His hand slid back up, following the route it had already travelled. When it reached the nape of her neck it stopped again, resting lightly beneath the heavy knot of her hair. Bella bit her lip, suddenly unsure about what she should do. Should she break the contact, step away from him and make it clear that she didn’t welcome this kind of intimacy? But surely that would be a lie? Having Mac hold her, caress her, make her feel all these things was what she wanted.


Helplessly, her eyes rose to his and she felt her heart lurch when she saw the awareness on his face. She knew in that moment that Mac understood how confused she felt because he felt the same. Maybe it was that thought, that single mind-blowing thought, that unlocked all her reservations, but she didn’t pause to consider what she was doing as she reached up and drew his head down. Their mouths met, clung, and it was like nothing she had experienced before. There was desire, yes, but there was so much more to the kiss than passion. The feel of Mac’s mouth on hers made her feel safe, secure, protected. It was as though she had found her way back home after a long and exhausting journey.

Bella wasn’t sure how long the kiss lasted. It could have been seconds or a lifetime for all she knew. She was trembling when they finally broke apart, but so was Mac. He ran the pad of his thumb over her swollen lips and his eyes were alight with a tenderness that filled her with warmth. It was obvious that she wasn’t the only one to have been so deeply moved by what had happened.

‘I didn’t plan this, Bella, but I’m not sorry it happened and I hope you aren’t either?’

His voice was low, deep, and she shivered when she heard the desire it held. She had done this to him, she thought in amazement. She had aroused his passion and it was a revelation to realise that she was capable of making him want her this much.

‘I’m not. I’m not sorry at all,’ she said in a husky little voice that made his eyes darken. When he reached out and pulled her back into his arms, she knew what was going to happen. Maybe they hadn’t planned it, but there was no point pretending. They had both thought about it—thought about how it would feel to lie in each other’s arms and make love. And tonight it was going to happen.

When he swung her up into his arms and carried her into the bedroom, she didn’t protest. Why would she when it was what she wanted so much? He laid her down on the huge bed and sat down beside her, his hand trembling just a little as he cupped her cheek.

‘Are you sure, Bella? Absolutely certain this is what you want?’

‘Yes.’ She captured his hand, gently biting the pad of flesh at the base of his thumb, and didn’t even feel shocked by her own temerity. This was Mac and whatever happened between them tonight felt right. ‘I’m sure, Mac. Completely and utterly sure.’

He made a sound deep in his throat as he stood up and started to strip off his clothes. His body was lean and fit, the muscles in his chest flexing as he dragged his T-shirt over his head and tossed it onto the floor. Bella’s eyes ran over him, greedily drinking in the sight of his body, so beautiful in its masculinity. She bit her lip as her gaze came to rest on his erection because there was little doubt about how much he wanted her. Her eyes rose to his and she realised that she must be blushing when he laughed softly and tenderly.

‘It’s hard for a man to hide how he feels. When he wants a woman as much as I want you, Bella, then it’s pretty obvious, I’m afraid.’

‘Don’t apologise,’ she said with a bravado that would have shocked her once upon a time but felt completely natural now. She laughed up at him. ‘It’s good to know that it isn’t all one-sided.’

‘Oh, it most definitely isn’t!’ He lay down on the bed and gathered her into his arms while he kissed her with a passion that made her tingle both inside and out. Propping himself up on his elbow, he smiled into her eyes. ‘You’re a great kisser, Bella English. I have no complaints on that score.’

‘Thank you,’ she retorted. ‘I hope you don’t have any complaints on any other score, either.’

‘Maybe just one.’ He kissed the tip of her nose and grinned at her. ‘You’re decidedly overdressed for what I have in mind. Still, it shouldn’t take long to resolve the problem.’

His hands went to the buttons on her shirt and Bella sighed. Her lack of experience hadn’t prepared her for his relaxed approach to lovemaking. Passion was tempered by humour and, amazingly, that only seemed to heighten her desire for him. By the time he reached the final button, she was trembling with need but it was obvious that he didn’t intend to rush things.

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