Good times and good money have always come easily to Kyle Lonnigan. But now he wants something more, maybe even—gulp—a wife and family. Always a man with the plan, he consults the expert in boring—his identical twin, Lucas—who suggests secretly switching dates for a night to see how the other half lives. Kyle never expected to meet his dream woman…but now she thinks he’s someone else.
Career-minded Jessica Saunders meant to break up with Lucas, but the man waiting for her is too delicious to resist seducing him first. When she learns she’s been duped—worse, that Kyle wants more than a part-time lover—she sends him packing. Jessica wants nothing to do with love, doesn’t believe in happily ever after. If her early life taught her anything, it’s to rely no one but herself.
Yet for a man who’s done everything wrong, wants everything she’s not and drives her absolutely insane, Kyle is getting under her skin. And into her bed. And, if she’s not careful…into the heart she thought no longer existed.
“I really enjoyed reading ALL OF YOU… The humor in ALL OF YOU was wonderful. There were several moments inside the story where I howled with laughter. I appreciated that. ALL OF YOU really took me away, which is what you want when you pick up a romance novel… The characters of ALL OF YOU were original and really made me keep turning the pages to see what’s happening next.”
—Lynette, CK2’s Kwips & Kritiques
“This is a sexy romance…”
—Jane, Dear Author
“(T)he chemistry and the rapport between Kyle and Jessica are fantastic. These two have a great thing going as they can fight, laugh, and love in a manner that convinces me that they are just perfect for each other… There is no denying the potent chemistry between the main characters… They make me smile and even feel happy, as silly as that may sound, and as a result, I have a very good time reading this book…”
—Mrs Giggles, Everything Romantic!
Five Raven Divas
“All of You is absolutely mind-blowing and had me sitting on the edge of my seat from beginning to end….If you’re looking for a heartfelt, humorous, sensual, well-written story that’s action packed and will take you an emotional rollercoaster ride that will have your head spinning for days, but in a good way, then All of You is the book to read. “
—BlackRaven, Blackraven’s Reviews
“Sparks – and clothes – fly in the sensual All of You. Dee Tenorio has penned a fantastic book with two protagonists who tempt, tease, and argue their way into a relationship neither had expected…Like all of Ms. Tenorio’s books that I’ve read, All of You is sexy and engaging. I adored the story and was entertained the whole way through. I finished All of You a well-satisfied reader and am eagerly looking forward to reading Lucas and Belinda’s book, All or Nothing.“
—Shayna, Joyfully Reviewed
Copyright © 2010 Dee Tenorio
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Well, there’s four months of my life I’ll never get back.
Jessica sat in the same booth she and Lucas always met for their dinner dates with a decided lack of excitement. Then again, who looked forward to a breakup? The sense of being free, yes. She always looked forward to that. The frown of confused rejection from the man she was cutting loose? That never got easier.
Still, she doubted tonight’s news would be any kind of surprise. They’d both known upfront they weren’t looking for anything serious. As it was, their casual dates could barely be described as dating. More like dinner and business. Well, business and dinner, if she were honest. They hadn’t even gotten around to a decent makeout session—and apart from her growling, deprived sex drive, she hadn’t really cared too much.
But God, she could use a little interest these days. Something fast and hot, wet and delicious. Something with stamina, so she could have him again, slow and deep. So very, very deep. She shivered, languishing for a few long seconds in the sensory fantasy. If she gave herself permission, she could almost feel strong male hands coursing over her skin, rolling her nipples into hard nubs before stroking over her quivering belly to the moist folds waiting below…
Jessica shook herself out of her imagination before something embarrassing happened. Like Lucas walking up and asking her in his direct, tactless way why she was so flushed. And really, she shouldn’t have to tell him. Four months was a long time to go without being pinned by a hard body that knew how to turn hers into a satisfied puddle.
The only problem was, Lucas never seemed interested in pinning her. Or maybe she just wasn’t interested in getting pinned after getting to know him better.
Which left her between a rock and a not hard enough place.
