Approval seeps into his eyes, heat simmering in their depths, and one of his strong hands cradles my face, and then his mouth is lowering to mine. His tongue licks into mine, tasting me, and he is different now, we are different now. The kiss is hotter, wilder, passion unleashed, and I have a sense of being claimed. Like I am his to take and I want to be taken by this man. I want it very much.

Still kissing me, as if he too cannot get enough of me as I cannot of him, he lifts me off the ground, his hands cradling my backside. My legs wrap around his waist, and one of my shoes falls to the ground, so I kick the other one free. “Where’s the bedroom?” he asks, a gravelly urgency to his voice that mirrors what I feel.

“I don’t know. The right, I think.” I sound urgent. I am urgent.

He starts walking and I bury my head in his neck, inhaling his scent, and tiny splinters of memory begin to pierce the fog of desire. I shove them away, refusing to be consumed by the past when I have this man to do it for me.

I resolve to lose myself in kissing every inch of Liam’s neck, but as soon as I make a move, he curses under his breath. I struggled to see behind me. “What? What is it?”

“No sheets, pillows, or blankets,” he informs me, and he’s already retraced his steps until we’ve re-entered the hallway. “Your boss should have made sure this was handled.”

“I’m sure he didn’t think—”

“Exactly,” he concludes. “I’m taking you to my hotel, where I can lick you from head to toe on proper bedding.”

“What? Liam. No.” He shifts my weight and reaches for the door. “Stop!”

He straightens and he does not look pleased. “Stop why?”

My mind races for an answer, for one of the many lies I live to tell. “My apartment is directly across from the hotel. I’ll see the staff around the neighborhood. I don’t want them thinking of me as the floozy some rich guy brought to his bed for a night every time I walk by.”

He arches a brow. “Rich guy? Floozy?”

“That’s what it will seem like, Liam.”

He scowls and lowers me to the ground, pressing me against the door, his hands settling possessively on my waist. “You aren’t a floozy. You know that, right?”

I hate the excuse I’ve made, the lie that is my life, and the idea that it might push him out the door, that he might not ever touch me again, is unbearable enough to give me courage. “If you want to f**k me, it’s here and now. Otherwise, goodnight, Liam. Thanks for the ride.”

He leans back and rests his hands on his hips, no longer touching me, and I am shaken by how much the loss of the connection with him affects me. I am used to being alone. I am used to not being touched. “This is crazy, Amy. Your apartment isn’t ready to be lived in.”

My apartment. This place is not and never will be my apartment. It isn’t mine. It will never be mine but he can never know that. “I need to stay here tonight,” I say, and I am not pleased with the way my voice cracks.

Liam notices, too. I see it in the slight flicker of his eyes. “You need to be here?”

“Yes.” And my voice is no stronger now than moments before, damn it. “I need to be here.”

He leans in, one hand on the wall by my face his big body close but still not touching me.

Why do I need him to touch me this badly? “Then I need to be here tonight,” he declares. “We will be here tonight.”

We. I know the word really means nothing. This is a night. That’s what I want. He’s made it clear that is what he wants. But I like the idea of being “we” right now. And I desperately want to get back to forgetting everything but him. I push to my toes and press my lips to his.

His arm wraps my waist again and he pulls me close, his body a warm, welcome shelter from the nightmare I’ve left outside this door. “I’m not going anywhere you aren’t tonight,” he promises.

Tonight. It’s enough. It has to be enough. It will be enough. “Good. I don’t want you to.”

I’ve barely said the words, when he turns me to face the door. “What are you doing?” I demand, catching my weight on the door with my palms.

He steps closer, his h*ps framing mine, the thick ridge of his erection pressed to my backside. “Preparing you.”

“Preparing me?” I gasp. “What does that mean?”

He tugs my jacket down my shoulders and I expect him to pull it free, but instead he tangles it around my arms and turns me around to face him. “You can free your hands, but don’t.”

“No. No.” I knew he’d ask for too much. I knew. “I can’t do this. I can’t—”

He cups my cheeks. “Deep breath, baby. I know you’re on unfamiliar ground and I know you barely know me, but I’m just going to make you come. Pure pleasure, nothing more. I know when things feel out of control you think you need control. But sometimes, having a safe place to give it away is the best way to block everything else out. I’m asking you to let me show you I’m that safe place.”

But he’ll be gone tomorrow and where will I be? What place will my mind have traveled, and will I get back to where I was before? “Do you ever give away control?”

“No. That’s not what works for me.”

“But you think it will work for me.” It’s not a question. It’s clear what he thinks. I just want…more. More understanding. More…him.

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones The Secret Life of Amy Bensen Romance