All for love 3 series.., p.16
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       All for Love - 3 Series Starters, p.16

           Kris Pearson
 

  “Another earring. A little bead on gold wire. I should get some with push-on clips instead of ones that just hook through.” She drew a startled breath as his intentions became clear. “Oh!”

  “Just the sight of you is enough,” he said huskily. He nipped her shoulder. “The sight of your beautiful bare butt in the air is one hell of a turn-on. Bend over for me.” He knew his voice was thick with desire. Knew that wasn’t the only thing thickening. “Please,” he added, making a late effort at courtesy.

  Without a word Sophie bowed over again and rested her arms on the pillows. Rafe stroked a possessive hand down her back and over her rump. She held still for him as a thoroughbred mare might, trembling slightly, her submissive posture thrilling him.

  He moved behind her, repeating his caress with both hands now, running them down her back, thumbs pressing her thighs a little further apart each time. Neither spoke. The loudest noise in the room was the eventual ripping of the next condom packet.

  Rafe glanced down at himself as he rolled it on. Obscenely stiff, veins standing out, itching to be inside her again.

  Twice in just a few minutes? Not for years now. Sophie had turned him into a sex fiend, and he had no objections as long as she didn’t.

  He moved closer. She pushed back toward him, and with a groan he lined up, clasped her waist, and slid slowly into hot heaven. “Still okay?”

  Her only response was to raise her hips and bend her arms so he could sink deeper. And deeper.

  She trusts me so much?

  Sophie gave a tiny grunt.

  He pulled back a fraction and waited until she was comfortable.

  After a few seconds she pressed slowly backward, her invitation clear. “Stretch me,” she whispered.

  Rafe closed his eyes the better to appreciate her heat and wetness and her close clasp around him. Incredibly tight from this angle, and buried so far he barely dared move in case he hurt her.

  But Sophie had other ideas. “More,” she murmured. “That feels amazing.”

  So she didn’t mind his caveman approach? He withdrew and slowly slid deep again, appreciating his view of her smooth back and the spill of her tousled hair over the pillows.

  She had him entranced. Unable to think straight unless she was part of the picture. And it wasn’t the sex, it was Sophie herself. He wanted to protect her, encourage her, nurture her, make her pregnant, reserve her only for him.

  Marry her?

  You’ve got it bad, man! Surely it’s once bitten, twice shy?

  But this felt different. Sophie was no clinging vine demanding support. She’d shown him she could stand up for herself and manage her life on her own.

  Rafe, who could afford to buy anything, had the sudden nasty suspicion he’d just found something he couldn’t.

  She’d accepted his gifts but made it clear she wasn’t expecting them. She’d seemed more pleased with his phone call from San Diego than his extravagant offering of French perfumes when he returned.

  He was due to leave soon for the yearly round of boat shows in Europe—time when Sophie might choose to be with someone else. That thought appalled him. He had a frantic fleeting vision of losing her before he’d properly established his claim.

  But right now she was his, completely deliciously his. He thrust harder, desperate to imprint himself all over her.

  *

  Sophie planted her elbows more firmly as Rafe bent over her, driving deep and fast this time. He made her feel so female... so desirable. His strong forearms flanked hers, ensuring she wasn’t pinned uncomfortably by his weight. And with every deep slippery thrust the front of his thighs brushed the backs of hers and his testicles slapped against her, intensifying her impression of his virile masculinity.

  His long powerful limbs, his lean hard-driving hips, thrilled her.

  And he seemed to want her so much.

  She’d never felt so dainty and cherished and raunchy and bothered and totally sexy all at the same time.

  “Harder,” she gasped, wanting every fraction of him stroking over her nerve endings and fuelling the lovely fire growing deep inside.

  Rafe pounded into her, one arm tight around her waist to hold her steady. Rougher now. Near to losing it. And then she heard him give a huge gasp and a vicious curse, and felt him pulsing deep inside her as he fought for breath and rasped her name and bit her shoulder in his passion.

