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Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss, Page 2

Maya Banks

  “I’ll make a note of your food preferences so that I never serve you animal guts,” he said solemnly.

  She grinned over at him. “You know, Devon, you’re not as stiff as everyone thinks you are. You actually have quite a sense of humor.”

  One finely arched eyebrow shot upward. “Stiff? Who thinks I’m stiff?”

  Realizing she’d put her foot solidly in her mouth, she stuffed another shrimp in to keep the foot company.

  “Nobody,” she mumbled around her food. “Forget I said anything.”

  “Has someone been warning you off of me?”

  The sudden tension in his voice sent a prickle of unease over her.

  “My family worries for me,” she said simply. “They’re very protective. Too protective,” she finished with a mutter.

  “Your family is warning you about me?”

  He acted as though it was the very last thing he expected. Was he so sure that her entire family was pushing for a match between them?

  “Well no, not exactly. Definitely not Daddy. He thinks you hung the moon. Mama approves but I’m sure it’s because Daddy does. She thinks he can do nothing wrong so if you have his stamp of approval you have hers.”

  He seemed to relax in his chair. “Who then?”

  She shrugged. “My brother wants me to be careful, but you have to understand he’s been saying the same thing about all the guys I’ve ever dated.”

  Again that eyebrow went up as he raised the glass of wine to his lips. “Oh?”

  “Yeah, you know, you’re a philanderer, a player. Different woman on your arm every week. You aren’t serious. You just want to get me into bed.”

  A blast of heat surged into her cheeks and she ducked her head. Stupid thing to blurt out. Stupid!

  “Sounds like a typical older brother,” Devon said blandly. “But he’s right about one thing. I do want you in my bed. The difference is, once you’re there, you’re going to stay.”

  Her lips popped into an O.

  He smiled, a lazy, self-assured smile that oozed male confidence.

  “Finish eating, Ashley. I want you to enjoy your meal. We’ll enjoy…each other…later.”

  She ate mechanically. She didn’t register the taste. For all she knew she was eating cow’s tongue.

  What did women do in situations like these? Here was a man obviously determined to take her to bed. Did she play it cool? Did she go on the offensive? Did she offer to undress for him?

  A bubble of laughter bounced into her throat. Oh, Lord, but she was in way over her head.

  Firm hands rested on her shoulders and squeezed reassuringly. She yanked her head up to see Devon behind her. How had he gotten there?

  “Relax, Ash,” he said gently. “You’re wound tighter than a spring. Come here.”

  On shaking legs, she rose to stand in front of him. He touched her cheek with one finger then raised it to her temple to push at a tendril of her hair. He traced a line over her face and down to her lips before finally moving in, his body crowding hers.

  He wrapped one arm around her waist, and cupped her nape with his other hand. This time when he kissed her there was none of the restraint she’d seen in the past. It was like kissing an inferno.

  Hot, breathless, so overwhelming that her senses shattered. How could one kiss do this to her?

  His tongue brushed over her lips, softly at first and then more firmly as he forced her mouth to open under his gentle pressure.

  She relaxed and melted into his embrace. Her body hummed. Her pulse thudded against her temples, at her neck and deep in her body at her very core. She wanted this man. Sometimes she felt like she’d been waiting for him forever. He was so…right.

  “Devon,” she whispered.

  He pushed far enough away that he could see her, but he still held her firm in his embrace.

  “Yes, sweetheart?”

  Her heart fluttered at the endearment.

  “There’s something I need to tell you. Something you should know.”

  His brow furrowed, and he searched her eyes as if gauging her mood.

  “Go ahead. You can tell me anything.”

  She swallowed but felt the knot grow bigger in her throat. She hadn’t imagined it being this difficult to say, but she felt suddenly silly. Maybe she shouldn’t say anything at all. Maybe she should just let things happen. But no, this was a special night. It needed to be special. He deserved to know.

