And there was more honesty than he’d ever given even to himself.
“I don’t care,” she said. “I don’t care.”
She took a step away from him and reached behind her back before unclasping her belt and letting it fall to the ground. The top layer of her gown fell open and she shrugged it off, letting it slither to the floor, revealing the simple shift beneath.
The heavy silk conformed to her slender figure. It revealed very little skin, and yet he found the sight erotic. So sexy he could hardly breathe.
She started on the little buttons on the front of her garment. She let it fall away, revealing another layer beneath. A skirt with a heavy, beaded waistband that sat low on her hips, strips of gauzy, nearly translucent fabric covering her legs. Every movement parted the fabric, showed hints of tanned, shapely thighs.
The top was exactly as advertised, and yet, nothing she’d said had prepared him for the deep, visceral reaction he had to it. Glittering strings of beads strung across her golden skin, conformed to the curve of her breasts, hints of skin showing through.
It wasn’t the gems that held him captive, not the sparkling. No, he was trying to look past that, beyond that, to her. Because she was more beautiful than any gem.
“Sit on the bed,” she said.
“I told you this would be on my terms.”
“And I did not agree. I have a fantasy that I wish to fulfill.”
“You have a fantasy?” he asked, his heart rate ticking up.
“Yes. You know, Master Ahn rented out the studio several nights a week to a dance teacher. I never took lessons, but I did watch. Sit on the bed.”
He obeyed, his eyes on her, a ferocious tug in his gut.
“Take your shirt off,” she said.
He tugged at his tie, then worked the buttons on his shirt before shrugging it, and his jacket off onto the bed.
She shifted her hips to the side, slowly, then back the other way, the motion fluid, controlled. “I used to practice in my room sometimes,” she said. “But there was no practical use for dancing in my life. Still, I know what my body can do. I know how to move it. How to control my muscles. Dancing came naturally in many ways.”
She shifted her shoulders, then reached behind her head and released her hair, letting it fall in loose, glossy waves. She kept her hips moving in time with a rhythm that was all in her head. But he could feel it. He could feel it moving through her body and on into his.
She rolled her shoulders, down her arms, to her wrists, her fingertips curling upward, her head falling back. He shifted in his seat, desire rushing through his veins, beginning to push at the restraint that he prized so much.
That he depended on.
She met his eyes, then tipped her head back, her shoulders following, bending back until he was sure she would break herself if she went farther. She held the pose steady, no strain in her muscles, then she lifted herself back up slowly.
Such a fierce, wild creature she was.
A tiger pacing the bars…
“You did pay attention during the lessons.”
“Yes,” she said. “But I’ve never had anyone to dance for. I’ve never had any real reason to dance. But I did it anyway. Alone. Now…now I can do it for you. I don’t understand this…how you’ve become the most essential person to me. But you have. I almost robbed myself of you.”
“You almost robbed myself of me,” he said, gritting his teeth, trying to keep from telling her to stop talking. Trying to keep himself from accepting what she was offering. From begging her for more.
“I did,” she said, walking toward the bed, each movement a temptation. Another hit against the barricade. She put her hand on his cheek, her fingertips dragging across his skin, sending a sensual spark down into his gut that ignited, desire burning hot and hard, threatening to rage out of control.
She reached behind herself and released the hold on her top, the jewels sliding down to her waist before she managed to free herself of it entirely. She put one knee on the bed beside his thigh, her breasts so close one movement would allow him to suck a caramel nipple deep into his mouth.
But if he moved, he wouldn’t be able to find out what she had planned next.
The temptation was torture. Sweet, perfect torture. He’d held himself back for years, but it had never felt like this. It had never been physical pain. To have so much beauty in front of him and to refuse to allow himself to touch it, to test himself in this way…it was intoxicating. A rush he couldn’t define or deny.
She leaned in, putting her hand on his belt, her beasts so near his lips his mouth watered. She worked at his belt, her fingers deft, confident, like all of her movements.