Kayla chewed on her lower lip. For the first time, she found herself actually thinking seriously on his offer with the enormous sexual pull he had on her. The feelings that she had for the stranger was more potent than all the other feelings of her past relationships combined and then some, making his offer of a one-night-stand tough to resist.
Why not indulge? What was the definition of Mr. Right anyway? And would she even meet the ideal man? Maybe she was wasting away the best years of her life for someone that might never come along. Her best friend, Julie, had often told her that she would know when the right man stepped into her life, when she felt enough of an overwhelming attraction to a man that she would desire intimacy with him. How much more attraction could someone feel than what she felt for the handsome man sitting across the room from her, making her body heat up in flames and burn with need.
What am I thinking? She scolded herself for losing her resolve. It could only be her lack of sleep that was beginning to break down her resistance. Under normal circumstances, she would never be considering an offer of a one-night-stand with him.
Kayla was surprised when she felt the sofa cushion beside her sink from him sitting down next to her. She hadn’t registered him moving over to her. He comfortably took her hand into his. She was amazed at how good and right it felt. Again, that zap shot up her arm, emphasizing the strong effect he had on her.
“I know that you feel what I feel,” he began. “All I have to do is look at you, and I can see that you want me as much as I want you. What could be so wrong about sharing something so pleasing between two people?”
“I don’t know,” was all Kayla could say. Although it was the modern age, in her conservative home, she had been taught stricter values and sleeping with a man upon first meeting him was definitely not sensible and conservative thinking.
He continued to stare at her.
Kayla felt she needed to fill the awkward silence between them. “It’s a tough decision. If it’s any consolation, I was actually giving it some serious thought.” She half smiled with embarrassment, wondering why she confessed that to him.
His face remained expressionless, but she saw the desire burning in his glittering dark eyes and felt the heat from the touch of his hand. This man really did feel the same fierce attraction that she was feeling.
His head moved closer towards hers, tilting to the side, his lids closing. He was going to kiss her. Kayla should have turned her face away, should have gotten up from the sofa, but she couldn’t move.
When his mouth captured hers, it was with a tenderness and passion she had never experienced. The desire that sprang up was impossible to contain, moving her closer into him. She returned the kiss, allowing the full measure of the feelings building inside of her to come out. Her arms circled around his neck and their kiss became more urgent, more demanding. The rush of heat that exploded inside her when his tongue delved into her mouth rattled her to the core.
What was happening to her? Kayla pulled away, afraid of the enormity of feelings rushing through her, and what these feelings might cause her to do. They both sat panting, looking each other in the eyes with surprise.
“I rest my case,” he said with as much surprise in his tone as she felt.
Kayla remained seated, clutching her hands together. After a long pause, she finally found the courage to look up at him. “I have always been of the opinion that two people should get to know each other first before bringing something as complicated as sex into the equation.” That was what she used to think until she met him. That rule appeared to have less meaning to her now, in fact, it appeared to have no relevancy at all where he was concerned.
He smiled again as he moved and sat on the chair opposite her as if he was reading her thoughts again. A part of her was thankful, relieved even, that he didn’t take the seat beside her. She needed distance from him to think clearly.
He leaned forward resting his forearms on his thighs and gathering his fingers together. “Since you claim not to have ever participated in a one-night stand, you may want to try it before discrediting it. Who knows, you may enjoy it. Having sex with no emotional ties can be very . . . liberating,” he finally said.
He didn’t believe her that she had never done this before. Or maybe he wasn’t used to getting a rejection. With his looks, he probably got every woman in bed on their first meeting. Hell, even she felt the enormous pull of his male attraction. She had surprised herself that she wasn’t romping on the floor with him yet.
“Sounds like you enjoy, no-strings-attached relationships instead of emotional ones,” Kayla said.
He leaned back on the couch, stretching his arm out on the backside, and crossing his legs. “Been there and done that. I’ve had my fill of emotional involvements. Let’s just say, I find the unemotional relationships less expensive.”
Ouch! This man had been burned, badly. That was why she constantly had the feeling he didn’t trust in what she said. Once burned, twice shy. She wanted to ask him about it, but that was none of her business. She did feel sympathy for him. A few of her guy friends including her older brother had gotten taken advantage of in their relationships and paid dearly. She knew it wasn’t so much the money but the emotional hurt that they endured that caused them so much pain and of course a large chunk of lost pride.
“Sorry,” the word had popped accidentally out of her mouth.
“No need to feel sorry. I’ve moved on.”
Had he? Although he probably believed what he was saying, she sensed too much heaviness in his tone to know it wasn’t the truth. Trust was a fragile thing. Once broken, it was seldom fixable. It was obvious that this man had trust issues. His lack of trust obviously extended to her. Kayla wondered if she wanted to delve into a physical relationship with a man that didn’t trust her. Although, if it was purely physical, would trust really matter?
