I opened the door and drank in the sight of him against a backdrop of white snow and black sky. He had snowflakes in his hair.
“Hi,” I said, my insides tight with excitement.
“Are you the burglar?”
His lips tipped up on one side. “No.”
“Are you the big bad wolf?”
The grin deepened. “Yes.”
Snow below into my kitchen on an icy gust of wind. “Rough night to be out hunting, Mr. Wolf.”
“I can’t stop thinking about you.” He rushed toward me, pushing me inside and closing the door behind him with his heel. Taking my head in his hands, he kissed me, his warm mouth slanting over mine as he backed me into the kitchen. Tentatively, I put my hands on his damp wool coat, his kiss drawing me in. He looped his arms around my back, lifting me right off my feet.
My God, what was this? What was he doing to me? Had he changed his mind about being just friends or was this just another anomaly we’d dismiss later tonight as Lonely Holiday Sex? Between all those questions, three words beat a sweet little rhythm through my head—our first kiss, our first kiss, our first kiss.
Charlie’s tongue stroked mine, and I wrapped my legs around his waist, linking my ankles behind him. Hitching me higher on his body, he set me up on the island and shed his coat and sweater, dropping them to the floor. I wrested my cardigan from my arms and had my fingers at the bottom of my blouse, ready to whip it over my head, when common sense kicked in.
“Wait a minute.” I shoved Charlie in the chest, and even though it was like a ladybug trying to budge a giant sequoia, he was gentlemanly enough to take a step back. “No.”
His eyebrows raised. “No?”
I hopped off the island. “No. You said last night we were just going to be friends.” I struggled to breathe—it was like he’d knocked the wind out of me.
“We are friends.”
“Then what is this?” I gestured to the clothing on my kitchen floor.
“You don’t want this?”
“I didn’t say that.”
A pause. And since he wasn’t that much of a gentleman, I knew what I had to do.
I took off running.
He chased me through the dining room and front room to the bottom of the stairs, where he finally snared me with an arm around my waist. I did my best to try to scramble up the steps, but it was like spinning tires in the snow. Charlie easily overpowered me, subduing me with his strength, his will, his size. He spun me around to face him and set me down on the steps, looming over me, one hand braced on a step above my head. I’d left one little light on in the front hall, a wall sconce that burned low, leaving half his face in shadow.
I glared up at him, breathing hard. Then I grabbed his head and pulled his lips to mine, thrusting my tongue into his mouth. My heart thumped with alternating beats of anger and arousal. How dare he show up like this? How dare he tell me he couldn’t stop thinking about me? How dare he chase me and throw me down like I was his plaything?
Confession: I loved it. Loved the antagonism between us, the hunt, the capture, the game. Loved that the spark between us hadn’t died. In a twisted way, I even loved the contention in my own head, my conscience arguing with my id.
This is wrong.
Please. Can you not?
You need to stop.
No fucking way. This is happening.
Tell him to leave.
I can’t talk right now.
Tell him you don’t want this. You’re not like this.
But I do. I am.
He’s using you.
Fuck off. We’re using each other.
This isn’t one of your fantasies, Erin. It’s real.
That’s why it’s so good.
But someone will get hurt. It’s inevitable.
I let go of his head and opened my mouth, words of defiance on my tongue. He placed a hand on my breast, squeezing it hard, claiming it, daring me to refuse him. It felt so good, I hesitated. Closed my eyes. Arched my back.
He put his finger over my lips, and I understood without being told, without even looking at him, what he was saying. Don’t speak. Just let me.
Oh God, I wanted to let him. I wanted to let myself. There were so many reasons to put a stop to this, and only one reason to keep going.
But it was a really, really good reason.
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