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Her Secret Thrill(5)

By:Donna Kauffman

He reached for her hand and tugged her back.

She whirled, liking the contact of his hand on hers. When he went to drop it, she instinctively tightened her grip. He paused, looked at her, then tightened his grip as well. She liked the assurance it gave her that they were both in this together.

“We have another stop to make first,” he said, then nodded toward a drugstore on the corner.

Dear Lord, she was so far gone that she’d forgotten about all that.

“I wasn’t exactly planning on meeting you,” he said.

She liked how he said that. Not “I wasn’t planning on having a night of wild sex.” Just that he hadn’t planned on her. Specifically her.

Careful, Natalie. Wild sex was exactly what all this was. Nothing personal, nothing lasting.

He tugged on her hand, and they walked to the corner. His hands were both smooth and rough. And warm. And big. His fingers were all but wedged between her slender ones. She shivered at the thought of where else they might wedge themselves.


It was early fall, but even now there was a bit of summer in the air. Though that wasn’t why she felt warm. She smiled at him and thought, What the hell. “Not hardly.”

He grinned. “I think you ought to let Liza dress you more often. Brings out the wild side.”

She laughed as they pushed into the drugstore. “Maybe it does.”

What should have been an awkward errand surprise Natalie by turning into part of their foreplay.

Jake kept her hand firmly in his as he wound his way up and down the aisles, looking for condoms. He glanced over at her, that grin playing around the corners of his mouth. “Ribbed or smooth?”

She tried to play it cool, to keep her mouth from simply dropping open, but she couldn’t.

He laughed. “I’ll choose.”

So much for abandoning all her staid principles. But he didn’t make her feel self-conscious about it. In fact, she got the feeling he was rather enjoying teasing her. She was certain of it, when he stopped as they passed a refrigerated unit.

“Hmm.” He slid open one door and pulled out a slender canister. “Harbor any fantasies about whipped cream?”

She tilted her head as if to ponder the question, when the truth was she’d never once thought about sex with whipped cream on top. “Give me a few minutes,” she finally said, when he raised his eyebrows.

He laughed outright but put the can back. She was almost disappointed. Almost. Right now she only wanted him. Unadulterated.

They made their way to the counter. She should have been uncomfortable, standing with him while he—or rather she—made such an obvious purchase, but instead she held the clerk’s rather direct gaze with a direct one of her own. Go ahead, she thought, judge me. But I’m going to be having a lot more fun in the next couple of hours than you will. Right then, she began to see why Liza indulged in this side of life.

It was fun.

Jake got the taxi. He gave the cabbie directions, then leaned back. The radio was blasting and the traffic was steadily picking up. They were both silent, but Jake still held her hand. As they made their way uptown, he began to trace small patterns on her palm with his fingertip.

She didn’t squirm. Or lunge at him. But she wanted to do both. She’d assumed people who did this would be groping and tearing at each other’s clothes the whole way to their room. This wasn’t at all how she would have pictured it. It seemed so sedate. Detached. And yet, it was anything but. Sitting silently next to him, feeling his fingers on her palm, was extremely sensitizing. It al lowed her to think, to feel, to absorb. To imagine that fingertip brushing her in other places, slowly, lazily.

He made her feel that there was all the time in the world and he intended to make good use of each and every second.

Dear God, but she was dying to have him.

IT WASN’T AWKWARD at the hotel, either. They knew him there, but were discreet enough not raise an eyebrow when she slid her credit card across the desk. There was the briefest of moments when they asked about needing a bellman for their luggage, just enough to tell her that Jake didn’t typically show up with a woman on his arm at the crack of dawn. Enough to make her feel better…but also just enough to make her feel naughty. In a sort of decadent, delicious way. Was this really Natalie Holcomb?

As he guided her across the thickly carpeted lobby, she decided she was glad they’d come here. The hotel was small, but intimate and modestly elegant. Apparently cowboys had style. She let Jake direct her to the elevator. They were the only two to step inside.

When the doors swished shut, Nat felt a tiny jolt of panic. Well, not panic, but…reality maybe.