Frowning to herself, she nearly missed Lucas walking in.
At least, it looked like Lucas.
Same midnight hair, if somewhat longer. Expertly cut too, which wasn’t like him at all. Truth be told, it looked a lot better than her own brown tresses ever did. He was wearing a suit as well. A nice one. Dove gray with a jewel-toned blue shirt that made his eyes glow from across the room. She couldn’t remember anything about Lucas glowing before.
He spoke to the waitress for a moment, smiling so casually that Jessica was glad to be sitting. As it was, her chin fell off her hand, making her jar the table and rock the water glasses. Lucas had dimples? If she hadn’t seen him eat, she would never have been sure he had teeth. Since when did he have dimples?
His easy grin might as well have set off a seismic shift through the restaurant, especially given the drunken response of the teen hostess he was talking to. Jessica’s hands suddenly didn’t know what to do with themselves, one pressing itself to her suddenly tightening thighs and the other automatically smoothing her hair. That couldn’t be Lucas. It just couldn’t be.
Even across the distance, Jessica could see countless differences, far more drastic than the eye-catching suit and the stunning smile. His hands were in his pockets, casually dipped in place while he chatted. Chatted! His broad shoulders looked somehow wider. And he wasn’t standing with his usual rigid posture, instead swaying a bit as if hearing some kind of music in his head that kept him perpetually upbeat. Lucas Lonnigan didn’t have an upbeat bone in his body.
In short…he looked like someone had finally flipped his switch and lit him up. Jessica stopped wondering who when Lucas’s eyes met hers and he walked across the room to her, smile still intact and growing warmer by the second.
Somewhere in her head—faint and from a nearly forgotten warning system—a Chastity Alarm started sounding.
“Hello Jessica,” he said softly, bending down to kiss her cheek—did his lips give her a caress?—sending shivers from her now-flaming cheekbone through her neck to her spine and on down to regions that did not need the tingling buzz of pleasure.
The pitch on the alarm warped in speed and scale, starting from its mild do and shifting to a breakneck, warbled la.
He slid into the booth across from her, not bumping her feet even once, though he always had before. A new equation to calculate better body positioning in average booth confines?
“Hi,” she said, and she felt flames rise higher on her cheeks when her voice sounded breathless. Good lord, she was here to break up with the man! She had no business getting all flustered because he’d found some way to embody candy-apple sex when he walked. At least that much was pure Lucas—the timing was completely off.
Somehow, acknowledging that fact was not reassuring.
“Did I keep you waiting long?” He caught her gaze and leaned forward as if her answer was important to him. Had his eyes always been this blue? And God, was that cologne his? It hinted at sophistication, a cool but inviting scent teasing her senses. Masculine, but light. Fresh.
She forced her eyes to open, hoping he hadn’t noticed how she’d leaned closer and inhaled deeply. “No, only a few minutes.” She hastened to correct herself when his smile turned sheepish. “I’m always early, you know that.”
He nodded and reached for his water. Oh, to drop her head in her hands right now. But no, she had to remain poised. She could not watch his jaw tip up slightly, or stare at his Adam’s apple as it moved up and down while he swallowed. When had that become sexy? The man was drinking water, for Pete’s sake. And yet, her awareness of him—of the lips that had gone from merely sensual to hypnotizing, the cleanly shaven jaw with the slight shadow of dark beard waiting to escape, the tanned throat leading to the hollow where his shirt parted, revealing a secret curling chest hair or two—refused to tamp down.
So he was wearing a suit. So he’d smiled. He was still Lucas Lonnigan, boringly bored financial analyst.
See, she told herself as she sighed in relief, he’s playing with his tableware. Who other than Lucas does that? She’d noticed his quirk for keeping everything at right angles at about their second meeting. He lined up his pencils and his papers like a religious fanatic. Whenever they ate together, he rearranged his place setting automatically, pushing the dish and bowl into a precisely straight stack on the linen placemat and squaring it to the table. The process would be repeated on the napkin and utensils. By the time he finished, he’d have ignored most of what she’d said and she’d be debating using her own fork to get his attention.
