“Of course.” She sounded more confident than she looked.

“Good.” He leaned in and gave her a light, nipping kiss.

She lifted her mouth, her tongue slicking against his, and he lost himself in the taste of her. Violet was delicious. Everything about her—the soft feel of her lips, the tease of her tongue against his, her hot, wet mouth—everything was perfection. Jonathan groaned against her, then took control of the kiss, slicking his tongue against hers and intensifying the kiss until it felt as if they were devouring each other. Violet gave little whimpers underneath him, whimpers of pleasure and need, and they made his c**k ache. He longed to press it against her, but with her tied up and laid flat, maneuvering was limited. Still, this gave him the opportunity to crawl all over her and do as he pleased, and he certainly would.

Reluctantly, he ended the kiss, then couldn’t resist biting down on her lower lip and sucking on it even as he pulled back.

She gasped, her eyes sleepy with desire as she gazed up at him. “Oh, man, you’re a good kisser. I’d forgotten how good up until a few weeks ago.”

“And then I was so good that you kneed me in the balls?” He kissed along her jaw, reminding her of their first meeting.

She gave a girlish giggle that delighted him. “It’s your own fault. You don’t just maul a woman you haven’t seen in ten years.”

“Not even if she’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen and I’ve fantasized about her for a decade?”

Violet moaned as he bit down on her earlobe. “Not even then.”

“Now that’s unfair,” he told her, licking down her throat. Her br**sts brushed up against his chest, and he could feel how hard her ni**les were even through the fabric of her bra. That would be coming off very soon. He wanted to feel her bare skin against his chest.

“Jonathan?” she asked, breathless.

He continued to kiss down her throat. “Hmm?”

“You haven’t asked me if I had anyone else in the last ten years.” Tension vibrated through her body.

He hadn’t, because the thought drove him insane. “Do you have anyone else you’re seeing?”

“No! Of course not!”

“Then no one else matters, because from this moment on, you’re fully mine. Body and soul.” He pressed his mouth to her throat and sucked. He wanted to mark her, brand her as his, though he knew that was crazy. His intense love for Violet drove him to madness though. She’d been his first and only love, and having her back in his arms was a dream made reality.

“Oh, Jonathan,” she sighed, arching her throat so he could continue to kiss and suck on it. “Sometimes you know just the right thing to say to make a girl’s knees weak.”

“I’m not saying it just for a reaction, Violet. It’s how I feel. It’s how I’ve always felt. You are, and have always been, mine. You have always owned all of my heart. I’ve never stopped loving you.”

She bit her lip and then gave him a teasing smile. “You’ve never stopped talking, either. I thought we were going to make love?” She gave a little shake of the bonds over her head.

Was he making her uncomfortable with his vows of love? He’d silence them, then. Anything for her. He just wanted her to know how he felt. “I didn’t realize you were so eager,” he murmured, lifting his head and dragging one hand over her breast and cupping it. Her nipple was pointed through the lacy fabric of her bra.

“Of course I’m eager,” she said, her words sweetly sarcastic. “I’ve been throwing myself at you all day.”

“Is that what the bikini was for? It covered less than this.” His finger slid under the edge of one of her bra cups, teasing the skin underneath. “I liked it.”

“That was the point,” she said, her voice a little more breathless at his touch.

“To entice me? Minx.” He kissed the delicate skin at her collarbone. “I am flattered. And, I’ll have to make sure you’re amply compensated for your efforts.”

His hand slid under her back, and she arched, allowing him easier access to the clasp behind her. She was breathing rapidly, excitement coloring her skin a pretty, flushed pink. He undid her bra with one hand and began to push it out of the way.

“You did that rather easily,” she murmured. “Lots of practice?”

“If you’re fishing for answers, the one you seek is ‘professionals.’ No relationships. Just lots and lots of working girls.”

“I . . .” She shook her head. “I can’t decide if I’m appalled or amused. I thought you were a playboy.”

“Only for show.” He’d taken the odd girl with him to high-profile events when a date was required, but usually a friend of a colleague, and never the same girl twice.

“I’m just surprised. Professionals? Really?”

“They’re easier than a relationship,” he explained, sliding her bra up around her collarbones so he could admire her newly-exposed br**sts. God, they were glorious. All soft and cream and pink. “They require nothing more than a condom and money. If I had an itch that needed scratching, I’d call up a service that had clean, vetted girls and get it taken care of.”

“You make sex sound like a business transaction.”

“That’s all it was,” he said bluntly. “There was no emotion involved.”

“And . . . with me?” There was a soft catch in her voice.

He leaned down and licked the slope of one breast, nearly groaning at the delicious taste of her skin. “With you, I’m making love. There is no comparison.”

“Is it . . . weird that I’m glad? That there’s no one else?”

Only if it was weird that he was glad of it, too, if only so he could be free for her here, now. “I never pursued anyone else. It wasn’t fair to them if my heart was still yours.”

“God,” she murmured, and her body clenched underneath his. “Are you trying to seduce me with words alone?”