  “I—I’ve never done this.” She gripped his upper arm with nervous fingers. “What I mean is that I’ve never made love with a man before. You…you’d be the first.”

  Something dark and primitive sparked in his eyes. His grip tightened around her waist. At first he didn’t say anything. He kissed her hungrily, his lips devouring hers.

  Then he pulled away, savage satisfaction written on every facet of his face.

  “I’m glad. After tonight you’ll be mine, Ashley. I’m glad I’m the first.”

  “Me, too,” she whispered.

  Some of the fierceness in his expression eased. He leaned forward and kissed her on the brow and held his lips there for a long moment.

  His hands ran soothingly up and down her arms, stopping to squeeze her shoulders. “I don’t want you to be afraid. I’ll be very gentle with you, sweetheart. I’ll make sure you enjoy every moment of it.”

  She reached up on tiptoe to wrap both arms around his neck. “Then make love to me, Devon. I’ve waited so long for you.”


  Ashley stared up at Devon, unsure of what to do now. He didn’t suffer any such problem. Dropping another kiss on her brow, he bent and lifted her into his arms and carried her to the large master bedroom in the corner of the apartment.

  She sighed as she laid her head on his chest. “I’ve always dreamed of being carried to bed when the big moment came. I probably sound silly.”

  Soft laughter rumbled from his chest. “Glad I could fulfill one of your fantasies before I even get you naked.”

  She blushed but felt a giddy thrill at the idea of him undressing her. That was number two on her fantasy list for when she lost her virginity.

  After listening to so many girls in high school and college talk about how utterly unremarkable their first times were, Ashley had vowed that her experience would be different. Perhaps she’d been too picky as a result, but she’d been determined to choose the right man and the right moment. So she was feeling pretty damn smug because it didn’t get any more perfect than Devon Carter right here, right now.

  He set her down just inside the doorway and she glanced nervously around his enormous bedroom. A person could get swallowed up in here. And the bed was equally huge. It looked custom-made. Who needed a bed that big anyway? Unless he regularly hosted orgies and slept with ten women.

  “I’m going to undress you, sweetheart,” he said in a husky voice. “I’ll go slow and you stop me if you feel uncomfortable at any time. We have all night. There’s no rush.”

  Her heart melted at the tenderness in his voice. He seemed so patient, and she warred with appreciating this unerringly patient side of him and being frustrated because she wanted to be ravished.

  It’s your first time only once.

  She could hear herself issue the reprimand. And she was right. She had plenty of time for down-and-dirty, hot monkey sex. But she would only have this night once and she wanted it to be a night she’d always remember.

  “Turn around so I can unzip your dress.”

  Slowly she turned and closed her eyes when he gently moved her hair over one shoulder so he could reach the zip. A moment later, the light rasp of the zipper filled the room and the dress loosened precariously around her bust.

  She slapped her hands over the strapless neckline just before it took the plunge down her body.

  Devon’s hands closed around her bare shoulders and he kissed the curve of her neck. “Relax.”

  Easy for him to say. He’d probably done this a hundred times. That thought depressed her and she
made herself swear not to dwell on how many bed partners he may have had.

  He turned her back around, his smile tender enough to melt her insides. Carefully he pried her fingers away from their death grip on her dress until it fell down her body, leaving her in only her panties.

  She flushed scarlet. Why, oh, why hadn’t she just worn the strapless bra? She felt like a hussy for not wearing anything but it wasn’t as if she had a huge amount of cleavage and the dress fit tightly over her chest so she hadn’t been in danger of flopping out of it.

  And it wasn’t as if she knew she was going to be seduced tonight.

  She’d hoped. But then she’d hoped every time Devon took her out. She’d given up on trying to predict when or if the day might come.

  “Very sexy,” Devon breathed out as his gaze raked up and down her body.

  Thank goodness she’d worn the lacy, sexy panties and not the plain white cotton ones she sometimes wore when she was feeling particularly uninspired or just didn’t give a damn whether she felt girly and pretty or not.

