Absolute wonder filled me—floored me. It was such an un-demon-like response, yet again, and actually so unlike most guys of any species.
Deep down, I knew a tiny part of me hadn’t been entirely ready up until this very moment, that I was doing this because of the potential of never seeing him again after tomorrow. I was rushing toward it, because I was afraid we wouldn’t get the chance again, and that was really the wrong reason to want to take our relationship to the next level. But this—what he’d just said to me—erased all my doubts. Not the inherent nervousness that came with such a major thing, but it vanquished any lingering concerns I had.
I was ready.
I was ready because he was willing to slow it down. He was willing to wait. He was willing to let me set the pace.
My hand didn’t tremble as I placed it against his cheek, and my gaze was steady when I met his. “I’m ready, Roth.”
His eyes slammed shut. “Layla.” He said my name harshly. “I’m not a saint. You know this. I want to—”
“I don’t want you to be a saint. I want you to be you,” I told him, moving my thumb along his lower lip. “I love you and I want this.”
He didn’t seem to breathe as the seconds stretched out between us. “Are you sure?”
“Yes.” Then I nodded for extra emphasis, just in case he was confused.
A long moment passed before Roth showed any reaction to what I said, and then he smiled. Not the big, breathtaking one, but a smaller, more intimate one that wrapped around my heart. And then he kissed me.
The initial touch of our mouths was different from the earlier kiss. It was feather soft, heartbreakingly tender—a kiss of reverence. I didn’t even know you could be kissed like that. But the contact...it evolved with the second pass of his lips, and mine parted, welcoming him, and that kiss was far more than something physical.
In that kiss, I could feel our love for one another, our acceptance of each other. It was like taking all our hopes and dreams and rolling them up into one kiss, and it packed so much powerful emotion, that it was a punch to the very core of both of us. It was just a kiss and it was nearly too much and it still wasn’t enough, and it was just beautiful.
Roth lifted his head again, but this time it wasn’t to stop us. Our gazes locked, and a wealth of emotion showed in his tawny eyes as he stared down at me. “You make me...” He swallowed again. “You make me wish I had a soul so that I could be worthy of you.”
I drew in a sharp breath. “You are worthy of me.”
Roth held my gaze and then his lips were on mine again. We were moving and when the back of my legs hit the bed, he guided me until I was lying down the middle of it. My hands fluttered to the comforter as I watched him standing above me.
His smile was soft as he reached down and tugged his shirt off, tossing it somewhere behind me, and my stomach hollowed as his lean muscles moved with fluid grace. The kittens were off him, most likely hidden somewhere in the room. Bambi’s tail was visible along the stretch of taut skin and the dragon was where he always was.
He went to the nightstand and grabbed a small package, tossing it on the bed. “I don’t know if we can produce a child—if I can or you can. So I think we just need to be careful.”
My face was on fire. “Good call.”
Inclining his head to the side, he grinned. “Yeah. Maybe one day, we’ll test that out.”
I think my heart might’ve stopped, because making a baby wasn’t something I’d even briefly considered. Growing up, I’d assumed that it was never in the cards because of what I was and wasn’t. I’d been taught that I didn’t have the attributes for childbearing, and whether that meant it was genetically impossible for me or just not the Wardens’ preference, I didn’t know. But the idea of doing so one day in the future was strange, elating and scary.
Moving toward the bed, he placed his knees on either side of my legs as he crawled above me. Air constricted in my lungs as he caged me in. Our eyes met, and I swore Roth stopped breathing for a moment. Then he slowly lowered himself down, and the weight of him was shattering.
He stared down at me, the tips of his fingers trailing over the curve of my cheek. “I want this to be perfect for you.”
My heart swelled. “It will be, because it’s with you.”
One side of his lips kicked up. “I feel like I’ve—” A choked laugh cut him off. “Like I’ve never done this before.”
“Well, that makes two of us.” I smiled. “So this could be really good or—”
“It’s going to be more than really good,” he said, dragging his thumb along my lower lip, mimicking my earlier caress. “Yeah, it’s going to be more.”
I shivered as he lowered his head, stopping just short of kissing me. “If for whatever reason, you want me to stop at any point in this, tell me. Okay? Promise me.”
“I promise,” I whispered, wrapping my arm around his neck.
Something soft and amazing flashed across his features, and then we were kissing, and we kissed for what felt like forever. Each kiss had a drugging sort of effect, loosening the rigidness in my muscles. And each kiss was like an eraser, removing everything outside this little world we were creating. I lost myself in him, and he lost himself in me. Time slowed and rushed by, and we were hot and flushed as the kisses increased, twisting against each other.
When Roth lifted his head once more, he didn’t speak or move for a long moment, and my chest squeezed as I dragged my fingers through his hair. He dipped his head, kissing my cheek. “Remember your promise.”
I remembered, but I wasn’t going to stop him and I wasn’t going to deny what both of us wanted. He seemed to realize that because as he settled over me again, not quite touching me, he closed his eyes, expression strained. Electricity snapped between us, tugging at us as a raw feeling pulsed. I turned my head, seeking his mouth, and when I found it, I poured everything I felt for him into the kiss. My hands slipped over the thick cords of his neck, traveled the muscles where they bunched in his shoulders, down his lean sides, and then around to his abs, going lower—over each taut ridge, and lower still. He drew in a sharp breath as I reached the button on his jeans.
He caught my hand, tugging it away and pressing it down into the mattress. My heart jumped as heat rolled off his body. His skin seemed too thin and there were shadows lingering just behind the layer of flesh as he drew his hand down to the hem of my camisole.
I really wasn’t thinking as I lifted my shoulders and the cami ended up somewhere with his shirt, or when I lifted my hips and the last bit of clothing was gone. I wasn’t thinking when his body bowed and he kissed the space just below my new tattoo. And there were no thoughts when, with trembling hands, he began to explore me. My heart was tripping over itself and the fire in my stomach had turned into a wave of molten lava coursing through my veins.
Then his clothes came off, and he was possibly the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, and when his lips met mine, I was nearly overcome by the strength of the emotions flowing between us. And everything—everything he began to do was downright delicious. We were pressing against one another, straining until I was floating in heavy sensations. My skin came alive wherever we touched, and our hands were everywhere—I was lost in him as his lips blazed a fiery path down my throat and lower, much lower, like he’d done before, and like before, I flew apart with each precise, measured touch, and he pieced me back together with deep, slow kisses.