Still holding her gaze prisoner, he came to the edge of the bed. “In the name of honesty,” he said, his voice low and a little rough, “you should know I’m not all that cold.”
“Good. I’m not all that scared.”
This time Cole pushed her down on the bed and climbed over the top of her. He was solid and warm, so deliciously warm. She’d been colder than she’d thought, but it wasn’t his heat that had her burrowing into him. There was something about him, as if just Cole being Cole somehow reached her deep inside and…lit up her dark places.
He cupped her face and looked into her eyes, silently demanding one hundred percent of her attention before his callused fingers skimmed her breasts, her belly, and then hooked into the pink lace at her hips.
“Lift up,” he said.
She did, and then the panties were gone, sailing into the air somewhere behind them.
“There,” he said, sounding deeply satisfied as he hauled her in against him, and not particularly gently either. “Better.”
Her senses were on complete overdrive. Back on his boat, huddled with him beneath that pile of blankets, shivering with fear and adrenaline, she hadn’t been able to appreciate the situation.
She was appreciating it now.
And he was right. He wasn’t cold. He was a furnace, and she pressed close, her soft body plastered up against his hard one. He was something else, too. He was hard.
Another burst of lightning, and she cringed, waiting for the thunder. When it hit, her windows rattled.
Cole breathed her name, the whisper of it incredibly erotic. She pressed even closer, feeling his hands stroke down her body.
No, wait, not cautious.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
He lifted his head, his hair all sexy bedhead, his eyes hot by flickering candlelight. “If you don’t know, then I’ve forgotten how to do this.”
“You’re being careful,” she accused.
He blinked once, slow as an owl. “Careful,” he repeated. “And here I thought I was being the sexiest guy you’ve ever had.”
If he only knew. He was the sexiest guy she’d ever had and he’d barely touched her yet. “I told you I’m not that scared. I don’t want you to be careful.”
“So you’d like me to what,” he said, sounding a bit like she was amusing him, “just jump you?”
He took in her expression, laughed in disbelief, and rolled to his back on the mattress, covering his eyes with a forearm.
She turned her head and stared at him. Was it wrong that the first thing she noticed was how the muscles in his shoulder and biceps were flexed? Probably.
In any case, he didn’t move.
She came up on an elbow and poked him in the chest. “Hey.”
“What are you doing?”
“Trying to figure you out,” he said.
“Is that going to take a while?”
“I’m quite certain yes.”
Biting her lip, she chose her words as carefully as she could. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me,” she said. “Never have, never will.”
Lowering his arm, he met her gaze, his eyes glittering in the dark, his skin looking golden by the candle’s glow. “I get that about you,” he said. “I admire that about you. But sometimes a guy wants to take care of the woman he’s about to make scream his name. It doesn’t make you weak, Olivia. It makes you mine to take care of, at least until one of us walks away.”
She had a hard time catching enough air in her lungs. “Yours?” she repeated, trying to decide if she was pissed at the possessive display, or—damn it—even more turned on.
“Until one of us walks away,” he said again, not apologizing, not looking away, just meeting her gaze and waiting for her to decide.
She went with humor; she had nothing else. “We going steady, Cole?”
He didn’t play. Instead, he raised his head and nipped her jaw. Not gently.
She sucked in a breath and felt herself go wet. Damn.
Lifting his head, he looked at her. “I haven’t slept with a woman in two years,” he said, “so steady has little to do with what I’m feeling right now.”
Two years…Since Susan then. “Good to know,” she finally said.
“Something else you should know. Once I get inside you, I won’t share you. No one else for either of us, not until—”
“One of us walks away?” she asked softly.
His blue, blue eyes hadn’t wavered from hers. “Yeah.”
So they were going to do this, and if they kept doing it, there would be no one else until they were done.
He was waiting for an answer. “I can live with that,” she said.
Heat and something else flared in his eyes, and he kissed her until everything left her brain but this, the feel of him, here and now. She didn’t breathe as his hands familiarized themselves with her body. Nothing slid past his intense exploration; he touched and kissed everything—her shoulders, her breasts, her stomach, her hips, her thighs, and then he pushed them apart and held them there, bracing his weight up on an elbow, his gaze never shifting from hers. “You’re beautiful,” he said.
“You’re not even looking.”
He shook his head very slowly from side to side, his expression starting a slow burn deep in her belly. “I’m looking right at you,” he said, and then before she knew what he was about, he slid back up her body, wrapped his fingers around her wrists and tugged her arms up so they slid around his neck.