Good old Lucas. He hadn’t really changed, she was just looking for things to notice because she apparently needed a hard body more than she’d realized. He was as completely uninteresting as ever. A man uninspired by her and she was equally uninspired by him. All they really did was work together and she needed that to become the recognized focus of their relationship.
Breaking up now would keep things even between them. No harm, no foul. He wasn’t her last chance for sex in the world, but he was her best chance at winning her cases for a long time to come. Nothing mattered to her more, raging hormones or no. His body might be fabulous, but his brain was priceless.
And until she replaced him, she had an amazing vibrator at home.
She smiled, her center returned. This is the best course. I’m not sleeping with you. I’m not thinking about sleeping with you. I’m thinking only about reaffirming our mutually beneficial professional connection before kicking you to the curb and finding the hottest, most forgettable man for the one night stand of his dreams.
Then he looked up and grinned sheepishly when he realized she was watching him, stopped what he was doing and blew all her reassurances to hell.
“So how’ve you been, Jess? Had a busy week?”
She frowned at the diminutive of her name, but figured it was just a slip on his part. She was already breaking up with him, she didn’t have to browbeat him. “I’m sure the average superhero still has me beat, but I’m gaining on them.”
He blinked at her. Surprised? It wasn’t like he didn’t know what her workload was like. There was a reason they only met on occasional Saturday nights. He recovered in a flash by clasping his hands together in front of him and offering her his entire attention. The sensation was enough to stagger her.
“Anything particularly interesting or just your run of the mill?” Those eyes that had never seemed so bright blinked at her, patiently waiting for her to pick up the discussion, but his tone set off other kinds of alarms in her ear. Run of the mill what? He’d trailed it off faintly. Waiting for her to fill in the blank?
“You know, same old, same old.” She frowned. Something strange was going on, she could feel it. If she could only get the desirous fog out of her brain, she might be able to put her finger on what. “Writing wills, helping tax dodgers, saving stodgy old men from accounting software. I might have a few references for you in that department, actually.”
“Uh—great.” The light in his eyes dimmed at the sound of work.
Okay, this was getting weird.
“Lucas, are you okay?” she finally had to ask. “You look…different.”
“Really?” That seemed to perk him back up. “I’m trying a few new things.”
“Like the suit?” And the personality?
“You like it?”
“It’s certainly…different.” There had to be another word to describe him, but she couldn’t think of one. He looked so disappointed that she smiled and went for honesty. “Yes, I like it. It’s very professional.”
He almost seemed to preen. “It’s my favorite.”
“And you wore it for me? I should be touched.” She would be, but she had the strongest sense that he wore it for himself. She just couldn’t be sure if that was good or bad.
“But you’re not.” No offense showed. If anything, he looked amused. “Hmmm, guess I’ll have to find something else to satisfy you.”
Banter. Interesting. She risked propping her chin on her hand again. “So how about you? What have you been doing in the last three weeks?”
“Three weeks?” His eyes widened with what could almost pass as genuine shock. “I’m not dumb enough to have left you alone for three weeks, am I?”
She couldn’t resist it. “I guess you are.”
Again, no offense. Instead, the corner of his mouth turned up, slow, as if pleased to be challenged. Oy vey. “You must be reading your calendar wrong, I’d never be that stupid.”
“Come on now, Lucas,” she chided, wondering when he’d learned to play games. And with who? “I refuse to believe you of all people can’t count to three.”
That made him laugh. Startled, Jessica’s elbow fell off the edge of the table. She looked around the room to see if anyone else was noticing the miracle, but no one was particularly interested.
“I know it probably doesn’t mean much now, but I’m really sorry. I should have called to explain. I guess time got away from me, is all.”
“Along with a few other things,” she murmured. Like his mind. First a laugh, then an apology. She was tempted to pinch herself.
“I’m trying to better myself. What do you think?”
