Dana didn’t know what to say. To say that she had never been to Jared’s house would definitely seem odd. She opened her mouth to make something up when suddenly Jared materialized by her side. He leaned over and kissed whatever lie she was about to fabricate off her lips.
“Come dance with me, sweetheart.” He glanced over at his mother and his female cousins. “Excuse us for a moment,” he said before leading Dana off to the makeshift dance floor.
Taking her into his arms he looked down at her. Holding her close, he liked the feel of her breasts against his chest and the perfect fit of her body against his. “Was my rescue quick enough?” he asked, smiling and searching her face. He wished they were alone so he could end the torture and kiss her the way he’d thought of doing all evening. “I was on my way over to get you when I heard Jayla’s question about my theater room.”
Dana tilted her face up, and chuckled quietly. “Yes, you were quick enough. It would have seemed awfully odd for me not to know about your house. Is there something I should know about this room so when the next person asks I can be prepared?”
Jared lightly skimmed his fingers down her bare arm. He felt her shiver and liked the fact that he had caused it. But then, she was causing things to happen to him as well—like the unbearable ache that was building in his groin. He wanted her, and with their bodies so close, there was no way she wasn’t aware of his aroused state. “I like watching old movies and I’ve installed a state-of-the-art home theater system, the latest in plasma technology. The sound system is three times clearer than in a movie theater.” In truth, he didn’t want to talk about his theater room. What he really wanted to do was nudge Dana’s body even closer to his, latch on to her mouth, ignore everyone around them as he kissed her crazy.
Dana smiled up at him. “Umm, I’m impressed.”
It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her that besides being impressed she was also hot. Her heat was burning him, further arousing him and making him want her even more. He had to give her a lot of credit. She knew how to make a statement in anything and everything she put on her body. Tonight she was wearing a V-neck green dress that stopped just above her knees. The way the dress hugged her curves showed just what a small waist and well-toned bottom she had. Her outfit had been murdering his senses ever since he had picked her up and was still killing them. He stifled a groan. Dana Rollins was subtle, but provocatively sexy.
“I think it’s time you visited my home so you won’t be left in the lurch again. I’d love to fix dinner for you at my place,” he said, leaning down and caressing her lips with his. He looked for any reason to kiss her and didn’t mind performing for an audience. At least that’s what he tried to convince himself. But he knew he wasn’t performing, liking the feel of her mouth against his. He couldn’t wait to get her alone.
She gave a soft laugh as she gazed up at him. “Can you cook?”
He grinned. He was on a low simmer even now. “Yes. So what about this weekend?”
Her smile faltered. “I’ll be going away this weekend, to Brunswick. Saturday is my mother’s birthday and I want to put flowers on her grave.”
His gaze focused on her eyes and he saw that the sparkle had gone. He had also heard the sadness in her voice and knew going back to where her parents were buried would be hard on her. “My thoughts will be with you this weekend,” he said softly. He pulled her close against him. Moments later he asked, “What about dinner at my place the week after you return?”
She looked up at him and smiled. Knowing he would be thinking of her this weekend touched her. “I’d love to,” she said just as the music ended.
It was close to one in the morning when Jared returned Dana to her home. Although it was late she invited him in for coffee and, not surprisingly, he accepted. They had shared several slow dances, and each time she had been fully aware of his aroused state, and just as certain he had been aware of hers. At one point, he had guided her to a darkened area of the yard and had been seconds away from kissing her when Durango had cut in. She had seen the murderous look in Jared’s eyes, but his brother had merely laughed it off. But now she was home, he was here with her and they were alone.
As soon as the door closed behind him, he pulled her into his arms and she went willingly, wanting his kiss as much as he wanted to give it. The mating of their mouths seemed endless, his tongue was torture of the most brazen kind.
