Blue-Eyed Devil Page 5

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Nick lifted me with astonishing ease until I sat on the chilled table. He took my mouth again, longer, deeper, while I tried to catch his tongue, tried to draw him as far inside as possible. I wanted to lie back on the table, an offering of aching flesh on sterile marble, and let him do anything he wanted. Something had been cut loose in me. I was saturated with excitement, drunk with it, and part of it was because Nick, who always seemed so in control, was fighting for self-restraint. His breath came in ragged puffs, his hands gripping my body.

He kissed my throat, tasting the thin, susceptible skin, his lips stroking the throb of my pulse. Panting, I slid my hands up to his hair, so soft and thick, layers of heavy silk in my palms. Not at all like Nick's.

A cold shot of horror went down to my stomach. "Oh, God." I was barely able to force the words out. I touched his face in the darkness, encountering hard, unfamiliar features, the scrape of shaven bristle. The corners of my eyes stung, but I wasn't sure whether the imminent tears were caused by embarrassment, anger, fear, disappointment, or some unholy combination of all of them. "Nick?"

My wrist was caught in a powerful hand, and his mouth dragged softly over the insides of my fingers. A kiss burned the center of my palm, and then I heard a voice so smoky and deep I would have sworn it belonged to the devil.

"Who's Nick?"

CHAPTER TWO

The stranger didn’t release me in the scalding darkness, only stroked my back in an effort to loosen the tight chain of my vertebrae."God, I'm sorry," I said through chattering teeth. "I th-thought you were my boyfriend."

He sounded rueful. "At the moment, I wish to hell I was." His hand moved up to the bare nape of my neck and squeezed with gentle pressure, relieving the cramp of tiny muscles. "Should I turn on the lights?"

"No!" I clutched at him.

He held obligingly still. A smile colored his voice as he asked, "Mind telling me your name?"

"Absolutely, positively no. No names."

"Okay, boss." He eased me down from the table, steadying my balance with his hands.

My heart pounded violently. "I've never done anything like this before. I — I feel like I should pass out or scream or something — "

"I'd rather you didn't."

"I really don't want anyone knowing about this. I wish I didn't know about it. I wish — "

"You talk fast when you're nervous," he observed.

"I talk fast all the time. And I'm not nervous. I'm in shock. I wish I could undo this. I feel like one of those error pages you get on the computer . . . "

"A Four-Oh-Four?"

"Yes. This is a major Four-Oh-Four."

He made a quiet sound of amusement. "It's okay," he said, easing me closer. The proximity of his body was so comforting that I couldn't bring myself to push him away. And his voice was soothing enough to stop a herd of stampeding cattle in their tracks. "Everything's okay. No harm done."

"You won't tell anyone?"

"'Course not. If Nick found out, he'd kick my ass."

I nodded, even though the idea of Nick kicking this guy's ass was laughable. Even through the layers of his tux I could feel the contours of a body so hard and powerful it seemed invulnerable. In a flash, I remembered the guy in the reception tent, and my eyes widened in the darkness. "Oh."

"What is it?" He'd bent his head low, and his hot breath stirred the hair at my temple.

"I saw you at the tent, standing in the back. You're the one with the blue eyes, aren't you?"

He went very still. "You're the bridesmaid in the green dress." A low, ironic laugh escaped him, the sound so delicious that every hair on my body stood up. "Shit. You're Travis, aren't you?"

"I admit nothing." I struggled to catalogue the shame and excitement that stung the inside of my veins. His mouth was so close. I wanted more of those sweltering kisses. I felt terrible about that. But the warm sunny fragrance of him . . . he smelled better than any human being I'd ever met. "Okay," I said unsteadily, "forget what I said about not exchanging names. Who are you?"

"For you, honey . . . I'm trouble."

We were both still and silent, caught in a half-embrace as if every forbidden second had formed a link in a chain around us. The part of my brain that was still functioning urged me to pull away from him with all due haste. And yet I couldn't move, paralyzed by the sensation that something extraordinary was happening. Even with all the noise outside the wine cellar, the hundreds of people so close by, I felt as if I were in some faraway place.

One of his hands came up to my face, fingertips exploring the curve of my cheek. Blindly I reached up and felt the backs of his fingers, searching for the hard band of a ring.

"No," he murmured, "not married."

The tip of his little finger found the outside rim of my ear and traced delicately. I found myself slipping into a strange, pleasant passivity. I can't do this, I thought, even as I let him pull me closer, his hand lucking my h*ps into his. My head felt heavy, tipping back as he nuzzled into the soft space beneath my jaw. I had always thought I was pretty good at resisting temptation. But this was the first time I'd ever felt the pull of serious lust, and I wasn't at all equipped to handle it.

" A re you a friend of the groom," I managed to ask, "or friend of the bride?"

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