Authors: Jeannie Moon
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary
“Oh, my God.” Yeah, definitely embarrassed. “Oh, my God.” Caroline shot to her feet and circled around to the back of the couch, putting the immense piece of furniture between them.
Josh didn’t know what to say to her, because he knew he’d taken advantage of the situation. But part of him wasn’t sorry about it. Kissing Caroline had been a dream for him too, and this was the last thing Josh expected.
“Why were we kissing?” she asked. Her eyes were wide, darting around the room like she was looking for an escape, and he didn’t know how to answer her.
“Josh? There’s an explanation, right?”
Was there one? She looked sleepy and pretty and she thought she was dreaming about him and that Josh had had too much to drink. It was the truth, but was it good enough?
“You, ah . . . damn.” He didn’t know how he was going to talk to her about this without sounding completely lame. Lame. He never had to make excuses for kissing anyone. But she was different. He should have felt fraternal, protective, but he didn’t. Looking at Caroline’s messy hair, flushed cheeks, and her big, chocolate-colored eyes, Josh didn’t feel brotherly at all. He felt like kissing her again.
It didn’t take a split second for him to move and in a few strides he was on her side of the sofa, hauling her into his arms. Caroline seemed to stop breathing as she looked up at him. He felt her hands against his chest and every inch of her fit snugly against him. She was tiny, but there was a strength in her—something powerful, and he couldn’t understand why he’d never noticed before.
When she finally drew a breath, she spoke. “Are you going to kiss me again, Josh?”
He nodded. Just nodded, because he didn’t know what to say.
“Oh,” she squeaked out. “Okay.”
Her consent, her acceptance, made him smile. It seemed that when she understood that he didn’t see it as a mistake, her embarrassment faded. The truth was, the path they were heading down was not a good one, and Josh should have put on the brakes, taken the blame and taken Caroline home.
He would take her home. At some point.
For now, though, he was going to kiss her again and see where that led.
Caroline thought she was dreaming before, but with Josh’s arms wrapped securely around her she was sure she was still asleep, because this was just too good to be real. But then his lips touched hers and everything caught fire. Yeah, this was plenty real.
Caroline had imagined for years what it would be like to kiss Josh Campbell. She’d dreamed about him and let him take the lead in all her fantasies, but nothing prepared her for the warmth, the strength, the gentleness she was experiencing now. She burned from the inside out. Josh’s hands moved in a rhythm of their own. One hand slipped to her head, and she felt him pull the hair tie that was holding her ponytail. He cradled her head with one hand and let the other settle at the small of her back. He was firm, but so very careful it was almost like he knew.
Caroline froze. He couldn’t know the truth. Could he?
The kiss was a bright light flashing in her mind like a beacon, telling her exactly what she should do. She needed this.
Pulling back, Caroline looked into Josh’s eyes, enjoyed the perfect features of his face. She stroked his cheek because that seemed like just the right thing to do.
“Do you want me to take you home?” His voice was hoarse, raspy, like he was fighting to find the sound.
“No,” she said, shaking her head for good measure.
“No,” she said again before stretching up to leave a trail of kisses along his jaw. Who had taken possession of her? This was not a stuffy, nervous engineer. It was possible the wine had Caroline channeling her inner romance-novel heroine. But it was Josh who lost his breath, and suddenly Caroline relished the power she had as the big man fell victim to the special magic she didn’t know she possessed. This was a heady thing.
“Mmmm . . .”
“I need you to do something for me.”
“Anything,” he said, and that’s when Caroline knew exactly what she wanted. Pressing closer, she could feel him, feel his hard body, feel his warmth, and even though she was scared out of her mind, Caroline decided to leap before she looked.
“Take me to bed.”
Now it was Josh’s turn to freeze. His turn to be nervous. “R-really?” he stammered. “Bed?”
“Yes. Bed. Make love to me, Josh.”
Josh’s fingers were threaded through Caroline’s hair and her words still thrummed in his head.
She wanted to go to bed with him. There were two things warring inside him—first, she was his sister-in-law’s sister and he’d known Caroline since she was a little girl. On the other hand, he had a warm, willing woman who wanted him. A beautiful woman. He liked her. He liked kissing her and he had no doubt that he’d like having sex with her.
“You’re sure. Not too drunk?”
“I’m a little drunk, but I know what I want.” Josh shuddered when she kissed the hollow at the base of his throat. She was not at all what he expected. The quiet little nerd had a hot and steamy side, and he felt the effects deeply. But his silence must have gone on longer than he thought because her eyes, wicked a few seconds ago, became unsure. Caroline dropped her head.
“You don’t want me,” she whispered.