“No, I plan on using my tongue quite a bit.” And to prove it, he took one lovely nipple into his mouth.

She moaned, arching against him, her arms pulling against the bonds over her head. The little tip was tight with need, and he swirled his tongue over it, teasing her. He knew the touches she liked the best—rough, quick licks on the underside of her nipple—but he wanted to draw out the pleasure. He wanted her entire body to quiver and ache.

His mouth worked on the one nipple while he shifted his weight, easing his body over hers. He wanted to press the entire length of his skin against hers, to rub his c**k against her sex and feel her rock against it. All in time, he told himself. He needed to pace himself. The most important thing was blowing Violet’s mind. That was his goal.

He wanted to palm her other breast and work it even as his mouth worked the first, but he needed the hand to prop himself up on the bed. For a moment, he cursed his “great” idea of tying her hands up. He wanted nothing more than for Violet to touch him, to show that she wanted him as much as he wanted her. Christ, he was dying for her touch on his skin.

As she wiggled underneath him and moaned, again he regretted his idea. He wanted Violet wild and writhing in his arms, fully participating. She was helpless while tied down to the bed—

Then an idea hit.

He pulled his mouth from her nipple, pleased with her murmur of protest. “Tell me what you want me to do to you, Violet.”

Her gaze was unfocused, passion-glazed. “W-what . . . ?”

He leaned down and kissed her breast. “Do you like my mouth here?”

“Yes,” she breathed.

“Then tell me where you want it next.”

She stared at him for a long moment, as if incredulous that he was going to make her take the driver’s seat. Then, she flung her head back and groaned. “Can’t you just . . . wing it? You’re doing great so far.”

“I want you to lead me,” he told her. “This is about your pleasure. You tell me where you want it, and I’ll put my mouth there.”

She sucked in a breath at that, but was silent.

Was Violet . . . shy about asking for what she wanted in bed? He tried to remember, but his memories were of equal partners, of greedy hands and passionate kisses stolen after long days at the dig. But now, Violet had gone silent.

He rested his chin on her soft, lovely skin and waited.

She shifted. “You . . . you’re really going to make me say it?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Because I’m not as thin or as pretty as I was when I was younger. I’m not . . . exciting.” She bit her lip. “I grew up and got boring and dowdy.”

Was she insane?

“And I was fine with that until I saw you and you turned all breathtakingly gorgeous, and now I feel like . . . well.” She sighed. “I feel like I’m not holding up my end.”

“You’re mad,” he said, leaning down and licking one pert nipple. “I see no flaws when I look at you. Nothing but lush skin and delicious curves just begging to be tasted.”

“That’s kind of you,” she said with a small, nervous smile.

“I’m not being kind, Violet.” He tongued her nipple again. “Being kind would have nothing to do with taking you into my bed. I desire you. I want you more fiercely now than I did in the past. My c**k aches to be buried deep inside you once again. And I want you. The you with the short hair and the mistrust in your eyes, because that’s the woman I loved once and still love. The things I loved about you—your sharp wit, your sharper tongue, your smile—none of those have changed. You’re still the same woman I fell in love with ten years ago, and the same woman I fell in love with all over again yesterday and the day before.”

She seemed to tremble underneath him. “Why is it that the poetry sounds sweet, but your words sound even sweeter?”

“Because you know they come from my soul,” he told her, and kissed between her br**sts. “And you know I want to pleasure you more than anything else in the world. You know that, right?”

He felt her tremble again, and when she was silent, he looked up.

She gave a jerky nod.

“Then . . . tell me what you want.”


Oh, sure. He made it sound so easy. Tell me what you want me to do to you, Violet. Great words in theory, but now that she was in bed with Jonathan, naked, and he was all glorious and tanned and she was not? It wasn’t quite so easy to spit out things like I want your face between my thighs or I want your c**k deep inside me.

All Violet could see were her pasty-pale thighs against his sun-browned skin, her soft curves against his hard muscles. One of them had been working out in the last ten years and it wasn’t her.

She had no idea why she was so fidgety. He’d seduced her on the plane and she’d been a little anxious, but not wildly nervous like this. He’d gone down on her and had made her feel beautiful. So why was she trembling like a schoolgirl at the thought of demanding that he do the same now?

Because the stakes were different.

Because now her heart was fully committed, and she didn’t want him to be disappointed in her. Because for the last week, she’d been wondering if he’d been repulsed by touching her, and it had made her question her own desirability.

Violet didn’t think she was disgusting, of course. She was just shorter and a little curvier than most. The problem was that she wasn’t the same long-haired wild child she’d been when he’d known her.

She didn’t want him to be disappointed, because she wasn’t disappointed in him at all. If anything, she loved the changes in his body.

So she licked her lips and tried to push her nervousness away. He was gazing up at her with those intense eyes, that full-on stare that told her she was the center of his universe, and nothing else mattered. It was hard to speak up under that intense scrutiny. To say lewd, dirty things about what she wanted.