Jessica eyed him suspiciously. He’d sounded startlingly close to requesting a compliment. Odd considering Lucas once told her that compliments were an unusable commodity. “I think the body snatchers got a hold of you.” She leaned forward again, but this time, he leaned back. “Are you on medication?”
His expression darkened, looking a little grim and a lot more like himself.
“Okay, maybe not the body snatchers, but something is definitely off about you.” More like everything.
“I’m sure I’ll be back to my old self in no time,” he groused, going back to rearranging his napkin.
Wouldn’t that be a shame? But how could she say that to him?
Thankfully, she didn’t have to because the waitress came and took their orders. She requested a small steak and potato plate, he ordered the seafood platter. A platter…from a man she generally had to push into ordering more than lightly flavored pasta. She raised an eyebrow but didn’t comment.
“So tell me what else I’ve been an ass about.”
She blinked. “I wouldn’t say—”
“I would,” he interrupted, almost cheerily. “There’s no reason to beat around the bush. I’m a pain in the neck most of the time. Always calculating things that I should just accept. My idea of scintillating conversation is arguing over how far into infinity prime numbers actually go.” He shrugged, his mouth once again stealing her attention as it quirked into a self-mocking grimace. “Believe me, it’s a boring conversation.”
“Not if you love numbers,” she felt compelled to argue.
His bright eyes widened. “You love numbers that much?”
His commiserating nod was softened by an effacing grin. “See? Ass.”
She shook her head. “You’re being too hard on yourself.”
“Okay, then, let’s be hard on you. Did I ever ask you why you decided to become a lawyer?”
Her enjoyment in the conversation froze. “No, but it’s not a very interesting story.”
“Sure it is.” He dive-bombed her with a full-fledged smile, his even teeth, dual dimples and mischievous eyes setting the chastity alarm squealing until it died a loud, overworked demise. Beneath her blouse, a flush rose up her chest while she shifted in her seat to offset the sudden fluttering of her sex. Dear God, one look and she was wet. She hadn’t known that was actually possible.
Why? Why did he have to suddenly be sexy? Was this his revenge? Some pesky man-pride trick designed to make her regret what she was about to do? Well, she wouldn’t regret breaking up with him and she certainly wouldn’t regret not sleeping with him just because of a grin.
She watched him take another quick drink of water and bit back a gurgled groan when he licked his lips afterwards.
Stop it. I am not going to sleep with you. I already made up my mind.
“So, come on, spill. What made you want to be a rebel with a cause?”
“I’d hardly call finance law a cause.” It was a means to an end.
“So I guess that means young Jessie wasn’t a lawbreaker? No heinous juvenile records or handmade shiv collections?”
She made a face. “Please, don’t call me Jessie. It makes me feel like a five-year-old. Or a man.” Which, in her experience, was often the same thing.
His gaze coursed over her, leaving tingling trails of awareness everywhere it touched—her hands, her breasts, her throat. Damn the table for being in the way of everything below the waist. “Believe me, honey, no one could confuse you with a man.”
I am absolutely not going to sleep with you.
“Or are you trying to sidetrack me from the shivs? Got a little Sharon Stone in you I don’t know about?”
She was a lot of things he didn’t know about, a fact that finally gave her a dash of sobriety. Things no one would ever find out about. “I swear. I don’t even own an ice pick.”
“Oh good. So tell me about being a lawyer.”
“I’m starting to think you’re the lawyer,” she grumbled. Lucas had never been this tenacious before. If she didn’t want to discuss something, he never bothered asking again. And he never pouted the way he was doing now, giving her a nearly hangdog expression she couldn’t help chuckling at. “I’m not being difficult, there’s nothing to tell. I wanted a long-term career. It was either be a lawyer or be a cop. Since I have the upper body strength of a gnat, I went for law school. Too bad I underestimated how heavy the books were going to be.”
He laughed, the sound another sensual stroke she could almost swear she felt slide down the side of her throat before heating the flesh between her breasts. “You should try carting around some of the SEC regulation manuals.”
She frowned, losing the seductive sensation at a stray thought. “I didn’t know you did any trading.”
