Page 16 of Overexposed

“I have to see how sweet you taste,” he muttered, sounding as helpless as she felt. “If only once…I have to taste you.”

Drawing her forward, he bent closer. Even knowing it was crazy and could go nowhere, Izzie prepared for a kiss she’d wanted for more than a decade. She’d cried over that mouth, had fantasized over those lips for more nights than she could count.

And she wanted it, God how she wanted it. Even if it was all she was ever going to get to have of him.

But rather than a simple kiss-the soft brush of his mouth on hers-he shocked her by immediately sampling her lips with his tongue, tasting her, as he’d said he must.

She whimpered, low and helpless.

“Oh, very sweet,” he whispered, licking at the seam of her lips again, boldly demanding entrance rather than asking for it with a more typical, closed-mouthed first kiss.

Izzie couldn’t deny him or herself. With a hungry groan, she opened to him, welcoming his tongue in a deep, sensual exchange that she felt from her head to the tips of her toes.

He’d thought she tasted sweet. She thought he tasted like irresistible sin. He was warm and spicy, his mouth just moist enough to whet her appetite. Just hot enough to send her temperature rocketing higher.

He sunk his other hand in her hair and held her close. Sagging against him, Izzie gave herself over to pleasure, wondering how it was possible for something to be as good as a dozen years of dreaming had promised it would be. It was a kiss more intimate than any she’d had even when making love. Because it was like making love. It was hot and sexy and powerful.

Their tongues found a common rhythm and tangled to it as their bodies melted together. Her nipples ached with need as they pressed against his broad chest. She arched harder against him, easing her legs apart to cup him intimately, whimpering again when she felt his huge erection.

He wanted her. Badly. As much as she wanted him.

The realization was almost enough to shock her into doing something stupid like ending the kiss. This was Nick-the guy she’d always wanted-hot and hard and hungry for her.

“Don’t say no to me, sweetheart,” he whispered as he finally-regretfully-drew his mouth from hers. He moved it to press kisses along her jaw, then down to the throbbing pulse point below her ear. “Say yes.”

Yes, say yes! a voice screamed.

Oh, he was so tempting. And she wanted him desperately-wanted him to pull off her clothes, back her up against the counter and make love to her right on top of it. It would be incredible, the culmination of all her dreams and secret fantasies. She could finally put an end to all the years of restless, hopeless wanting.

But it wouldn’t be the end. It would be the start of something, rather than the end of it. He’d make incredible love to her, make her come with a few more touches of his hands and a few more of those incredible kisses and she’d be alive and happy and completely fulfilled for the first time in her life.

But then he’d want to take her out for a pizza. Or get together with friends. And she’d be caught so deep in a quagmire of family and home that she’d never be able to get free of it.

“Say yes, Izzie,” he ordered, sucking her earlobe into his mouth and nibbling it-a tiny bite that she felt clear to the floor. “Give me your number and let’s finally get this started.”

Get this started. Get everything started.

She just couldn’t do it. Izzie had always been strong and determined and had taken what she wanted. But she couldn’t take him. Not now. It was much too late.

Yanking away, she winced as her tangled hair got caught in his fingertips. Her breathing ragged, her body crying out at the injustice, she shook her head, hard. Then she backed away, wrapping her arms around her waist in self protection. “No.”

He started to follow, his dark eyes glittering…predatory. “You don’t mean it.”

She held a hand up. “Yes. I do,” she said with a firm shake of her head. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’re closed and I have work to do in the kitchen.” Taking a deep breath and striving to keep her voice steady, she added, “I want you to leave.”


ON HIS FIRST NIGHT working at Leather and Lace, Nick showed up in a bad mood. He’d been in a bad mood for two days-since Izzie Natale had shot down his efforts to get closer to her.

The woman was unbelievable. Ten years ago, she might as well have taken out an ad in the Trib declaring her devotion to him. Now she wouldn’t throw dog drool on him if he was on fire.

Damn, she was feisty. Had she always been that way? He figured with Gloria for a sister she had been. But considering he’d never seen her as a woman-just as a cute, lovesick kid-he’d never noticed. Until now.