Finally, the last door was shut. Avery stopped in front of her own room and slid out her key card.
She swallowed and tried not to look at him. “Yep. I switched to water a while ago, so I’m fine.”
“You think they had a good time?”
That made her swivel her head to meet his gaze. She smiled. “Yeah. They had a great time. It was the perfect evening. I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun dancing.”
“Me, either. Sometimes I get caught up in all the dos and don’ts and forget how to live.”
She stiffened. His words pummeled her like sharp, tiny stones, tearing at her defenses. “I do that, too,” she admitted. “I’m in my head a lot and like to plan things out so there are no surprises. It’s good in my career. But lately . . .” She trailed off, afraid to finish her statement.
He moved closer. The leashed heat and strength of his body pulled her in. “What?” he asked softly. The masculine scent of spice and whiskey surrounded her.
She swallowed. Poised on the edge, she uttered the truth. “Lately, I wonder if I’m missing out from all my self-inflicted rules. I haven’t allowed any space for mistakes. For stolen walks on the beach after hours, and magical adventures and passion.” All she could think of were Taylor’s words, urging her to take a chance, to grab the opportunity for pleasure even with an unknown future. Was she so scared of living she’d rather lock herself up into a safe relationship and miss out on being with a man who rocked her world? All this time, she’d hidden and been safe. Where had that gotten her? Content, but lonely. Satisfied with her career, but not her personal life. Was it finally time to stop doing the right thing and grab what she wanted?
Grab who she wanted?
As if sensing her inner struggle, his breath rushed out, and he laid his hands on the door beside her, trapping her in but not touching. “Avery.” Her name was a whisper and a shout, a mixture of longing and need and hunger that called to her, promising her endless ecstasy. “If I step in that room with you, I’ll be in your bed. I won’t be able to stop myself. But you need to be sure. I can promise you till Labor Day. I can promise to open myself up to you and see what happens between us. It needs to be enough. And it needs to be your choice.”
She bowed her head and shuddered, her mind and body engaged in a bloody, silent war of long-term habits versus the awakening of feelings she’d never experienced before. It didn’t take long to make her decision.
She slid in the key card, and the door clicked. He removed his hands and stepped back. Avery opened the door, turned, and reached out her hand.
Their gazes locked, and sexual energy crackled and seethed between them, a warning of what was to come.
Carter took her hand and walked inside, kicking the door closed behind him. For a few endless, aching seconds, he stared into her face as if needing assurance this was what she really wanted. And then, a tiny smile touched his lips. Without another word, he scooped her up into his arms and carried her to the bed.
Carter’s hands shook as he laid her gently on the king-size bed. The moment she outstretched her hand, a deep sense of fated purpose rose up inside him, as if all his endless moments had led up to this.
Ridiculous. He didn’t believe in poetry or cheesy admissions of finding the one, but right now, he was helpless to fight the voice. So he pushed it aside and concentrated on the woman lying on the bed, waiting for him.
Deliberately, not breaking eye contact, he reached in the pocket of his jeans, slid out a condom, and placed it on the bedside table. He noticed the tiny shiver that shook through her, the lust shining in those gorgeous hazel eyes. Oh yeah, that turned her on. He couldn’t wait to find out how many ways he could make her come in one night, and what other things brought her pleasure.
His dick was already painfully hard. He deepened his voice and reached out to touch her hot cheek. “Do you know how long I’ve fantasized about you laid out for me?”
“As long as I’ve fantasized about you,” she said simply, shivering.
Not wanting to scare her or lose control, he moved slowly, sitting on the edge of the bed to look down at her. He pressed kisses over her face, arranging her hair so it fanned out over the pillow. She lifted her head, searching for more, but he kept up the easy pace, his lips sipping at hers like a fine wine he wasn’t ready to drink yet. “You taste so sweet.”
She made a needy sound. “Give me more,” she demanded, her fingers twining around his neck.
“Want to be sure I go slow,” he said. His mouth slid over hers with deliberate motions. “Not rush you.”
“You scared of me, robot man?” she teased, her teeth nipping at his lower lip. The quick bite of pain made arousal roar in his blood. “Am I too much to handle?”