“You okay?”

He was so aware of her. She liked it, rather than resented it. If he was that in tune to her, it could only mean good things later. Right? She tried not to gulp. She was really doing this. In broad daylight, even. Somehow that made it feel even more sinful.

She looked at him and he took her hand, that playful, sexy smile on his face.

Oh, yeah. She was definitely doing this.

“I’m nervous,” she said honestly. “But very okay.”

He smiled. “Me, too. On both counts.”

She laughed suddenly. “I have to say it—I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Might as well get that out in the open.

“Me, either.” He moved closer to her. “Although, I’m beginning to think I owe Con a thank-you.”

He was so warm. So big.

She nodded. “I’m probably not going to be having that talk with Liza, after all.”

The doors slid open, but they stood, mere inches apart, staring at each other.

“I need to ask you something,” she said.

The doors started to slide shut, but Jake reached out and held the button. “Ask me anything.”

“What is this—exactly?” She laughed a bit nervously at his confused expression. “I mean, I know what this is. But I’m catching a plane later today. And another one a few days after that. And so on. I wasn’t planning on—”

He pressed one of those big, thick fingers against her lips. “This can just be…this. No strings. No tomorrow.” He let his finger slide slowly off. “Is that what you wanted to hear?”

She was pretty sure that was exactly what she wanted to hear. She didn’t dwell on anything beyond that. “Yes.”

He let his finger off the button, and the doors shut. “Come here,” he said softly, and pulled her into his arms.

She went into his arms as if she’d been there hundreds of times before. And yet it was an electrifyingly original experience.

He tipped her chin up and angled his head. “Let’s taste each other. And go from there.”

His kiss was tender but firm. His lips warm and dry…then quickly wetter. She slid her arms around his waist and smoothed her hands up his wide back. God, he was big. She’d never been with a man this…large. There was something deeply elemental about how overpowering he was compared to her shorter, slighter frame. But rather than be intimidated by it, she was secretly aroused by it.

In fact, as his wide hands moved up her back and cupped her head, moving it exactly where he wanted it, she felt an undeniable urge to have him move her whole body exactly how and where and whatever way he wanted it. She wanted him to be in control, to take her…and make her like everything he wanted to do to her.

She would have been shocked by the realization—she was definitely one for equal partnerships—but she was too busy reeling from the feel of his tongue invading her mouth.

He didn’t push or shove. He enticed. Goaded. Teased. Twined. Made her want to do the same. So she did.

There was a sudden clearing of throats.

Natalie jerked her head up to find two elderly men staring at them. The lobby stretched out behind them. They’d apparently gone back down. She’d forgotten they were even in the elevator.

Her cheeks warmed. Jake caught her eye and winked, then tugged her out of the elevator. “You take this one, gentlemen. We’ll catch another one.”

Natalie was going to tell him that wasn’t necessary. In fact, she might have enjoyed making the old codgers squirm a little bit on the ride back up. But the idea that maybe there was a little voyeur down deep inside her, after all, surprised her so much, she missed her chance.

Jake pushed the button on the opposite wall, got them into that elevator and gently backed her to one side. “You stand here.” He moved away, pushed for their floor and stood against the opposite wall. At her questioning look, he grinned and said, “Just ensuring we make it to the room this time.”

She laughed, but as the elevator jolted upward, their smiles slowly faded. They stood on opposite sides of the small car, gazes fixed on each other.

Natalie felt her entire body come alive as he very deliberately let his gaze roam over her. When he met her eyes once again, she found herself slowly, shockingly, running her tongue over her lips. When she saw his throat visibly work, she grew bold enough to slowly allow her own gaze to travel over his wide shoulders, deep chest, narrower waist, down his long legs…and back up again. Stopping very deliberately for one extended moment at the juncture between them. Then she gazed directly at his eyes. And licked her lips again.

This time he was ready. His grin was slow, his eyes hot…and demanding. His hands had been pressed to the wall behind him, but now they slid over his thighs…and rested on the zipper of his pants.