Jordan was grinning with unreserved masculine appreciation. "And the
gown sort of went with the casino," he concluded helpfully. "Don't
worry, honey, they're perfect on you tonight Even if you never intended
anyone else to see them." He pulled her back into his arms, finding the
back clasp of the tiny-bra.
"Yes, well, that's just it, you see. I
intend anyone to see them,
and they're rather like this bedroom. A little embarrassing
explain to strangers."
"But we're not strangers, are we, Alyssa?" he countered deeply, the
humor fading back into passion.
"You and I are kindred souls. I think we already know each other better
than most people ever get to know one another, and by morning ..." He
paused as he slipped the little bra off and bared the soft, full curves
of her breasts. "By morning, we will know each other very, very well."
Alyssa's lashes fluttered shut, and she heard herself make the tiniest
of kitten cries as Jordan's ultrasensitive finger tips went to her
nipples. Trustingly, she once again lifted her arms to encircle his
neck and let him find her mouth with his own. She clung to the warmth
that flowed between them, trembling again and again in wonder at the
passion being generated. When a part of her rational mind
tried to interrupt, questioning this complete giving of herself to a
man she barely knew, Alyssa pushed
the shred of common sense aside. Somehow tonight everything seemed
right: the man, the mood, the fantasy. Time enough later to go back to
being the real Alyssa Chandler. The odds were against her ever knowing
anything quite like this again, and she couldn't bring herself to
refuse the promised ecstasy.
He was using the tips of his fingers to draw little circles of fire
around each nipple, persuading the
budding peaks into an aching, taut fullness that insisted on more and
more attention. Alyssa moaned
softly and tried to press herself into his hand. Instinctively, her
hands began fumbling with the evening jacket he still wore.
"Yes, please," Jordan begged throatily. "Please undress me, sweetheart
Touch me. Hold me. God! I've been wanting you for
Without question, Alyssa obeyed, her hands unsteady as she pushed off
the charcoal jacket and unfastened the black studs of the white shirt
All the while, her work was made increasingly difficult
as her body continued to respond to Jordan's touch.
When at last she had slipped off his shirt and freed the broad expanse
of his chest to her own questing fingers, Alyssa drew in a deep breath
"Oh, Jordan . . ." Her fingers entwined themselves eagerly in the
curling mat of brown hair that covered his chest, and she probed the
flat male nipples in curious wonder. "You're perfect. So perfect"
He managed a husky growl of a laugh, his thumbs grazing lightly across
the tips of her breasts as he slid his hands around to her back.
"That's supposed to be my line, sweetheart! You're the one who's
perfect A bit of real magic in a world that's full of the fake kind.
His hands traveled slowly down the length of her slender back as he
pressed her nakedness close against his chest. When her breasts came in
contact with the teasing, rasping hair, Jordan moved her very gently
back and forth in a swaying motion that made her nipples slide across
the crisp, dark cloud. The unexpected caress sent ripples of excitement
cascading through Aiyssa's veins.
"Jordan, what are you doing to me?" she demanded helplessly, her head
ripped back so that she could lose herself in the inviting gold of his
"It's called sleight of hand," he murmured thickly as his fingers
slipped to the upper edge of the tiny
black silk panties. "Now you
them"—he peeled the sexy underwear down over the curve of her hip and
let it drop to the floor at her ankles—"now you don't. But now I can
see you. All of you!"
She felt his palms cupping the rounded globes of her buttocks and
belatedly remembered the mirrors behind her. He was watching the full
length of her body revealed in the mirror, and the knowledge of
his blatant hunger sent another rush of heat through her.
"You're not playing fair," she protested shakily, burying her warm face
against his broad shoulder.
"There's nothing fair about good sleight of hand," he murmured, sinking
his naiis into the soft flesh
of her hips. "It's all magic."
"What do you know of magic?"
"I know a hell of a lot of card tricks," Jordan confessed dryly, and
then moved a couple of paces, pulling her with him. "But if it makes
you feel any better, we'll even up this situation. There, now you can
as much of me as I can see of you. It's not my fault I'm still half
dressed," he added with gentle encouragement He dropped a soundless
kiss in her hair.
