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PERFECT FOR THE BEACHa novella
By Lori Foster
Kensington BravaISBN: 0-7582-0772-7
Chapter OneCary headed to Axel's office, urging Nora inside and shutting the thick door behind them.
He turned to face her, considered everything he wanted to say. But she was just standing there, her arms folded over her middle, her soft mouth trembling, her cheeks hot. And he jumped the gun.
He kissed her.
Nora didn't have time to react. She'd done her best to block out his warm masculine scent, to ignore how fine he looked with his shirtsleeves rolled up and his tie loose. His visual appeal got to her every time, but she'd been resisting it for almost a year now. His brown hair, shades darker than her own, was immaculately trimmed but always disheveled in a very boyish way. His green eyes were teasing and they made her feel both lighthearted and needy.
She'd been prepared to hear his coaxing voice, to withstand the intensity of his warm appraisal.
But she hadn't even considered a kiss. At least not now, not in the office. God knew she'd spent too many nights imagining what it'd be like, but she'd assumed it'd never happen.
It happened now. And the second his warm, firm mouth touched hers, coherent thought evaporated. Her mind felt sluggish, her skin far too sensitive, while her heart pounded fast and hard, making her struggle for breath. Mercy!
It wasn't an invasive kiss. It was gentle and sweet, soft and lingering. Her toes curled.
Cary hovered so close she didn't dare open her eyes or she'd be caught. They shared breath. His scent wrapped around her. His body heat added to the heat of the day and her own turbulence.
"Nora," he whispered, and his big hand curled around her nape, caressing, keeping her close. His palm was hot, too. Everything about the man sizzled. "Kiss me back."
She drew a stuttering breath. "I ..." Don't know how. No, she couldn't say something that stupid. But it had been so many years, the memories of kissing had long since faded. The need remained, but the mechanics were vague. "I'm sorry."
His forehead touched hers, displacing her glasses. "I'm not giving up."
She almost laughed. For the length of time she'd known Cary, he'd been gently persistent, crawling under her skin and into her dreams, and not a day went by that she didn't think of him. During the week, he found one reason or another to come to the office and talk with her. At every social event, he sought her out. "I know."
"I do so like kids."
That sudden disclosure startled her. "What?"
He raised his head, gave her a long look, then straightened her glasses with a small smile. "When I bitch about it, that's just exhaustion talking. If I didn't love kids, I wouldn't work so hard to keep them healthy."
Heat rushed into her face. "You said plain as day you didn't want any."
He rolled one shoulder. "Men say that crap all the time. It's nothing, just hot air meant to bloat our images as bachelors." Then, more firmly, "I want kids. Someday." And softly, "With the right woman."
Why did he have to look at her like that while saying such a thing? Nora tried to back up, but her shoulder blades were already touching the door. "Your someday is probably ten years away."
Eyes narrowed in consideration, Cary looked her over. "Will you go to dinner with me tonight?"
She almost swallowed her tongue at the quick change in subject. "What does that have to do with you and kids?"
There was that small smile again, teasing her senses, melting her heart. "I can't start figuring out when someday will be until I start making headway with you."
Nora dropped back against the door; she needed it for support. "You just want to have sex."
"With you? Damn right." He braced his hands on the door at either side of her head. "Bad."
Somehow, her heart was in her throat, choking off her breath. She stared up at him, and got snared.
"Knowing you've been celibate two years just honed the knife." He kissed her cheekbone beneath the armature of her glasses.
"Knife?" she squeaked.
"The one that cuts me every time I think of lying down with you." His breath warmed her neck, then his mouth was there, damp, gently sucking.
"Oh." She literally panted. Without really considering it, she put her hands up against his chest-and froze at the delightful feel of solid muscles beneath fine linen. She could feel his heartbeat, too-hard, slow, and steady.
"I want you bad enough that it hurts, Nora. Tell me yes."
He kissed his way up to her ear, leaving a damp, molten path behind on her neck. His tongue touched her lobe, prodded just inside, and her knees almost gave out. "Yes."
Grasping her shoulders, Cary lurched back to see her face. "Really?"
Uh-oh. Nora blinked fast, bringing herself back to reality. What had she said? "Ummm ..."
His hold tightened. "No, never mind. I heard it." His grin stretched from ear to ear. "Tonight?"
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