  “You’re beautiful, Ash. So damn beautiful.”

  Some of her trembling stopped as she absorbed the look in his eyes. The eyes didn’t lie and she could read arousal and appreciation in those golden depths.

  He took her shoulders, gently pulled her to him and kissed her again. Hot. Forceful. In turns fierce and then gentler as though he had to remind himself not to overwhelm her.

  She wanted to be overwhelmed.

  She may be a virgin but she was no stranger to lust, desire and extreme arousal. She wanted Devon with a force that bordered on obsession. He’d fired many a fantasy that had kept her up at night.

  And it wasn’t as if she hadn’t been tempted in the past. She’d been courted by other men. Some she felt absolutely no desire for but with others she’d experienced a kernel of interest and had wondered if she should pursue a sexual relationship. In the end, she hadn’t been sure and if she wasn’t absolutely sure, she’d promised herself she wouldn’t take the plunge.

  Not so with Devon. She’d known from the moment he introduced himself to her in that husky, sexy-as-hell voice that she was a goner. She’d spent the last weeks breathless in anticipation of this night. Now that it was here, her entire body ached for him to take her.

  He pulled away for a moment and she stared at him with glazed eyes. He touched her cheek, tracing a path down her face with his fingertip. Then he kissed her again. And again.

  Hot. Breathless. His tongue slid between her lips and feathered over her own. Warm and decadent, his taste seeped over her tongue and she drank him in hungrily, wanting more.

  His harsh groan exploded into her mouth and the rush of his exhalation blew over her face. “You make me crazy.”

  She smiled, some of her nervousness abating. That she had this effect on this gorgeous, perfect man infused her with a sudden rush of feminine confidence.

  He fastened his mouth to her jaw and kissed a line down to her neck. He pressed his lips just over her pulse point and then lightly grazed his teeth over the sensitive flesh.

  Shivers of delight danced over her shoulders. His hands glided up her arms and then gripped her just above the elbows. He held her in place as his mouth continued its downward trek. Over the curve of her shoulder and then down the front.

  He went to his knees in front of her so that his mouth was barely an inch from her nipple. She sucked in her breath, afraid to move, wanting so badly for him to touch her there. His mouth, lips, tongue… She didn’t care. She just knew she’d die if he didn’t touch her.

  He lowered his head and kissed her belly instead. Just above her navel. She sucked in her breath, causing her stomach to cave in. He moved up an inch and kissed her again, tracing a path between her breasts until finally he pressed a kiss directly over where her heart beat.

  A slow smile turned his lips upward, the movement light against her skin.

  “Your heart’s racing,” he murmured.

  She remained silent. It didn’t require acknowledgement from her—her heart was beyond racing. It was damn near about to explode out of her chest.

  But her hands wouldn’t remain still. Drawn to the light brown wash of his hair, she threaded her fingers through the short strands. In a certain light, she could see the shades of his eyes. Amber. Golden. That warm, liquid brown.

  Her fingers moved easily through his hair. No styling products stiffened the strands. A little mussed. Never quite the same from day to day. He paid as little attention to his hair as he did to the other things he deemed inconsequential.

  He glanced up, her fingers still thrust into his hair. “Are you afraid?”

  “Terrified,” she admitted.

  His gaze softened and he wrapped his arms around her body, pulling her into his embrace. The shock of her naked body against his still fully clothed one sent shivers up her spine.

  “I’d feel less afraid if you were naked, though.”

  He blinked in surprise and then he threw back his head and laughed. “You little tease.” He pushed upward to his feet until he towered over her. “I’m happy to accommodate you. More than happy to accommodate you.”

  She licked over suddenly dry lips as he pulled away and began unbuttoning his shirt. He tugged the ends from his slacks and unfastened his cuffs before shrugging out of the sleeves.

  She swayed precariously because oh, Lord, was the man mouthwateringly gorgeous. He was lean in an “I work out” way but he wasn’t so muscled that he looked like he got carried away with the fitness regimen. He was hard in all the right places without being a neckless, snarling, swollen, knuckles-dragging-the-ground caveman type.