“But . . . I don’t know you,” Kayla stammered. How could she sleep with a man that she didn’t know, no matter how strong the attraction was toward him?
Kayla had always prided herself on waiting for Mr. Right. Sleeping with him would ruin her for the man she would someday marry. Not just ruin her wedding night, but what would people think of her if they found out she had a one-night-stand? Although this was the modern age, coming from a religious family, there was less tolerance for sex outside the marriage.
“Do you know how many people have ‘one-nighters’ with strangers?” he asked as if knowing her thoughts.
“Actually no, I don’t. I’m sure it happens, but just because others do it that doesn’t mean I do.” Kayla found offense with his implication.
For some reason, he smiled at that. She got the feeling he still didn’t believe her. She wished he would remove his hands from her because she couldn’t think properly with the buzz going through her. Yet something prevented her from stepping away. A part of her craved the sensations that his touch evoked. No man had ever made her feel this alive and this desirable.
“Touche!” He gave her shoulders a small squeeze. “Can I ask what’s holding you back?” His gaze seemed to look right inside her as if knowing how badly she wanted him but was afraid to commit.
This time, she did step back, not wanting him to see more of what was inside her, or to see how close she was to surrendering to his wishes.
Kayla walked over to the burning fire to get some distance between them, hoping her steps wouldn’t falter. He followed her but had kept a good space between them, leaning against the other end of the mantle.
Kayla noticed that she still wore her boots. It was one more thing that if she took them off, it would make her stay more permanent.
Her manners finally got the better of her. “Sorry, I forgot about my boots.” She slid down onto the sofa and unzipped them. After pulling them off, she placed them off to the side, not wanting to walk to the closet and back while he ogled her every step as he was doing now.
Pull yourself together; Kayla scolded herself as she gathered herself tall. She was stronger than this. “Yes, certainly,” she said, hoping that he didn’t hear the nervous catch in her voice. She placed her purse on the seat of the sofa in front of her.
He stepped behind her and helped pull off her coat. His fingers brushed her neck, and she felt another shot of electricity run through her, zapping her. She stepped away, shivering from it. Better to keep her distance from him.
“If you’re cold, take a place in front of the fire to warm up,” he told her as he marched with her coat to the hall closet.
Kayla slid her hands down her pullover dress, wanting to make sure it wasn’t riding up. She wished she would have worn something else, something not as snug-fitting as this knitted dress. The style hugged every curve of her body. Not something she wanted to display now when she knew the hormones in the room were already raging too high.
A testament to this was evident when he turned and ogled her from top to bottom. Her face heated.
Kayla had a great figure in her size four; enough of her boyfriends had told her that. She also worked hard to keep her body in great shape. Right now, she wished she had worn something less provocative.
Kayla crossed her arms over her chest, not knowing quite what to do or say. Dare she stay in the suite with him? She let out a discouraged breath. Goodness, she was so tired that she couldn’t think clearly.
He walked toward her and laid his hands gently on each of her shoulders. That “zap” of electricity shot through her again, making her feel all warm and sensual inside. It also played havoc with her thinking. She shook her head, hoping to get some clarity but with her lack of sleep, she doubted anything would help except getting some badly needed rest.
“We are going to have at least three, maybe four days together in this suite, according to the weather forecast,” he said. “I need to know where you stand in terms of our sleeping arrangement before we move on.”
He was standing close enough that she felt his warm breath against her cheek and the heat radiating from his body. The urge to touch him grew stronger with each moment.
Kayla was at a loss for words. Days! She was debating about one night. How could she gain enough self-control to be around him for several days?
The arrangement to stay in the suit with the handsome stranger scared and excited Kayla, and she couldn’t help but wonder what might transpire between them. A part of her hoped he had a wife or girlfriend staying with him to avoid her temptation. Another part of her secretly wished that she could have him all to herself to indulge herself. She gave herself a pinch for that sinful thought.
Kayla was twenty-six years old and although she’d had a few relationships behind her and was by no means entirely innocent, she had never gone all the way when having sex. Her girlfriends constantly teased her about being an old-fashioned romantic like the books she read, by keeping herself for the man she wanted to marry. Up to this point, there had been no temptation. All the men that she had dated didn’t excite her enough to consider sleeping with them. This stranger was different; this outrageously handsome man gave her thoughts she never realized she could have about a man, sinful thoughts that put a glow to her cheeks.
Upon first setting her eyes on him, Kayla thought she had fallen into one of the love scenes from a romance novel where the heroine meets up with a perfect and utterly handsome man who sweeps her off her feet and they embark in a steamy love scene after which they lived happily ever after. Did things like that happen in the real world? Would a one-night relationship with him lead anywhere? A relationship based on sex alone could not last, she told herself.
“Miss! Where would you like your luggage?” the bellhop asked, waiting for her reply.
