The Giving Heart
THE KISS WAS small, light, warm—a test kiss. And damn—for a kiss so small and tentative, it was the best thing Beck had felt in a long while. Despite the weather outside, it moved through him like heat lightning on a Kentucky summer night.
Given that she kept trying to dislike him so much, though, he had to make sure he wasn’t the only one welcoming that heat—so he drew back a little, met her pretty gaze. Her hazel eyes shone on him, big and round, maybe a little stunned, her rosy lips parted. Surprised—but wanting. Just like him.
So he bent, leaned, lowered another soft kiss to her waiting lips. Heard her quick intake of breath. Maybe at first she’d been surprised it was happening, but now she was clearly only surprised at how good it felt, and how fast.
When she drew her hand away from beneath his on the ornament, he’d thought maybe she was stopping this—but no. Instead, she lifted the same hand to touch his cheek. And the next kiss was deeper, longer, more consuming. No more test kissing—this was turning into the real deal. His hands went to her waist—slender beneath the big sweater she wore—and she released a little gasp as he pulled her closer.
She kissed him back now with all the passion rising up inside him, as well. The kind that slowly makes you stop thinking, measuring, until you just give yourself over to it.
It was the kind of kissing Beck hadn’t had the opportunity to indulge in for longer than he cared to admit. Summer Island had been isolating, and on the few occasions last summer when he’d almost connected with attractive female tourists looking for vacation fun, he’d realized that at thirty-nine, he’d apparently moved past wanting a meaningless, one-night connection—no matter how the rigid part of his anatomy between his legs had protested the decisions.
This, now, seemed like it had all the ingredients to be exactly that—a quick, nonlasting connection. Except for one thing. He liked her. And one more thing. Nothing was telling him to stop. Even if it seemed like an awful idea in ways. She was angry with him. She seemed angry in general. She was Meg’s little sister. Maybe it would spell even more drama.
But she felt too good in his arms. Her lips too soft beneath his hungry mouth. Every little sigh and gasp that left her made him harder. And soon that hardness pressed hotly against the sweet crux of her thighs through their blue jeans as they made out next to the Christmas tree, her palms now at his chest, beginning to knead him through his T-shirt same as if she were a cat, his own hands molded around her hips, learning her curves.
“This changes nothing,” she told him breathlessly between kisses.
His reply came in a rasp. “What do you mean?”
She peered up at him, bit her lip, looking sensual and defiant all at once. “If you think sex is going to make me give you back the key to that bulldozer, or just look the other way about the whole situation, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”
“I’m not barking up that tree,” he assured her, voice deep and low.
“What tree are you barking up?” More kneading fingers at his chest. The slight scrape of feminine nails. He liked it.
And he tried to think of an answer, but it was difficult. Due to the fingernails, and the way their bodies pressed together below. “Pretty much just the this-feels-good-and-I-want-to-be-inside-you tree.”
Another little gasp. This one she tried to squelch, he could tell—but what he’d just said had excited her even more. “That’s…a good tree.”