Page 18 of The End of Faking It

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‘Then let’s go.’

‘Now?’

The taxi was already waiting and, even better, the trip was short. Her heart drummed faster than a dance-floor anthem and she concentrated on keeping her breathing quiet and even. He still had hold of her hand and as they rode the elevator up to his short-let serviced apartment he finally broke the silence.

‘You’re tired?’

Actually she was plotting how to handle him. She needed to take charge from the get-go—set the pattern for the evening—and she wanted him on fire as fast as possible.

He must have read her mind because he turned to her the moment he’d closed the door behind them. She melted against him and offered it all, pleased he was so hungry. She wanted him to be uncontrolled, to be in thrall. Passion was powerful and she wanted to succeed in hitting his pleasure high. She moved against him, dancing the way she knew best, her mouth open to his, her fingers working on his buttons—wanting him raw and hot.

But he laughed, low and pure. ‘Why are you in such a hurry?’

Because that way she could control it. She shrugged her shoulders and simply smiled, pressing close again.

But he, damn him, suddenly slowed right down. He swept his lips gently across her skin as his fingers so carefully freed buttons. Why was he taking so long to undress her? Hell, they didn’t even need to get undressed, he could just push her skirt up and pull her panties to the side—she was ready for him, she would ride hard for him—she badly wanted to feel him come.

Instead his hands drifted south and so did his mouth, gently caressing the skin he’d exposed. Until he was on his knees before her and sliding down the zip of her skirt. She twisted, her discomfort suddenly building, wanting to bring him back up, wanting her hands to be the ones taking the lead. But then his fingers slid higher and she flinched, the pleasure so sharp it was too much, and she couldn’t let the sudden rushing feeling swamp her.

Carter had gone completely still. Then he leaned back and looked up so he could see her face clearly as his hand gently brushed down the front of her thigh. ‘I want you to enjoy it.’

‘I will enjoy it,’ she answered softly. But she knew what he meant. He wanted to hear her scream his name.

He stood, his keen eyes catching the way she wriggled back the tiniest bit from him. He swallowed. ‘You don’t want me to go down on you?’

She nodded, glad she didn’t have to spell it out herself. ‘I don’t really like that…I…don’t feel comfortable.’

He looked thoughtful. ‘But you’ll go down on me?’

‘Oh, yeah, I like that.’

‘Well, that’s nice.’ His devil grin flickered. ‘But what turns you on most, Penny?’ He watched her steadily.

The heat intensified in her cheeks and she tried to shrug his question off. ‘Lots of things…’ she mumbled. ‘I like…lots of things…’

His head tilted a fraction to the left as he studied her. ‘Oh, my…’ His arms tightened, his body tensing too as he lanced right through her defences. ‘You fake it.’

Her mouth opened in horror but the gasp never eventuated. Instead the blush burned all the way down to her toes. She blinked rapidly but she couldn’t break away from his all-seeing stare. ‘I do enjoy sex,’ she said when she got her voice back. ‘I like it a lot. It feels good. But…it’s…it’s just the way I am.’

‘You always fake it?’ His eyes widened.

‘Sometimes it’s easier that way.’ She licked her lips—not as invitation, but because her mouth had gone Death Valley dry. ‘Guys like to feel like they’re…’

Carter rubbed his fingers across his forehead.

‘It’s not going to damage your ego or anything, is it?’ she asked, cringing at his obvious surprise. ‘You’d rather I faked it?’

Blunt as she’d been with him before, this was his kind of sledgehammer stuff and she was shaking inside. She was never this honest. But then no one else had ever called her on it either and she was shocked he’d twigged at all, let alone so quickly. The fact was, she did fake it. She had an amazing array of squeals to let the guy think she was there. The Sally chick who met Harry in that movie had nothing on her.

But that didn’t mean she didn’t enjoy it. She did. She wanted it and she wanted Carter. The closeness was enough for her, feeling desired and making someone happy even for a few moments made her feel good too.

His gaze hadn’t left hers and surprisingly his smile had gone less devilish, more sweet. ‘My ego can handle you,’ he said. ‘So no faking. Total honesty. Deal?’

‘I want to be with you,’ she couldn’t help reassuring. ‘You turn me on, you know you do. But I just don’t…’

‘Get across the finish line.’

‘But I still enjoy the race.’

