“No, I’m not.”
He laughed. “I can smell your nervousness, Layla. You can’t lie about that.”
Well, then. I tugged my knees up to my chest and looped my arms around my legs. “Aren’t you at all nervous? What if the Key isn’t there? What if it is and it’s guarded? I doubt we’re just going to be able to walk in and grab it.”
“I wasn’t talking about that.” He pushed off the wall and prowled over to where I sat. Sitting down beside me, he placed his hands on either side of my bare feet. “But to answer your question, no, I’m not nervous. No matter what’s thrown at us, I’ll be able to handle it.”
“Well, aren’t you special. Cocky much?”
“I’m all kinds of special, but you know that.” Leaning in, he placed his chin on one of my knees. “You’re nervous because you’re here with me.”
With him this close, it was hard to think up a good lie. “You make me nervous.”
That slow smile of his spread across his full lips as he rose, leaving little distance between our mouths. “You should be nervous.”
“That’s reassuring.” I wanted to lean back, but I held myself in place.
Roth chuckled under his breath and then stood. Strolling over to the shelves, he pulled out a DVD and then looked over his shoulder. “Movie?”
Flustered, I nodded.
After popping the movie in, he settled down on the bed next to me, stretched out like a lazy cat bathing in the sun. About a minute into the film, I recognized it. “Devil’s Advocate?”
“Nice choice.” I sighed, shaking my head.
“Just watch it and enjoy.”
Try as I might, I could barely focus on the movie. Between glancing at the clock beside the bed and attempting to ignore Roth, I was strung high and tight. My brain kept going back to what Stacey had said. Real helpful stuff there, but she kind of had a point. I could only be young and dumb once.
And there was a really limited pool of those I could be young and dumb with.
Sneaking a glance at Roth, my gaze got hung up on those impossibly long lashes. With his eyes open to thin slits, his lashes fanned the skin under his eyes. The broad expanse of his smooth cheeks begged for me to touch them. His lips were slightly parted. Just a tiny gleam on the bolt in his tongue shone. Recalling the slick coolness of the bolt, I squeezed my eyes shut.
He really was a fine specimen, too.
A tight bundle of nerves coiled, and my heart rate kicked up. Having no idea what I was thinking or about to do, I took a deep breath and wiggled down until I was lying on my side next to Roth. There was some space between us, but the whole front of my body tingled as if we were touching.
Opening my eyes, I focused on the TV. Keanu had just bought a new apartment in New York City. Stuff was about to go downhill fast. My ability to pay attention to the movie lasted about a minute, giving way to the sharp yearning building inside me.
I wiggled closer, so that my thigh touched his. Roth had been breathing normally up until that moment, but now he seemed to stop breathing altogether. A single dark eyebrow rose.
I still really didn’t know what I was doing or why. Was it because I just wanted to be like a normal teenage girl for once? To be young and dumb? Or was I seeking a way to forget about what we were about to do and the very uncertain future?
Or was it because I simply wanted Roth?
The moment that question formed in my thoughts there was no denying the truth behind it. A chill started in the middle of my back and spread to my legs and arms. It was more than just being able to kiss him. There was something about Roth that spoke to me, all of me. Something I wasn’t sure I’d felt before.
My hand was moving before I even knew what I was doing. I placed it on his stomach, just below his chest. I was still. Roth was still. Both of us were staring at the movie, and I knew he was like me in that moment, not really paying attention.
The low growl in his voice sent shivers through me. I started to pull my hand back, but he caught it in a grip that was firm but gentle.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
Air caught in my throat and I couldn’t answer, couldn’t put forth the words explaining what I was doing, what I wanted. Another deep sound came from Roth and then he moved lightning quick. A heartbeat later, I was on my back and he was above me, his muscles flexing under the shirt he wore as he held himself up.
His eyes crashed into mine, and they were like two citrines. He read something in my gaze. He had to, because a shudder rolled through his body. “I’m a demon, Layla. What I see in your eyes and what I sense from your body is something I will take. Make no mistake. I’ll give you one chance. Close your eyes, and I’ll let this go.”
I felt weak under his consuming stare, but I didn’t close my eyes.
“Layla.” He said my name as if it hurt him.
And then he kissed me. Not like the first time in the park. Not like the other time on this very bed. He captured my lips in a lingering kiss. I moaned at the first taste of him, sweet like chocolate. Little shivers of pleasure and panic shot through me when he deepened the kiss and I felt the coolness of the bolt in his tongue. My body sparked to life; my heart swelled and thundered. The rush of sensations crawling across my body was maddening, beautiful and scary.
I dug my hands into his hair, not at all surprised to find it soft to the touch. Roth pressed down, hooking my leg around his waist. I gasped against his mouth. His hand slipped under my shirt, his fingers skimming over my skin, sending a rush of blood to every part of me.
I wanted to touch him the way he was touching me. Roth moaned when I wiggled, slipping my hands under his shirt. His stomach was hard, dipped and rippled in all the right places. He broke away long enough to tug his shirt over his head. He hovered above me for a moment, powerful and strong. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen him shirtless, but I still marveled at his beauty. Even Bambi, who covered his arm, and the dragon rising across his stomach were beautiful to me. I wondered what he thought of me, but we were kissing again as he eased me back down, dropping a kiss against my cheek, then my eyelids while I tried to get control of my pounding heart.
Roth cradled my face then, our lips barely touching again and again. My sweater came off in a heady tug and pull. I ran my fingertips down his chest to the button on his jeans. He had the same thing in mind, because he was between my legs, and I was swimming in raw sensations. Pleasure and uncertainty spiked together. I had no experience in any of this.
For a brief moment, Roth froze above me. His eyes squeezed tight and his head thrust back toward the ceiling. I didn’t realize that he was exercising any control until it broke.
His arms tightened around me, crushing me against his chest as his hips rocked against mine. We were skin to skin in some areas, tangled together, and each breath we took, the other seemed to inhale. Our chests rose; our hearts pounded. His skin was hard and smooth under my clenching fingers. He gripped my hips, tilting me up and bringing us closer together. When he kissed me again, it was that deep, scorching kind of kiss that pushed me to the edge of the cliff. I was ready to jump off headfirst, to finally feel everything I’d always believed to be denied to me.
My fingers dug into the smooth skin of his biceps as his free hand trailed down my stomach, fingers circling my belly button and then lower, under the band of my jeans. Every muscle in my body locked up in a strange way. Not a bad way, but it was intense, too much and not enough. “Roth, I...I don’t know...”