“What? No, no.” Damn. He never hesitated, about anything. Why did it happen now? “I just want to make sure you want this.”
She nodded, still not looking up. That was it. Josh put his fingers under her chin and tipped her face toward his. He needed to see her eyes when she answered. “Caroline? Yes? Because I’m about to go off here, and I need to know if I’m going to get hot and sweaty with you or take a cold shower by myself.”
“Hot and sweaty,” she said on a breath. All Josh could do was thank God she didn’t change her mind, because he was more worked up about Caroline than he had been about any woman in a long time. He had no idea what this all meant. If he thought about it, it might just scare the shit out of him, because for Josh, sex was always just sex.
But as he went for her again, kissing her with more urgency and fear than he could remember, every reason why they shouldn’t do this went through his head.
He and Caroline were friends. Hell, they were family. They had a connection. He’d have to see her again.
But even with a thousand warning bells going off, he didn’t stop. Couldn’t stop.
Her kisses were perfect, sweet and worth every risk. Wrapping his arms around her, Josh lifted her into his arms and marveled at how light she was, but there was still a softness to her body, a curviness that he loved. Her hair tumbled down her back and over his arm and it was one more thing that sent his senses reeling.
“I can walk,” she said.
“I know, but I’m going to take care of you.”
Caroline giggled against his mouth and Josh couldn’t think of anything but being inside her, and as he thought about how that would feel, it also dawned on him that Caroline probably didn’t have a lot of experience. Based on the way she reacted to the guy who’d been hitting on her, he was sure of it.
Walking into his bedroom, he felt her snuggle closer, and Josh had to remind himself to slow things down.
As she was swallowed by the deep mattress and soft bedding, Josh didn’t waste any time taking off his shirt and lying down next to her. She turned toward him, reaching out and examining his bare chest. Caroline turned her eyes to meet his and the second her little pink tongue darted out and she licked her lips, Josh’s control snapped.
He turned her on her back and braced himself above her. “You have too many clothes on.” And with those words, Josh started undressing Caroline. She looked surprised and nervous, but it didn’t stop him as he pulled the sweater over her head, eased off her skirt and tights and left her lying on his bed in a plain white bra and panties.
The object of his lust was wearing granny panties.
No bombshell in his bed tonight, but that was fine with him. The way Caroline was looking up at him made Josh wonder why he bothered with the high-maintenance socialites he usually dated. By this point, the little makeup Caroline wore was gone and her skin was soft, smooth, and she seemed to glow from the inside out. It was natural, pure, and it totally consumed him.
Undoing the front clasp of her bra, Josh watched the color flood Caroline’s face and neck as he leaned in and blew on her very pink nipples. They pebbled under the air and she let out a little gasp. Just a little one, but it was enough for Josh to want to take a taste and see what other noises he could illicit from her. So when his mouth closed over her breast, he wasn’t disappointed.
Caroline didn’t know she could make sounds like the one that just came out of her mouth. But with Josh paying such thorough attention to her breasts, she didn’t know how she was breathing, much less making noise. It felt so good, so good. Every place he touched or kissed gave her more raw pleasure than she’d ever known.
His hands were at her waist, moving, barely moving, until he started sliding her underwear down her legs. Caroline wondered why she wasn’t uncomfortable or feeling shy, and she guessed that it had to do with the fact that Josh made her comfortable. She felt his lips skimming her belly, the brush of his beard, and she reached for him, stroking his hair as he moved, moved . . .
Caroline saw a flash of light, heat seemed to flood her core, and it took a second for her to realize what Josh was doing down there. With his lips and his tongue. God, he was good at it. Practice obviously made perfect.
She shouldn’t think about anything he’d done before—just what he was doing to her now. Would he want her to go . . . to do . . .
There was a noise, a long keening that Caroline realized after a few seconds was coming from her. Inside she felt muscles tense and throb, and awareness of what this man did to her, the orgasm that she hoped was just the beginning.
“You have a hair trigger, Miss Rossi. Been a while?”
Caroline nodded. Saying it had “been a while” wasn’t completely accurate, but it was the best she could do considering there was no way she was going to tell him the truth. If she did, he’d treat her like the freak she was and send her home. No, she was going to do this and he would never know. She had enough nerve, and the truth of it was that this was Josh, the man she’d always wanted to sleep with even when she didn’t realize that what a woman did with a man in bed had nothing to do with sleeping. She’d been waiting for this. For him.
Josh had moved next to her and shucked off his pants and boxers, and Caroline made herself look at him. All of him. She’d seen naked men when she was away at college, but he was . . . he was really big, and that’s when Caroline started to panic. How was she going to pull this off?