For a second, his smile faltered. “Hobby.”
“Uh-huh.” Okay, this was getting beyond weird. “Lucas—”
“So what do you think about kids? Do you like them?”
The subject change threw her. “I—what?”
“Nothing. Tell me more about you. What do you do when you’re not working out with law books?”
She was about to dig into him for answers but the waitress arrived with their food and he looked so deliriously happy to see it she had trouble holding on to her irritation.
What followed then was only slightly less disturbing than their conversation. Poking at her own baked potato, she could only stare and feel slightly voyeuristic while Lucas began making love to his food. First came the expressions of ecstasy when he inhaled the aroma of the lobster bisque. He actually licked his lips at the mere sight of a calamari and crab salad and, unless she was wrong, he mumbled a brief, altogether too lustful prayer over the baked whitefish and oysters on the half-shell.
Good Lord, she’d had entire sexual relationships with less foreplay.
He made quick work of the two oysters, managing to make them look delicious while the slimy little puddles slipped out of the shell and into his mouth with a quick sip.
“I hope those things don’t give you any ideas,” she murmured. She already disliked the ideas watching him drink them had given her. Images of him sipping at her breasts exactly the same way, licking all the way down between her thighs where he would suck at the pearl he found there, drinking down every drop she’d give him…
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry,” he replied so casually she wondered if she should be insulted. “I started having ideas the second I saw you sitting here.”
Her fork clattered to her plate when he gave her a quick wink before spearing a piece of coconut shrimp.
“But you have to promise not to ask me what they are, because I won’t tell you,” he continued, his cheek full on one side, giving him an endearing chipmunk look. “I know it’s going to take all your willpower to control yourself, but I’m a man with ethics. I’d never allow a woman to take advantage of me until at least the third date.”
She sputtered with unexpected laughter. “This is our eighth date.”
“Oh, then by all means,” he said, the invitation in his eyes nearly as compelling as the slight husky tone of his voice. “Take advantage of me.”
Her hand shook as she took hold of her fork again, determined to eat without making a fool of herself. “Maybe next time.” With a start, she realized there wasn’t supposed to be a next time. “I mean…oh, can’t you be quiet and let a woman enjoy her meat?”
His grin spread wider and she realized what she’d said.
Poise, Jessica, her mind ordered when she felt her eyes begin to bulge.
“Far be it from me to come between a woman and a little hot beef.”
She bit her lip and decided maybe poise was slipping out of her reach. She just had to hope self-control didn’t disappear along with it.
As they ate, Lucas kept up an easy flow of conversation, thankfully letting her off the meat hook, as it were, but not any of the others. Finally, she gave in and started answering, just to make him stop.
“I like plants,” she finally admitted, stirring sugar into her coffee after their plates were cleared.
She blinked at him. “The plant kind.”
Did he have to look so adorable when he was trying not to say something to hurt her feelings? Usually, it never seemed to occur to him whether she had any to worry about.
“There’s all kinds of different plants. Ones with flowers, ones with colored leaves, miniature kinds, there’s even one that’s a carnivore. I don’t recommend that one for you though. They bite.”
She shrugged off the corny joke. “I don’t care about botany. I just collect them because they’re pretty.” And without legs, they at least could be trusted to stay where you put them. “I’m a girl, I like pretty things.”
“What other pretty things do you collect?” He set his elbow on the tabletop, leaning his temple on his knuckles. She stared at him, wishing she could feel as comfortable in her skin as he seemed to. Nothing deterred him. Veiled insults spilled off his back. Sarcasm only encouraged him. And yet, despite all the dodging, she couldn’t remember the last time she had a conversation last so long when it wasn’t a deposition.
What would it be like to get dressed in the morning, knowing people would see what you wore and like it? To enter a room, be noticed and be absolutely comfortable about it? There were few things she craved in the world, but confidence was one of them and Lucas Lonnigan’s radiated off him in sensual waves, wrapping around her like a lover’s arms. It lured her to lower her guard, to give him anything he wanted, because he’d return it ten times over with indescribable pleasure.
