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One perfect night, p.5
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       One Perfect Night, p.5

         Part #9. 5 of The Sullivans series by Bella Andre
 
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Page 5

  Author: Bella Andre

  But in only a handful of minutes in Lake Tahoe, hadn’t he known that he was looking at a woman he could fall in love with? Hadn’t his soul recognized his mate…even as his intellect had tried to get him to look at things rationally?

  His phone buzzed with an incoming text. He saw Rafe’s name and figured he was just checking in about being late. But that wasn’t what the message said.

  I found her.

  Hallelujah! Noah wanted to cheer and pump his fist in the air.

  Where is she?

  Rafe’s answer came a beat later.

  In the bar.

  Noah blinked at the words once, twice, three times before believing them. At which point he stood up so fast he knocked his drink over. But he didn’t stop to right it, not when he was too busy scanning every face in the room to care about the beer dripping onto his shoes.

  And then he saw her. She was standing at the bar with a friend. A friend who was pointing straight at him.

  My God, he thought, just as he had on the mountaintop in Lake Tahoe, she really is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

  And so damn sweet, from the inside out, that it made his chest hurt just looking at her.

  Noah wasn’t the kind of guy who had a bunch of checkboxes he was trying to fill. Ideas came when it was their time, business flowed when it was meant to be, and he’d always known a wife and a family would come, too, when they should.

  Now. He wanted her now.

  He moved swiftly through the crowd toward her and she stood and stared at him as if she couldn’t believe her eyes. "Noah?"

  Just seeing and hearing his name on those gorgeous lips had him instantly as aroused as he had ever been. But it wasn’t just his body responding to her. This time he was all in, heart and soul.

  He’d learned his lesson in Lake Tahoe, knew how bad it had been to lose her once.

  He wouldn’t lose her again.

  "Colbie. " Her name was a caress on his lips as he smiled down at her beautifully expressive face. "I’ve been thinking about you all week. And now—" He couldn’t stop himself from touching her, from brushing his knuckles across the soft skin of her lightly flushed cheek. "—here you are. My very own wish come true. "

  "I’ve thought about you, too. " She looked away for a moment as though she was embarrassed. "More than I should have. "

  They were standing in the middle of a crowded bar on one of the busiest nights of the year, but all he saw was Colbie, and all he heard were her quickening breaths as the crowd jostled them into each other’s arms.

  Until her friend said, "It’s nice to see you again, Noah. "

  He was hard pressed to pull his gaze away from Colbie, but when he did, he finally recognized her friend. "Mia Sullivan?"

  "I’m glad you remember," Mia said with a grin. "I’m not fifteen anymore, but you’re clearly taken, so I’ll catch up with both of you later. Oh, and Rafe says to tell both of you this one is on the house. " Her eyes sparkled with mischief. "Have fun, you two. " A moment later, she’d disappeared into the crowd and he was alone again with Colbie.

  "You know Rafe?" she asked.

  "He was my roommate in college," Noah explained. "And you—"

  "—practically grew up in the Sullivan house. "

  "I asked him to look for you," he told her.

  "So did I," she admitted.

  He shook his head. "I don’t understand. Why did you leave me in Lake Tahoe without any way to find you?"

  She looked uncertain for a long moment. Finally, she admitted, "I was scared. " She bit her lip. "Of all the things you were making me feel, even though we’d just met. "

  He could tell how big a deal it was for her to admit that to him, and it pleased him to know that she was trying to trust him. At least, a little bit.

  "Tell me, Colbie. Tell me what I made you feel. "

  "The same things you’re making me feel right now," she said in a soft voice that he had to lean closer to hear. Her scent wrapped around him again, drew him in even further. He wanted to breathe her in everywhere, wanted to know what her skin tasted like in all those same places. "Like my heart is going to beat out of my chest just because you’re here. "

  He knew she was being honest with him, but at the same time, he could tell she was still cautious. Still nervous about being with him. He wanted not only to know all of her secret desires, her secret pleasures…he wanted to know the secret to her heart.

  "Don’t run again, Colbie. " He smiled down at her. "I’m not sure Rafe would be up for helping us a second time. "

  As her hesitation gave way to a smile, his breath caught in his throat. Beautiful didn’t even begin to describe the woman standing before him. Stunning didn’t cut it, either.

  She was perfect.

  "Finding you again like this proves what I’ve known since the moment I saw you. " He caressed her cheek again, pausing with his hand just cupping her chin, loving the anticipation in her gaze, the way she was all but begging him to kiss her with that hungry look in her eyes.

  "What did you know?" she asked, barely above a whisper.

  "That we were a perfect fit. " He leaned in close, close enough that he could have kissed her. Instead he said, "And that we belong together. "

  He could almost taste the sweetness of her lips, was about to pull her soft curves against him, when a flicker of doubt flashed in her eyes at the very last second and she pulled away from him.

  Just as she had on the ski slopes right before she’d left him.

  He watched her force a laugh, as if he’d been kidding about being soul mates. "I’ve never heard a pickup line quite like that one before. Does it usually work?"

  She was clearly pushing for a reaction, trying to see if she could get him to walk away this time. But he wasn’t going anywhere.

