Page 34 of Let It Snow...

Somewhere in the room, the dog sighed and the firewood snapped and popped. His lips descended on hers. She leaned up a bit.

Those earlier kisses hadn’t been an aberration, and this one was even more potent and delicious. It became a litany of long, slow, clinging kisses that explored, celebrated, and turned her on in a way she’d never been turned on before.

And then it was as if they were both making up for lost time. Their kisses stoked a deep, drugging heat that tore through her and reached into her soul, nurturing the part of her that had hungered for him for so long.

Somehow they wound up on the couch and he hesitated, his hand nearly touching her breast but not quite there. She was very much aware that heated kisses were one thing but intimate touching was something altogether different. She cupped her hand around the back of his and moved his palm to cover her breast.

He moaned into her mouth and she returned the sentiment with a long vocal sigh that she couldn’t have stopped if she wanted to...and she didn’t want to. His touch felt so good. It was just flesh against flesh but this time was different, special...and incredibly arousing. Her nipple hardened against his palm and he dragged his mouth from hers. He scattered kisses along the column of her neck. He nuzzled and nibbled as he palmed and smoothed his fingers over her skin. She pushed her breast into his palm, aching for his firm touch...his wet mouth....

It was as if he read her mind. He nuzzled the flesh at the top of her bra and her head dropped back. He nudged her bra aside and then her nipple was in his mouth. It was as if all the planets in the universe lined up or collided in some astonishing cosmic event. Any semblance of holding back, of maintaining distance and control, was forgotten.

Much as she’d done with the present earlier, she tore at Knox’s packaging, dispensing with his sweater and the long-sleeved undershirt in record time. She didn’t hesitate at his belt, speedily unbuckling and then unzipping his pants.

He stood, his chest heaving. She’d seen him in a swimsuit more times than she could count but this was different.

There was an intimacy, a sexuality in his bare chest and belly, his unzipped pants that had never existed between them before. “Bedroom?” he said, holding out his hand.

“Yes,” she said, putting her palm in his. He threaded his fingers through hers. They both knew her yes covered so much more than simply a trip to the other room. It was an opportunity for her to change her mind, to opt out of taking their relationship to the next level—of establishing a new relationship in territory they’d never ventured into before. It was a yes to them as lovers and not simply friends.

Light from the den spilled into the bedroom. Neither of them turned on the lamp.

As Knox began to unlace his boots, Trudie sat on the edge of the bed and unabashedly watched. He stepped out of the boots, then his socks. She’d always loved the shape of his feet. How crazy goofy was that?

The silence between them thickened, deepened as he pulled a cellophane-wrapped condom out of his pocket and placed it on the bedside table. It might have been a mood breaker, but it wasn’t in the least.

He hooked his thumbs in the top of his pants and tugged them down. She stood, drawing her fingernail down his chest and the flat plane of his belly until it rested at the top of his boxers. “I’d like to do the honors.”

“Do with me what you will, Trudie,” he said, offering her himself.

She caught the elastic band with one finger and tugged the cotton down, over the jut of his erection. “Oh,” she said in the semi-dark room. All the daydreaming and fantasizing she’d done was inadequate preparation for the reality of Knox Whitaker naked...for her...with her. Bemused, she trailed her finger down his rigid length.

“Trudie...” he said.

She leaned forward and pressed a kiss to a spot above his hip. She inhaled his scent and the feel of his skin against hers, the pulse of his erection against her palm. He tangled his fingers in her hair and the sound of their breathing filled the room.

Gently, he urged her upward and she went. Wordlessly, he undressed her—skirt, top, bra and panties. And then he stepped back and looked at her. It took everything within her not to wrap her arms around her to hide her nakedness. It felt as much a baring of the soul as a baring of the flesh.

He nodded, still not speaking. But it was a good nod. She sank to the edge of the mattress, her thighs and buttocks embraced by the brushed flannel sheets. Bracing one knee next to her, Knox gentled Trudie down. She sank back into the mattress. He eased his weight next to hers.