Oh yeah. This woman wouldn’t break easily. She could take his rough, almost-primitive hunger burning to get out and devour her whole. The thrill of the hunt shot through him.
He thrust his tongue deep in her mouth, holding her head still as he ravished her with all the raw hunger he’d been fighting to tame. When she lay boneless underneath him, clinging to him while her hips arched for more, he slowly pulled back and gave a slow grin. “Funny, I always fantasized about you begging me. Especially after all the insults and trouble you put me through.”
Her snort was delectable. “You wish.”
His dick hardened at the unspoken challenge. “Care to bet?”
Cheeks flushed, lips already slightly swollen, she wrinkled her pert nose. “Thought we’d left bets behind us.”
His hands tugged off her skimpy top, baring her lace-covered breasts to his eyes. “This one could be a win-win for both of us. I make you beg, and you give me an entire free day of your time to do as I wish.”
Her hazel eyes widened. “Like I’m your slave?”
“Exactly.” His gaze raked over her half-naked body. “Always wondered what you’d look like in a French maid costume.”
An outraged gasp escaped her lips. “Hell no. That’s never gonna happen.”
“So no bet?”
He loved the fire that lit up her eyes with the prospect of a good challenge. “Fine. But if I don’t beg, you’re on call for me. You either babysit Zoe or serve drinks shirtless at one of my bachelorette parties.” An evil glint in her eyes flashed. “My choice.”
Damn, she was ruthless. God, he loved it. He lowered his mouth to hers and growled. “Done.”
Then he kissed her hard.
She gave it all back, opening her mouth to his and wrapping her legs tight around his hips.
He slowly broke the kiss and peeled her skirt up so it bunched around her hips, then stared at the tiny scrap covering her sweet pussy, sucking in a hard breath. “God, you’re so damn beautiful.” His finger traced the sensitive crease of her thighs, running a teasing path over her shivering skin. “The things I want to do may shock you, sweetheart.”
She wriggled her hips and began unbuttoning his shirt. “You don’t scare me.” Her bravado contradicted her trembling fingers as she ripped the fabric open, then dug her nails into his chest. He hissed in reaction, and it made her feel bolder. “I didn’t wait this long to be safe now,” she challenged.
In one swift movement, he dragged her panties down her legs and threw them on the floor. Slowly, he parted her thighs wide, opening her up to his hungry gaze. He took a while to stare at her, arousal squeezing his dick at her gorgeous swollen, pink lips, already wet for him.
“Carter.” Her voice tore at him, slightly ragged, slightly nervous.
He grinned, and lowered himself down to the bed, his shoulders braced between her legs. “I can’t wait to hear you beg,” he whispered.
“You bastard. I—oh God!”
He licked her, gathering her spicy essence and exploring every slick, satisfying inch. Ignoring the bundle of nerves throbbing for attention, he took his time, savoring every cry and wriggle as he pleasured her. Curving two fingers, he pushed inside her tight channel, experimenting until he hit the spot that made her heels arch into the bed and her body tighten.
Yes, right there.
With a low murmur of satisfaction, he kept up the steady rhythm while he teased her clit, pressing light kisses that never satisfied, until he felt her entire body poised on the edge, his name chanting from her lips. Then he closed his lips over the nub and sucked hard.
She came, twisting in his grasp, but he held her down and never let up the pressure, extending her orgasm. Drunk on her taste and open, heated response, he waited until she’d collapsed onto the mattress, panting for breath, her muscles limp and useless. Then he slid back up, cupped her cheeks, and took her mouth in a deep kiss.
When he finally released her lips, she stared at him with dazed hazel eyes. “I didn’t beg,” she managed drunkenly.
He laughed, unclasping her bra and pulling it off so she lay gloriously naked underneath. “That was just a warm-up, baby. Now I’m ready to get serious.”
He’d wrecked her, and he was just getting started.
Avery lay helplessly beneath his hard-muscled body as she tried to recover from the intense, mind-blowing orgasm. Oh, that mouth was skilled. She should have known he’d bring the same ruthless attention to detail in seducing a woman as hacking a computer program.