Claim: A Dangerous Man #3
I forget everything but her warmth, her sweetness, and how easy it would be to let everything go, and allow myself to sink into her, body and soul, completely, forever.
Who is David Preston? The mysterious and sexy businessman claimed Sophie Bennett’s heart and then broke it. But is that all there is to him?
David Preston likes to be in control, after being neglected as a child, he has his life exactly where he wants. No relationships, no commitments, just sex, no strings attached. Then a chance encounter with a girl in a gift shop changes everything.
“You didn’t tell me you were leaving,” she says in a small voice. The thought that she doesn’t want me to go is selfishly elating. I lean back on my chair and watch her face.
“I was leaving this afternoon,” I say with a small shrug, “and yet when I saw you, I stopped to ask you to dinner.”
A blush steals into her cheeks. “Oh.”
I smile ruefully. “But then I left anyway.”
“I don’t understand.” She says, puzzlement creeping into her face, “You’re here.”
But I shouldn’t be, if I had any sense I would be far away from her. I suppress the voice of reason. “I was going to call the shop and apologize to you, but I came back, and now here I am, back in Ashford, on a date with an eighteen-year-old.”
For a moment, she looks incredibly sad. “I’m glad you changed your mind,” she says finally, her voice intense.
The passion in her response surprises me. God, I want her. The desire I felt earlier has turned into an acute craving, I want to take her away from this godforsaken town and put a mark on her that’ll make her unquestionably mine, but I know that I’m not what she needs. I’m no romantic hero, and if she’s cast me in that role, I would only disappoint her expectations.
“Somebody should have warned you to stay away from men like me.” I’m warning her now.
Her eyes never leave my face. She studies me intently, as if weighing me for my faults and surprisingly finding none. “What kind of man are you?” she asks.
I don’t pause. “The type that’s bad for you.”
She ignores the warning in my voice. “I wouldn’t have listened.” She tells me, her eyes burning. I take a deep breath. Somehow, I know I’m already lost.
“I should take you home,” I say, signaling for the bill.
She keeps looking at me. I would give a lot to know what she’s thinking. “Let’s go.” I say, as soon as I’ve settled the bill. I help her out of her chair and lead her outside to the car. Silently, I open her door and then go over to my side.
“Will you come back here?” Her voice is barely higher than a murmur.
“I’m not sure.” The sooner this is over, and she is safely at home, away from me, the better for all concerned. I shrug. “You’ll be in Bellevue anyway.”
Her silence gets to me. Her face is turned away, looking towards her lap. Regret washes over me. I wish I were a different man. I wish a lot of things.
“Are you okay?” I ask, placing my hand under her chin as I turn her face towards me. Her eyes are covered with a sheen of tears, and her lips are trembling. Everything in me, everything in my life suddenly takes second place to the need to take away those tears. I don’t know what I’m doing. I just find myself leaning forward, and in the next moment, I’m kissing her.
Her skin smells delicious, and her lips are soft and warm, just like I knew they would be. I lose the ability to think, as I get lost in the taste and feel of her. She lets out a soft moan, opening her lips to me. I can’t help myself. I plunge into the warm sweetness of her mouth, letting my tongue explore her.
I undo her seatbelt, needing to feel her against me. When she’s free,I pull her towards me and feel the softness of her breasts against my chest. The ache in my groin intensifies, spreading all over my body, until I’m almost mad with the desire to touch every inch of her skin.
Still kissing her, I allow my fingers to explore the softness of her body, cupping a breast and finding a nipple through her dress. I rub it until it’s swollen, clearly outlined through the fabric.
“Oh,” her moan is one of surprise and arousal. I search her face, quelling the desire to take her lips again. The look in her eyes, the surprise in her reactions to my touch, tells me what I should have guessed.
She’s never done this before.
The realization wars with my blinding urge to lay claim to her. I’m still struggling with myself when she lifts her face and kisses me. Once again, I’m lost. I dive readily into the pleasure of her lips. My hands find the hair tie holding her ponytail in place, and I free her hair, watching the waves cascade over her shoulders.
“Sophie…” I breathe. I feel bewitched. I ought to let her go, to do the right thing, but my hands are itching to touch her, my body is aching for her. I feel like a caveman. I want to throw her over my shoulders, take her somewhere, and mark her as mine. “I wanted to do that since I saw you outside the shop this afternoon,” I say, striving for calm as I thread my fingers into her hair. I smile, “You don’t know what you’ve done to me.”
She takes a deep shuddering breath, but she doesn’t say anything.
I release her with a small sigh. I have never been so frustrated in my life. “I’d better take you home,” I say, even though it’s the last thing I want to do.
Her expression of disappointment is my only consolation. She wants me too. I touch her soft lips, tracing a finger over the curve, “Sweetheart, I want you so much.”
“I want you too.” She whispers, her eyes on my face.
Frustration is making me mad, I think, as I run a hand through my hair, laughing softly at myself. I have to warn her, I think desperately. I have to let her know exactly what she’s going into. Maybe if I did, she would reject me.
“I can’t make any promises, Sophie.” I say. “You don’t deserve someone who will forget about you the moment he’s out of town.”
Her eyes widen, threatening to drown me in their green depths. “Will you forget me so quickly?”
I look away. I should say yes, and then maybe she would walk away. “I don’t know.” I say instead, because deep down, I don’t want to go.
For a long time, she says nothing. In my mind, I imagine my lonely drive back to Seattle, a cold shower, a night spent working in my study. I can do that, I think, just send me on my way Sophie.
“What if I don’t care?” She asks softly, her words piercing my brain and making it incapable of rational thought. “What if I want you anyway?”