"Madison," he said softly from the other side of the door.

"Yes."

His hands braced on the door frame, Alex pressed his forehead to the wood. "Let me in."

"Why?"

"Because I need to see you. Touch you. I'm going mad with it."

Her heart skipped. "Alex—"

"Hush. Listen to me. Just listen." There was a long hesitation before he said, "I want to make love with you, but not because you and I are here together, alone. Even if you were on the other side of the world, I would feel the same. We have something good going … and you know it."

Madison closed her eyes.

"No matter what my reputation says or what you've thought of me in the past, you know we're good together. Hell, darlin', we're great. I can't guarantee where it will lead or if it will last, but—"

The door coasted open.

His arms raised, hands on the frame still, they stared.

"Nobody can guarantee how they'll feel, Alexander. Or for how long."

His features tightened, his gaze hot with his emotions. "I want you in my life, Madison. You're under my skin…" He swallowed hard, lowering his arms and stepping inside. "And I want you to stay."

Madison choked, aware what that cost him, a man like him, a man without love in his life for so long. A man who didn't trust himself. She slid her arms around his neck, her fingers sinking into his inky-black hair. "Oh, Alex, we really shouldn't be doing this."

"Yes, we should." His mouth covered hers, a kiss deep with want and longing. "But say you don't want this and I'll go sleep in the car. Hell, I'll go beg Angus for a spot on his couch." He gripped her shoulders, staring into her eyes. "Tell me, and I'll behave and never touch you again and just go mad in a corner like the depraved creature that I am."

She swore she fell in love with him right then. "I don't want you to go." Her hands slid down his bare chest to his waistband. "And I certainly don't want you to behave." She tugged the strings. "Because I won't."

With a sultry smile, she dipped her hand inside.

* * *

Chapter 9

Alex caught her hand, then caught her to him, crushing her mouth beneath his own, his tongue darting and sweeping and making her moan in a way that drove him crazy. Just the thought that she wanted him, wanted to pleasure him, delivered him to the depths of his need. Passion fractured, unleashed and ripping through them. All the subtle touches, the looks and stolen kisses culminating in a flash fire of greed and hunger and a need neither could ignore.

Alex tried for patience, but when her nails raked lightly over his nipples, the strength of his kiss drove her back. Her bottom hit the counter. He lifted her onto it, his hips spreading her thighs, his mouth greedily trailing down her throat. He parted the robe, baring her breasts, cupping them before he bent. His lips closed over one tight peak and she whimpered, offering herself in wild abandon.

This, she thought, trying to catch her breath, was divine madness. He laved, his teeth scoring the soft underside before he took a second plump nipple into the heat of his mouth again and again … and leaving her mindless with sensations.

"Alex, we … oh, yeeesss," she gasped, licking her lips. "We … we need protection."

He straightened, capturing her mouth, refusing to pause even for an instant as he reached blindly for his shaving kit, overturning the contents into the sink. He rummaged, then crushed packets into her palm.

She tore her mouth from his and blinked. "That's quite a few."

"We'll need them." He pulled her off the counter, back stepping, sprinkling hot grinding kisses over her throat and bare shoulders.

The bed only inches away, he paused in the center of the living room, needing the feel of her flesh next to his, soft yielding to hard. Her lips swept the curve of his ear, and he shuddered. Her hand dipped deep inside his slacks, fingers closing around his arousal. He threw his head back and groaned like a beast suddenly set free.

"Madison," he moaned, his knees going soft. Nothing in his life felt better than her touch.

He trembled for her, and Madison felt empowered, a boldness rising in her as she watched pleasure float over his features. She wasn't innocent. She'd seen enough, done enough to be prepared. And she was eager to feel him, to be filled and stroked and loved. By him. Only him. She hungered more than she ever thought possible, and her aching body begged to lose herself in him, the years of suppression rising to the surface. She had never been more ready in her life.

"You're so warm," she whispered. "And you throb for me." Her gaze never wavered as she slid her fingers over the smooth tip of him.

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