Hunter's Moon (Chapter 17)

Damien went still. "This is a bad idea, Leigh."

I went on tiptoe, brushed my lips back and forth across his chin, then reached up and licked his bottom lip.

"Fuck me," I whispered. "You know you want to."

He reared back, staring at me as if I'd lost my mind. But I already knew that I had.

"No," he said.

I reached down and cupped him. He was hard and heavy against my palm. "No?" I drew a fingertip up his length.

He caught his breath, closed his eyes. I slipped my hand into his pants, closed my fingers around him, and pumped.

Cursing, he grabbed my wrist. I managed to rub my thumb over his tip; moisture beaded between our skin. I wanted to taste him.

"Leigh," he ground out.

Maybe later.

"Stop talking."

I kissed him the way he'd kissed me earlier. Nothing gentle about it. No giving, only taking. If he kept yapping, I'd lose my nerve, and I didn't want that. I wanted him.

He gave in with a furious rumble from deep in his chest. Suddenly his hands were everywhere, touching everything. His mouth was right behind them.

I fumbled with his shirt. Why now, of all times, had he buttoned the damn thing? I lost my patience and yanked. Buttons pinged against the floor. At last I could kiss the chest I'd been fantasizing about.

He tasted as good as he smelled, an enticing combination of sunshine and shadow. Salt and sweet, clean skin. I licked his soft, flat nipple. It beaded and I rolled it with my tongue, tested the tip with my teeth.

His fingers tightened in my hair, pressing against my skull to a point just short of pain. I suckled him and his hand fell to my waist, but he didn't pull me near. Instead, he seemed to be holding me away. I didn't like it.

I reached for him, stroked gently. He leaped, grew, heated, and at last he drew me closer. It felt so good to be held. No one had touched me since Jimmy and…

My mind shied away from the past, clung to the present.

Think of nothing but this, no one but him.

My hand increased the pressure, the speed. My name erupted like a curse from his lips as he tugged at my clothes. He didn't have much luck. They were too tight to get rid of easily.

I was afraid he'd call a stop again, and if he did, I'd listen to the voice I'd stifled, the one that kept screaming, Are you insane?

Maybe. Oh well, nothing I hadn't been before.

To stifle the voice, I yanked my tank top over my head, lost the boots, the socks, the knife, then shimmied out of my jeans. By undressing myself, I could control the situation, control what he saw, what I hid.

I straightened, standing naked and exposed. Suddenly the room wasn't so hot; it was downright chilly.

The gray light of dawn cast a shadow over his face, making his eyes darker than I remembered, closer to brown than hazel. His hair was mussed, the lack of sun hiding the streaks of red amid the chestnut strands. His jaw was dark with stubble. I wanted to feel the scrape against my thighs, my belly, my breasts.

His shirt hung loose, the black accenting his pale, smooth skin. His trousers rode low on his hips. He was slim but toned, every inch honed to perfection. I wanted to see all of him, touch him, too.

I eased the shirt from his shoulders. He shrugged and it fluttered to the ground. He seemed unaffected by my nearness, my nakedness. Standing completely still, he didn't reach out. Did he find me unappealing?

The thought made me frown. I hadn't looked at a man with any interest in over two years, but not because no one had looked at me.

Small, petite, blond – almost. I was flat chested, true, but there were plenty of men who didn't mind, who, in fact, preferred a boyish shape to a voluptuous one. However, Damien might not be one of them.

I stepped forward and laid my palm against his chest, felt his heart pounding like the wings of a bird that had been startled from the trees. He might appear unaffected, but his body couldn't lie. He wanted me.

I hooked my thumbs in his pants, shifted them down his hips, over his erection, then let them fall to the floor. He grabbed me by the shoulders, his touch no longer gentle.

His mouth on mine re-ignited the lust. Everything about him aroused me – his skin, his hair, his scent. My fingers fluttered everywhere, stroking, kneading, discovering.

His bed was across the room. A lifetime away. I was tempted to opt for the kitchen table, but would that label me an overeager slut? Probably.

Did I care? Not really.

