Sinful Longing(3)

By: Lauren Blakely



She wanted what she couldn’t have, and she most definitely couldn’t have him, even though her body begged to disagree; it pulsed for this man by her side, just as it had since the day last year when he’d walked into her office at the community center, offering to volunteer.

Instant chemistry.

Desire in a bottle.

It had only grown stronger the more she knew him and talked to him, making it harder and harder to keep him at bay. That was the problem. The big problem. She had to draw boundaries with him. She’d made promises—being with him would break them. He was a line she couldn’t cross. He was a risk she couldn’t let herself take.

He rustled in the seat next to her, inching closer as the music crested. His sexy scent drifted under her nose. He smelled so fucking good. Like sex in an elevator. Like hot kisses on her neck that made her writhe.

“Do you like the music?” he whispered, his lips so close to her skin. Goose bumps rose on her flesh as she blinked open her eyes.

She nodded, trying desperately to let the violins and cellos, the flutes and bassoons, the sophisticated sounds floating from the stage, guide her thoughts to a sweeter, purer shore. To let the music take her away from these primal, base notions traipsing through the dirty meadows in her head. For the last month she’d done a good job resisting him, keeping him at an arm’s length after she’d fallen into his arms again one night after a round of poker at the Wynn. Winning had excited her. He had excited her.

She would do better tonight.

Right?

Right.

She sneaked a peek at him, taking in the face she knew well. Strong cheekbones. Lightly stubbled jawline. Dark hair, nearly black, and so damn soft. Brown eyes, like chocolate. Sculpted lips that had kissed her many times. A body built by rock climbing, and hiking, and white water rafting, and Ironman triathlons, and oh God, why did she have to slam into his orbit tonight? She should have come alone to the benefit. She should have brought her sister. Her mother, even.

He raised a hand to adjust his tie—he was always doing that, as if ties weren’t his thing—and her gaze settled on his fingers.

Magic fingers, she called them. She knew what they could do to her.

“Yes, I like the music,” she said, trying to center herself.

“I do, too,” he said softly, then stroked his chin. “It’s beautiful. And it reminds me of something.”

She raised an eyebrow. “What does it remind you of? Some other piece of music?” She hadn’t known him to be a classical fan. He was rock, alternative, and indie music all the way.

He shook his head. “Not music. But something else I enjoy. Trying to remember exactly what.”

“Tell me,” she whispered, her curiosity now piqued. Her eyes met his. She searched those dark brown irises, as if she could find the answer there.

The sounds from the stage grew louder. “Wait. I think I know.”

She widened her eyes, and held out her hands as if to say tell me now.

“Turn back to the stage. It helps me think.”

She shot him a look, because that made no sense. Shrugging, she returned her focus to the musicians and the victorious sound of the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth.

“Ah, that’s it,” Colin whispered. “Now I remember. It reminds me of that thing you like so much.”

That thing.

His fingers gently traveled up her neck. A small gasp escaped her lips. “Your neck. The way you move when I kiss you right here,” he said, stopping to trace the outline of one of her birds with the pad of his thumb. She nearly moaned out loud. Elle was convinced every woman had a spot on her body that melted her from head to toe when touched the right way by the right man.

For Elle, it was her neck.

“How you sound when I touch your shoulder,” he continued, letting his fingers graze her collarbone. Her bones turned liquid. Any ounce of resolve still left in her evaporated. She could say it was the thrill of the night, that it was the joy of hitting a massively vital professional goal, or perhaps it was the fact that no one had made her feel this way in years.

But none of that was true.

It was him. He just did something to her.

A shiver rolled down her spine. “No, it doesn’t sound like that at all,” she said, trying faintly to deny the way she responded to him.

He nodded vigorously. “Yes, it does. Just listen to that crescendo. It sounds like you when I— ”

She grabbed his thigh and dug in her nails. The contact silenced him, but reminded her of how much she liked contact with him.

Great job, Elle.

Being so close to him was an injection of lust in her bloodstream, and Elle knew what happened when she was ruled by lust. She knew it well, and she had the lifetime of upended choices to show for it.

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