There was nothing awkward, though, about the way my body responded to him. He knocked down all the walls inside me, all my control, all my precision-balanced need to have my world spinning at a perfect pace I set and controlled like an engineer. Letting go scared the hell out of me; it stomped on all that I held dear. My life was a ladder, each step leading to the one above, and I wasn’t anywhere near the top. I had so many plans. Big plans. I didn’t want to risk a single one of them with a distraction like a guy. Nor did I want to risk tumbling off the food wagon once more if I fell for someone. I hated feeling out of control with food, and I didn’t want to relapse like I had the last time.
But even as I feared what would happen if I gave in, the truth was, William and I worked well together, and we laughed well together, and we kissed well together, and I’d just landed shots that would pay me more than a pretty penny. Maybe he wasn’t as big a distraction as I feared. Maybe I could balance.
Or maybe I was running on lust. Because the slightest contact sent me sky-high, as those delicious tingles unleashed themselves all throughout my chest with each touch. He swept his thumb along my thigh, up to my hip, and then he hooked it into the waistband of my jeans.
He hadn’t even kissed me yet, and my bones were humming a happy tune.
He inched his hands under my T-shirt and, reflexively, I arched my back.
“Mmm,” he groaned lightly, then pressed further between my legs, his hard-on hitting me exactly where I wanted him. My mind spiraled as I imagined more, so much more. I pictured him unzipping my jeans, tugging them down, sliding into me, and sending me into that zone of bliss I so rarely entered, that forbidden world where lust ruled the day. I could have that with him, and I let myself enjoy a taste as I wrapped my legs around him, hooking my ankles behind his thighs.
“You trapped me,” he teased.
“Good. I like where you are.”
“Me, too, Jess. Me, too,” he said, as he gripped me tighter and gently rocked his hips against me. A slow, purposeful grind that made me moan, and then rope my arms around his neck. I was operating on desire, pure physical desire, but it’s not as if I was out of control. I was in control, because I wanted him badly. He was a choice I was making in this moment. I didn’t know if we were coming or going, if we were a blip on the radar screen of my life. But it didn’t matter. I wasn’t thinking about my future or how to make us happen beyond the here and now. I was living in my present, and in this span of time—this seemingly meaningless moment on this planet of a billion moments—this was the only one I wanted to live in. William Harrigan might have stepped into my life on a ruse, but there was no doubt that this thing between us was fully real.
I raised my chin, tilting my face to him. “I’m so turned on,” I breathed out, eyes on him, speaking only the truth.
“I hope it’s patently obvious that I am, too.”
That elicited a wicked smile as I rocked against him, feeling his erection pressing into me. “Yes. It’s obvious and I like that you’re wearing a billboard.”
He cracked up. “Yep. That’s me. I’ve got a billboard in my pocket.”
Then, feeling daring, I grabbed his hand, and pressed his palm between my thighs, so he could feel, through my clothes, how hot I was for him.
“So do I,” I whispered, and his eyes darkened as he felt me. I returned his hand to my waist as I said, “Now kiss me hard, and make me forget I ever pretended to dislike you, because that’s all it ever was—pretending.”
He pumped a fist. “I knew you were checking out my ass from the first time I met you, right?”
I nodded, and I’m sure there was a wicked glint in my eyes. “Now I’m going to check it out for real,” I said, and he moved in to kiss me, gently touching my cheek with the back of his fingers before he slanted his mouth to mine, his lips brushing lightly against mine at first, then more insistently as he kissed me harder. I looped my arms around his waist and cupped his fabulously firm ass.
A moan rumbled up through his chest as I touched him, but he never let go. He kept kissing me, the kind of kiss that couldn’t be stopped, that was like a comet tearing across the sky, hell-bent on having its way. The kiss was its own life force, powerful and potent, and left nothing but pure heat in its wake. As he kissed deeper and harder, I tap-danced my fingers to the top of his jeans and dipped them into his pants, under the waistband of his underwear, and there, his gorgeous butt was in my hands, his naked skin all mine.