The Way You Look Tonight / Page 18

Page 18


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Author: Bella Andre


Men. They were all pigs. Especially her brothers.


Still, she hoped against hope that Rafe wouldn’t screw things up with one of the most amazing women she’d ever known, and that Brooke could be the one to finally break through the thick wall Rafe had put around himself. Every time Mia tried to talk with him about the knife attack, he immediately shut her down. Something told her that if anyone could break down that wall and heal the inner wounds he wouldn’t admit to, it was Brooke.


Unfortunately, considering that her brother hadn’t even stepped up to the meaningful-relationship plate enough to admit to Mia that he and Brooke were an item, she knew better than to hold out too much hope.


Sighing, she flipped on the radio and was planning to zone out for the rest of the drive when a new song came on that had her entire body stiffening.


Adam startet tapping out the beat on the steering wheel. "This is such a great so—"


She flipped the radio off just as the song was about to hit the chorus.


"Why’d you turn it off?"


"I have a migraine. The music was hurting my head."


She almost never got headaches, but Adam didn’t know that, so thankfully he didn’t ask why she’d had such a strong reaction to the song.


Mia’d had five years to get over it. To get over him. She should be able to listen to his songs, at the very least, without her stomach twisting...without the memories she’d never been able to forget assaulting her.


Chapter Fourteen


Rafe’s brother and sister were finally gone, which meant he and Brooke were finally free to rip off each other’s clothes and pick up where they’d left off the night before. But he couldn’t stop feeling that he’d already pushed her too far, too fast, by taking her the way he had in the linen closet. It didn’t help that they hadn’t had any time alone during the day to talk so that he could gauge how she was feeling...or whether she had changed her mind.


Forty-eight hours ago, he’d been certain that they should curb their attraction to preserve their friendship. Even though all they’d had so far was fifteen stolen minutes of passion, he knew it wasn’t even close to being that simple anymore.


Friends. Lovers. Next-door neighbors.


Family.


Brooke was already all of those things to him.


The soft lapping of the water on the lakeshore suddenly seemed too loud as the silence drew out between them in her kitchen. Rafe was never nervous. Not when he was doing dangerous undercover work, and certainly not when he was with a woman.


But being alone in the kitchen with a beautiful girl with big green eyes had his heart thumping hard and fast in his chest.


If he was a gentleman, if he had any honor at all, he’d let her say whatever it was that had her worrying her lower lip between her teeth, and then give her space if that was what she wanted. But nothing could have stopped him from reaching for her. He simply had to hold her, had to feel her soft skin heat up beneath his fingertips, had to feel her shudder at his touch.


Only, for the first time, she didn’t lean into him, didn’t press her cheek to his or slide her arms around his neck. He could feel her heart beating just as hard as his was.


"Your sister—"


"Likes to poke her nose in where it doesn’t belong."


Brooke looked far too serious. He wanted her to smile again, wanted so badly to see her cheeks flush with pleasure before her lids fluttered shut the way they always did when he kissed her.


"She loves you," Brooke said as she gazed up at him. Her gaze was full of desire, but there was worry there, too. "I’ve longed to be wild for so long that when I saw you again, I lost sight of anything else. I lost sight of the fact that friends should always look out for each other. I’ve only been thinking about myself, about what I want. You tried a dozen different ways out on the beach to keep your distance, to explain why we shouldn’t do this, but I wouldn’t listen. I didn’t want to listen to what you wanted, because I was so busy thinking about myself."


"How many times do I have to tell you that I’m dying to be with you, Brooke? How many different ways do I have to show you?" His words were hard-edged with frustration, his hands flexing on the upper curves of her hips as he pulled her closer. "Hell, I wanted you so damned bad last night that I locked you in a closet and took exactly what I wanted. I told you it was for you, that I was there to soothe your ache, but it was for me, Brooke. Me. Because I couldn’t wait one more goddamned second to feel you, to taste you."


"I couldn’t wait, either," she told him, but even as she tried to absolve him of his guilt, he knew he had plenty to make up to her.


"Our first time together shouldn’t have been that fast, that rushed. Let me make it up to you."


Her breath was coming faster now, her breasts pressing sensuously against his chest as she gazed up at him. He was surprised when her mouth curved into a small smile a moment later.


"We’re both being silly, aren’t we, arguing over which one of us has been more selfish? Maybe," she said with a slow smile that transformed her face into a beauty that took his breath away, "we could argue, instead, over who can give the other person more pleasure tonight?"


The weight that had been pressing on his chest all day finally began to lift as he smiled down at her.


"We’re not going to argue about anything at all," he said as he slid his hands down her hips to cup her soft curves. "Because tonight is going to be all about you. All about your pleasure. All about your needs."


He could feel her heartbeat speed up against his chest as she said huskily, "I like that idea. A lot. Only, last night I never did get to—"


He covered her mouth with his before she could remind him of what she’d been about to do in the linen closet. The problem was, that vision of her starting to drop to her knees in front of him had burned into his retinas, and he’d been hard as a rock thinking about it nearly every minute since last night.