  The sensation of his convulsing muscles, together with her elation at doing this for him, were enough to make her go liquid with pleasure and clasp around him repeatedly as her own orgasm hit. Deeper this time. Darker. Like a dewy crimson rose unfurling its petals and then folding them closed, again and again, around a glorious golden intruder.

  They collapsed together, silent and stunned.

  Chapter 18 — Suspicion

  Sophie had plenty to think about next morning on the three hour ferry trip to Picton. The words in her library book swam in and out of focus as she relived their lovemaking, and the hurried laundry that had followed.

  They’d made coffee and sat close together on the big deck, talked about Matt and Annie’s home, and discussed further details of Rafe’s house on the cliff.

  Once the sheets were washed and tumbling around in the drier, Sophie had pulled on her white cotton shorts over her bikini, and Rafe had donned navy boardshorts before they’d walked hand in hand down the endless, wide, sandy beach. Despite the fine day and the wild beauty of Peka Peka, there were few people about. Most seemed to prefer the shops and cafes a little further to the south.

  Such solitude had meant it was easy to idle along, touching and teasing, lingering for passionate kisses and tender embraces.

  And when they’d returned to find the sheets warm and dry, re-making the guest bed felt almost more intimate than their previous joyous coupling in it.

  She’d watched Rafe across the snowy expanse of the fragrant bed linen, and couldn’t help imagining he was her husband and she his much loved wife.

  She easily pictured him in the master bedroom suite of his own finished home, walking barefoot on the velvety carpet she’d ordered for him, silhouetted against walls finished a paler shade of his own delicious skin color, drawing the floor to ceiling curtains of bronze silk she’d suggested.

  As the sun sank lower, they’d returned to the ground floor where the Ducati was parked, and to Sophie’s delighted surprise Rafe had stripped off again and stood, tall and strong and at ease with his body, and dived in to the luxurious pool once she’d started to undress as well. The water lapped around them as she moved into his arms.

  Much later he’d cast an eye up toward the two kayaks on their hooks.

  “Wanna race, lady?” he’d drawled.

  Sophie had dissolved into giggles at the image of them racing kiddie-canoes in an indoor swimming pool. “How many children do they have?”

  “One of each.”

  “Nice planning.”

  “I’m their honorary uncle.”

  “Good for birthday presents?”

  He glanced up again. “They were a big hit, anyway.”

  As she sat in the gently rolling ferry, she remembered again his bitter regret about Faye not wanting his children. How offensive that would have been to any man, but especially to Rafe. Faye had known about his solitary upbringing and his desire to create a family to redress the hand life had dealt him. Yet still she’d refused?

  And here Sophie was on the way to visit the daughter she’d avoided mentioning for career reasons, and now couldn’t possibly admit to for very much more personal ones. He’d never forgive her if he found out, and God she wished she’d been honest that first day...

  *

  Rafe stretched his arms up to the sun as he stood gazing out toward Pencarrow lighthouse. He un-kinked the knots in his shoulder muscles and dropped his hands onto the deck railing. He laughed inwardly. His shoulders had been given a hell of a workout the day before, and wasn’t he feeling pleased about that!
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  He wondered if Sophie had woken yet, and decided to surprise her before she went out. It was barely eight. Surely after a day like yesterday she’d still be in bed? Maybe he could join her there again? Especially if he took breakfast.

  He showered and shot out on the Ducati minutes later, hurtling too fast around the bends of the coast road, enjoying the machine and the sparkling morning. As he neared the central city, one of the inter-island ferries edged out from its berth—a white wedge in a blue harbor dotted with early morning yachts.

  He stopped at the French bakery, bought pastries and coffees, balancing the latter precariously between his thighs as he coasted along Tinakori Road.

  He knocked on her door, feeling an absurd tingle of anticipation as he imagined her, drowsy, welcoming, and maybe in a skimpy nightdress.

  “Looking for Sophie?” a voice asked.

  Rafe swiveled, and found a woman of forty or so, dressed for gardening and clutching a spade. Presumably this was the landlady?

  “She’s already gone,” the woman said. “Goes out well before eight o’clock every Sunday. Not back ‘til quite late at night.”

