What had he done? By all that was sacred, Bodie knew better than to lie with her. Since the first night he’d spoken to her, he’d had trouble restraining himself. Her every movement, every word, seared into him at his greatest depth, filled him with yearning for something forbidden.
Her lips moving against his unleashed emotions that had stayed dormant for millennia. He was in it, deep. Already he spiraled out of control, and he hadn’t allowed himself to move, not even a finger. Not a slide of his lips, not a slip of his tongue into what must be a warm, tantalizing place. Once he did, that one tiny step would trigger an avalanche of desire, already building with volcano force.
To clear such thoughts from his mind, he turned his head to break away. Never should have closed his eyes; it only intensified the tactile senses. The fluttering of her breath as she followed, her kisses now moving up his neck, her fingers splayed lightly against his cheek as her mouth found the edge of his mouth.
“I can’t, Lily,” he rasped.
Her knee grazed his thigh as she straddled him. “Are you sure?”
A shudder wracked his body, and he clenched the cushions to keep from reaching for her. “I don’t mean it’s a physical impossibility. And I’d love to, believe me. But it’s not exactly condoned by my superiors.”
She sat up. “They’re not here. They can’t see us, can they?”
He risked a look at her. A mistake. Tawny hair framed her heart-shaped face in tumbling waves. He locked the muscles in his rising arm and forced it down before he could touch her.
A teasing smile lit her face. He hadn’t needed to answer her. She lifted the bottom of her shirt up and over her head, revealing a black lace bra, lush dark peach rosettes pebbled beneath.
Her warm hand closed around his, and drew it upward to press against her breast and hold it there.
Everything in him screamed No! and Yes! at the same time. With an animal sound, his torso rushed up to meet hers. Somehow he stayed his desire. Lips barely brushing hers, he drew back enough that her breath flowed into his mouth as he spoke. “They’ll reassign me, Lily. I’d love to make love to you. I’ve wanted to for longer than you know. But I don’t want one night to have to last an eternity as a memory. We’d have tonight. Then I’d never see you again. Is that what you want? Tell me now. Quickly.”
Sadness tightened her lips. “No.”
As she curled into him, her muffled words soothed the tension threatening to burst through his skin. “I want to be with you, Bodie. Hold me.”
His body quivered, whether from denial or relief, he couldn’t say. He relaxed into her embrace and closed his eyes. “Always.” If only he could keep her here, safe from their reach.
But how safe was she from him?
He couldn’t let his feelings for her compromise the mission.
With a sharp intake of breath, she pulled away. “I’m not like this. I don’t seduce men. I haven’t even…” Hair hid her face when she dipped her chin to her chest.
He tilted his head to catch her attention. “I know.” It won him a tentative glance. “You don’t need to explain, Lily. Ever.” He knew she’d let men touch her, a few with whom she’d been infatuated, maybe even loved. None had taken her virginity.
Yet she’d offered it to him. Tenderness washed over him as she searched his face, wary and confused. Distrustful. How terrible for her, not to believe herself worthy of complete love and devotion. The same worship any goddess deserved. Someday he’d prove to her she was a true goddess.
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