Lust ignited within Jared with the way Dana’s body seemed to dissolve into his, and at that moment he had to touch her, taste her, further stroke the heat building between them. He stroked his palms over her shoulders and upper arms, hearing the sound of her whimpering and moaning in his mouth. He continued to kiss her hungrily, greedily, needing her taste as much as he needed his next breath. And she clung to him, kissing him in return, sending him more over the edge than he already was.
Moments later he pulled back before he was tempted to sweep Dana into his arms, take her into the bedroom and make love to her all night long.
He met her gaze. Saw the heated look in her eyes and his entire body immediately reacted. Leaning forward he kissed the bare skin of her neck, liking the way it tasted, tempted to taste her all over. Beneath his tongue he felt her shiver, felt himself get harder and knew if he didn’t stop what he was doing, temptation would get the best of him.
But he didn’t want to stop. He wanted her with an intensity that almost took his breath away and had him working on minimum control and very little else.
With much effort he leaned away to look at her. He would give anything to take that dress off her body and get her naked. Then he would take his hands and cup her breasts and after driving her wild with his tongue on her nipples he would get on his knees and kiss a path all the way down her body until he reached—
Her soft whisper interrupted his thoughts. “Yes?” he responded, his voice husky, thick with sexual need.
“I think you should leave now.”
He took a deep breath, losing his calm as he’d lost his control. He knew that asking him to leave was her way of letting him know that she wasn’t ready for the bedroom yet, and if they continued at this pace he would definitely take her there. He heard her words but still a part of him—that part that wanted her, needed her—felt inclined to push.
“You want me, Dana. I can see it in your eyes. I can hear it in your breathing. I can taste it in your kiss. Why deny what you want?”
She placed her fingers to his lips. “Yes, I want you, but I can’t become involved in a meaningless affair, Jared. As soon as your mother is given a clean bill of health you’ll be ready to break this fake engagement and walk away. Do you deny that?”
She stared at him, waiting for an answer, and he gave her the only one that he could give. “No, I don’t deny it.”
“Then Counselor, not giving in to my desires is the right thing,” she said, taking a step back away from him.
He frowned. “I can’t give you more, Dana,” he said, annoyed with the circumstances surrounding them.
“And I haven’t asked you to give me more, Jared. But then you shouldn’t expect me to give you more than I can, either.”
Exasperated, he rubbed a hand down his face. “Why make things complicated?” he asked, clearly frustrated.
“That’s the last thing I want. In fact I’m trying not to complicate things. If I thought for one minute that I could handle an affair with you then we would be in my bedroom right now, getting it on. But I can’t,” she said feeling just as frustrated as she knew he was.
Jared sighed and reached out and pulled her tensed body into his arms. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push, especially when I said that I wouldn’t. But I want you in a way that I shouldn’t. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted a woman as much as I want you.”
Jared was consumed by a need to do nothing but hold her. He didn’t know how long he could hang on with their pretense but knew he had to see it through. Somehow he needed to build an immunity against the wants and desires that overtook him whenever he was within ten feet of her.
Moments later, he pulled back and looked at her. “I’ll be out of town this week and won’t be returning until late Friday night. When are you leaving town?”
“Early Saturday morning. It’s about a seven-hour drive because I like to take the scenic route and spend the night on one of the Sea Islands.”
He draped an arm casually around her shoulders. “Which one?”
“Jekyll Island. It’s beautiful and close to Brunswick. My parents used to take me camping there each year.”
“When will you be back?”
“Probably late Sunday evening.”
Jared nodded. If she was leaving early Saturday morning that meant he wouldn’t see her again until she returned. He leaned down and gently kissed her once more. And now since they were alone, he nudged her body closer, liking the feel of his palms on her backside. He felt the tips of her breasts harden against his chest and reacted by pressing his erection low against her belly. The sensations spreading through him were relentless and fierce, and he plunged his tongue even deeper into her mouth, tasting her, devouring her, driving them both crazy with desire. “Miss me while I’m gone,” he whispered, when he finally released her mouth. He knew he had to leave. If he stayed one minute longer, he wouldn’t be able to control his actions. “Goodnight, Dana.”