“Open up.” The deep voice rolled through the apartment. “I know you’re in there.” A hard knock punctuated the statement.
Full blown panic seized Kate in its icy clutches. She sprung up, grabbing a short robe from the foot of her bed. “Oh, shit!” Her voice trembled with apprehension. “What am I gonna do?”
Tink was silent until the pounding began again. “Go answer the door, but leave me on speaker. That way I can call for help if anything happens.”
“Answer the door,” she sputtered. “What if he’s some psycho serial killer?” Or worse. She knew what would happen if she opened the door. They’d have sex. No ifs, ands or buts about it. The desire was too strong to fight.
“Kate, you’ve been teasing him for weeks. Don’t you think it’s about time the two of you actually met?”
She belted the robe tightly at her waist. Glancing at her rumpled appearance in the full-length mirror, she combed trembling fingers through her hair. Damn, she looked freshly fucked and wanton. Exactly as she felt.
“I don’t know if I can do this.” Better to keep the door between them than give in to the hunger.
The next round of pounding sent nerve jarring sensations pulsing through her tense body. “He’s not going away.” Both fear and excitement tinged of her voice.
“I’m right here with you, Kate. Go answer the door.”
She walked through her normally soothing apartment with fingers of painful anxiety squeezing her heart. “Ah…just a minute. I’m coming.”
Kate could have sworn she heard him mumble, “Oh, you will be,” but must have been mistaken.
“Wh-Who is it?”
“Your neighbor.” His voice sounded gravely. Sexy as hell.
When she hesitated, he spoke again, confirming her worst fears.
“I’m not leaving until you open the door, Red.”
Leaving the security chain in place, Kate turned the dead bolt, then glanced through the small opening allowed by the chain. Peeking through the gap she came face to face with one very agitated, rough-and-ready cowboy.
“I think it’s ’bout time we finally met, don’t you?” It was more of a statement than question.
He stood more than six feet tall, towering over her slight, five-eight frame. Kate had to crane her neck and look way, way up to see his face. The hard chiseled lines of his jaw, coupled with the feral power in his eyes were both frightening and arousing.
No matter how gorgeous he’d looked from a distance, Tom was devastatingly handsome up close. His eyes appeared darker, smoldering with passion. The dimples she’d admired were even hotter than she’d thought. And talk about big. Oh my!
“I—um…nice to meet you, Tom. Got, ah…gotta go now.”
Good Lord. She sounded like an idiot. It was way past time to cut this short, put an end to her distress.
His huge boot surged forward, stopping her attempt to close the door. “Who’s Tom? Listen, I just want to talk, honey. That’s all. If you’ll feel better, you can leave the door open. I’ll stay out here.”
He seemed impatient as he waited for her compliance. When he finally moved his foot back, Kate closed the door, gasping for breath. For a moment she considered slamming the bolt back in place, then locking herself in the bedroom, but his voice shredded her resolve.
“Come on, honey. I won’t bite…unless you want me to.”
The mere idea made her shiver. Bite me, baby.
At the gentle coaxing of his seductive voice and teasing words, Kate unlatched the chain then slowly opened the door. Why she was following his commands she had no idea. There was something authoritative about the cowboy which made her want to comply with his wishes.
“That’s better, honey. Now I can properly introduce myself. My name is Jesse Powers.”
Wow, he really is a cowboy.
Kate drank him in like a tall, cool glass of water, quenching her parched senses. Her gaze roamed from the top of his black Stetson to the toe of dusty black cowboy boots, absorbing every masculine inch. In his rush, he’d only buttoned half of his shirt, granting her a tantalizing glimpse of muscular chest dusted with a smattering of dark hair.
Damn if that wasn’t one well-built hunk of man eclipsing her doorway.
When her gaze returned to those sinful eyes, Kate realized he was giving her as blatantly thorough of a once over. Then she remembered how little she wore. Oh well, too late to worry about it now.
“Kate Brooks.” Her slender hand was engulfed in his much larger one. His sun-darkened skin looked exotic next to her milky white complexion. She’d expected him to shake, but instead, he turned her hand, lifted it to his lips and placed a soft kiss against her palm. She felt the tender press of his lips all the way to her toes, which curled into the plush carpet.
He was a strong man, but he touched her with tenderness. The thick fingers caressing hers intrigued Kate, made her wonder how they’d feel rasping over her sensitive nipples or the soft folds of her sex. A hot blush crept over her cheeks when she realized the dangerous path her mind traveled, yet trying to rein in her wandering thoughts was useless. Not with the incredible eye candy standing so close.
She continued to stare, mesmerized by his hands. His fingers were long, the flesh work-roughened. A worn patch of lighter-colored skin divided his thumb from the first finger of his left hand. They looked to be competent hands. Hands capable of delivering great pleasure.
Kate’s body softened, melted.
When she looked into his face again, a devilish smile curved those inviting lips. She found herself leaning into the warmth radiating from him, imagining sliding her tongue into the crescent-shaped impressions bracketing his smile.
“Nice to finally meet you, Katie.”
She didn’t correct him for calling her Katie. She didn’t allow anyone to use the hated nickname, but somehow it seemed right coming from Jesse.
Before she knew what happened, Jesse had closed the door and maneuvered her into the living room. After setting her down on the suede couch, he knelt next to her legs, bringing them eye to eye.
He still held her hand within his, stroking his thumb over the inside of her wrist. The maddening caress sent sizzling sensations through her body, snapping every nerve ending to attention.
A brief spike of fear surged through her mind. She’d permitted a very large, powerful stranger into her apartment after masturbating for him. She knew nothing about Tom. No, not Tom. She now knew his name was Jesse, but nothing else. He could be a deranged sociopath for all she knew.
God, the amazing orgasm must have fried her brain cells and sent her common sense on vacation.
“No need to be afraid of me, honey. It’s too late for that.” Jesse tucked a few errant strands of hair behind her ear. “You’re so beautiful, Katie.”
She couldn’t talk past the painful lump in her throat. While she was embarrassed over what she’d done, she was also excited by his larger-than-life presence. He smelled of fresh air, evergreens and aroused male.
His velvety voice seemed to reach deep into her body, stroking long forgotten sensual pathways. The fingers holding her hand were warm and tender, sending those wonderful electrical impulses through her arm, keeping her ultra aware of his proximity.
In some odd way, his dimples inspired trust, giving him the appearance of a mischievous young boy. Mmm, but his hard body was all man. She was almost overcome with the desire to lean forward the few inches separating them, trace the curves of his lips with her tongue and taste his mouth.
“Keep looking at me like that and you may end up with what those green eyes are asking for, honey.”