  His spirits dropped through the floor of the petal strewn porch. So much for his sexy reunion fantasy...

  As he opened his mouth to ask more, there was the creak of a window being opened above them.

  “Mom! Mom!” an aggrieved teenage voice wailed. “Hurry—it’s Auntie Jen on the phone. Uncle Bob’s had to go to hospital.”

  The woman muttered an exclamation. “Sorry,” she said, tossing the spade on the lawn and dashing away.

  Rafe stood there, mystified and wrong footed. Where the hell did Sophie go to ‘well before eight o’clock every Sunday’? And how late was ‘quite late tonight’?

  On his way down the path he turned for the front door of the house and set the coffees and pastries beside it, suddenly not the least bit tempted by either. He knocked loudly and left, hoping the teenage wailer might find them and enjoy them.

  He could phone Sophie. Should phone her. But he’d prefer to look her in the eye and gauge the honesty of her answers.

  Every Sunday? She’d been perfectly open about not being available today, but she’d avoided giving details, now he thought about it. She certainly hadn’t indicated it was an on-going arrangement. He turned his thoughts around and around as he roared home, stewing on unpleasant possibilities.

  Once he was there he strapped on his tool belt and took out his frustration on the boxing timber around the garage foundations, wrenching it away from the sides of the concrete slab with a wrecking bar and the brute force of his long arms. He threw the splintered lengths aside, not caring about the wastage.

  Who did she go to? And why?

  *

  At nine on Monday morning Sophie glanced up from her screen and drew a swift surprised breath.

  Rafe stood in the open doorway, backlit by the bright sun. He held two coffees. “You’re deep in thought.”

  “I’m just confirming your top floor tile order as it happens.”

  He smiled at that and came in, placing the coffees out of her way. “Good day yesterday?”

  “Fine... yes.” She decided to say no more. She’d already lied by omission, and she knew that was very cowardly. She certainly didn’t want to tie herself up in further knots and cobwebs of deceit, so any more lies were out of the question.

  He stepped around the desk, cupped her face in his hands, and bent to kiss her. Softly. Lovingly, she almost felt. She grew warm all over, flustered, boneless, unable to resist his potent attraction, knowing he got her like this every time.

  He drew back, his face only inches away from hers. “So where did you go?”

  She swallowed. No help for it now, not with those enquiring eyes staring straight into hers. “To see my Mom.”

  She hoped she wasn’t blushing and giving the game away. Surely not—she had been to visit her mother.

  Rafe released her. “Where does she live?”

  “Picton.”

  “Long way to go for a visit?”

  His eyes seemed to be asking more than that, but she hoped she’d manage to keep her expression neutral. “Mmmmm... That’s why she couldn’t come over for the studio opening.”

  He pushed a coffee toward her. “Thought you could maybe do with this.”

  “Thanks. And what did you do yesterday?” she asked, grateful to have the coffee to glance away to.

  “Took the bike out for a while. Tore the boxing timber off the garage foundations. Things.”

  “It’s coming along well, your big garage,” she said, trying to keep the topic right away from herself. Trying to stop from reaching out and touching him, too.

  “They’ll be coating the exterior this week. Salt proof, corrosion proof. Once the doors are on and we’ve secure storage, the old shipping container goes. Then there’s only the off-street parking area and landscaping to finish.” He took his coffee and moved across to the sofa. “You need a chair by your desk for visitors,” he added.

  “Yes, maybe in a week or two when I can afford it.” She lifted her coffee and sipped.

  He did the same, still looking at her far too intently for her comfort. “Why don’t I make you an advance? You’ve done hours of work for me so far.”

  Sophie definitely felt the blush this time. It was so embarrassing having to be careful with money every single day of her life. Especially with someone as wealthy as Rafe.

  She cleared her throat. “Well, um, yes, that would be wonderful. I charge an hourly consulting rate, and then ask for a half deposit when things are ordered. Like your tiles.” She swallowed.