If she hadn’t decided to break up with him, she might just be tempted.
“Stamps,” she nearly barked, the lie jolting her back to reality with the mental screech of car wreck. She stifled the urge to shake herself at her own obviousness. What the hell was so pretty about stamps.
But if he noticed she’d slipped out of his spell, he didn’t show it. “Do you have many?”
She shook her head. “But I seem to be starting a lot of new things lately.” Like lying. And lusting to the point that she might actually have an orgasm all by herself…
His eyebrows rose faintly. “Turning a new leaf?”
Ha. As if anyone would believe that. “No, nothing so drastic. I have goals, important goals. Things I want to see and do and be.” Things no amount of lectures from her well-meaning but…eccentric secretary would derail her from achieving. Though she could steal an oft-given quote of Dory’s, before he started asking questions about her goals. “But I don’t want to be just my goal when I get there. A new hobby from time to time helps round me out.”
His head picked up, his eyes taking on a gleam of something she was tempted to call recognition.
“Everyone should try new things every once in a while. Experiment.” Eying his interested expression nervously, she added, “Eat some of those gourmet foods that sound scary when you hear what they’re made of but taste amazing once you give them a try. Go on a trip somewhere you’ve never been before.” That would be just about anywhere for her. Her one hidden fantasy slipped through her lips before she could stop it. “Shop like money is no object.”
He laughed and she blushed at her own vehemence. “You could combine all those things into one trip, if you wanted. They say the shopping in Hong Kong is the most amazing in the world. You could go there, get some stamps, try the food and buy anything you want.”
She smiled. “Well, we don’t usually get what we want just because we ask for it.” She knew that better than most. “That’s why I said every once in a while.”
“How do you get what you want, then, if not by asking?”
“You earn it,” she replied simply. He was old enough to know the truth about life. No one handed you anything for free. If they did, it usually meant they were going to take more from you than you would have agreed to pay.
He nodded, seeming to understand her. But why did she get the feeling he was about to disagree? “So, if I said, ‘Run away with me to Hong Kong tonight’, what would you do?”
“Turn you down.” Obviously.
Her amusement melted away. “Are you serious?”
“About the invitation or the question?”
“Both?” God help her if he meant that haphazard invitation.
He watched her for a few pregnant moments before sighing in resignation. “Much as I’d love to take you to Hong Kong, my boss would probably have a fit.”
He rolled his eyes. “Fine, I would probably have a fit.”
“I think you’re having one right now.”
Finally, she got him to frown. It looked wrong on his face and she felt a curious dismay at putting it there. “Why would you turn me down, Jess? Truthfully.”
“It’s Jessica. And I’d turn you down—truthfully—because flying off to Hong Kong at the drop of a hat is a ridiculous idea. Rational people do not drop everything just to go have fun. They have responsibilities and duties and…and…”
He leaned his head to the side, as if measuring her features.
“Stop looking at me like that,” she finally said.
Like you want to kiss me. Or maybe she just wanted to be kissed. Wanted an excuse to keep her thoughts to herself. An excuse to touch his mouth with her own, just for a second. Just to know how he felt. How he tasted. Was he as playful a kisser as he had been a person tonight? Or was he intense, the way she’d known him to be over the last several months?
She’d never know because she was there to break up with him.
“Like you think you’re getting the better of me. I don’t lose arguments.”
“I’m starting to see that.” He straightened in his seat. “There’s a right answer, you know.”
“To running off to Hong Kong with you?”
Nodding, his gaze grew hot again when she inadvertently pulled the edge of her bottom lip between her teeth. “Do you want to know what it is?”
Yes. She held in a gasp as the impulse nearly made it to her lips. “I think I’ll claim the Fifth on that one.”
With a disappointed tsk, his grin slipped back in place where it belonged. “Maybe next time.” He gestured to the waitress for the check.
This was it. Her cue to tell him she wanted to end the “romantic” aspect of their relationship. Assure him they could remain friends and professional acquaintances. She even opened her mouth to do it.
