A kiss by any other name would never taste as sweet as his.


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“Gisella.” A tender touch brushed her arm. A man’s voice swept her consciousness as tenderly and rescued her from the dreams threatening to swallow her.

She moaned again. The kindness made no sense in the face of her nightmare. It made no sense anyway. Men with soft, seductive voices didn’t speak to her in tones suggestive of intimacy.

“Can you stand and walk?”

Too weak to lift her head, she rolled it back and forth. Then, as if she weighed nothing, she was floating. Her head lolled for a minute before landing on something solid and soft. Her forehead brushed skin.

Inhaling deep, pulling in the barely noticeable scent of men’s cologne—something delicious—the tension bled from her body.

“Kyle?”

“Yes.”

“What are you doing?” Reluctant to face whatever came next, Gisella opened her eyes and shifted so she could see Kyle. “Why are you carrying me?”

“I’m taking you to bed.”

“Oh.” She nestled her head against his shoulder again and sighed. “It’s about time.”

He cleared his throat. His heart sped inside his chest, pounding against her body. “So you can sleep.”

“Party pooper. You were a party pooper at the wedding too.”

“I like things simple.”

“Sex is supposed to be simple.” According to her friends anyway. She must be more tired than she imagined, or the paramedics had given her some drugs, because she shifted her fingers through his hair as she curled against him. She’d never been brave, but he brought out a different side of her. With him she was brave enough to ask for what she wanted to finally experience outside of books.

“Not simple enough.”

“It’s as simple as we want it to be.”

“Gisella.” His tone sounded threatening, but it didn’t scare her. It only made her want to giggle.

“Do you ever use more than fifteen syllables at a time?”

“I don’t count. How much pain are you in?”

“I only feel you.” She played with his hair and rubbed her nose against his neck. “I feel your arms around me. I like you touching me.”

“Don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

He turned into her bedroom, angling through the doorway to keep from smacking her against the frame. He didn’t sound any less gruff when he said, “Say shit like that.”

She noticed the room was clean, which hadn’t been the case when the burglars had gone. “You cleaned up.”

Kyle looked sweetly sheepish, and it made him the most irresistible man she’d ever met. When he lowered her to the floor, holding her to make sure she was steady on her feet, she should have moved away. It would have been the smart thing to do. Tonight, she wasn’t feeling smart.

“Kyle.” She moved daringly, at least for her, closer.

“It’s not a good idea.”

He didn’t specify what it was. She could guess, but she wasn’t going to ask. His hands rested on her hips with his fingers pressing lightly into her, and the sensation was glorious.

Heat radiated through her muscles and melted away her tension.

“You’re wrong. It’s a great idea.” Any idea was great if it kept his hands on her.

“Gisella, we can’t.”

“Because you don’t want me?” Where had the strength to ask that come from? She was never the one to make a first move.

“Because of your case.”

Testing them both, she moved a little closer, close enough that her body brushed his. Close enough to feel his reaction to her. “So you do want me?”

Any denial on his part would be a lie, because his body had already answered. His fingers shifted lower, curled deeper into her. Her core pulsed and her mind raced with ways to get him naked.

“I won’t tell if you don’t.”

He shook his head.

“Have another cop assigned.”

He shook his head again.

Gisella had to face the facts she couldn’t help but respect. She was losing ground to his stubbornness, or professionalism, or whatever it was holding him back, but at least she knew he wanted her. The knowledge made her brave.

“Are you saying no to sex?”

“I have to.” He lifted a hand to her throat and traced the bandage she’d briefly forgotten about.

“Do you have to say no to staying?”

He watched her, one eye narrowed slightly more than the other. His fingers squeezed for her hips for the briefest second before he lifted them. “I’ll stay.”

Gisella nodded, silently agreeing to his unspoken request to drop the sex talk. If it meant not being left alone she’d comply, but she wasn’t going to stop wanting him.

She tossed the covers back and sat on the edge of the mattress. The uncertainty that was more like her returned. “If I ask you to lay with me, will you? I promise to keep my hands to myself and not mention sex.”

“I’m not sure that’s going to help.” Still, he moved forward and toed off his shoes.

 

Warning
Contains a man who rarely strings more than fifteen syllables together, and a woman who can read him like a cookbook.
When strong and silent meets sweet and bubbly, something’s bound to boil over.

 

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