‘Weren’t you?’ Piers countered swiftly. ‘Come here and prove it to me, then, Georgia; come here and lie next to me, skin against skin, heartbeat against heartbeat, and tell me again that you don’t want me. That this...’ he paused as his fingertip delicately touched the place where the frantic betraying pulse thudded at the base of her throat ‘...doesn’t mean what we both know it does...’

Very deliberately he slipped the straps of her nightdress down off her shoulders so that it fell free of her immobile body, revealing the full curves of her breasts. Even more delicately he touched her nipples—so tautly erect and sensitive to him that Georgia shuddered visibly in reaction as he did so.

‘Oh, God, you don’t know what it does to me to see you reacting to me like that,’ she heard Piers telling her thickly. ‘You want me to touch you, Georgia...to hold you...taste you...’ His voice was so thickly muffled that Georgia could barely hear what he was saying—or was it because her own heart was beating so loudly and so fast that she wasn’t sure whether or not he had said that final, fatal ‘You want me to love you’ or not?

And anyway, what did it matter what he had said, or what he had guessed? What did anything matter now other than the aching need that filled her? A woman’s need, driven by a woman’s love; her body was so ready for him, so longing for him, so empty for him.

Proudly Georgia arched her back as his hands held and shaped her breasts, her eyes heavy-lidded with passion as she watched his head bend towards her body.

A tiny shocked gasp of pleasure quivered past her lips as he began to explore one taut nipple delicately with his mouth. The most exquisitely arousing sensation shot through her, quicksilver, mercurial rivulets of pleasure that had her writhing in sensual torment against him.

Just for one brief second reality slipped through the rainbow-coloured delight she was experiencing.

‘No!’ she protested muzzily as Piers pushed the bedclothes aside and slid her nightdress completely free of her body at the same time as he removed his own robe. The reality of him was so much more than she had imagined, so powerfully, awesomely male.

‘No,’ she whispered. ‘We shouldn’t...we mustn’t... Without love...’

‘You mustn’t be ashamed of wanting me,’ Piers whispered back. ‘Desire isn’t wrong, Georgia, it’s a normal, natural human need.’

Perhaps for him it was, Georgia recognised, but for her...


‘Love matters,’ she protested fiercely. ‘I should... I need—’

‘You need this; you need me...’ Piers interrupted her softly.

The touch of his hands against her skin was enticing her into a world she couldn’t bear to resist, luring her there with a hundred—no, a thousand sensual promises she knew he could fulfil. Just the sweep of his hand against her naked flesh as he caressed the length of her spine, just the warmth of his breath against her mouth as he lifted her to his own body and started to kiss her were enough to vanquish all the arguments her inner voice of caution could muster.

And instead of repudiating him she heard herself saying helplessly as he touched her, ‘Oh, yes...yes...’

And then she closed her eyes and let him lead her into such an unfamiliar country that to name it merely ‘pleasure’ was like calling the sun ‘warm’.

‘Hasn’t anyone ever done this for you before?’ Piers asked her tenderly at one moment when she was so unable to conceal from him what she was feeling that her eyes actually started to fill with tears, so unbearably intense was her pleasure.

‘Wait until I love you there with my mouth,’ he whispered slowly to her, watching as the expressions chased one another across her face, wondering if she had any idea how close she brought him to the edge of completion just by the way she was reacting to his words and his touch.

He wanted her more than he had the words to tell her, but out of love for her he wanted to prolong every precious second of this special time with her, not to enhance his own pleasure but to give him enough memories of her to last him through all the long, dark times when she wasn’t going to be there.

Her honesty when she had as good as told him that she couldn’t love him and when she had struggled to admit her physical need for him had brought him the closest he had ever come to tears in all his adult life. Without her love this act of intimacy between them should have been shallow and meaningless, but with every breath she took, every look she gave him, every small shudder and sigh what she was doing was deepening his love and his longing for her. She was so natural, so giving, so loving even without loving him, that his self-control reached the point of no return sooner than he would have wished.

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