Along the curve of her chin, he traced her skin with a whisper touch, then, as if finally reaching home, his lips skimmed hers. Paused. Then swooped in like a hungry man who’d found the feast.
His lips took possession of hers, forcing them to part so his tongue could slip inside and taste, filling her with the promise of the pleasure he would give her.
Tara heard a sigh and belatedly knew it was hers. It shook them both. She splayed her hands on his broad back, feeling the flex of those muscles as he moved.
Morgan pulled away, and she whimpered at the distance between them. His laugh, deep, rough, scraped across her nerves in a warm, tantalizing way.
Slowly, he bent, easily scooping his hands behind her knees and lifting her against that chest. She felt small and cherished as the blood raced through her veins. Her arms barely reached all the way around his big shoulders.
Turning ever so slightly, Morgan settled her on the mattress.
She expected him to join her, but he paused. Reaching behind his neck, he fisted the collar of his shirt and ripped the thing over his head. Taut, tanned skin stretched over muscle definition she’d never seen so up close and personal before.
The softness of the bunk closed around her as she sank into it—only to sink even deeper as his body covered hers and his lips found hers again. This time, urgent, harsh and hungry.
* * *
WHEN WAS THE last time anyone had touched him with any kind of passion or desire…or caring? Morgan’s mind came up blank, empty except for the warmth and heat of Tara. God, she tasted good.
Tara bracketed his face with her slim hands. For a long minute, she looked at him, as if drinking in every detail of his face. He wanted to flinch away from her intensity, but he forced himself to hold still, bracing for her to have second thoughts.
Here it comes. “What?” he ventured.
She shook her head. Instead of pulling away, she put pressure on his neck, urging him closer, drawing him in. Her lips brushed his. “You’re not what I expected.”
“What do you mean?” He kissed her briefly, teasing them both.
“I don’t know.” She smiled. “You muddle my brain.”
He chuckled, relief sliding over him. “Okay. Let me know when you figure it out.”
“Okay.” She laughed. Impatient, she captured his mouth with hers, this time not moving away, not pulling back, but deepening the kiss herself. Her sweet tongue prodded him, then dove in to match his earlier moves. She slid an arm around his neck, holding tight.
He was lost in her. No one was ever going to find him again.
She felt so small in his hands, and he liked that, liked the power rushing inside him. Not to hurt or control her but to protect her. Support her. Cherish her.
Pulling back, Morgan stared at her. She was wearing her chef garb, the jacket with a row of big clear buttons running down one side. Fascinated, he curled his fingers over the top one and pushed it through the hole. The stand-up collar parted, giving him a view of pink skin.
He had to taste it. Couldn’t wait for even one more inch to be revealed with another button. He leaned in, startled by the heat of her skin.
He couldn’t get enough.
Tara put her hand, tiny and hot, in the center of his chest and gently pushed. He jerked back, afraid he’d missed a signal, a word that told him she’d changed her mind. She laughed, a deep, hot, throaty sound.
Instead of sliding off the bunk, she rose on her knees, kneeling in front of him. Slowly, she reached for the next button, making it look large compared to her small fingers. She pushed it through the fabric. First one. Then another. And another.
The thick, white fabric parted, and Morgan stared hungrily as inches of warm flesh appeared. The gentle curve of her generous breast. The irritating lacy cup of a bra he briefly fantasized about pulling away…until he was distracted by the flat tanned skin of her belly.
She tossed the jacket over the edge of the bunk, not even watching where it landed. Her fingers trembled, however, as they slid lower to the catch of her pants.
“Let me.” He leaned up on an elbow, unable to resist touching her. He swallowed as her soft skin reacted to just his finger trailing down the length of her—from her chin, down to the swell of her breast, where he dipped inside the lace for just a tease.