He actually laughed. ‘Don’t feel any pressure to perform for me, darling.’ He rested his hands lightly on her shoulders. ‘We can enjoy each other in our own ways. Let’s just see what happens, okay?’

She released the breath that she’d been holding for ever. ‘You’re sure?’ Even for a guy as confident as him she was surprised at his easy understanding.

‘Yep.’ He nodded. ‘I’m sure.’

Carter was trying to stop his head spinning but every thought had just been blown from his brain cells. Wow. He just hadn’t seen that coming and honestly he’d just blurted the thought that had occurred so randomly.

For him enjoying sex was so inextricably linked with orgasm it was as if she were talking in a foreign language. He tried to figure it out—was she not physically capable of coming?

Actually he didn’t believe that. By the pool he’d felt her shaking in his arms, he’d felt the hunger in her mouth, felt the flood of desire between her legs when he’d touched her there. Physically she’d been all systems go.

But at that point she’d literally leapt out of his arms.

So it was her head that couldn’t let go.

Of course, she was a complete control freak. It made sense. That was her job all over—keeping everything in its place and perfect. But at the same time it didn’t make sense. The night he’d met her she’d appeared the absolute image of a hedonist. A beautiful young woman out for fun and frolics and seemingly assured of success should she want it. But it seemed she didn’t want it—at least not on a level that she couldn’t control. Did she pleasure her lovers rather than let them pleasure her? Because that wasn’t right. For him sex was all about mutual delight and exploration. Pleasure for both—give and take.

Women didn’t have total ownership rights on curiosity. Right now it was eating Carter alive. And so was the challenge. How could it not be a challenge? Because this woman could feel it. He could feel her—trembling, all hot and aching. He knew how much she wanted him. So how did he help her let go?

He swallowed again. Like anything it came down to the details. She was so sensitive and maybe it scared her. So he was going to have to take it easy.

She was watching him with a worried look. ‘I’ve probably put you off now.’

And the sweetheart looked as if she utterly regretted that.

He grinned. She didn’t need to worry—she would get every ounce of what he had to give. ‘Not at all.’ Oh, hell, no, now he was all the more desperate to strip her and, oh, so slowly warm her up.

But first what they both needed was a little more time. Just a very little. ‘You know we haven’t eaten,’ he said, tucking his shirt back in. ‘Come on, I’ll make something.’

She looked surprised.

‘You hadn’t missed dinner?’ Now

he thought about it, he was starving.

She shook her head. ‘Haven’t had a chance to think about it.’

Carter smiled inside again. That was because she’d been thinking about him. The key was to get her to stop thinking.

He led the way to the kitchen. ‘You don’t mind a cold dinner?’

Penny was feeling so hot—from embarrassment—that cold sounded wonderful. In fact she’d dive deep into a pool right now if she could. By the time she’d straightened her clothes Carter was pouring the wine—crisp and cool enough to make condensation form on the glass.

He pointed to the stool on the far side of the bench. ‘Sit there and talk to me.’

About what? She’d so killed the moment and she was gutted because she did want to have him. Ugh. She should run away, go dancing and forget everything. ‘Are you making any progress with figuring out Mason’s problem?’

She was reduced to talking work.

All he did was shrug as he pulled a bowl from the fridge. An assortment of salad greens. He deftly sliced tomato, cucumber, feta and tossed the chunks in, adding a few olives from a tin after. Her mouth watered; she loved a summer salad.

He got a pack from the fridge and forked smoked salmon from it onto plates. Then he got a wooden board and from a brown paper bag slid a loaf of round, artisan bread. Her stomach actually rumbled as he sliced into the loaf. He sent her a wicked look.

‘Don’t tell me you baked the bread,’ she teased to cover it.

‘Italian bakery down the road.’ He winked. ‘Looks good, huh?’

It looked divine. In five minutes he’d fixed the most delicious dinner and she was seriously impressed. ‘You always eat this healthily?’

‘I work long hours, I’m responsible for a lot of people’s jobs. I need to keep fit so I can perform one hundred per cent.’

He picked up both plates. ‘Come on, we’ll go out onto the balcony. You bring the salad.’

He pushed the bifolding doors wide open. The sun was still high and hot but an aerial sail shaded the table and the view of the harbour was incredible. Pity she was too on edge to be able to enjoy it properly.


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