Educating Ethan

Jennifer Lynne
Available from Breathless Press

You could lose yourself in the depths of those brown eyes.

She felt the instant ache in her breasts and abdomen, felt the heaviness between her legs that was the result of nothing more than a slanting look and the brush of his fingertips across hers as he handed her the glass.

Possibility, she thought. He represents the possibility of excitement. Of passion. The transient headiness of lust about to be fulfilled. All the things that most women wanted and rarely got. All the things that she wanted and had never truly had before.

"Ethan, do you mind if I ask how old you are?" She strove for dispassionate interest, took a careful sip of her wine, then sat where he indicated— on a bench seat in a little breakfast nook. But her glass clattered hard on the windowsill when she put it down.

"No, I don't mind," he answered. "I'm twenty-five. And you're…what? Thirtyish?"

"Thirty-six."

"Wow, you don't look that old."

"Oh—kay."

Her tone was flat, and he flushed in response. "Shit! Sorry, that didn't come out right. I meant—"

"It's okay, Ethan. I think maybe I should—"

"Don't go! Hell!" He reached out to stop her as she began to rise, and then exhaled noisily. "I'm an idiot, Ida. I didn't mean it that way. I meant it…as a compliment, believe it or not. You look a lot younger than thirty-six. That's what I meant."

She saw genuine dismay in the depths of his eyes, and something in her relaxed.

"It's okay," she said again, but this time she meant it. "Thanks."

He sat heavily beside her and leaned close. That warm male scent enveloped her, elusive and yet tangible enough to send her heart rate into overdrive. But he was still frowning. She reached out to trace his jawline, and a hint of stubble rasped against her fingertip. A firm jaw; stubborn-looking. Manly.

"Relax, Ethan," she said. "I won't bite. Unless you want me to, that is." Oh my God, did I actually say that out loud?

His intake of breath was sharp, and the brown eyes darkened almost black. "That sounds like an intriguing proposition."

His gaze dropped to her neck where, no doubt, he could see how fast her pulse was racing. She tried to slow her breathing, but when he reached up to trace along her collarbone with spread fingers, her breath caught. She could feel the faint tremble in his touch as he moved over the pulsing point in her neck to the rounded line of her camisole top.

"So." He stared into her eyes as one finger hooked onto the edge of the material."I just need to say the word, and you would bite me? Anywhere?" One brow lifted slightly at her breathless nod. "And if I were to bite you, Miss Ida, where would you want it? Just out of curiosity, you know." His fingers danced along the line of her top in a caress that felt incredibly intimate, avoiding her now jutting nipples but all the more enticing because of its elusive restraint. "Educate me."

How had she doubted that this chemistry was one-sided? She'd seen the evidence of his interest yesterday in her kitchen, and she could sense it again now, without looking down this time, as she took in the heat of his gaze and the taut strength of the body leaning in toward her. She could almost smell the musky scent of arousal, though she was unsure whether that was coming from him or her. Maybe it was a combination of both. Her body responded to his closeness with a trembling anticipation, and she felt over-sensitized, like a guitar string  pulled too tight. If he were to strum his thumb across her skin one more time, she might just come apart beneath his hands.

Educate him? Somehow, in the space of a few seconds, he had turned things around so that he was the one in control. How had that happened?

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