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Now just a short excerpt from Rth Rising —


She squared her shoulders. He’d brought up sex again. He’d also made the statement how many times now that forcing her wasn’t his style. “Do you want to have sex with me?” she demanded before her courage could desert her.

“No,” he said. He was watching her. She tried desperately to keep her face bland, not show the flicker of hurt. She was pretty sure she didn’t succeed. “Sex is for amusement after alco-drinks or casual acquaintances that aren’t really important. To be honest, I’d like to make love to you.”

She looked up and met his eyes then, clearly startled.

“You’re not casual to me, Kat. I know we technically haven’t known each other very long, but we’ve experienced things together that I’ve never gone through with anyone else. I hope we’re at least friends by now. I . . . I’m beginning to suspect that was part of why Ralt sent you after me.”

She nodded. That thought had occurred to her as well. It wouldn’t really mean anything, even if they did “make love.” Looking as he did, he’d have no trouble finding some unattached woman here; but it was cold and they had nothing else to do. At least that was what she tried to tell herself.

He did smile then, as though reading her mind. “Please, come with me.” He took her hand and she followed him back to the bedroom. With the snow covering the skylight, the room was dim, which suited her fine. He left the door open for maximum warmth from the stove and walked her to the bed they had shared the night before.
He lifted his sweater over her head and she shivered. “Cold?”

“No.” He kissed the tip of her nose again and began unbuttoning her shirt. “My, my breasts are too small.”

He stopped and looked into her eyes. “Who told you that?”

“The last . . . a guy.”

“He was an idiot. Your breasts are perfect,” he cupped one through the undershirt she still wore. “They’re high and firm and most important, they’re real, they’re you.” He pulled the thin shirt from her and leaned over. He kissed her left breast lightly as his hand caressed the right. “See? perfect.”

She was watching him; her face and neck felt hot. He untied the cord that held her pants and let them fall to the floor. He took her hand and she stepped out of them. He kicked them aside and pulled down the quill. She sat on the side of the bed and he reclined beside her.

“Are, aren’t you going to undress?” she asked nervously.

“Not yet. This is for you.”

She swallowed convulsively. How had this happened? She’d made herself completely vulnerable to him. She . . . she trusted him, whether or not he’d earned it. As an enforcer, she could have fought, but she wanted this. At least she thought she did. She reclined slowly beside him, but she had to admit to herself, she was scared.
His hand trailed down her side as he propped himself on his elbow, looking down at her. She shivered again at the look in his eyes.

“What do I do?” Her question was barely a whisper.


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