  "I don’t know," he said softly. "I’ve never said it to anyone before. "

  He heard her breath catch, watched as her cheeks flushed an even deeper rose. "But we hardly know each other. "

  Noah wanted to find out who had put that wariness into her eyes. Not only was he going to kill the sorry bastard, he was also going to spend the rest of his life making sure no one ever hurt her again.

  "What if I can prove to you that it’s true?"

  Interest sparked at his challenging words, but too quickly the wariness came back. "How could you possibly do that?"

  "You gave me one perfect day in Lake Tahoe. Now I want one night. " He moved closer again and took one of her trembling hands in his. "One night with you. " He entwined his fingers with hers and she stopped shaking as he held her tight. "One night to love you the way you’ve always wanted to be loved. " He dipped his head down so that he could whisper in her ear. "One perfect night to make all of your secret desires and dreams come true. "

  When he pulled back slightly to take in her reaction, he could see the pulse point at the base of her neck moving wildly beneath her creamy, smooth skin. She shook her head, desire now warring with wariness in her beautiful blue eyes.

  "You could do all that in one night?"

  Noah had always followed his instincts, whether with family or friends or business. And right now, his instincts were telling him to stop thinking, stop talking, stop trying to convince Colbie of his intentions…and just do.

  Gently cupping her face with his free hand, her skin so soft beneath his palm, the heat from her skin searing him, he tilted her face up to his and whispered, "Yes," right before taking her mouth with his.

  Chapter Six

  Noah kissed her the way she’d always wanted to be kissed. With passion. With decadent, sinful purpose.

  And more sweet emotion than she’d even known was possible.

  Even though it was their first kiss, he wasn’t afraid to sweep his tongue between her teeth, and his boldness g
ave her the courage to take what she wanted.

  Him.

  Their tongues danced, mating so beautifully that she heated up as much behind her breastbone as she did everywhere else. It was blissful being with a man who wasn’t worried about moving too fast or too slow, only with making love to her mouth.

  He led their dance, and although she was more than glad to follow wherever he took her, she was tasting him, too. Learning the corners where his lips came together with the tip of her tongue, gently biting his lower lip between her teeth and sucking it into her mouth.

  A groan of pleasure vibrated from his chest to hers and she was powerless against the urge to press her breasts against his hard chest. His groan turned into a growl of desire and then his hand moved from her face to thread through her hair as he tilted her head back so that he could have better access to her mouth.

  Noah didn’t ask her to tell him what she wanted. He didn’t stop to ask if what he was doing was okay, if it felt good. He simply gave her pleasure, knowing exactly what she wanted without her having to spell it out for him.

  And the truth was that standing in a crowded bar while a gorgeous man kissed her senseless was every fantasy she’d ever had come true.

  "Come home with me, Colbie. "

  Missing his kiss already, instead of answering his request, she put her hands on either side of his face and pulled his mouth back down to hers. This time, she was the one kissing him as if her life depended on it.

  When they finally drew back from one another, he asked, "Is that a yes?"

  She’d never wanted to say yes to any question more. But hurt—and the fear of being hurt again—was a tricky thing, she was learning. Tricky enough that even Noah’s kisses couldn’t completely eradicate it.

  "You’re so sure," she said, "so certain. But what if one night ends up being a mistake?"

  Another man might have gotten frustrated, might have tried to rush her from the bar to his house so that they could get out of their clothes and get down to business. Noah simply stroked her gently with his hands still in her hair and asked, "Do you remember what I said to you up on the ski slopes?"

  Of course she did. She hadn’t been able to forget any part of the wonderful day they’d shared in Lake Tahoe.

  When she nodded, he said, "Tell me, sweetheart. "

  The endearment, so pure and sweet, warmed her in places that had been cold for so long. At the same time, his eyes were dark with desire.

  It was a combination that turned her knees to mush and made her head spin. This was it. The moment of truth. Was she going to be brave or was she going to be tormented by sinfully sexy dreams that never went far enough? For the rest of her life was she going to regret leaving Noah here in this cocktail bar, just because there were no guarantees that everything would work out and that they’d end up together forever? Especially when the dangerously wicked look in Noah’s eyes made her feel more alive than anything else ever had?

  "You told me all I needed to do was listen to my body. And that you were going to show me how. " She licked her lips and his gaze followed the path of her tongue, making her lips tingle as if he’d kissed them instead. "And then you asked me to take your hands, to close my eyes. . . and to trust you. "

  He’d asked her for a night together in Lake Tahoe, but she’d been too afraid of what she was feeling to dare accept. Now, as he took a step back, then reached his hands out for her just as he had on the ski slope, she made her choice with her eyes wide open…and slipped her hands into his.

  * * *

  Colbie had no idea what parts of Seattle they passed on the way to Noah’s house. She couldn’t focus on anything but the hand he’d placed on her skirt across her upper thigh. Even though he wasn’t touching bare skin, wasn’t kissing her, wasn’t even saying any sinfully sweet things to her at the moment, her hormones were racing around as if he were doing all of those things at once.

  While he carefully watched the wet and slippery road through the windshield wipers, she took the opportunity to drink him in. The faint stubble across his chin. The small scar above his right eyebrow. The dark hair that brushed just past his collar. Everything about him was pure male perfection. And she couldn’t believe she was going to get to kiss and touch every inch of him soon.
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