He raises up on his elbows and our eyes meet, and I am lost in the fiery depths of passion this man stirs in me. “Sara.” He whispers my name and the air around us shifts and I feel Chris everywhere, in places he isn’t touching me. A shudder runs through me and I pull his mouth to mine, drinking him in, burning for him.

Then his lips leave mine, and I physically ache with the loss of the connection. This man can hurt me so deeply. He could hurt me in a way I’m not sure I’d recover from, and it’s too late to stop it from happening.

As he starts to undress, I sit up to watch him. His gaze sweeps the jewels dangling on my ni**les, bringing a welcome heat in contrast to the icy pit in my stomach. And I think that tonight just might be a new beginning for us, instead of our final destination.

Twenty-two

All sinewy muscle and masculine perfection, Chris presses me back down onto the mattress, his hands covering my br**sts, fingers flicking the rubies. Little darts of pleasure rush from my ni**les to the V of my body, where the thick ridge of his erection settles.

My hand curves on his face. “I need what you needed earlier today.” My voice is raspy, urgent, etched with the weight that today has been, and all it has revealed. I barely recognize it as my own. “Take me there, Chris. Please.”

“Where I needed to go was where I ended up. I was shutting you out, like I shut everything out, and you pulled me back. You made me see what was important. What’s real. You made me see you.” His lips brush mine. “See me now, Sara.”

“I do see you.”

“No. You don’t. You see what happened tonight and what you’ve decided that means for us. See me now, Sara, like you made me see you.” He kisses the corner of my mouth and his lips travel down my jaw. “Really see me.”

“I’m trying.” My hands slide to his hair. “But, I—”

He kisses me, a soft caress of tongue against tongue. “No buts. Either you see me or you don’t. Either you let me in or you don’t.” His mouth touches mine again, a feather-light, barely there brush. “Let me in, Sara.”

Confusion ripples through my mind. Am I shutting him out? Isn’t it he who has shut me out? No. Yes. I don’t know. His fingers caress my nipple, and his mouth travels my jaw to the delicate curve of my neck, and I can barely think. His breath fans hot against my ear, and his voice is a low, deep, sensual promise. “I’m right here.” His words whisper in my ear and travel down my neck, over my skin, and settle in that deep hole inside me that only he can fill.

My hand slides to his face and I pull his mouth back to mine. “Part of you isn’t enough, Chris. You can’t hold back because of what you found out tonight. You can’t.”

He strokes his tongue against mine, and it is sweet velvet seducing me. “Taste that. That’s me. That’s us.” His tongue strokes mine. “Us, Sara. Forget everything else.” His mouth comes down on mine again, and I fight the passion consuming me. I fight because he didn’t tell me he wouldn’t hold back. He didn’t say what I needed to hear and I know why. Because he never says what he doesn’t mean. But it’s a worthless battle I cannot win. Not when his hands are on my br**sts and his mouth is caressing a path down my neck.

The last of my will to question who we are together and where we are going is lost when his tongue flicks the ruby strand. He suckles my nipple, tugging on the attached ring, and oh God, his other hand slides between my legs, applying pressure to the jewels attached to my clit. I moan and my hands slide into his hair, and he lets me. Some part of my mind registers this as abnormal, as him allowing me control I don’t normally have, but I can’t seem to process. Not when his mouth is doing the most amazing things to my nipple and his fingers are pressing inside me. His thumb strokes my clit, and he seems to have found the exact right spot to send sensations spiraling through me. I gasp at how quickly I am on the edge and he swallows it, kissing me. I shatter at the touch of his tongue against mine, pleasure trembling through me in a long wave of sensations.

“Sometimes pleasure is just pleasure,” he promises against my mouth.

“And that’s enough for you?”

“We aren’t even close to the place I call enough.”

And with that promise he slides down my body, and spreads my legs to lick my swollen clit.

I gasp. “No. I can’t. I’m too sensitive. It’s too much.” Everything is too much tonight.

“I’ll tell you when it’s too much.” He licks me again and I feel him tug away the jewel, replacing it with his mouth. I shudder with a mix of pain and pleasure. No, it’s all pleasure. It’s pleasure and I am lost to the way he licks and strokes and teases me until I am impossibly on the edge again. So close, and yet I’m not there. I need to be there. I’m desperate to get there again. And this is pain. It’s pain and pleasure and it’s Chris, pushing me, taking me there. Always taking me someplace I don’t know I can go.

He is not so far out of reach, and neither is my release. My sex clenches and spasms, empty and needy, and I whimper. Chris answers my cry, covering my body with his, but he doesn’t enter me. He strokes his shaft over the sensitive V of my body and I whimper again, my lashes fluttering.

His hand slides to my face. “Look at me when I enter you.” His voice is rough, intense. “See me, Sara.”

“I do.”

He presses inside me and thrusts, burying himself deeply, completely. “Feel me.”

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