He shot up his eyebrows with pretend shock. “Tempting? That’s all?”
“Quit.” I laughed and pushed his chest.
He didn’t budge an inch, his arm firmly banded around my waist. “Nonsense. We’ve got at least twenty minutes, and nothing’s going to stop me from making you mine.”
“That’s not a lot of time,” I teased.
He traced his tongue over his lower lip. “I can work quickly.”
My breath rushed out as he grabbed the hem of my now drenched white linen cover-up. Lifting it over my head, he exposed the less modest bikini I wore beneath. He tossed it to the ground, the wet fabric slopping against the wood deck with a thud. His hands roamed over my wet skin, down my sides to my hips.
“God, you’re beautiful. Why do you wear that thing anyway?”
“I don’t know,” I lied. I cast my eyes down, trailing my fingertips down the rigid columns of his abs.
Between the scar and the pregnancy, unlike Blake’s, my body wasn’t what it had been years ago. To anyone on the outside, under the thin garment, I was the same girl with the same body. In private, the scars had become reminders of what I’d been through. The trauma that had threatened to take away my dreams, and then, ultimately, the pregnancy—the gift that we’d been given with our daughter. I should have worn those scars with pride, but couldn’t bring myself to.
Being able to have a child was a gift we’d receive only once. We’d tried again, to no avail. She was our miracle. The sunshine that lit up any dark day. A beautiful, perfect reflection of the love that we’d fought so hard for.
Brushing the backs of his fingers across my cheek, he tipped my chin up. “Don’t cover yourself up, baby. I love your body. I don’t want to see you hiding it.”
“I’ll try,” I promised.
He skimmed up and down my arms, down my chest, lingering at the edges of the fabric that covered my breasts. “Then again, I’m not sure if I’d be able to control myself seeing you this way all summer. I’ve hardly any willpower as it is.”
A second later, he’d pushed one triangle of my bikini top to the side. My breast was heavy and tight in his grasp.
“Blake.” His name left me like a mixed warning. Anxiety mingled with the prickle of desire humming under my skin.
He hushed me, erasing my objection with another deep kiss. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he moved us out of the water and against the wall of the house. I was pinned by his hard body, my thigh hitched high over his hip so I was open to him. His tantalizing touch trailed down the length of my body, over my belly, and farther down. I gasped when he slid into the front of my bikini, cupping me firmly. His mouth left mine and found my breast. Sucking and laving, he teased the tight peak while his fingers coaxed the arousal between my thighs.
I bit my lip, holding back a moan.
“I want to hear you,” he whispered between breaths, sucking me harder, nibbling my tender nipples until I couldn’t hold back any longer.
Arching with a whimper, I sifted my hands through the wet strands of his hair. I held him to me, held on as the waves of pleasure washed over me, growing in intensity by the second, like the steady rising tide. Gradually, my sense of the time slipped. The sounds of the beach fell away, and Blake took over my senses, playing me like a song he knew well, one he’d never forgotten.
“Oh, God.” The stuttering cry left my lips as I shuddered violently against his ministrations.
“Ah, there you are,” he murmured.
My head fell back as I caught my breath, my heart racing in my chest. I relaxed my grip on his shoulders. My nails had left white and then red marks on his tanned skin.
“Wow,” I uttered between jagged breaths.
The warm salty air filled my lungs and settled on my damp skin. Every sensation pulsed through me. The brush of his legs against mine, his palms curving around me from behind, drawing us closer. Our hips rocking together, his lips soft against my neck. When he drew back, his greeneyed gaze was filled with wanting and something else, something deeper that never failed to rob me of breath. A kind of shattering love that he was capable of sharing only with me.
“Blake . . . I love you so much.” The words spilled out of me, an easy and automatic proclamation, but one that never lost its meaning as time wore on between us. The words meant nothing less than they had when we’d first uttered them. They only ever meant more.
“I love you too.” His gaze flickered over me. “And I’ll never get tired of putting that look on your face. I love seeing you that way, all pink and flushed, with stars in your eyes when you let go. Makes me feel like I’m the center of your world, if only for a minute.”