The decision was taken out of my hands when he lifted me into his arms and headed for the bed. I didn't argue. Not even when he fell onto his back, letting me sprawl all over him. I felt exposed, naked.

Oops, I was.

I tried to shimmy off, so I could press my back against the mattress. He couldn't see me, couldn't touch me, where no one had touched me since. Panic pulsed in a hot, oily mass at the base of my throat. Then he grabbed my thighs, opened my legs, and arched.

I forgot all about what I wanted to hide as his erection slid against me just right. He kept his palms on my hips; his thumbs glided up and down the sensitive area where my thighs connected to my body.

Gooseflesh broke out, making the light sheen of sweat on my skin tingle. I felt alive in a way I hadn't felt since I'd begun courting death.

He pushed me toward the edge. I didn't want to go. Not so fast, not like this. I wanted him inside me. I needed him to fill the eternal emptiness, assuage the burning, aching abyss that was Leigh.

Tightening my legs, I lifted myself, searching for fulfillment. It wasn't hard to find. He slid inside just a bit.

Suddenly I was on my back, his body flush with mine, his hands pinning my wrists to the mattress as I fought him.

"Dammit, Leigh." His forehead pressed against mine. "Wait a second."

"I don't want to wait."

If I waited, I'd think, and thinking was bad. Right now all I needed was him. I wasn't remembering or missing anyone else.

"Neither do I," he muttered, and reached over the side of the bed.

I tensed, uncertain what he was doing. But when his hand became visible again, I understood.

I was much, much dumber than I looked.

He rolled away and in a quick, practiced move sheathed himself in a condom. Watching his clever fingers play over his own skin excited me.

Even if I'd been able to think clearly, I had no time for recriminations. He was back in an instant, sliding between my thighs, stroking my waist.

"No more waiting," he murmured, lips drifting from my ear, to my neck, then back to my mouth.

I wrapped my legs around him and he filled me in a single, driving thrust. He was too gentle; I wanted it rough.

As I urged him with my hands, my hips, my teeth, he caught the rhythm and swept me away – from him, from Crow Valley, but, most important, from myself.

He knew which buttons to push. At least on me. When I was near the edge, panting, gasping, he slowed, then went still.

Circling both my wrists with one of his hands, the scrape of his rough ringers enticed me. He held me captive so I couldn't touch him or hasten him on. Then he let his mouth do amazing things wherever it could reach. My breasts were small, but that only meant they were more sensitive. Having him hard and still inside me while he suckled and bit and played with my nipples made me come in a deep, pulsing wave, but it wasn't enough.

"Again," he muttered, slowly drawing himself out to the tip, then pushing in as deep as he could.

"I can't," I murmured, even as I wrapped my legs around his back and pulled him closer.

He teased me until my skin was slick with sweat and my mind was spinning along with my body. This time when I went over, he came, too, the pulsing ejaculation an added sensation that had me tightening around him, drawing out the moment as long as I could.

But sooner or later all good things must end. There were technicalities to take care of. He went to the bathroom. Water ran; the toilet flushed. The world rushed back like a flood. What had I done?

Screwed a stranger. Big deal. These days everyone was a stranger. What did I expect, that I'd go without sex for the rest of my life?

He'd been good. Make that great. Even if I hadn't been with a man in two years, Damien would still have been amazing.

And why not? He was gorgeous, built, skilled. Of course he was the best fuck I'd ever had. I should have been dancing for joy. Instead I felt like crying.

"Do you have a cigarette?" I asked.

"Leigh." His hand covered mine. I stared at the ceiling as if it were the most fascinating entity on the planet. "Sex isn't going to help."

My gaze flew to his. "Help what?"

His smile was both gentle and sad. Darnien's smile. "Help you to forget."

My eyes narrowed. "Forget what?"

"Leigh," he said again, and touched my hair.

My chest ached. My eyes burned. I had to stop him from being nice to me before I cried. I turned my back, then realized what I'd done and slammed my shoulders flat to the bed.

I glanced at his face.

Too late. He'd already seen.