But she couldn’t get the words out.
Why? Why did he choose tonight to be the most interesting man she’d ever met? The most attractive and interesting? She stared at his mouth as he spoke to the waitress in a kind undertone. From the moment she met him, she’d had an appreciation for his mouth. Tonight appreciation had become temptation. Possibly obsession. Would it soften the way it had when he’d kissed her cheek? Could she still turn him away if she found out? Where else would she want those lips if one kiss led to another?
She shifted in her seat, the flutter in her sex a full-on clench of desire now. It would be so good…to feel his skin, hot and slick against hers while his mouth suckled and nibbled and fed on her one inch at a time. To finally touch his chest, to taste every muscle of that perfect body. To have him pounding into her with all that latent power she sensed, driving all thought and tension away with orgasm after orgasm. She panted as silently as she could, her head down so he wouldn’t see what her own imagination was doing to her.
She had to get off this sexual kick. She wasn’t going to sleep with him. It wasn’t right to drop him—and she was going to drop him—after she’d gotten her rocks off. If she went with him now, he’d think there was something more to their relationship but there wasn’t. Apart from this one dinner, they’d barely had conversations. Of course, that didn’t stop her rocks from clamoring for some offing.
Could women even use the term “rocks”?
The slight mental digression had her considering Lucas’s rocks and it all went downhill again from there.
With a struggle, Jessica finally dragged her mind from the gutter.
“I’m not going to sleep with you,” she whispered, eyes closed, belly tightening in rejection, because saying it mentally was not working anymore.
It didn’t help. She might say she wouldn’t sleep with him, but she definitely wanted to. The tingling sensation Lucas’s gaze evoked, the prospect of being ridden to bonelessness and coming so many times she lost her voice was sounding more and more like a rational thing to do. But it was wrong to use him. To encourage him. When he was uncaring and in need of the nearest flat surface in the worst way, she might have been able to do it and leave without much conscience. Lord knew he had needed the de-stressing as much as she did. But this warmer, charming Lucas that attracted her mind as well as her body?
“Not a chance in Hell. I don’t care if you beg, I’m not going to sleep with you,” she repeated.
She looked up, horrified to find him standing closer than she expected, waiting for her to rise, hand out and an eyebrow raised. As she reached to take his hand, she felt the flush that had never quite left her chest rise to the embarrassing heights of her face
Lucas helped her to her feet then reached down for the check she hadn’t even seen arrive, so he could study it intently.
“What are you doing?”
“Looking to see if I’d ordered kneepads with dinner. Nope, no begging planned tonight, but I’m always open to changing things up a little. What did you have in mind?”
She pulled it from his hand and set it back on the table with the crisp bills he’d already placed there, checking around briefly to make sure no one else had heard. Her cheeks were already burning, she didn’t want utter humiliation to cause spontaneous combustion. “I’m sorry, that just slipped out.”
His dimples made another appearance. She almost whimpered. “So were you trying to convince yourself or me?”
Placing a cool hand to the side of her face, she blew out a shaky breath. “Honestly, I’m not sure.”
“Any particular reason you need convincing?” He led her out of the café, nodding at the waitress smiling after them. Once they cleared the front doors, he looked around, as if trying to decide which direction to go. Which was just ridiculous. Lucas always knew exactly where he was and where he was headed. Usually so did she.
For the first time in years, she didn’t.
All she knew for sure was that she wanted him. Not plastic. Warmth. Laughter. Passion. Seduction. Yes, that was it. He’d been working a slow seduction all night, as if he’d come to her with the express purpose of sliding into her bed, into her body and into every fantasy she could think of. The only thing holding her back was her conscience.
She could admit when she was ready to be had. She couldn’t begin to explain how ready she was.
She stared at him until he met her gaze again, his friendly smile slowly fading. Judging by the expression on his face, he could see it without her saying a word. So why didn’t he act on it? Why not push his advantage? Why did he look both interested and cautious?
