The Pretend Fiancé - Page 33

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A large cashmere blanket was unfolded and spread on the ground. She opened the picnic hamper and unwrapped real china plates and silverware. A parcel of shrimp sat in a small bucket of ice, and she arrayed them on a plate, spooning sauces into the tiny dipping bowls provided. Grilled vegetables filled another plate, and she spread some little toasts with a salty tapenade. They drank fresh lemonade from a glass bottle they passed back and forth and exclaimed over how delicious their luncheon was.

Stretched out on the blanket side by side, they looked up at the white clouds skating across the bright sky. Harvey rose up on his elbow and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. He grinned and started singing, “You’ve got eyes of the bluest kind…” and she giggled. “What, you’ve never been serenaded on a date?” he asked.

“No, I never even imagined it. And if I had, I doubt I would have picked Metallica.”

“Guns n Roses. Sacrilege, not knowing the band who sang that.”

“That was before I was born!”

“Still, a classic is a classic,” he maintained, and she kissed him.

“How long before they come in the Jeep to pick us up?” she inquired.

“Half an hour, why?”

“Make love to me in the gondola?” she said, turning pink with shyness as she suggested it.

“You don’t have to ask me twice.”

“So your attraction to me can survive my inability to remember what Guns n Roses sang?”

“I’ll try to power through in spite of your incomplete education,” he said saucily and kissed her, his hand on the back of her neck, his tongue already plunging into her mouth.

They staggered to the basket, never letting go of each other. The path from the picnic blanket to the balloon gondola was littered with articles of clothing they shed along the way. His vest, her jacket, their shoes kicked off in haste, his belt and shirt; her jeans all marked the trail to their rendezvous.

Peeling off the last of their clothes as they mounted the gondola, Harvey and Bella touched and kissed each other, sheltered from the wind by the high sides of the basket. Stripping off completely naked, they struggled to find a comfortable position in the small gondola, which was crowded by the three propane tanks inside. Finally, Harvey took charge and told Bella to lie on her back.

He lifted her legs over his shoulders and knelt between her hips. The flush of desire already rose up her chest as he pressed her legs toward her shoulders to take her nipple in his mouth and lavished it with his hot tongue. Then, as she tried to catch her breath, her fingers fisting the canvas beneath her, he pushed his whole length inside of her at once, making a high shriek escape her lips. She clapped one hand over her mouth, embarrassed that she’d cried out so obviously, but he removed her hand and whispered, “No, I want to hear you. It’s only us out here, honey.”

Then he draped her leg over his broad shoulder and began to thrust into her soft, eager body. She squeezed her eyes shut, wanting to memorize the sensation of him all around her, the backs of her thighs against his chest, his powerful erection pounding into her, the slickness and the heat and the sweet scent of their arousal filling the gondola.

She opened her eyes, looked at the clear sky above them and at his face, in the intensity of his eyes as he made love to her in this unlikely place just because she’d asked it of him. It was all she could do to keep the declaration from her lips as he coaxed a long keening wail from her with her shattering climax.

Her legs jerked, and her head tossed back and forth as she lost all control with his fingers pressing and rubbing between her legs as he took her. She lay limp and helpless as he finished inside her and she relished it. She loved every second of living inside the body that made Harvey Carlson come so hard he said her name between gritted teeth.

She had given a small moan of pleasure at the sound of her name on his lips. Then he lowered her legs, slid out of her and pulled her to his knees so he could kiss her thoroughly. She draped her arms loosely, sleepily around his neck and let her head fall back across his arm as he kissed her. She was full and sated and weary. She wished idly that they had brought the picnic blanket to cover up with because a post-coital nap would be divine.

Then she heard the honk of a car horn. Her sleepy eyes grew wide instantly. The Jeep was here to retrieve them. They were naked with their clothes scattered on the ground. Mortified, she cowered down in the basket, unsure what to do.

“Guys, could you toss us our clothes?” Harvey shouted gamely, and the men laughed and tossed articles of clothing into the basket. The first to land was his shirt, and he gave it to Bella without a word. She wrapped herself in it thankfully. She wouldn’t be discovered naked by balloon company employees at least. One by one, their outfits were reassembled, and they stepped out of the gondola, him grinning and her shamefaced.

He kissed the top of her head. “Relax, honey, you weren’t just caught by the high school principal. We weren’t doing anything wrong.”

They rode back to the launch site in the Jeep and then switched to her Corvette. She drove him through a fast food joint and made him try his first chicken nugget. He was laughing about how disgusting it was when they swung into the horseshoe drive of his compound, and he said, “Shit.”

“What? Did you drop a fry in my car? Because this thing has t

o stay immaculate,” she said in a joking manner.

“My brother,” he said in a deathly hush.

“You have a brother?”

“I have a twin.”

“Why did that not show up on Google? And, for that matter, why didn’t you tell me?”

“I was hoping he’d stay under his rock and not crawl out into the sun. He’s a very—negative individual, Bella. I wouldn’t necessarily call him sociopathic, but I wouldn’t say he isn’t either.” Harvey rubbed a hand over his face in frustration. “Is there the slightest chance you’d go stay at a hotel until he leaves?”

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