Salim couldn’t recall when he’d felt angrier—people had thrown all sorts of insults at him for years. Women who’d expected more than he’d been prepared to give. Business adversaries he’d bested. His brother. His parents. But for some reason this buttoned-up slender woman with her cool judgmental attitude was getting to him like no one else ever had.
The urge to kiss her had been born out of that anger and a need to stop her words, but also because he’d felt a hot throb of desire that had eluded him for so long he’d almost forgotten what it felt like.
Her mouth was soft and pliant under his, but on some dim level not clouded red with lust and anger he knew it was shock—and, sure enough, after a couple of seconds he felt her tense and her mouth tighten against his.
He knew he should draw back.
If he was another man he might try to convince himself he’d only intended the kiss to be a display of power, but Salim had never drawn back from admitting his full failings. And he couldn’t pull back—not if a thousand horses were tied to his body. Because he wanted her.
He’d never tasted anything as sweet or felt anything as soft and enticing as her slender form. As if his harder edges had finally found their perfect match in spite of her tension.
Salim took his hands off her arms and wrapped them around her back, pulling her closer. He moved his mouth on hers without releasing her, coaxing a response. The proximity of their bodies would leave her in no doubt as to how he felt. His rock-hard erection was pressed against her soft belly and he could feel the thrust of her breasts against his chest.
He brought up a hand and cupped her jaw, a
ngling her face up to his, and nipped gently at her lower lip. It felt soft, cushiony and yet firm. That message went straight to his erection, making it even harder.
Time was suspended for a long moment. This was a novelty for Salim, who found his lovers were usually so eager that they had laid themselves bare for his delectation before he’d even tried to take their clothes off.
Charlotte quivered like a bow in his arms, taut and delicate, and yet with a steely strength that made his blood roar. Salim used every skill in his arsenal to seduce her. He caressed the line of her jaw and cupped the back of her head, fingers tangling in her silky hair, making it come loose from its tidy bun.
He soothed her lip where he’d just nipped her and then he felt it...like a sigh moving through her body. The tension melted and her mouth softened under his.
The sense of triumph Salim felt might have shocked him if he’d been able to analyse it. But he was too busy capitalising on this moment, and on the tiny sliver of opportunity that came when her mouth opened minutely and Salim could coax it open further so that he could taste her sweetness fully.
When his tongue touched hers an electric current shot through his blood. His arm tightened around her even more, so that she was on tiptoe, the full length of her body flush against his, thigh to thigh, chest to chest. Breathing quickened as their fused mouths tasted and drank from each other. Charlotte’s arms crept up around Salim’s neck and she mimicked his moves.
He had an impression of shyness, and it was mind-bendingly erotic when he was used to women who thought being aggressive equated to being sexy.
Fuelled by a rising fever, Salim moved his hand down between their bodies and cupped Charlotte’s breast through the slippery material of her silk shirt. It was fuller than he’d imagined, and that sent another electric frisson straight to his groin. She gasped into his mouth and went still. He could feel the bud of her hard nipple and pinched it lightly between his fingers, drawing back for a moment, finally taking his mouth from hers.
He felt drunk. Dizzy. Her lashes were long and dark against her flushed cheeks and she was biting her lips. They were moist and swollen.
‘Look at me, Charlotte.’
Her name rolled off his tongue as if he’d been saying it all his life. He could recognise now that he’d been using Miss McQuillan to keep her at a distance. There would be no more distance, he vowed now.
It seemed to take an age for her to open her eyes, and when she did they were dark green, like Scottish moss after a rain shower. She looked as dazed as he felt.
Without taking his gaze off hers he let his fingers find the buttons on her shirt and he started to undo them, slipping them through the holes with gratifying ease, the silky material providing no resistance.
When her shirt was open to just below her breasts Salim looked down, and the breath hissed through his teeth at the provocative sight of the voluptuous bounty. Pale swells rising from dark grey lace.
He moved her shirt aside and, feeling rough and uncouth, tugged one lace cup down. Her breast popped free, revealing the sharp point of a pink nipple.
Salim’s mouth watered. He’d never felt so turned on after little more than heavy petting. He cupped her breast and flicked his thumb back and forth across her nipple, seeing how it tightened even more, the aureole beading around it.
He looked at her. ‘You like that?’
Charlotte’s hands were gripping his arms and the need on her face was stark enough to render words superfluous. She looked stunned.
‘I’ve wanted to see you like this,’ he heard himself say hoarsely, ‘undone...since the moment I walked into my office and found you waiting like a stern headmistress. All buttoned up and disapproving.’
Unable to resist tasting her again, he closed his hand around her breast. Her nipple stabbed his palm and he claimed her mouth again...greedy, desperate...and she opened up under him like a flower, arching her body into his and pushing her breast deeper into his palm.
Salim was oblivious to everything but the raging need in his body to embed himself deep in her silky heat until finally, finally, he might feel a sense of peace that had eluded him for as long as he could remember.
Charlotte had had the briefest moment of sanity when she’d tried her best to resist Salim after he’d started kissing her, but her resistance and that moment of sanity had been pathetically weak and illusory.