One Night in His Arms

By: Penny Jordan

 PROLOGUE

‘WHAT the hell are you doing, Sylvie? Just what kind of game are you playing now?’ Ran demanded angrily as he removed her hands, releasing her fingers from his shirt where she had unconsciously curled them in her attempt to get him to listen to what she wanted to say, to understand that she was no longer a child, that she was now completely and totally a woman...a woman who loved and wanted him.

‘Ran, this isn’t a game,’ she protested, her eyes starting to fill with anguished tears as he thrust her away. ‘I want—’

‘Oh, I know exactly what you want, Sylvie,’ he interrupted her savagely. ‘You want me to take you to bed. But right now what I feel more like doing—’ He broke off, said something she couldn’t quite catch under his breath and then turned to look at her so that the light fell sharply across his face, outlining the aristocratic arrogance of his profile.

‘Your stepbrother is one of my closest friends and my employer and—’

‘This doesn’t have anything to do with Alex,’ Sylvie protested frantically. ‘This is just between you and me, Ran.’

‘You and me? There is no you and me,’ he told her cruelly. ‘You are just a schoolgirl, Sylvie, whilst I am a fully adult man.’

‘But Ran, I love you,’ Sylvie pleaded desperately, throwing everything she had left into one last attempt to make him see how she felt.

‘Really?’ Ran drawled mockingly. ‘How much? As much as the pop star you were ready to die for six months ago, or the pony you wanted three months before that?’

‘That was before I was properly grown up,’ Sylvie told him.

So very little space separated them—a few feet...that was all. If she let him walk away from her now without at least trying...

Boldly she closed the distance between them, taking him off guard as she placed her body close to his and wrapped her arms possessively around him, possessively and far too tightly for him to remove them as he had done so easily a few moments ago.

‘Ran...’ She pleaded with him, lifting her face to him, her mouth trembling. ‘Ran, please...’

She felt something that could have been a shudder galvanise his body before clumsily and inexpertly she pressed her mouth against his in a closed-lipped, untutored kiss.

His mouth felt hard and hot, his skin where he had shaved thrillingly rough against her own. Fireworks ignited and exploded deep within her body; her heart was beating so fast she thought she might die of the excitement.

‘Ran,’ she moaned passionately against his mouth as she twisted with innocent provocation against his body.

Suddenly his own arms were around her, not pushing her away as he had done earlier, but holding onto her, his fingers biting hard into her slender arms as he slid one hand into the back of her hair, holding her head still whilst his mouth started to move on hers.

Sylvie felt her head start to spin and her knees go weak.

If she had thought that her heart was beating fast before, that was nothing to the way it was pounding now. Her whole body ached and pulsed with the intoxication of what was happening.

Ran! Ran! Ran!

She loved him so much, wanted him so much. Eagerly she pressed her still coltishly youthful body even closer to his. She could feel every nerve-ending in her skin aching with the intensity of her yearning for him.

The tip of his tongue was caressing the softly swollen outline of her mouth.

She wanted him to make love to her so desperately. These last few weeks, whilst they had been working together clearing the overgrown stagnant lake in the woods on her stepbrother’s estate, working on a conservation project which Ran, as her stepbrother’s estate manager, had been overseeing, she had come to see him in a new light and in doing so had fallen head over heels in love with him, with all the passion and intensity of her seventeen-year-old nature.

And now, after the corrosive hurt of all his recent rebuffs, all his painful rejections of her attempts to make him realise how she felt, here he was holding her, kissing her...wanting her...

A fiercely sharp thrill of feminine excitement spun through her. Her breasts ached for the touch of his hands, to be held and caressed by him as she had read about, seen in films. The thought of their two naked bodies entwined in the sensual privacy of Ran’s bed was almost too much for her. Eagerly she opened her mouth, inviting him to probe deeper with his tongue, but then abruptly, to her shock, Ran was suddenly pushing her away as quickly as he had taken hold of her, his face dark with anger.

‘Ran, wh-what is it...what’s wrong?’ she stammered.

‘What’s wrong? Oh, for God’s sake...’ she heard him mutter. ‘The fact that you even need to ask that kind of question shows just how... You’re a child still, Sylvie... Six months from now...’

She bit down hard on her bottom lip when she saw the irritation in his eyes as he ran his hand through his thick dark copper hair.

‘I’m sorry... I should never have done that...’ he told her tersely.

Sylvie felt her eyes fill with vulnerable tears.

‘You kissed me,’ she protested shakily. ‘You wanted me...’

‘No, Sylvie,’ she heard Ran telling her grittily. ‘What I wanted,’ he told her bluntly, ‘was not you, but what you offered. I’m a man, and when a woman comes on to me, offering me sex...’ He stopped and shook his head. ‘You’re a child still, Sylvie.’

‘I bet if we were in bed together you wouldn’t be saying that,’ Sylvie challenged him boldly, adding recklessly, ‘I’m not a child at all, Ran, and I could prove it to you...’

She heard the savage hiss as he expelled the air from his lungs.

‘Dear God,’ she heard him rasp, ‘have you the first idea of what you’re saying...suggesting...?’

‘I want you, Ran... I love you...’

‘Well, I sure as hell don’t want or love you,’ he told her ferociously, his face suddenly shockingly pale underneath its weather-beaten tan. ‘And let me give you a small warning, Sylvie: if you continue to go around offering yourself to men, sooner or later one of them’s going to take you up on your offer and I promise you that the experience won’t be a pleasant one. You’re far too young to be experimenting with sex, and when you are old enough it should be with someone of your own age and not... I’m a man, not a boy, Sylvie,’ he told her brutally, ‘and...well, let’s just say that the idea of taking some over-excited and inexperienced little virgin to bed and playing touchy-feely games with her is not my idea of a particularly satisfying relationship—not sexually, not mentally and certainly not emotionally...

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