It took Kayla a minute to realize he was talking to her.
“Please take the lady’s luggage through the door at the end of the hall,” the man spoke out, walking toward her.
Even his deep voice was hypnotizing. How could one say no to it?
As he approached her, Kayla’s blood pressure skyrocketed. All she could do was stand like a statue and stare up at him, trying to keep her mouth shut and prevent herself from drooling.
Her other dates had been attractive; yet they hadn’t made her want to rip off her clothes and jump in bed with them at first glance. This man possessed something more, and it was that “something more” that excited and terrified her.
A silk shirt partly opened revealed bronzed skin with sprinkled black chest hair underneath. Rolled-up shirtsleeves encircled his large biceps. Charcoal pleated dress pants hugged his slim hips and powerful thighs. He appeared to be all muscle underneath his business clothes. How often had she read in her books about fictitious men like him who were perfect looking? Never had she though that one existed or that she would have the pleasure to meet one.
He stepped in front of her. She swallowed thickly. She guessed his age to be slightly over thirty. Older than the previous men she had dated.
“I took the opportunity to ask the manager to put you in my suite. I hope you are comfortable with that?”
His suite? Did he have this suite all to himself? Was no one else staying here? How could she stay with him, alone, a man who gave her bold sexual fantasies by his mere presence?
“Why?” she asked hoarsely. It was the only clear thought she managed to articulate. Why would this man want her? With her tongue, she wet her dry lips. She couldn’t quite believe this was happening.
“Everyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I am bluntly honest, so I will simply come out and say what I want to say. I asked you to my suite because I want you in my bed.”
“What?” Kayla had heard what he had said, but it seemed too implausible to be real. Her exhaustion must be playing with her mind. One didn’t invite a perfect stranger into their bed upon first meeting them. The two of them had only met by way of a glance.
“Tell me you don’t feel the attraction between us,” he said to her in a low husky tone.
Kayla was still trying to find her voice.
Of course, she felt it. Since first setting her eyes upon him in the lobby, that was all she felt and fantasized about, but she dared not let him know that. Besides, fantasies were not always meant to come true. Being so close to him, she smelt a whiff of his woodsy cologne, keeping her from thinking clearly, not being able to consider his proposition and give a rational answer.
Kayla stepped back, needing space. Why was she even considering his proposition? His close presence was playing havoc with her rational thoughts.
“At the moment, I feel overwhelmed,” she said breathlessly, thinking if he wanted blunt honesty then she would give it to him.
Kayla walked toward the back of the couch and leaned against it. Her legs felt shaky and she needed something for support. Her purse still remained clutched in her left hand, uncertain of what to do with it. Was she staying or leaving? How could she decide something so momentous now? She was too tired to think this through clearly. What ever happened to making small talk when you first met, like talking about the weather or asking about your favorite food, she wondered?
Kayla shook her head. “If I understand correctly, you expect me to sleep with you or I can’t stay in this suite?” The thought of that annoyed her. She didn’t like being forced into a corner by an ultimatum especially when it concerned her personal life.
He crossed his arms over his chest. “No, that’s not what I said. I merely pointed out what I want. Whether I get it or not will be totally up to you. I wanted it to be clear from the start where I stand. The suite is yours to use regardless.”
He was definitely blunt, and normally she appreciated candidness but this was a little too much and too fast.
The bellhop suddenly appeared. “Everything is unpacked and stored away. Will there be anything else?” He looked from him to her with puzzlement, not entirely sure whom he was to address.
Her handsome roommate squeezed a bill into his hand. “No thanks. That will be everything.”
The bellhop nodded and closed the door behind him.
The room became ominously quiet.
Kayla realized it was her luggage the bellhop had delivered and unpacked, and she was responsible for the tip. “Thank you for that,” she said, having been too tired to react. A part of her wished she had been more alert; she didn’t want to feel indebted to the man.
“No problem.” He walked over and stood directly in front of her again.
His powerful scent lifted to her nostrils, awakening her senses. His cologne mixed with his personal scent was like a powerful aphrodisiac, planting sinful thoughts into her head. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. How could someone smell so good?
Kayla realized too late what she was doing. Her eyes snapped open, and she saw his lip quirk up at the corner, showing his amusement.
Her over-tiredness was putting her off guard.
“May I take your coat?” he asked, keeping a small smile on his lips.
Kayla stared at him. Giving her coat would make this arrangement permanent, and she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to stay in the suite with him, alone, all night.
All these years, she had saved herself for her wedding night and was proud of it. She wished she wasn’t so tired so that she could think more clearly about the situation she found herself in.
“I don’t bite,” he grinned, waiting.
Perhaps he didn’t bite, but she imagined him doing a lot of other things to her body and those worried her more. Could she keep her resolve strong enough to stay out of his bed if she decided to stay in his suite?