Fuck. I was hard as stone against her. There was no hiding how badly I wanted her. She lifted her leg over my hip, arching into me, transforming my longing into a rock solid need.

“Erica . . . I’m not going to be able to stop myself if you keep doing that.”

“I don’t want you to . . .” she murmured.

I inched my hand between her legs and cupped her firmly, as if I were staking a flag that told the world she was mine, and the warm heaven under my palm was also mine. She whimpered, lifting into my touch.

Maneuvering past the barrier of her panties, I dipped into her wet heat. I groaned and kissed her neck, inhaling the musk of her skin. A fragrance heaven made just for me. I resisted the urge to take my tongue all over her body right now—a journey I’d made many times, every time more delicious than the last.

I withdrew my hand, sucking the flavor of her from the tip of each finger. I craved her more than she’d ever know. My heartbeat raced and my mind ran rampant with all the devious things I could do to her. If her scent bewitched me, the taste of her body—the salty sweetness of her skin, the honey between her thighs—made me downright feral.

I couldn’t make love to her tonight. I had to have her my way.

Her lips parted as she grabbed at me, caressing and tugging us closer. I rocked into her, adding the pressure of my thigh between her legs. She whimpered.

I tasted her lips, sucking and nibbling. “I can’t be gentle. Not tonight.” It was a warning, and a promise.

Her gaze flickered to mine, a silent understanding in the darkness. “Then don’t be.” She softened beneath me. “I’ve been waiting for you . . .”

That’s all I needed. I silenced her with another fierce kiss. All-consuming, all taste and need. She was so fucking sweet. The line of her torso moved like a wave against me, enflaming my skin everywhere we touched. She loved me, I knew, but I never tired of the evidence that no matter where her mind was, with very few exceptions, her body wanted what I wanted. I could only hope that tonight I could walk that fine line and give us what we both needed.

She made a small sound of protest when I finally tore myself away.

“Come here,” I said, standing beside the bed. My stance was wide, every muscle coiled tight. My cock throbbed for the touch I’d be demanding soon.

She slid across the sheets and stood before me wordlessly, a hair’s breadth away. Close enough that I could feel her heat and smell her arousal. Finding the edge of her tank top, I guided it up slowly, prolonging the moment until I’d see all of her. I tossed the garment aside and withdrew my touch, a small torture in itself. She swayed toward me, but I caught her wrists, holding her safely away.

Something came over me then—a calm reassurance that didn’t diminish but only quieted the fierce longing raging through my veins. The promise of controlling her pleasure now, of drawing out every last second of it, leashed the animal inside me that wanted to gorge on every inch of flesh before me.

“Panties off. And then I want you on your knees.” My tone was sharp and unforgiving.

In an instant, I could sense her heat multiply. Her breathing turned shallow. The rapid beat of her heart drummed at her wrists where I held her. Without a word, she slipped from my grasp and slid her panties down. Lowered to her knees, she gazed up at me, smoke and fire in her eyes. Lust powered through me, and the line of desire shooting straight to my cock threatened my plan. I stepped away to grab a few items from a nearby drawer. Returning, I crouched in front of her, binding her wrists together with a pair of leather cuffs she knew well.

“You know your safe word.”

She swallowed. “Yes.”

Whenever I mentioned the safe word, I had the feeling it gave her equal measures of anxiety and reassurance. I imagined the fighter in her never wanted to have to use it. The irony was that between the two of us, I was the only one who had.

I lifted to my feet, anticipation rattling through me. The sight of Erica bound before me, peering up at me, was almost more than I could handle. Reaching down to her, I traced her lower lip, over the curve of her cheek and along her jaw, until I sifted my fingers in her hair. She gasped at the firm tug, her eyes going liquid. I grasped my cock with my other hand, stroking from root to tip.

“I want to taste you . . . please.” She licked her lips as she spoke.

She clasped and released her fingers in her lap. Her fear, it seemed, had transformed into desire, and I reveled in the transformation every time. Blood surged to my cock. My thighs bunched with renewed restraint. I drew in a steeling breath, one that would hopefully keep me from losing all my resolve and coming the second she wrapped her sweet lips around me. I teased the tip of my cock against her lips.

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