Could he possibly have misunderstood? Impulsively, Annabelle reached up and
pressed her lips to his. Alec reared back in surprise, but she clasped
her arms around his neck, pulling him toward her, unwilling to let go.
His lips were warm. He smelled of sandalwood still, and something
spicy—shock, no doubt—but the feel of him was glorious. His heartbeat
was pounding against her chest, his hair silky beneath her fingers. Even
as he held his arms at his sides, refusing to touch her, she pressed
closer, trying to erase the distance between them.
But he was
completely still, like a pillar of salt again. His mouth was unyielding,
and she suddenly knew that he didn't share her feelings. He felt none
of her longing. He was holding his breath, waiting for her to be done.
Embarrassed, she slowly withdrew, easing her hands away, and then her lips.
to have his arms clamp like iron bands around her, pulling her flush
against him, trapping her there. She could feel the tension in his body,
everything about him tight and hard. He angled his head down, capturing
her mouth, a rush of wine-scented breath mingling with her own, making
her feel lightheaded and needy.
With a low moan, he sucked at her
lower lip until she opened her mouth, his tongue slipping in, slick and
insistent. Annabelle shuddered with the intimacy of it, desperate to
feel more of this new sensation as he gathered her closer. He swept his
hands along her waist, over the curve of her hips, and down the swell of
her backside, cupping her against something heavy and hot. All the
while, he explored her with his mouth, as if she were something sweet
and he craved the taste of her. Caught up in her desire, she know only
that she'd never felt this way. She would give him all of herself for
the taking, if only he would ask.
But then inexplicably, he stopped.
With a muffled curse, he dropped his arms and took several steps back.
He crossed his hands behind him, as if to keep them occupied, and
watched her, his eyes hooded, his breathing uneven.
How could he control himself so quickly? She still felt dizzy, as if she’d been drugged with laudanum.
“God above, I knew better,” he said. “I should have stayed as far away as possible.”