Six nights to remember, six days to forgive…
Esther is grateful for the strong arms that saved her and her young son from an earthquake. But she wishes their rescuer was someone else. Anyone other than the man who left her pregnant after a holiday fling.
Toby’s carpentry skills take him wherever there’s work, and right now that work is definitely cut out for him. He has to get over the shock that the little boy in his arms is his own son—and convince Esther that he’s always regretted walking away from her.
Esther can’t bring herself to deny Toby his right to get to know Charlie. Besides, with her own home flattened, she has nowhere to go but with him to his apartment…where she discovers a sexy role-playing card game tucked in his suitcase.
When Toby invites her to accompany him to the Northland to attend his best friend’s wedding, the opportunity to explore their still-simmering attraction is too tempting to resist. As the steamy scenarios heat up, they start to realize this is more than a game. But Esther’s hiding a secret that could cause as much devastation as the earthquake...
He pulled her hard against him and crushed his mouth to hers. The full force of his passion washed over her, and she gasped. He took the opportunity of her open mouth to deepen the kiss, and she sighed as his tongue stroked hers, warm and inviting. He slid his hands up her ribcage over the tight dress, brushing her breasts, and then pulled back.
“I’m sure you look delightful in this pretty bra,” he murmured. “But I’d rather feel the real you. Can you do that miraculous trick girls do and take it off under your dress?”
“Are you sure?” Nerves filtered through her again. “It kind of props up everything that’s beginning to head south.” He just raised an eyebrow, however, and she cursed beneath her breath, trying to remind herself that she was supposed to be a slinky call girl. Slinky call girls didn’t talk about baby tummies and sagging breasts. “Sorry.”
First she took out the check he’d given her from her bra and popped it into the purse she’d left on the table. “Don’t want to lose that.” She reached behind and unclipped the bra, drew the straps down her arms beneath the sleeves of the dress, then pulled the garment out and tossed it onto the table. She glanced down. The dress was really more of a long, tight tube with small sleeves, and it clung to every part of her body, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. Her nipples stood out like buttons through the fabric, and her breasts looked huge.
“Wow.” Toby’s eyes gleamed. “You have an absolutely fantastic figure.”
Warmth spread through her at his admiration. “Thank you.”
“You’ve lost some weight.”
“Breastfeeding did that.” The words were out before she could stop them, and she bit her lip. Could she think of any more ways to turn him off?
But he didn’t look turned off. He ran his hands up her body to cup her breasts. “You’re so soft.”
“You’re not,” she said breathlessly as he pulled her to him, his erection obvious even through the jeans.
“Is that any surprise while you’re in my arms, so sensual and womanly?” He moved his large, warm hands over her, making her quiver as he ran his fingers up her back, then brought them around to cup her breasts again. He brushed his thumbs over her nipples, murmuring his approval as her eyes fluttered shut. “You smell fantastic,” he said. He nuzzled her neck and ear, and she shivered.
She kissed him again, holding his face with both hands as she delved her tongue hungrily into his mouth. He tasted divine. It had been so long since she’d kissed anyone—since she’d kissed him, in fact. How had she lived without this for so long?
He was coaxing her body awake, stirring long-forgotten sensations, and an ache grew between her thighs. Her nipples tightened in response to his touch, and she arched her back to push them into his gentle hands. He groaned.
Her fingers itched to touch his skin, so she began to undo the buttons of his shirt, gradually revealing his wide, bronzed chest, shaped with firm muscles. He went to slip the shirt off, but she shook her head. “No,” she whispered, “keep your fuck-me shirt on.”
His eyes widened with amusement. “My what?”
“You heard me. That shirt wants only one thing. You look so damn sexy dressed like that.”
He grinned. “Fine.” He held the bottom of her dress. “But I want you naked.”
Instinctively, she grasped his wrists, stopping him. A skintight dress was one thing. Being completely naked and not in utter darkness was another.
He wrested his hands free, and gently but firmly moved hers away. “My check is now in your purse,” he reminded her. “I seem to remember offering you an amount that would cover pretty much whatever I wanted.” He let go of her hands and held the hem of the dress again. “Arms up.” His voice was firm.
Her cheeks grew warm at the desire in his eyes. Closing her own, she lifted her arms.
He peeled the dress up her body and over her head. The fabric whispered to the floor. Fighting the urge to cover herself, she stood for a moment biting her lip. Even though her eyes were shut, she was sure she could feel his gaze burning through her.
Then his hand cupped her cheek, and she opened her eyes to see him smiling. “Hey, beautiful,” he said.
She looked down at herself, finding it difficult to see anything but the stretch marks and the way her muscles had loosened since childbirth. “You want your money back?”
In reply, he kissed her.
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