Automatically, Alyssa glanced at their figures as they both stood
sideways to the wall of mirrors. The
sight of herself standing fully naked in the arms of a man who by all
of the normal definitions was still a stranger made her gasp. There was
something unbearably abandoned about the image, and Alyssa went
suddenly still as the realization of what she was doing came home to
her. She stared at the image of herself, seeing the way the darker
shade of Jordan's skin contrasted with her own paleness, absorbing the
possessive curve of his sinewy arms as they encircled her waist. Her
bare thighs were arched against his lower body in a silent plea, and
even as she watched, momentarily shocked, Jordan deliberately thrust a
foot between her legs.
The action, an unsubtle masculine assertion of intent, broke the spell
of the mirror. Eyes wide now with an uncertainty that had been sparked
far too late, Alyssa faced him. "Jordan, wait, please wait This is all
happening much too fast, and I can't seem to think. This isn't what I
had planned ..."
"This isn't what either of us had planned for this evening." The rich,
dark voice was a soothing, gentling force designed to ease her rush of
indecision. "But it's what's going to happen. I told you earlier that
there really is an element of luck in the universe, sweetheart. Don't
fight it I'm not going to let you fight it!"
"No, Jordan, wait" She moved her head restlessly from side to side in a
negative gesture, but he caught her lips with his own and held them
fiercely captive. Then he shifted one hand to burrow it beneath the
fall of her auburn hair and find the delicate nape of her neck.
Instantly, his fingers began a slow massaging action that calmed and
tamed. Alyssa felt herself succumbing to the magic of his hands and the
kiss that anchored her mouth. Her palms, which had lifted to his
shoulders in protest stilled once more, hovering uncertainly on his
"I can't wait, sweetheart. I've been looking for you far too long."
Jordan's free hand went to the buckle of his belt, and he finished
undressing himself impatiently. The beautifully tailored trousers fell
into a heap, followed by close-fitting briefs. Before Alyssa had even
begun to rescue herself from the spell of his embrace, he, too, was
She felt the brush of his thigh as he thrust it boldly between hers,
parting her legs for his touch. "Jordan, ah, Jordan." The words were a
sigh of surrender as he slid his palm across her hip and then began to
explore the hidden secrets behind the triangle of auburn hair at the
apex of her legs.
"Sweetheart, you're so warm, so ready for me," he groaned as he
discovered the evidence of her desire. "Don't deny me what I need so
much from you tonight. Stop worrying about the future and go back to
thinking only of the present. I'll take care of the future."
Alyssa accepted the fact that she could no longer think properly at
all. Her moment of doubt inspired by common sense had passed with the
renewed touch of his hand, and she shuddered against him. How could she
deny the magic of those hands? Never had she felt anything like it
She could feel the hardness of his aroused manhood pressing insistently
against her hip now, felt the rigidity of his body as the passion in
him swelled. Her own body responded with a deep, quivering
longing that shocked her senses.
"You see how perfectly we mesh?" Jordan asked whimsically, nudging her
head with his hand until
Alyssa was once more obliged to glance into the mirrors. She lowered
her eyes from the sight of herself entwined so closely in his embrace,
but this time she was forced to admit that it hadn't elicited
uncertainty. Rather, she felt another wave of excitement wash across
her. Her nails curled of their own volition into the skin of his
shoulders, and when she turned her face back against his chest, her
teeth nipped daringly.
Jordan groaned and slipped his hands down to her buttocks, letting his
fingers slide erotically into the
cleft between them. "Whoever shuffled the deck tonight knew what he was
doing. Everything's coming up aces."
Alyssa gasped aloud as he used his sensuous hold to lift her a few
inches off the floor and force her against the bold demand of his hips.
Then her head spun as he carried her that way across the room
and set her down onto the red velvet bed.
When she opened her eyes again, Alyssa found herself once more gazing
at the sight of her naked body reflected in a mirror, this time the
circular one lining the overhead canopy.
