His eyes held hers and Piper wanted to lick her lips, she wanted to smooth her couch-messed hair away from her face, but she did neither. She sat there, waiting on Ryan to say something, to do something.
She didn’t wait long. His strong hand came up and cupped the side of her face and she couldn’t help but lean into his touch, his strength.
“I can’t keep denying this between us,” he whispered.
Her mouth opened, anticipating his touch, his kiss.
Ryan inched closer, his mouth a breath from hers. “This is insane.”
“Yes,” she agreed.
“I’m going crazy wondering what you taste like.”
Now Piper did lick her lips because she wanted this kiss more than she realized...or at least more than she’d been admitting to herself.
“What if this is a mistake?” she whispered, hating that her fears had been spoken aloud.
“We’ve made mistakes before. I prefer to take the risk so I can learn from mistakes,” he told her. “But I have a feeling this risk will have a huge payoff.”
He didn’t wait for her to find another reason to stop. Ryan knew what he wanted and he’d waited long enough...nearly twenty years in fact.
His hands slid over her smooth cheeks as his fingertips slid into her curls and, before she could finish her gasp, his mouth was on hers.
And thank God he was sitting because to have this woman in his arms in an intimate way after all this time made his knees weak. Warmth spread throughout his body as he coaxed her lips apart with his tongue. His hat flipped off his head and onto the floor.
She was on the same page because she met him thrust for thrust and her arms wrapped around his neck as she scooted closer.
Ryan slowly slid his lips over hers, wanting to memorize every single part of them, wanting to know exactly how she tasted and how soft she was. He wanted to know what turned her on, what buttons to push to drive her crazy.
He knew her as a friend, but he wanted to know her as a lover.
Careful of her hurt side, Ryan eased his hand down the other side of her torso, dipping in at her delicate waist and then back up to the lacy edge of her bra.
“You shouldn’t be this sexy to me,” he murmured against her mouth. “I shouldn’t want you the way I do. God help me, I have no willpower with you.”
Piper’s head tipped back, exposing that long, slender neck. He took full advantage and kissed his way down, continuing a path until he reached the top of one breast.
He paused because he was pretty damn sure he’d go all the way, but he didn’t want to scare her or to make her regret anything later.
His thumb stroked just at the bottom edge of her bra, slowly slipping between the wire and her breast. And that little tease of skin against the tip of his thumb made his zipper even tighter than it was before.
“This...this shouldn’t go any further,” she told him, breathless.
Ryan didn’t remove his hands, didn’t back up, but he did nod. “My mind knows that, but other parts of me think it hasn’t gone near far enough.”
A slow smile spread across Piper’s swollen, wet lips. “I’m still reeling from the fact that my best friend wants me and is one hell of a kisser. Can we just stop right there for now?”
He leaned in, captured her lips for another brief kiss and sat back. “If you think I’m a hell of a kisser, that leaves me hope you’ll want more. I’m good with leaving you wanting me.”
She laughed and playfully shoved at his chest. “You’re hopeless.”
“I was thinking horny, but hopeless works, too.”
With one last sultry glance, Piper reached for her shirt and struggled to put it back on. Ryan took the garment from her hands and slid it over her head, careful when she had to lift her arms.
“What can I do to help?” he asked. “Other than take your mind off the pain with incredible bouts of hot, sweaty sex?”
Easing back down onto the heating pad, Piper offered a smile. “Tempting as your poetic words are, this body cannot handle too much of an aerobic workout tonight.”
Ryan came to his feet and propped his hands on his hips. “Okay, then. Point me in the direction of the next project that needs attention. I’m here, might as well do something.”
“Other than the roof, I need to yank out those kitchen cabinets. I ordered new ones, but they’re on back-order, so I do have a little time.”
“Did you get that dark mahogany finish you fell in love with?” he asked.
Her eyes closed as she sighed and settled farther into the couch. “No. They were way out of my price range. I ended up getting a dark wood finish, but they are a cheaper model and brand.”