  A smattering of light brown hair collected in a whorl in the center of his chest and then tapered to a fine line that drifted down his abdomen and disappeared into the waist of his pants.

  She wanted to touch him. Had to touch him. She curled her fingers until they dug into her palms and then she frowned. There weren’t rules to seduction, right? She could touch. No reason for her to stand here like a statue or an automaton while he did all the work. While taking things slow did have its good points, there was simply too much she wanted to experience to stand idly by while seduction happened. She wanted to take an active part.

  He’d only began to undo his pants, when she slid her hands over his chest and up to his shoulders. He went still and for a moment closed his eyes.

  His response fascinated her. Did her touch bring him as much pleasure as his touch brought her? A sudden rush of power bolted through her veins, awakening the feminine roar inside her.

  She moved in closer, wanting to feel his naked flesh against hers. Hot. She gasped when her breasts pressed against his chest. It was an electric sensation that was wildly intoxicating. She wanted more. So much more.

  “What are you doing?” he asked hoarsely.

  “Enjoying myself.”

  He smiled at that and remained still, his hands still gripping the fly of his pants. She ran her palms openly over his chest, exploring each muscled ridge, enjoying the rugged contrast between his hardness and the softness of her own body.

  “Take them off,” she whispered when her hands drifted perilously close to where his hands were positioned.

  “Has the blushing virgin turned temptress?”

  On cue, she flushed but he smiled and then let go of his pants to frame her face in his palms. He kissed her, nearly scorching her lips off with the sudden heat. “You take them off me,” he murmured into her mouth.

  Sudden nerves made her fingers clumsy as she fumbled with his pants, but he stood there patiently, his hands caressing her face, gaze locked with hers as she pushed his pants down his legs.

  Swallowing, she chanced a look down to see his erection straining hard against the cotton of his briefs. Plain, boxer briefs. Somehow she’d imagined something a little more… She wasn’t sure. She just knew she hadn’t imagined plain boxer briefs but then he was a no-fuss kind of guy. Yes, he wore expensive clothing, but it was comfo
rtable expensive clothing. The kind you only knew was expensive because you recognized the label. Not because it looked terribly pricey.

  Simply put, Devon Carter looked like a man who’d made money but wasn’t overly concerned with appearing as though he was wealthy. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t look the part. She’d seen him in full business attire with the sleek designer labels and the polished, arrogant look to match. But she’d spent much more time with him privately. When he was relaxed. Less guarded. That was the word. In public situations, he was intensely guarded at all times. Almost as if he was determined to let no one in. It thrilled her that he trusted her enough to see his more casual side.

  “Put your hand around me,” he coaxed in that low husky tone that had her melting.

  Tentatively she slid her fingers beyond the waistband of his underwear and delved lower until she encountered the velvety hardness of his erection. Emboldened by the immediate darkening of his eyes, she curled her fingers around the base and slowly slid upward, lightly skimming along his length.

  His hands left her face and he impatiently pushed his underwear down until he was completely nude, cupped in her hands as she gently caressed him.

  Having nothing but stolen glimpses of elicit photos to compare him to, he seemed to measure up adequately in the size department. At least he didn’t look so huge that she feared compatibility issues.

  He gently took her wrists and pulled her hands away from his erection. Then he pulled her hands up until they were trapped between them against his chest. His thumb lightly caressed the inside of her palm as he stared into her eyes.

  “You, my love, are driving me slowly insane. It was me who was supposed to do the seducing and yet you utterly enslave me with every touch.”

  She flushed with pleasure, her skin growing warm under the intense desire blazing in his eyes.

  He kissed her again, and he pressed in close until he walked her backward toward the bed. He stopped when the backs of her legs brushed against the sumptuous comforter.

  He wrapped his arm around her waist and lowered her back until she was lying on the mattress, him hovering above her.