He dropped the sails, secured the boat. "You're scared."

"You're arrogant. And you don't worry me."

"Now you're lying." While the boat swayed gently underfoot, he stepped forward and took the sunglasses from her. "I worry you, quite a bit. You keep thinking you have me pegged, then I don't follow the script. I imagine most of the men you've let hover around your life have been fairly predictable. Easier for you."

"Is this your definition of a distraction?" she countered. "It fits my definition of a confrontation."

"You're right." He pulled his own sunglasses off, tossed them aside. "We'll analyze later."

He moved quickly. She knew he was capable of lightning motion but hadn't expected him to snap from cynic to lover in the blink of an eye. His mouth was hot, hungry, and hard on hers. His hands gripped her arms, pressing her against him so that as the heat and the need poured out, she couldn't tell if it came from him or from herself.

He'd spoken no less than the truth when he told her she was in his system. Whether she was poison or salvation didn't seem to matter. She was in there and he couldn't stop the flow.

He jerked her back so that their lips parted, but their faces remained close. His eyes were as gold and powerful as the flare of the sun. "You tell me you don't want me, you don't want this. Tell me and mean it, and it stops here."


"No." Impatient, suffering, he shook her until her gaze lifted to his again. "No, you look at me and say it."

She'd already lied, and the lies weighed on her like lead. She couldn't bear another. "This will only complicate things, make them more difficult."

Unmistakable triumph flashed into those tawny eyes. "Damn right it will," he muttered. "Just now, I don't give a damn. Kiss me back," he demanded. "And mean it."

She couldn't stop herself. This kind of raw, wicked need was new to her, and left her defenseless. Her mouth met his, just as hungry now, just as desperate. And the low, primal moan that escaped was an echo to the beat of desire between her legs.

She stopped thinking. Found herself swamped and spinning with sensations, emotions, yearnings. The kiss roughened, teetered toward pain as his teeth scraped and nipped. She clutched at his hair, gasping for air, shaking with shock as that skillful mouth streaked down her throat and sent wild chills over her skin.

For the first time in her life, she surrendered utterly to the physical. And craved the taking.

He pulled at her jacket, tugging the soft silk off her shoulders and tossing it heedlessly aside. He wanted flesh, the feel of it under his hands, the taste of it in his mouth. He yanked the slim ivory shell over her head and filled his hands with her trembling lace-covered breasts.

Her skin was warmer than the silk, and somehow smoother. With one impatient flick he opened her bra, then dragged it aside. And satisfied his need to taste.

The sun blinded her. Even with her eyes tightly shut, the strength of it pounded on her lids. She couldn't see, only feel.

That busy, almost brutal mouth devoured her, those rough and demanding hands doing as they pleased. The whimper in her throat was a scream in her head.

Now, now, now!

Fumbling, she dragged at his sweater, finding the muscle and scars and flesh beneath as he yanked her skirt down her hips. Her stockings ended with thin bands of stretchy lace high on her thighs. Another time he might have appreciated the mix of practicality and femininity. But now he was driven to possess, and he thrilled darkly at her stunned gasp when he ripped aside the thin triangle blocking him from her. Before she could draw the next breath, he plunged his fingers into her and shot her violently over the edge.

She cried out, shocked, staggered at that vicious slap of heat. It sliced through her without warning, sending her flying, flailing.

"Oh, God. Phillip." When her head dropped weakly on his shoulder, her body going from spring-taut to limp, he swept her off her feet and pressed her down on one of the narrow benches.

The blood was pounding in his head. His loins screamed for release. His heart hammered like a dull axe against his ribs.

His breath was ragged, his vision focused on her face like a laser as he freed himself. His fingers dug into her hips as he lifted and opened them. And he plunged. Hard and deep so that his long, long groan melted into hers.

She closed around him, a tight, hot glove. Moved under him, a trembling, eager woman. Breathed his name, a breathless, aching sigh.

He drove into her again, again, strong, steady strokes that she rose to meet. Her hair escaped its pins, flowed like rich mink. He buried his face in it, lost in her scent, in her heat, in the sheer, shimmering glory of a woman aroused beyond reason.

Her nails dug into his back, her cry muffled against his shoulder as she came. Her muscles clamped around him, owned him, destroyed him.

He was as limp as she, wrecked, struggling to fill his burning lungs with air. Beneath him, her body continued to quake, the aftershock of hard, satisfying sex.

When his vision cleared, he could see the three pieces of her pretty businesswoman's suit scattered along the deck. And one black high heel. It made him grin even as he shifted just enough to nip lightly at her shoulder.

"I usually try for more finesse," he said. Slyly, he skimmed a hand down to toy with the thin lace at the top of her stocking, experimenting with textures. "Oh, you're full of surprises, Dr. Griffin."