Being a virgin upset her like nothing else in her life, and no one knew, not even her sister or her mother. She was ashamed that she was so backward, but it was one of those things that got away from her.
College was so hard. She’d gone to Cornell for engineering and had gotten amazing grades, but her social life had been almost nonexistent. She had friends, but they were all so busy studying and interning and trying to get ahead that they didn’t have time to date. Caroline figured she’d have more time for a real relationship when she graduated and got a job.
The only prospects she’d had since starting work were from guys like Mark.
She wished she’d been like her friends who’d slept with guys just to get the virginity thing out of the way, but she couldn’t do it. Every time she got close, something stopped her. Caroline wanted romance, she wanted love, but she never gave herself the go-ahead to get involved. With anyone. Especially not for a one-night stand. Of course, now she was painfully inexperienced at twenty-seven.
and her first time was going to be with Josh Campbell. A man so experienced she was actually a little afraid.
Okay, a lot afraid.
Caroline had gotten over her infatuation with Josh while she was away at school. At least she thought she had. When Meg married Jason, and Josh was back in the picture, Caroline’s crush had returned full force. And even though she hadn’t ever thought that their being together was a real possibility, the hope was always there.
The bottom line? Caroline was breaking every rule, acting before thinking something through, and she didn’t care. She was in bed with her dream man and even though she didn’t know what to do with him, she knew this was right.
Josh reached over and grabbed a condom from his nightstand and made quick work of it. Caroline gripped the bed and hoped it didn’t hurt too much. She had no idea what to expect but between his size and her “condition”, this wasn’t going to be rapture; that much was certain.
“Jesus, Caroline. Breathe,” he said. His voice was hoarse with need. “You’re going to pass out, and I need you awake for this.”
“Sorry,” she said, exhaling. “I guess I’m nervous.”
Josh, who had been kissing her neck and working her body back into a frenzy, stopped and looked into her eyes. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
His face was so perfect, his expression so kind. It was the last thing she expected from the gruff, no-nonsense Josh. He pretty much just gave her permission to back out, but instead, Caroline reached out and touched his jaw, rough with stubble. There was no way to say no to him. No way.
She felt him hard against her leg, pressing close, and she thought of how he would feel inside her. Her body burned from the sheer need.
“I want this,” she finally said. “But you’re so . . .” She stopped and decided not to say anything else. She just grabbed his face in both her hands, and kissed him.
Josh didn’t ask any more questions. His hands slid around her and lifted her butt, tilting her hips. He shifted his body and that’s when Caroline knew she couldn’t stop kissing him. It was the only thing giving her courage. The only thing she could focus on. His mouth. His hands. And then she felt the push, the nudge, as he stated to enter her. He was straining for control, going so, so slowly.
“God, you’re so wet, Caroline.” He said it against her lips and it wasn’t his lust that got to her, but the complete pleasure he seemed to feel when he knew she was ready for him. He pushed a little deeper. All Caroline could think was that if she was really wet it might hurt less. Yeah, she couldn’t think, about anything. She just had to keep kissing him.
“And you’re so damned tight. Christ.”
He pushed in a little more and Caroline felt herself stretch. “Josh, that feels so good.”
Did it feel good? Yes, it did. It was a glorious discomfort, but she was relaxing into it. She didn’t know what made her do it, but she nipped at his lower lip and he sucked in a breath. Her arms were around him and her hands felt the muscles bunch in his shoulders and back. He was holding onto the last thread of his control, and Caroline learned that she really liked the idea that she could get him to break.
So this time, she scraped her teeth along his neck and that’s all it took. He groaned, pulled her hips tight against him and surged. His movements, his body, overwhelmed any resistance, and Caroline was the one who gasped as she not only adjusted to being fully penetrated by this man, but recovered from the broken innocence.
She shifted her hips a little and he responded, slowly gliding in and out, and Caroline’s mind could only focus on what she was feeling.
Why was I afraid of this? Why did I wait so long?
This was amazing. He was amazing.
Josh’s eyes fixed on her and his expression changed. There was something different in the way he was looking at her and she wondered if somehow he knew. How could he know?
“You waited?” he whispered in her ear. “You should have told me . . .” His breathing was short as he lifted his head and looked into her eyes.
Oh, God. Had she said it out loud? She was so focused on what was happening with her body that she didn’t even realize she’d said it out loud.
Her words were lost before she could respond because the heat was building like a storm low in her belly, and Caroline knew that once the orgasm hit, she wouldn’t be coherent.
“Caroline.” Her name came out of him in a broken breath. “I can’t . . . I want . . .”
“Shhh,” she said, holding his face in her hands. He was straining, trying to hold back, and all she could do was kiss him. