He cocked his head toward her hand. “What have you got there?”
The forgotten photo nearly burned her fingers. Why hadn’t she returned it before he walked in?
“Is this your mother?” she blurted out.
Ten more walls went up around his serious face. “Yeah. I thought I’d put that away.”
“Why? Are your parents still living?”
He took the picture from her. Instead of placing it back on the bookshelf, he tossed it into the top desk drawer, which he closed with a resounding click.
“My father is. She died when I was ten.”
He sat on the desk and crossed his arms. “I should have asked you to wait in the kitchen instead. Have you eaten?”
“Yes. Bernie, you clearly want to be alone. Why didn’t you let me leave earlier?”
The corner of his mouth turned downward. “Because I don’t want you to.”
Desi’s sandals clicked on the hardwood floor as she paced in a tight circle. “What do you want?”
He dropped his arms and stood. “You.”
What? The man made no sense today. Before she could say anything else, he embraced her and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. As usual, the texture of his sculpted mouth hardened her nipples to rigid peaks.
When she gazed into his eyes, they were warmer. So was her belly. Even without his erection pressing against her short scooter skirt, she had no trouble heating up her nylon panties after that kiss.
“I’m so confused, Bernie.” She rested her palms on his shoulders. “Why did you shut me out earlier?”
“Now you know how it feels,” he said quietly.
“What are you talking about?”
He held her closer, staring over her shoulder. “You were someone else at the photo shoot. Somebody I couldn’t have.”
“I was just doing my job,” she protested. “I loved knowing you were there, though.”
“They wouldn’t let me see you.” His hushed voice was especially raspy. “Those assholes turned me away like I was nobody.”
Now his earlier coolness made sense. The fact that he’d wanted to be with her so much filled her chest with melting warmth.
“I’m sorry.” She tweaked his mouth, coaxing a grin out of him. “I guess neither one of us can be ourselves when we’re working.”
“You’re probably right.” His hand perched on her hip and rubbed the curve of it. “You looked so beautiful in that bikini. I wanted to rip it off of you so bad.”
His fingers curled around the hem of her skirt and tugged. “I wish you were wearing it right now.”
“Bernie, I told you I’m not ready for a sexual relationship.”
His hot mouth seared her skin as he kissed and nipped the side of her neck where it met her shoulder. “Then when, Desi? How long do I have to wait?”
Her pelvis throbbed with an insistent pulse. Having his mouth and hands on her, especially after his puzzling coolness, was more than her body could take. If they had less than a month left to live, they might never make love again. Thinking of it filled her veins with ice water.
“Can’t we kiss?” she asked.
He gripped her chin. She gasped when his mouth devoured hers, whipping her head from side to side with the force of it. Despite herself, she found the opening of his soft shirt and skated her hand across hot, caramel-colored flesh. Her fingers tweaked his nipple before she could stop them.
“I need you, Desi,” he whispered with a half-cry.
How could she ignore such a desperate plea? She only had to remember the sight of Cole’s back the night he walked out of her apartment the last time.
But staying here and torturing Bernie with lust wasn’t fair either.
“I-I should go.” Her heart beat so fast with passion, she could hardly talk.
Instead, he lifted the backs of her thighs until they sandwiched his slim waist. Because they were similar in height, it couldn’t be easy for him to carry her that way, but he managed to deposit her on top of the desk.
The length of her canal swelled and filled her with delicious sensations of anticipation. She probably wanted him inside her again even more than he wanted to enter her.
After pressing her legs together, he lifted them by the ankles until they extended in front of her and rose toward her head. She reached behind her to support the straight-legged pose. If she hadn’t practiced yoga and pilates for years, she’d never be able to hold this position.
His tongue glided down the length of one and then the other. Her skin melted under the insistent, wet heat of his mouth. Keeping her legs together instead of spreading them took every shred of her willpower.
“Bernie, you have to stop.”
He slid her buttocks close to the edge of the desk and rubbed his erection against the damp crotch of the shorts built into her skirt. His head dropped back as he bumped her fabric-covered slit with his hardness. Stars prickled behind her eyes as her core swelled even more.
“I respect your decision,” he said, gripping his crotch, “but I need to have you right now. Somehow.”
“Please, Desi. Don’t turn me away like those people did today. Let me have you, some kind of way.”
She bit her bottom lip when he unzipped his jeans and pulled out his erection. His fire-and-rain scent, mixed with sexual musk, tickled her nose and put each nerve cell in her body on alert.
With his eyes squeezed shut, he stroked himself with ferocious intensity. The sight of it accelerated her heart so fast she could hardly breathe.
She caught his fingers with hers—to stop him or rub that delectable cock—she wasn’t sure which. Unable to resist touching him, she stroked the tip, which was covered with a pool of clear fluid.
“Yes, Desi,” he moaned. “Feel me.”
She had to make love to him again but not yet. With her fingertips, she circled his shaft and rubbed. She loved having this mysterious, elusive man in her palm—even if only for the moment.