The Billionaire's Embrace Page 51

“Carter,” she said.

“Yes?” I asked.

“Did you do this for me?” she asked.

“I hope you like the books,” I said. “You may have read some of them already. I wasn’t sure.”

“I’m going to cry,” she said, and did, her hands pressed against her face, shoulders shaking.

“Regan,” I said, distressed, and took her into my arms. I hoped that she was crying from joy, but I hadn’t expected such a strong reaction. “Is it too much? I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“I’m not upset,” she said, voice muffled, mouth pressed against my shoulder. “It’s just that I think this is the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

I kissed her hair, wordlessly holding her against me, feeling the shape of her body against mine. She fit against me so perfectly that it was hard to imagine ever letting go.

But she pulled away at last and wiped her eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. Now I cried all over your nice coat.” She brushed futilely at the damp spots on the wool.

“Don’t apologize,” I said. “We’re being honest with each other now, remember? You can cry as much as you need to.”

She gave a watery laugh, tilting her face up to look at me. “I thought men hated crying women.”

“Now where did you get that idea?” I asked. Even with her eyes swollen from crying, she was so lovely that I had to bend my head and kiss her.

It started gentle, almost chaste, but quickly became something more as Regan wrapped her arms around my neck and made a small, breathy noise that set my senses aflame. The smell of her hair, the way she clung to me, the smallness of her body compared to mine—it all combined to create a powerful tenderness in me, an urge to keep her safe, but also an urge to take her to my bedroom and remind her that she belonged to me.

Not yet. Not tonight.

Tonight was about making her realize how much she had missed me.

I slid my hands inside her unbuttoned coat, curling my palms around her waist, and then sliding lower to cup the lush curve of her ass. God, it had been too long. All of the anonymous sex I’d had in clubs, all of those women whose names I never knew: it had all been a failed attempt to get back to this feeling, the pure, incomparable chemistry I had with Regan that I had never experienced with anyone else.

She kissed me back eagerly, her hands sliding up my chest, but I noticed her quivering against me, and not with desire: she was cold.

With some effort, I pulled back. “You’re freezing,” I said. “Let’s go inside.”

“No, I’m fine,” she said, but she bit out the words between chattering teeth, and I simply shook my head at her, took her by the hand, and led her back inside, where it was warm and bright, and where I could press her against the couch cushions and take my time.

Actually getting to the sofa took some time. As soon as we entered the apartment, I lost control of myself and pressed her back against the French doors, pinning her there and kissing her, sliding her coat from her shoulders and exploring her body through her clothes. We stumbled into the living room, clumsily groping at each other, tripping over our own feet, kissing the whole time, laughing at every misstep.

Kissing her, laughing with her: I had missed these things more than I had known.

At last, we came in range of the sofa, and I gently lowered her onto the cushions and lay down on top of her, our legs tangling together, her hair spreading out like a dark nimbus around her head.

“Regan,” I said, my heart threatening to escape from my body, but she arched up and kissed me before I could say anything I might regret.

We made out like teenagers, fumbling together on the couch, mouths moving together. She untucked my shirt from my trousers and slid her hands up my back, her fingers cool on my hot skin, and I kissed down her throat to the soft concavity between her collarbones, and pushed the neckline of her t-shirt aside to trace the lacy edge of her bra. She made a series of gratifying gasping noises and rolled her hips against me, her body, mute and articulate, begging me for more.

I wouldn’t give it to her—not tonight. I wanted her wanting, hungry for my touch, deprived of what she needed most. I wanted her thinking of me, dreaming of me, imagining me against in her bed as she slept. I wouldn’t give her what she craved until she begged me for it.

I would dream of her that night, I knew, alone in my own bed.

I sat up and raked one hand through my hair. Regan was too much of a temptation, squirming around beneath me with her sweet-smelling skin and her perfect breasts. “It’s time for you to go home,” I said.

She pushed up onto her elbows, pouting. “Already?”

“Oh yes,” I said. “You stay here any longer and I won’t be responsible for my actions. Off with you. Henry will take you home, if you’d like.”

“That would be nice,” she said. “Since you’re kicking me out, and everything.” She very theatrically rolled her eyes and tossed her hair to show me that she was joking.

“Yes, I’m a very bad man,” I said. “If you want me to touch you, you’re going to have to earn it.”

I watched the effect of my words: her mouth parted, her eyes darkened, and I knew she wanted me exactly as much as I wanted her. It was a heady feeling, knowing that I had her so much under my control, and that she had chosen to place herself there. That she wanted me to take charge.

“Come over for dinner,” she said. “You cooked for me, so now I’ll cook for you.”

“Yes,” I said. “Absolutely. Are you going to make me some delicious Filipino food?”

“Well, you cooked the food of my people, so I thought maybe I would cook the food of yours,” she said. “So, cabbage, right?”

I never should have told her that a fair number of my ancestors were Polish. “And sausage,” I said. “Don’t forget that part.”

“Maybe I’ll just order pizza,” she said, and I laughed and kissed her again.

“When?” I asked.

She thought about it. “Tuesday night? I have class on Monday.”

“Tuesday sounds great,” I said. She smiled at me, her expression clear and open, hopeful, and we kissed for another ten minutes before she finally got off the sofa to look for her coat.

Chapter 17

On Tuesday, I arrived at Regan’s building a few minutes early, and waited on the sidewalk, clutching a bottle of wine, until exactly 6:30. A man passing by gave me a suspicious look, and I tried to radiate an aura of innocence. I didn’t want to cause Regan any trouble with her neighbors.

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