For a moment, Trudie thought about pinching herself but his heat, his weight, the press of his leg against hers, the rush of his breath stirring her hair were all very real.

Knox’s touch was gentle as he teased his fingertips over the curve of her shoulder, along her collarbone. Heat suffused her. Trudie sighed and rolled to face him, bringing her body into intimate contact with his. She bit her lip as she pressed her nipples against the hair-roughened plane of his chest. The sensation shot straight through to her vagina.

She explored him. Kissed the column of his neck while she touched his penis, reveling in the velvety, rigid length, the weight of his balls. He was thicker and longer than she’d anticipated.

She sat up and looked down at him in the half-light cast from the other room. He was beautiful. Solid and trim and wonderful.

He reached up and gentled his hand over her cheeks. “Do I want to know what you’re thinking?”

It was an invitation to share but she just wanted to hug her thoughts to herself for the moment. Instead she said, “It’s all good.”

Getting on her knees, she knelt over him and licked and kissed her way to his flat belly. She paused, his erection nudging her cheek, to inhale deeply. It was a potent combination—male arousal and the scent that had always been uniquely his. She licked at his inner thigh and he caught her head. “No, that tickles.”

Unperturbed, she trailed her tongue along the length of his erection. He was like warm velvet and she teased the tip with her tongue. “Does that tickle?”

“Uh, no, but much more and I’ll be finished before we get started.” Knox laughed as he caught her and hauled her back up to lie next to him.

Trudie laughed, too. She was glad to know she affected him that way. It was strange to lie in bed naked with a man she thought she’d known so well, and who knew her, and discover so many new things.

He pulled her more firmly against him. “Trudie—” he nuzzled the edge of her neck “—you feel so good, so right.”

“So do you,” she said.

He cupped one breast in his hand, rubbing his thumb over the nipple. She loved the feel of his hands on her, his scent. He circled harder and she moaned.

Knox immediately stopped. “Did I hurt you?”

“No,” she murmured, “I like it. Do it again.” She pressed a kiss to the warm satin of his shoulder and nipped him.

“Um, come here,” he said, guiding her up a bit. He nibbled at the turgid nub and she hissed an indrawn breath.

“Knox...”

He captured her nipple in his mouth and suckled her and it was the most incredible sensation. “Yes,” she panted. He sucked harder and at the same time reached between her thighs to tease his finger against her wet folds. She arched her back, eager for more. He did the same with the other breast while he played with her sex. Her last rational thought was that she was an instrument that had finally landed in the hands of its master. He stroked and nipped and teased until she was on the brink of exploding and then he dialed it all back.

And then he started again, working her up to a fevered pitch until she felt as if she would die if he didn’t give her the release her body needed. She hovered on the brink...and yet again he pulled.

She fisted her hands in the sheets, her breath coming in ragged pants. She was frantic with desire for him. “Knox...please...”

“What do you want, Trudie?” His voice was husky with his own need.

“You...now...inside me.”

He rolled away and she heard the crinkle of the cellophane. “Okay,” he said.

She reached between them and smoothed her hand down the length of his shaft.

“Is that what you want?” he asked.

“Yes.” She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him to her, rolling on her back and spreading her legs.

He rose up and cupped her wet folds in his hand. “Good. Because this is what I want.”

Wordlessly she draped her legs over his shoulders in invitation. He nudged at her with his thick head, again and again, going a little deeper each time, until, as before, she was frantic to have him all the way inside. When she thought she might lose her mind with need, he buried his cock inside her.

“Ahh...” It was a sigh of pleasure, of fullness. She closed her eyes and absorbed the sensation.

Knox set up a slow but steady pace that notched her higher and higher, then he gained momentum, thrusting harder and faster. It was pure sensation when her release came and waves of satisfaction pulsed through her, around her, in her.

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