FORTY-FOUR

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Mark was not in a rush. There was a great deal of pleasure to be had from hearing the woman you want purring under your touch.

And he wasn't finished yet. Not by a long shot.

A frown creased her forehead. She was unbelievably lovely like that, lips parted, lids lowered, her chest rising and falling with heated intensity. Gone was all the uncertainty from her face, replaced by desire and, at the moment, a touch of annoyance.

"My turn," he whispered.

Concentrating on her neck, he worked his way down to her shoulder, kissing, licking, and nipping at her skin. She sighed and leaned into him, the crystal beading of the dress digging into his chest. Finding the zipper, he eased it downward while keeping up the teasing caresses. He stood tall once the slider dead-ended, his heart hammering in his chest when he slipped the material from her shoulders. With a slinky glide, the thing fell in a puddle around her feet.

In an instant she had reached up, unhooked the bra, and pulled it off. It dropped to the floor as she stepped out of the circle of clothing.

He sucked in a ragged breath. Holy hell. She was a stunning combination of long limbs, feminine curves, and toned muscle. Her breasts were full and round as he knew they would be. "Beautiful," he whispered as his eyes got their fill. Pert nipples hardened under his gaze, and his fingers throbbed with the urge to touch them. But he held back, wanting to fully appreciate the beauty in front of him.

"Something wrong?" she asked with ardent impatience.

"I want to memorize every inch."

"Maybe you should use your hands to do that."

Mark smiled and reached out, tracing the bottom curve of her breasts with the back of his fingers. She was perfect. Soft. Lush. Mouth-watering.

Drawing his hands up to brush over the hardened tips, she arched toward him greedily. That pretty much ruined all chances of taking it slow.

Grabbing her shoulders, he guided her backward into the refrigerator. As she came up against the cold surface, a shocked gasp blew through her lips, but he covered them with his own, stifling the complaint. Moving a hand down to her breast, he gave her what she wanted, enclosing it fully, fitting it to his palm as his thumb teased the crested tip. He felt it tighten further under the sweet torture and groaned his approval as his tongue swept her mouth.

When she started a grind, it sent a warning pulse all the way up his spine, and the urge to lift her up and wrap those legs around his hips so that he could pound into her was overwhelming. But he fought it. She deserved better than a fast fuck against cold metal.

Mark reached down and set her away gently. "Easy . . . we don't want it to end before it's even started," he said, his voice a husky mumble. "I'm on the edge here."

Given all the heavy breathing, so was she.

His hand started a descent, gliding over the flat plane of her stomach, moving further still to slip between lace and skin while his mouth went back to work on her neck. He heard her muffled whimper as his fingers explored, pushing past soft curls and maneuvering their way into her folds. He reached the soft slick target and stroked it.

"Mark," she gasped.

He smiled between strokes, increasing the pressure. "Say my name again, baby."

Silence had him pushing a finger inside of her. She moaned in response, but it wasn't enough. He wanted to hear his name on her lips again. He needed to hear it again. "Say it," he demanded, adding a second finger.

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