Seeing the direction of her gaze, Jordan looked up and grinned
appreciatively. When his eyes found her again, Alyssa knew she was
flushing vividly. A blatant male hunger prowled in those eyes, waiting
to satisfy itself. But that was only fair, she thought suddenly. It had
a feminine counterpart deep in the core of her. She wanted this man in
a way she had never known before. Wordlessly, she held open her arms.
"Alyssa!" He came down to her quickly, gathering her to him. "I want
Alyssa forgot about the canopy mirror, forgot about the garish room and
the circular bed. She forgot she was with a man she had met only a few
hours earlier and about whom she knew almost nothing except that when
it came to math, his mind worked rather like her own. All that mattered
was that he wanted
her and had made her want him with a passion that matched his. The
future was forgotten as she
played the hand fate had dealt her.
Her body gloried beneath the caresses he administered, shivering and
twisting and curling in response. Never would she forget his hands, she
thought vaguely as he stroked a line of fire up the inside of her
thigh. Wonderful, exquisitely aware fingers, full of strength and
power, totally unlike those of any other man in the world, she was
Anxious to please and satisfy in turn, Alyssa explored the contours of
his back with her palms, loving
the hard feel of him. The muscular planes of his buttocks knew the
punishment of her nails, and Jordan groaned beneath it. Pushing her
firmly onto her back, he found the taut peak of one breast with his
tongue and lips.
Again and again, Alyssa moaned beneath his touch.
He trailed tantalizing patterns along every inch of her body from ankle
to throat and used his knee to
open her iegs. Lying half over her in a heavy, passionate sprawl, he
whispered incredibly erotic words, words that should have shocked but
only served to heighten her own need.
"Now, Jordan, please, now!" She lifted her hips, inviting him into her
as, head tipped back across his cradling arm, she squeezed her eyes
tightly shut and begged for him.
He caught one of her wrists, urging her hand down his flat stomach to
the waiting hardness of him,
"Take me, sweetheart. Take me in your soft hand and lead me."
She knew what he was asking; no, demanding. He wanted her to somehow
acknowledge that she was a willing player in this dangerous game.
Jordan was insisting now that she participate to the fullest Was he
also asking for reassurance? Some final proof that she was as eager and
receptive as her body implied?
Whatever the reasons, Alyssa was beyond analyzing them. Her fingers
obeyed his husky instructions, thrilling to the feel of him in her
hand. Gently, a little timidly, she invited him to follow where she led.
"Oh, God, Alyssa!"
Whatever his intentions, Jordan was unable to play the cards as slowly
and tantalizingly as Alyssa sensed he had wanted to do. When her thighs
parted, lifting to meet him, he seemed to lose his control. Instead of
allowing her to finish her task, he shifted his weight with sudden
emphasis, storming her body.
"Jordan!" His name came in a breathless gasp as he took charge of the
hand fate had dealt He wrapped her tightly against him, surging into
her softness and leaving her no option but to respond. Alyssa knew
in that moment that although their meeting might have been a matter of
chance, Jordan Kyle had no intention of ever letting her forget it. He
imprinted his body on hers with all the male power at his command.
He had been every inch the gentleman earlier in the evening, but now
there was no gentlemanly attempt to ease the impact of his weight on
her body. Jordan made no pretense of using his arms to support himself
partially. It was as if he intended she should remember everything
about him, including the way his hard frame crushed her luxuriously
into the red velvet bedspread.
Her head spinning like a roulette wheel, Alyssa gave herself up
completely to the passion of the moment. She clung to the rnan above
her, legs wrapped tightly around his lean hips, her arms around his
neck. It was as if Jordan were a dealer who spun the cards out much too
fast. There was no opportunity to keep track of them or to figure the
odds as the deck was played out All she could do was accept each new
one as it came.
And then she suddenly found herself holding too many cards. There was
an unbearable moment of tension, and then the whole pack seemed to
explode around her. Her body rippled in Jordan's arms, convulsing in a
way that brought a hoarse shout of satisfaction from his own lips. A
few seconds later,
he was joining her in the release.
Down she tumbled in his arms, dazed and awed at the result of the
gamble she had taken. Never had she known anything like this. Never had
she known a man who could bring her so fully alive to the bounty