  Why was this so difficult? Because she liked him so much? Because she’d fallen into bed with him and held nothing back? Or because Camille’s concealment really ate at her conscience now? “I was a bit overwhelmed to be doing your work, and I didn’t go into the details to start with, did I?”

  Rafe smiled. “Give me your account number. Five thou do for starters?”

  Sophie blanched “That’ll buy a lot of chairs.”

  “Tell me how much you need to cover the tile order and whatever...”

  “Yes,” she agreed, taking another sip of her coffee and inspecting him over the rim of the cup. All that money meant nothing to him.

  He looked amazing. Businesslike and reserved instead of naked and muscular and hotly aroused. She liked the second version best. He was almost intimidating in the superb black suit, pale grey shirt and muted tie. Now he was Faye’s handsome occasionally glimpsed husband again—a serious man going about serious business—instead of her own playful lover.

  “I wanted to confirm our trip up to the Whangarei yard,” he said. “I’m hoping tomorrow’s okay with you because I can send you home ahead while I stop off for some appointments in Auckland.”

  “That’s fine.”

  “And I’ll book us a night’s accommodation, shall I? After Saturday?” His eyes shone warm with invitation now. “Can you spare another half day away from your studio?”

  Sophie thought of his five thousand dollars and felt almost as though she’d been bought for his evening’s entertainment. But what did she have to lose? She was eager to spend any time at all with him.

  Their fiery lovemaking at Peka Peka had been followed by another even hotter session at her apartment. Turning him out of her bed at midnight so she could make an unobserved getaway to the ferry yesterday morning had cut her to ribbons.

  She’d wanted to stay curled in his arms, slumberous and sexy. Wanted to share a sun dappled breakfast with him, explore and admire him once she’d woken refreshed. But she’d held firm, citing Mrs. Ferris and her children and the early morning gardening as reasons to make him leave. Now she had another chance. “So we can have a whole night together? Yes please.”

  And with that he smiled and suggested, “Or two? Stay with me at the house tonight. It’s closer to the airport—we won’t have to leave as early tomorrow.”

  Sophi
e pretended to consider that for a moment or two, but in reality she was working out how to reschedule her evening phone call to Camille. “Are you playing chauffeur or do you want me to come on the bike?”

  “I want you to come anywhere you can,” he said, raising a suggestive eyebrow and widening his smile into his trademark killer grin. “Although on the bike might take some ingenuity. I could bend you over the handlebars, perhaps? Or lay you down flat on the seat and lick you to death?”

  Every trace of the reserved businessman had suddenly disappeared, and Sophie’s body instantly responded to his suggestions. She looked down at her peaking nipples.

  “Now look what you’ve done.”

  Rafe clicked his tongue in mock dismay. “Can’t help yourself, eh? Me either.” He stood and nudged at his very conservative trousers, and Sophie was left with a glorious mental picture as he headed for the door.

  “I’ll collect you around six?” he called over his shoulder.

  “Or a little after? Give me time to pack?”

  And phone Camille.

  “Don’t bother bringing any pajamas,” were the last words she heard.

  Chapter 19 — Pearls and Diamonds

  Five nights later Rafe called at the Wellington boatyard as soon as he was off the plane. He worked for an hour, finally closed his laptop, yawned, stretched, and checked his watch. His body and brain hummed with possibilities. He felt contented and excited in equal measure.

  Things were going well. Monday night at the house had been everything he’d anticipated. Sophie had been playful and warm and inventive. To wake with her in his arms on Tuesday morning—to slowly bring her out of sleep with gentle kisses and caresses—had pitched them both into a frenzy of need again.

  The trip north to Whangarei had gone as he’d hoped. The humid heat of the northern city made it feel different and exotic. Sophie had certainly been impressed by the size of the boatyard and the luxury of the almost completed forty meter superyacht destined for a Hong Kong billionaire.

  He’d shown her around the huge undercover area, and the slipway and wharves with access out to sheltered deep water. Introduced her to several of the senior staff, including managing director Grant Jacobsen. Enjoyed Grant’s admiring inspection of her, and the ‘very hot’ signal that had passed from one man to the other.

 
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