
He knew why. Lately, instead of the common sense he could usually summon so easily to his aid, he’d— let down his guard and allowed himself to be driven by emotions and feelings as far as this woman was concerned. It was a definite first.
Now, as he turned to regard her, the dark silk skeins of her hair tousled on the pillow behind her, Keir saw that Georgia’s eyes were curiously closed. Had she retreated into her own private world perhaps to make her peace with what had happened between them? He only hoped that she wasn’t regretting it. What if she’d secretly had some idea of saving her virginity for the love of her life? A flicker of the most profound unease assaulted his insides at the thought. Then he reminded himself that she hadn’t repelled him at any point. She’d been as eager as he had for them to make love…
Reaching out, he captured one of the shining soft brown curls that lay coiled against her shoulder and saw her start. Her hazel eyes opened in surprise and studied him, glazed with the hazy softness of lovemaking. Her words, nonetheless, belied what had just taken place between them. ‘Moira will be wondering— where on earth I’ve got to. She was expecting— me down for my dinner,’ she said calmly.
It was a ruse. Instinctively Keir knew that she was delaying the inevitable moment when they would have to discuss the momentous event that had just taken place between them, and he sensed her anxiety.
‘You should have told me,’ he said quietly, withdrawing— his hand.
‘Should I?’ Her voice faltered a little and she bit her lip. ‘Would it have stopped you making love to me if you’d known?’
‘I’m not saying that. But you should have mentioned— it at least!’
‘Why? Do you have something against virgins?’ she— asked mockingly, her expression unable to mask her hurt. ‘Don’t most men think we’re such a prize? Admittedly, twenty-eight-year-old virgins are probably— fairly thin on the ground, but sometimes it’s good to break the mould…don’t you think?’
Before he could stop her, she’d grabbed the linen sheet, wrapped it round her naked form, and moved away across the room to the window. Presenting her back to him, Georgia gazed out at the teeming rain as though it hypnotised her.
Confused and angry at her blasé attitude, Keir collected his boxers and jeans and hurriedly pulled them on over his own nakedness. Barefoot, he strode across the luxuriously thick carpet to join her. Before she could say anything, he spun her round and forced her to look at him.
‘Why?’ he asked her, his gaze hard.
‘Why what? Look…you’re really making a mountain— out of a molehill, you know!’
At Keir’s answering glower, Georgia shrugged.
‘All right then. You want to know why I stayed a virgin up until now?’ There was a small but discernible— quiver of her prettily shaped top lip. ‘After taking care of Noah, earning my living has always had to be the top priority in my life. I simply didn’t have the time or the energy to devote to an intimate relationship.’
‘Other people manage.’ Keir was striving to understand her.
‘Well…other people have different situations and priorities. Since my parents died, mine has been taking responsibility for Noah, making sure that the mortgage and the bills are paid and that we have enough to eat.’
‘After your parents died, didn’t you and Noah inherit the family home?’
‘We did…but it wasn’t paid for. We only inherited— the mortgage.’
It seemed to Keir as if her beautiful green-gold eyes clouded over with sadness for a moment.
‘My father got into trouble with his business and accumulated quite a bit of debt before he died…that’s why. I had to work hard to help pay that off too.’ She shrugged, clearly uncomfortable at having been made to reveal such a precarious situation.
Now that he knew her reason for staying a virgin for so long, Keir was stunned. She’d sacrificed a life and a relationship of her own for her brother, as well as taking on her parents’ debts. Rarely, if ever, had Keir encountered such selfless love and devotion. Absently he laid his hand on his flat, lean stomach and rubbed it, a myriad of conflicting emotions flooding through him at that moment.
‘And just how long did you intend to carry on putting Noah’s needs before your own, Georgia?’ he gently enquired.
‘It’s not a question of—’
‘How long?’ Keir insisted.
‘I didn’t have any finite date in mind! When someone is depending on you, you just get on with things! I know he’s a man now, and the business is starting to take off, but I suppose I just got so used to doing what I was doing that it became a habit not to think about a—a relationship with someone.’
She held the sheet tightly in front of her breasts, as— though to protect herself.
And even though he clearly saw that she was vulnerable right then, Keir almost wanted to shake her. He could scarcely believe that she’d been willing to put her brother’s welfare above her own for so long. When he thought of his tense relationship— with his own brother—a factor that maybe he should have been more diligent in trying to improve—Keir silently confessed to feeling slightly ashamed.
‘But you must have dated men, surely? Didn’t you ever let anybody get close?’
‘I went out on a couple of dates, but I never encouraged— the men concerned to take things further,’ she— replied flatly, pushing her fingers through her tumbled locks. ‘I was always worried that the energy it would take to commit to a relationship might encroach on what I had to do to survive.’
‘But this is your life we’re talking about, Georgia!’
Yes, it was her life—and hearing Keir say the words out loud made her realise that it was about time she started to consider what she really wanted for herself. The momentous event that had just occurred had awakened her as thoroughly as though she’d been asleep for the past twenty-eight years—and— finally woken up to reality. Transported to another realm by the hot tide of lust and urgent carnal demand that had gripped her body so emphatically in Keir’s arms, Georgia had at last discovered her own sensual nature. And, more profoundly, she’d discovered that she wanted to be loved by a man. She didn’t want to spend the rest of her life alone.
Her parents’ death had cost her dear in more ways than one. She’d expended so much time, energy and devotion on taking care of Noah and keeping their family home together that she’d honestly doubted she was capable of committing herself totally to a relationship—but— now a real flicker of hope was burning inside her, and she didn’t want to let that flame of hope go out.
‘I’m quite aware that it’s my life…And if you imagine that I don’t have hopes and dreams of my own then you’re wrong—because I do!’
Tears were horrendously close, boiling up behind her lids, while her throat felt as if she’d swallowed razorblades and hot water.
‘Noah is a lucky man to have such a devoted sister. You’re an amazing woman, Georgia…and the man that you eventually end up with will be a very lucky man too.’ His expression was unrelenting in its intensity, and Keir knew he meant every word of that compliment. Even if the idea of her ending up with someone else seemed to trigger an avalanche of hurt inside him.