I swallow hard, my throat like sandpaper, my body wet and wanting. I am aroused by this and everything Chris does. I reach for the dress.

“No,” he orders. “Undress first.”

I nod and lean against the wall to unlace my boots, and pull them and my socks off. He stares at my pink-painted toes and good lord, he makes even that hot. I reach for my pants and unlace the strings holding them closed before sliding them down over my h*ps and down my legs, leaving the expensive, gold-jeweled cream-colored panties in place.

My shirt comes next and I pull it over my head and toss it to the floor, standing before Chris in only my bra and panties.

His gaze sweeps over me, hot and heavy, his eyes dark, hooded. “Everything.”

I blanch. “But--”

“Everything. I want to be able to get to you when I want you. And we’ll both know I can anytime, anywhere.”

Heat rushes over my skin at the implication. He means to have me in public. I should be appalled. I should say no. Instead, I am weak in the knees with desire. I slide my fingers into the thin strings of my thong and slide it to the floor.

Chris’s gaze follows the path they take, his stare traveling my skin, touching me with such heat that it might as well be his hand. I step out of the panties and have no intention to stand there and wait for his next command.

I unhook my bra and toss it at him. “Happy now?” I challenge.

He arches a brow and I think I might see a hint of a smile on his lips, maybe. Perhaps not. “Don’t test me, Sara. You won’t like the results.”

“Or maybe, I will.” Maybe I’ll push his control. Maybe I’ll get inside him and tear down the wall.

“You won’t.” His words are hard and too certain to be comfortable for me.

He pushes to his feet though, and I silently cry out with joy. Touch me. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. He saunters over to me and stops out of reach. He scoops up the dress, his eyes raking over my body. My ni**les pucker under his scrutiny, tight balls of aching need and I pray for his mouth on me sooner, not later.

He hands me the dress. “Put it on.”

Put it on? Without him touching me? He can’t be serious. “Right now?”

“Right now.”

You know I have to punish you. Rebecca’s words come back to me. He’s punishing me, absolutely torturing me. Making me pay a price for daring to take control. But deep down, I come to a conclusion. I came close to breaking through his wall or he wouldn’t be doing this. It’s this information that makes the torture bearable.

I take the dress, and I notice he is careful not to touch me. I pull the chiffon material over my head and the silk rasps over my ni**les and skin. I am so ultra-sensitized I think I could come with one touch of his mouth in the right place. And I believe there would be many right places at this juncture in time.

The dress falls into place and Chris’s eyes never leave mine. “The shoes.”

I slip them on and he walks around me, giving me a careful, penetrating inspection before stopping before me. “Beautiful, baby. You look stunning.”

My chin lifts. “But not stunning enough to f**k right now.”

“More than enough to f**k, just not yet.” He leans in, his lips by my ear, but he is careful not to touch me anywhere else. “Because when I do, you’ll be so hot and wet, you’ll be mine to do with what I want. And believe me baby — I want plenty.”

“You’re punishing me.”

He looks at me and his eyes soften as he brushes his knuckles over my shoulder. Goosebumps lift all over my skin. “Does that feel like punishment?”

More like pure bliss. “No.”

“Then you have your answer.”

***

We step into the hallway and Chris takes my hand, his eyes meeting mine, and I know he can see the sweet relief washing over me at his touch. His green eyes dance with amber heat and he leads me down the hallway, all masculine sensuality and raw power. I am insanely into this man. He pushes every button I own, in all the right ways. Every second I am with him, I feel more alive.

Another couple waits by the elevator, and we step inside behind them. Chris leans against the wall and pulls my back against his front. I soften against all his hardness, and his fingers curl around my waist, where they begin a slow caress. My ni**les pucker against the thin material and I become ultra-aware of how na**d I am underneath the dress.

The man across from me glances down, stroking my chest with a stare that makes me want to smack him for the woman he is with. I turn in Chris’s arms, giving the man my back. “Where are we headed?”

“In light of recent events, I thought food before wine seemed a good idea.”

“Yes. Please.”

The elevator dings and we let the other couple exit first. Chris takes my hand and I hit the elevator button to hold the door. “I need to go upstairs.” I glance down at my dress, my ni**les puckering too obviously.

His lips quirk. “I already planned to have the hotel bring you a shawl and a coat to match the dress in case the evening gets chilly.”

Relief washes over me. “Thank you.”

“You just let me take care of everything tonight.” He pulls me under his arm and I let go of the elevator button as we step into the lobby. Let Chris take care of everything. It is a thrilling, dangerous idea, I cannot help but crave.

Chapter Twenty-Three

We are escorted to a circular private dining room. Chris holds the chair for me as I settle next to an oval window overlooking green mountains and a glorious blue skyline. I slide my purse onto the chair and I am in awe of the view. “It’s spectacular.”

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