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“Do it.” His guttural voice was demanding as hell.
“Then what, Kellan? What happens next?”
“Are you naked underneath?” His lips twitched. “Are you bare, sweetheart?”
She was dressed in a short chemise. Of course she was naked, a fact she found disturbing then. She typically wore panties to bed. Had she subconsciously planned for something like this? Had she hoped for opportunity, anticipated it right from the start?
“Yes,” she finally replied.
“Let me see, Jade.” There was no play in his voice. He expected her to strip and if she followed his request, she’d soon find out what else he had in mind. On the flipside, if she didn’t remove the gown, then she’d never know.
The not knowing was more than she could stand.
His curiosity was enough to kill a damn mountain lion.
Jade’s timid ways, the way she’d moved against him, trying to find a comfortable—if not safe position, had spoken volumes and while he now wanted to do the right thing, they were long past the point of turning back.
Maybe she was innocent. Perhaps she was indeed untouched. And while he wanted to be respectful, he was also an interested man.
He longed to see what was underneath her gown. He wanted to touch and hold her, caress her until he knew the softness of her skin and she easily recognized his careful touch.
Kellan wanted to feel her hot breath at his ear, the way she moaned in delight as he brought her pleasure. And by damn, he would indeed bring her pleasure.
She disposed of her chemise. And in that very instant, Kellan’s future unfolded before him.
A lifeline was unnecessary. A man, even one who wanted to be saved, couldn’t be pulled from these dangerous waters.
Kellan had never seen anything more beautiful. And he’d never seen anyone so frightened. One look and he knew everything he needed to know about her intimate past.
She didn’t have one.
Reaching out to her, he tried not to act like an ass and just eat up the sight of her. While it was difficult, he somehow survived, pulling her back to the sofa without yanking her on top of him.
He even allowed her to cover up, which wasn’t an allowable act in his bed under normal circumstances. Then again, these circumstances were very different.
This young woman wasn’t experienced. As much as he’d tried to convince himself that she wanted him to look, he wasn’t so sure now. In fact, he would’ve staked a lot on one notion. If he’d suggested it, she would’ve gladly grabbed that gown and dressed much quicker than she’d stripped.
Nuzzling her hair, Kellan waited for her to settle down and curl up in his arms before he said, “You’re beautiful.”
She gripped the top of the blanket as if she were afraid to respond. This was one time when Kellan wished Reason would’ve beaten him to the punch.
Kellan didn’t know how to do virgins. He didn’t sleep with them. He didn’t wreck their worlds. He left them alone because—well, he was apparently as frightened of them as they were of him.
Cursing his prick for dancing in his jeans, he flipped to his back. Bringing her against him, he appreciated the softness of her rounded cheek against his prickly chest as she seemingly relaxed. It took more than a minute for Jade to act comfortable and he was certain of the theatrics in play then. She could bolt at any given time.
“Are you comfortable?”
“Are you lying to me?” He peered down his nose, grinning at the gorgeous woman in his arms. The light in the hall was a treat. Even if nothing happened between them, he would enjoy watching her sleep. He looked forward to the morning possibilities as well.
God, he was losing his mind.
“Do you want me to lie to you, Kellan?”
“I don’t recommend it. Besides, I could make you tell me the truth.”
She shuddered and he grinned. His voice already affected her in some ways.
“Do you make yourother submissives tell you the truth?”
“I don’t have ‘other’ submissives.”
“But that’s what you like. Right?”
“Submissive women,” she replied, curving her arm around his waist.
He stilled then, questioning every action and every question. “What do you know about submissive women?”
“Not much,” she admitted. “But I’d be submissive to you.” Her honesty was enough to cripple the best of Doms, at least those who were bent on having a woman, and this woman might as well be collared or branded as his.
“A confession like that could get you in all sorts of trouble.”
“I’m not ready,” she said frankly.
“That’s a fact.” He tucked his fingers under her chin and lifted her lips to his. “But I’m not going anywhere.” He gave her a quick kiss. “And I’m not taking advantage of you.”
“I believe you.”