Page 20 of Expectant Bride

'You really are gorgeous,' she told him helplessly.

Dio brought her down on something firm and deliriously comfortable and leant over her. He stared down into her dazed eyes, his own flaming gold, and groaned, 'I thought you were the most perfect thing I ever saw in my life when I took that scarf off. Your hair, your skin, your eyes. You stunned me—'

'Guess you're s-stunning me,' Ellie stammered, wit return¬ing to take in the fact that she was lying on a bed in a dimly lit room, sudden dismay blossoming at the edge of her eu¬phoria.

'You're really very sweet underneath the tough front...' Dio lowered his proud dark head.

Ellie could have drowned in those topaz eyes, could lit¬erally feel weakness escaping like a honeyed dam breaking its walls inside her, sentencing her to mesmerised stillness.

He took her lips again, prying them apart with the wicked dart of his tongue. Her heart banged and her tummy quivered and she couldn't get breath back into her lungs. Her submis¬sion was absolute, instinctive. She could not have resisted the erotic allure of that kiss had her life depended on it It was like being reborn, every sensation so sharp, so fresh, so intense she was hooked in helpless, urgent longing for the next.

'So sweet,' Dio growled low in his throat as Ellie moaned and gasped under his expert mouth with shivering responsiveness.

Peeling off his shirt, he raised her to him. Ellie stiffened. The whole of her vision was filled with that broad bronzed chest and the thick, dark curling hair marking his pectoral muscles before snaking down into a fine silky furrow over his taut flat stomach. He lifted her hands and put them on him, as if it was the most natural thing in the world that she should touch him.

'Dio...' she said jerkily, shock waves running through her as the hard, hair-roughened warmth of him met her splayed fingers.

Heavens, there was so much of him, and suddenly she felt wildly out of her depth, recognising that he was encouraging and expecting an experienced partner.

'Touch me,' he invited raggedly.

She studied her own hands as if she was hoping they would lift from him without any conscious message from her brain. But he felt so fascinatingly, wonderfully good. 'This is...this is a little bit fast for me,' she mumbled with serious understatement, because she still couldn't grasp how they had got as far as undressing on a bed.

He covered her small hands with his. 'You want me to leave, I will.'

A cold stab of fear made Ellie's stomach flip. She lifted her head up to encounter sizzling dark eyes set in a lean, taut-boned face that made her ache with longing. Leave or stay. Nothing in between. And if he leaves now, maybe he'll never ask again; maybe he'll think I'm just a tease, she re¬flected in anguish, finally appreciating that he saw no reason why they shouldn't enjoy each other immediately.

'But I...' she began, not even knowing what she was going to say, terrified of sounding like some old-fashioned virgin and turning him off completely.

'Make your mind up.' Dio's dark drawl was urgent with stress and tension, pure, masculine need stamped on his lean dark features. 'I'm not made of steel and I am burning for you...'

Ellie's taut hands quivered under his. She just couldn't take her eyes off him. His intensity melted her deep down inside. 'I want you much.'

Dio settled her gently back onto the mattress. 'I won't do anything you don't want me to do, pethi  mou.'

'Of course not, but—'

'Open your mouth for me,' he urged raggedly.

And she did, taking instant fire from that passionate on¬slaught. She didn't notice him skimming her nightdress straps down her arms. Then he coiled back from her to remove the tangle of fabric from round her hips and she focused in shock on her own bare breasts, rising wantonly full, crested by taut pink nipples.

'You're exquisite,' Dio groaned.

Coming back to her, he let his thumb stroke a swollen bud, his palm cupping the underside of her firm breast, and then he closed his mouth there instead. He sent such a jolt of startling sensation through Ellie she cried out loud, her head falling back on the pillows, all thought suspended. Her hands gripped his smooth brown shoulders as over and over again he caressed her sensitive flesh with his tongue and his teeth and his lips. Now she was the one burning, maddened by every sure, knowing stroke, driven to a height of frantic yearning need that consumed her like a greedy fire.

Without warning Dio rolled back from her and slid off the bed backwards, burnished golden eyes welded to her pale pink body. It was like being visually consumed. She was hot and out of breath, in a state of mindless hunger beyond any¬thing she had ever imagined possible. Her eyes followed him. She simply couldn't bear him that far away from her.

'Dio...?' she muttered uncertainly.