She was floating, somewhere just above reality. She couldn't seem to open her eyes, to move her hand. "What?"

At the dreamy, distant sound of her voice, he lifted his head to study her face. Her cheeks were flushed, her mouth swollen, her hair a tumbling mass. "As an objective observation, I have to conclude you've never been ravished before."

There was amusement in his tone, and just enough male arrogance to snap her back to earth. She opened her eyes now, and saw the sleepy smile of victory in his. "You're heavy," she said shortly.

"Okay." he shifted, sat up, but pulled her up and around until she straddled his lap. "You're still wearing your stockings, and one of your shoes." He grinned and began to knead the muscles of her tight little butt. "Christ, that's sexy."

"Stop it." The heat was pouring back, a combination of embarrassment and fresh desire. "Let me up."

"I haven't finished with you yet." He dipped his head, circled his tongue lazily around her nipple. "You're still soft and warm. Tasty," he added, flicking his tongue over her stiffened nipple, sucking lightly until her breathing thickened yet again. "I want more. So do you."

Her body arched back, beautifully fluid as he trailed his mouth up to the hammering pulse in her neck. Oh, yes, yes, she wanted more.

"But this time," he promised, "it'll take a little longer." On a yielding moan, she lowered her mouth to his. "I guess there's time."

the sun was angled low when he shifted her yet again. Her body felt golden and bruised, energized and exhausted. She'd had no idea she could claim such a sexual appetite, and now that she did, she hadn't a clue what she would do about it.

"We have to discuss…" She frowned at herself, draped an arm over her body. She was half naked and damp from him. And more confused than she'd ever been in her life. "We—this—can't continue."

"Not right this minute," he agreed. "Even I have my limitations."

"I didn't mean… This was just a diversion, as you said. Something we both apparently needed on a physical level. And now—"

"Shut up, Sybill." He said it mildly, but she caught the edge of annoyance. "It was a hell of a lot more than a diversion, and we'll discuss it to pieces later."

He scooped the hair out of his eyes, studied her. She was just beginning to feel awkward, he realized, uneasy with being naked, and with the situation. So he smiled. "Right now, we're a mess. So there's only one thing to do before we get dressed and head in."


Still smiling, he pulled off her shoe, then scooped her up into his arms. "Just this," he said, and tossed her over the side.

She managed

one scream before she hit. What surfaced was a furious woman with tangles of wet hair in her eyes. "You son of a bitch! You idiot!"

"I knew it." He stepped onto the gunwale and laughed like a loon. "I just knew you'd be gorgeous when you're angry."

He dived in to join her.

Chapter Thirteen

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no one had ever treated her the way Phillip Quinn had treated her. Sybill couldn't decide what she thought of that, much less what to do about it.

He'd been rough, careless, demanding. He had, in his own words, ravished her—and more than once. Though she couldn't claim to have put up even what could remotely be termed a struggle, it had been a long way from a civilized seduction.

Never in her life had she slept with a man she'd known for such a short time. To do so was reckless, potentially dangerous, and certainly irresponsible. Even factoring in the overwhelming and unprecedented chemistry between them, it was foolish behavior.

Worse than foolish, she admitted, because she very much wanted to be reckless, with him, again.

She would have to consider the matter carefully, as soon as she could get her mind off her body and the incredible pleasure it had experienced under those fast, take-charge hands.

Now he was sailing her back to the waterfront at St. Christopher's, completely at ease with himself, and with her. She never would have guessed he'd just spent more than an hour engaged in wild, frantic sex.

If she hadn't been a party to it.

There was no doubt in her mind that what they'd done would further complicate an already horribly complicated situation. Both of them would have to be coldly sensible now, and carefully practical. She did her best to tidy her damp, tangled hair as the wind whipped at it.

Conversation, she decided, to bridge the gap between sex and sensibility.

"How did you get the scars?"

"Which ones?" He tossed the question over his shoulder, but he thought he knew. Most women wanted to know.

"On your chest. They look surgical."

"Mmm. Long story." This time he threw a smile back with the look. "I'll bore you with it tonight."


Oh, he just loved it when her brows buckled together, forming that little concentration line between them. "We have a date, remember?"

"But I… hmmm."

"I confuse the hell out of you, don't I?"

Annoyed, she slapped at the hair that insisted on blowing over her eyes. "And you enjoy that?"

"Darling, I can't begin to tell you how much. You keep trying to slip me into one of your slots, Sybill, and I'll keep sliding back out again. You figured on a fairly safe, one-dimensional urban professional who likes his wine aged and his women cultured. But that's only part of the picture."

Tags: Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay Saga Romance
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