And yet, his uncertainty sent a slight thrill through her. After all his flirting, he was the one pulling back? Oh no, not after all that flirting and stimulating and promising, however unspoken. Something predatory twined inside her at the thought of going home without him.
“I want you to come home with me,” she said, smoothing a tendril of her hair back behind her ear. The wind and the air from the traffic beside them kept the rest of her hair whipping at her back, but she ignored it. She kept every ounce of her attention on him.
His eyes remained clouded. “What happened to your determination not to sleep with me?”
She shrugged, hoping to cover the shivers…and the fears that he would turn her down. As if his rejection had the power to hurt when she’d set herself up ages ago never to be hurt again. “When you’re getting to the point of talking yourself out of something, it’s because you’ve already decided to do it.” And she had. Probably the second he’d walked in the door of the restaurant.
She wanted this man, this Lucas, in her bed more than she’d wanted anyone, ever. She’d settle for the floor of her foyer if she had to, but eventually, she wanted him on any bed she could find. As many beds. Her mind quickly went wild with possibilities while her panties grew damn near soaked.
She tugged on his hand, leading west, toward her apartment. “Come on.”
“I was thinking sex, but if you’d like a drink first, sure.”
Again that laugh of his. He didn’t pull away, as she half-expected, but he didn’t exactly keep pace. With those long legs he’d have no trouble outdistancing her. Which probably meant…
She should have known being brazen was a mistake with Lucas. The man had prudence in his DNA. New clothes or not, he wasn’t the type to rush. She spun around, looking into his eyes and seeing a definite response to her. She wasn’t bad looking, really, and there wasn’t anyone she trusted of the male persuasion the way she did Lucas, even if she did mean to break up with him. He probably needed reassurance.
“I know we haven’t had this kind of relationship, but don’t worry. I won’t expect anything from you afterwards.” She smiled up at him, hoping he’d understand everything she implied in that one sentence. “I promise.”
He didn’t appear to be as soothed as she expected. Good lord…was it possible he hadn’t done this before? It would certainly explain a lot about his usual grumpy personality, not to mention his sudden uncertainty.
“I’ll be gentle,” she added, smiling at his obvious misgivings.
He smiled back, wryly. “It’s not that. I’m kind of liking your aggressive side.”
“But?” A man didn’t slow a woman intent on sex unless there was a but somewhere.
“There’s something I haven’t told you.”
That he was going to break up with her? No, no, no, not yet. Once he got those words out, he’d go all noble on her and she’d go home frustrated.
“Tell me later.” She rose up on her toes to wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him.
She’d never kissed Lucas before, not apart from the occasional cheek kiss. She’d never even held his hand. It was different than she’d imagined. Softer. Gentler. Perfect. Unwilling to think about why, she closed her eyes and licked his lips, craving a deeper taste.
He’d been too surprised at first to respond, but he warmed up quickly, meeting her kiss with his own, flirting with her, stroking and soothing her before tilting in a different direction and daring her to follow.
His lips took over, commanding, rewarding her when she did by rolling their hips together, leaving no question in her mind as to his interest now. The thick length of his cock teased with every swivel, causing an almost painful throbbing in her own moistening folds. Never enough to let her know exactly what he was offering, instead it hinted at the satisfaction he could give and she pressed closer, aching for relief.
Oxygen became a thing of the past and she couldn’t have cared less. She slipped her fingers into his hair, sampled the silkiness at his nape. He slid his hands fully over her ass, just resting there a second before caressing it in a way that made her whole body leap. Strong fingers slipped over the bottom curve, pulling her apart enough to make her wish he could slip them between her thighs right then, but he retreated and she groaned against his lips.
“Say you’re coming home with me,” she whispered when she finally pulled away.
He looked down at her, looking dazed and hungry, shocked and awed. That might have had something to do with the grip she had on his lapels, but she didn’t think so. For the first time ever, Lucas was seeing a woman when he looked at her, and he wanted her.
“Honey, I think I might just follow you anywhere you lead.”
She smiled, letting go of his coat and smoothing her hands over his chest. She didn’t say another word, just turned around and let him do exactly that.