Colby had been trying to avoid staring at Mace’s chest. It was just as she imagined it would be. Sculpted, but not too hard. Just right. He had small, dark nipples peeking out from a dusting of dark hair on each pec. Then the trail of hair went from circling his belly button to disappearing into the towel. No six pack but damn well close enough.
His damp hair was curling slightly around his face. It was long enough to almost brush against his shoulders. She curled her fingers against the urge to comb through it.
She studied the angle of his jaw, the curve of his upper lip and then the edge of his brow before meeting his eyes. She realized he was just standing there quietly, letting her check him out. Omigod. She wondered how long they had been standing there without saying a word. The heat that had already been licking at her throat rose into her cheeks.
He reached out and when he did, she automatically flinched. He must have seen it because he hesitated a long second before brushing the back of his fingers over her cheekbone. Even though his face stayed neutral, she had caught the quick flicker in his eyes before he had quickly schooled that reaction also. Her face got even hotter. She can’t believe she reacted like that. To a touch that ended up being so gentle.
“No reason to be embarrassed.”
Her mouth opened to say “I’m not,” but instead she said nothing. He had no idea her blush wasn’t from his physical contact but her humiliating instinctive reaction to his sudden movement towards her.
When he moved closer to her, only a breath away, she pushed her back against the wall, wishing she could disappear into the drywall. He was wearing a towel. Only a towel. Only a towel kept running through her mind. Even though it was long enough to cover him to his knees, one little slip and he would be totally exposed.
She licked her dry lips, the motion drawing his gaze. With lowered eyelids, he ran a thumb along her jawline, then over her freshly moistened lower lip.
His face lowered, just a few inches away. “Can I kiss you?”
Colby swallowed hard. The lump in her throat remained. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
His hot breath was mingling with hers. Almost as if their life breath was already intimate, kissing each other.
“We don’t know each other that well.”
“A kiss might remedy that.”
She shook her head slightly, still captivated by how close his lips were. If she shifted just a bit, just the slightest bit, their lips would touch.
“I don’t want things to be uncomfortable between us. We have to share a roof right now. A kiss might complicate things.”
“It’s just a kiss. A simple, quick kiss. Two people putting their lips together.”
Somehow she didn’t think it would be that simple. Or quick.
She reached out to push him away; she needed some breathing space, some clarity for her boggled brain. But when she did, her fingers encountered his heated skin, his muscles, the light, wiry hair along his chest.
She sucked her breath in from the contact, but as she did he closed the infinitesimal space between them. His lips brushed hers lightly. Since her lips had already been slightly parted, he breathed her in and she did the same with him. He grazed her lips again. So soft. No pressure at all.
On the third sweep, he grabbed her shoulders and crushed his lips to her. She opened her mouth to protest, but he slanted his against hers, then dipped his tongue in, searching. Her objection was quickly forgotten.
Mace’s tongue invaded her mouth, slid along her teeth, tickled her tongue. Until she groaned and tentatively drew her tongue against his. Their tongues met, dueled and fought, twisting and pushing against each other. Her hands slid up his chest to around his neck, one moving up to hold his head in place, then pressing, pushing him even closer. She couldn’t get enough of him. He wasn’t close enough. Not nearly close enough.
He tasted good. His minty freshness was combined with his own flavor. Very male. She couldn’t put a finger on what it was. But she was savoring it. She liked it.
He slid hands along her waist, then one moved to her lower back, the other to her ass. He pulled her against him so she could feel him through the cotton towel. He was heavy with need and ready. She let out a small sound but it was lost in their kiss. He tilted his hips slightly just enough so she could feel him hard against her lower belly.
Mace slid his left hand from the small of her back around to grab her other ass cheek. He gave them a quick squeeze then lifted her without breaking the kiss, pressing her against him.
Panic started to set in, to cloud her mind when Colby realized that she wanted to rip the towel off of him and throw him to the floor. This was wrong. Wrong. She had only known him for a couple days at best.
They needed to slow down. Take a breath. This shouldn’t be happening.
Colby released his hair that she held in a tight grip. She broke the kiss and gasped for breath. He was automatically moving to nuzzle her behind her ear when she said, “Stop.”
He did. Immediately.
He released her ass which allowed her to lower her heels to the carpet, so she was standing on her own. He shifted slightly but didn’t back away yet. He tried to meet her eyes but she looked down and away.
“You didn’t enjoy that?”
“No… Yes… Yes, it was fine. It was very nice.” She couldn’t look at him yet. Not yet. He was still too close. Too hot. Too tempting.
“Nice?” He caught her chin with his thumb and tilted her head to face him. He wore a lopsided smile. He wasn’t being cocky; he actually seemed a little worried about her reaction. And that alone made her relax.
“Fishing for compliments?”
“Always.” He shook his head. “But seriously, I’m sorry if I came on too strong.”
She didn’t answer. She didn’t know what to say. She had enjoyed every second, just as he did.
But she shouldn’t have. She shouldn’t have. She didn’t do these things with strangers.