“No, the truth is I didn’t, and for that I’m sorry. Look, Lia, I was wrong, but I’m used to going after what I want, and I wanted you.” He shook his head. “Besides, I honestly presumed it was common knowledge. You forget I was brought up in an environment where a criminal record was the norm, almost something to be proud of. I believed it was the same for you.”

“You never knew my mother,” she said bitterly. She sighed. “Let’s forget it. I’m here, and it’s beautiful. Let’s just forget what happened. But don’t do it again.”

He picked up her hand from where it lay on the sand. Raising it to his lips, he kissed the center of her palm. Her skin tingled where he touched it, and her blood started a slow, steady thump in her veins. She curled her fingers around the kiss as though she could hold it forever.

“Do you want to make love, Lia?”

His voice was low and dark and made her ears tingle. “What?” She was finding it hard to make sense of his words.

He raised her hand again and dropped light kisses on the sensitive skin of her wrist. Shivers of sensation ran through her.

“This time, I want your full agreement. I won’t be accused of seduction,” he said against her arm.

Oh God, the feel of his lips against her skin was amazing. Heat trickled through her body to pool in a warm, wet puddle at the base of her belly. She shook her head slightly, trying to get her brain to function through the waves of heated desire. “Too late,” she said, “I’m already seduced.”

“You’re sure you want this?”

She wanted to scream at him. Wasn’t it obvious she wanted it? She satisfied herself with a glare and an abrupt nod, and he laughed softly.

He stood up and reached out a hand. “Come on then.”


She stared up at him, looming above her. His shirt hung open, and the trousers hung low on his hips, baring his lean, flat belly, and below she could see his erection pushing at the material. Her mouth went dry, and she licked her lips. Taking his hand, she allowed him to pull her to her feet.

“Can’t we stay here?” she asked. “It’s so beautiful.”

He smiled. “Have you ever made love in the sand?”

She shook her head. “Have you? Forget I asked that, it’s none of my business who you bring here.”

“I’ve never brought a woman here before,” he said. “I told you I come here to be alone.”

Relief washed over her, and she reached out with an unsteady hand. The skin of his chest was like warm silk beneath her fingertips, and she trailed them down over the ridges of his ribs, flattened her hand over his taut stomach. At his sharp intake of breath, she gripped the material of his shirt and tugged him toward her. “Make love to me, Luc.”

He framed her face between his large hands, his thumbs stroking over her cheeks, then smoothing over her lower lip, dipping inside when her mouth opened slightly. She flicked her tongue against him, tasting him. His hands shifted to the back of her neck, burrowing in the long tangle of hair. He tilted her head and kissed her, his mouth warm and firm against hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth, stroking against hers, against her teeth, the sensitive roof of her mouth, until she whimpered in need.

He abandoned her lips to trail light kisses across her cheek, then nipped at her earlobe, breathed warm breath into her ear, and she groaned again. Panic stirred inside her, until he smiled down into her eyes. He plucked open the buttons that ran down the front of the sundress, slowly baring her skin.

Lia swayed toward him as the dress slipped down to her waist and the warm breeze played gently over her bare skin, teasing her taut nipples. Luc’s hands cupped her small breasts, and for a moment, Lia stopped breathing. The rough pads of his thumb stroked over the sensitive peaks, stirring them to immediate life, and her eyes fluttered closed. She stood perfectly still, savoring the sensations quivering through her body. He pinched one nipple between his thumb and finger, and the shock ran through her body like a jolt of electricity.

When she forced her eyes open, he was staring down at her, a small smile on his face. She frowned; she wanted him as affected as she was. Her hands were still gripping his shirt as though it could save her from falling. She released her hold and pressed both palms flat against his stomach. It was hard, the skin hot and lightly furred with silky dark hair that formed a line leading down below the drawstring of the trousers. She rubbed her palms lightly against it, and his hands at her breasts went still. She didn’t quite have the courage to follow that trail. Instead, she slid her hands around his waist, then beneath the material and over his hard buttocks where the skin was satin smooth over rigid muscles. His palms glided down from her breasts, skimmed over her rib cage and around her back. He pulled her against him so the hard length of his entire body pressed against her.

He took a step back so he could tug at her dress, and it pooled at her ankles. She stepped out of it on trembling legs and stood before him, naked except for a white lace thong. As she watched, he shrugged out of his linen shirt and sank to his knees in front of her. He kissed the tip of one breast, licking at the stiffening point before moving lower to press his open mouth to the flat plain of her belly. Lia closed her eyes as she allowed the sensations to wash over her. He kissed the lace at the base of her belly, and the air was sucked out of her lungs. She gasped. He glanced up at the sound, his face fierce and intent, then he clasped a hand on her hips and slowly dragged the thong down over her long legs. He pulled her toward him, blew gently against the golden curls.

“You are so incredibly beautiful,” he said.

He kissed her there again, this time against her naked flesh, his tongue snaking out to lick between her thighs, and her knees gave out. Luc caught her as she fell, held her for a moment, carried them both backward so Lia sprawled full-length on top of him. He ran his hands down her back, over the swell of her buttocks, and Lia writhed against him.

His hands moved between them, loosening his pants, his muscles bunching as he raised himself up slightly in order to kick them off. Underneath, he was naked, huge, and hard.

Curling his hands around the back of her thighs, he shifted her on him so she straddled his hips, pulling her down. Lia lowered her face to him so he could kiss her with hard, urgent kisses as his hand moved between them to stroke her belly, between her thighs. One finger pushed easily inside her, and she gasped at the exquisite sensation. He shifted again, this time lifting her slightly, and she felt him there, poised at the heart of her. With one thrust, he was inside, filling her, possessing her.

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