‘I’ll…I’ll wait in the bathroom until…until you’ve finished.’

Was that squeaky, nervous voice really her own?


‘So that you aren’t overwhelmed by your desire for me?’

Why had she ever said that to him about being concerned that she might be the one overcome with lust? Both the joke and her sense of humour were becoming stretched to breaking point.


‘I’ll tell you what…’ Ilios’s voice was muffled by the wardrobe door that he had opened between them, and Lizzie had to strain to hear what he was saying. Automatically she took a couple of steps towards him, so that she could hear properly.

What would he tell her?

‘Instead of talking about your desire for me, why don’t you come here and show me?’

The door swung closed. Ilios was standing far too close to her—or rather she was standing far too close to him. But even as she decided to step back his right hand curled into her towel and tugged—firmly.

What was she going to do? If she stayed where she was she would be in danger of losing her towel, and if she moved it would have to be forward, towards him, and that would mean…

‘Nothing to say?’

She was up close against him, and his hand wasn’t gripping her towel. Instead it was smoothing its way up her bare arm and over her shoulder, stroking her neck, cupping her face. One hand, and then both.

‘Very well, then, why don’t I do this instead?’

He finished his sentence in a whisper, practically forming the words against her lips with his lips—lips that were smooth and warm and expertly knowing as they moved slowly over hers, pausing, lifting to allow her to gasp in a shaken breath. His fingers smoothed the skin of her face, and then he was kissing her again, slowly and lingeringly, each second of his touch its own intimate world of pleasure, given and then removed. A tantalising, tormenting unbelievably erotic pleasure, nothing more than light skimming kisses but at the same time so deeply sensual that they transported her to a whole new world.

Each time he kissed her and then withdrew Lizzie moved closer, hungering for more. Her own hand lifted to his face.

‘I’ve wanted to do this from the first moment I saw you,’ she admitted breathlessly, touching his skin with her fingertips, absorbing its texture, learning the shape of the muscles that lay beneath the warm flesh, her eyes dark and hot with what she was feeling.

‘Only this? Nothing more?’

Ilios’s voice was as soft and warm, as erotic to her senses as the dark cross of fine silky hair that painted his body. His words, with their tempting invitation, made her tremble beneath the intensity of her own desire.

‘Not this, perhaps?’ he suggested, sliding his hand round the curve of her throat and kissing her bare shoulder, each movement of his lips setting off a firestorm of quivering delight.

‘Or this?’ His tongue stroked the sensitive flesh just behind her earlobe, making her shudder visibly and cling to him as though her flesh was so boneless and pliable that she could melt into him. She wanted him so much—which made it all the harder to bear when he stopped kissing her and released her.

That was it? He was going to leave her like this? Aching so badly for him that—

‘Come on,’ he told her. ‘I’ll show you the garden.’

The garden? Now? She didn’t want the garden. She wanted him. But Ilios was reaching for her hand and drawing her with him as he headed for the door.

They had been late coming back from lunch, and now it was almost dark. Cleverly placed lights illuminated the garden, transforming it into a space filled with magical images. The ruined temple was highlighted against the evening sky, the colonnade woven with a net of tiny starry lights.

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