He moved his hands from her hips and up over her gorgeous hourglass figure so that he could slide his fingers into her hair and tilt her head at exactly the right angle to plunder her mouth with his tongue. And then neither of them was wary anymore as their hot kiss pushed away any concerns they had about hurting each other.


Pleasure.


That was what they’d focus on tonight—the only thing that mattered.


* * *


Yesterday, there’d been plenty of time to get nervous, to plan and anticipate. But the past twenty-four hours had been so full of unexpected guests and emotions that Brooke was almost surprised to finally find herself in Rafe’s arms.


But, oh, as he kissed her and she melted into his arms the way she did every time his lips touched hers, she knew there had never been any reason for nerves or worries. Nothing had ever been as natural as the passion between them—two friends who had been destined to become so much more.


And it was their past—all the little connections that had been forged over summer barbecues and sand-castle contests between a young girl and a beautifully wild teenage boy—that made it so easy for her to dive headfirst into whatever their future held.


He took her hand and tugged her down the hall. "I’ve needed you in bed, naked beneath me, for forty-eight hours. I can’t wait another second for you, Brooke."


No one had ever talked to her this way before, with such frank desire, drawing pictures with words that had her shuddering with pleasure as much as any caress. Seconds later, Rafe had closed her bedroom door behind them and locked it. Already she knew that the sound of a lock clicking into place would forever be a sensual cue, a promise Rafe would make to her of the pleasure he was going to give her with his hands, his lips, his—


Brooke’s thoughts were stolen away as his mouth closed down over hers. God, just to kiss him like this—his tongue slicking against hers, his teeth gently nipping at her lower lip—was more pleasure than she’d ever thought to experience.


Every time until now, their kisses had been cut short, either by Rafe’s conscience kicking in, or by his siblings’ arrival. Tonight she would finally have enough time to truly learn not only the taste, the feel of him, but also all the ways the two of them could take their individual pleasures and multiply them together.


She flicked her tongue against the corner where his lips met, and the way his strong pectoral muscles jumped beneath her hands told her just how much he enjoyed it. Taking a slow, wet slide over his lower lip, she found the other corner and licked out against it. Delight strummed through her system at the way he responded to nothing more than the damp press of her tongue. She wanted to taste more of him, so much more, but she wasn’t anywhere near close to done with his lips yet.


He could easily have led their kiss, and she could feel his innate dominance even in the way he let her explore him. Sliding her hands up from his hard chest to brush over the strong lines of his neck and jaw, while the prickle of his dark five o’clock shadow against her fingertips sent sharp bursts of pleasure down through every inch of her, she slipped her tongue between his lips on a soft moan.


Soon, the heat of their kiss took over and drew away any control either of them had been holding. Brooke couldn’t get close enough, not even with her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, her breasts and stomach and hips pressed against the front of his hard body.


Rafe tore his mouth from hers. "Time to get you naked."


She wanted him naked, too, but she couldn’t find the oxygen to put the words together to tell him, not when he was already teasing the patch of bare skin beneath the hem of her tank top with his fingertips as he slowly pulled up the blue cotton. He’d stripped her clothes from her before, in the locked linen closet, but tonight it all felt brand new, as if last night had only been a dress rehearsal for the real thing.


He surprised her by leaning down to press a kiss to each new inch of skin that he bared. It was glorious to be appreciated so much…but how was she possibly going to make it through to morning in one piece?


"Rafe," she whispered, and would have begged him to go faster if he hadn’t responded by smiling against her stomach.


"I made a promise to you last night that the next time we did this, I’d go so slow that you’d be begging me," he murmured against her skin, his warm breath sending as many shivers through her as his words did. He lifted his dark gaze to hers. "I never break my promises."


A moment later he slid cotton up over silk so that he could press hot kisses to the undersides of her breasts through her bra. His shoulders were strong and corded with taut tendons as she gripped him. Soon he was going to be moving up another couple of inches and his mouth would find—


Oh, God.


The whispered prayer left her lips as Rafe’s lips closed over her nipple, the silk instantly wet beneath the sweet stroke of his tongue over her tightly aroused flesh. Her heartbeat raced fast and hard as he kissed his way across silk and then the bare skin between her breasts and then more silk to find her other nipple with his lips and tongue.


"So sweet, even through silk." He pressed a kiss to the center of her throat right before he shifted back enough to draw her tank top all the way over her head.


Brooke had lingerie that was far more revealing than this bra in light blue silk. But the way Rafe was looking at her as she stood in front of him in her simple bra and shorts made her feel as though she was wearing the sexiest undergarments ever made. And when he reached out to run the tips of two fingers across the upper curves of her breasts where her flesh rose up from the silk, she wasn’t the only one shaking with need.


Badly wanting to touch him the way he was touching her, she reached for his shirt. His hands caught hers before she could lift the cotton up more than an inch.


"You’re not naked yet." His eyes ran, heated, hungry, over her partially exposed breasts and waist. "Not even close."


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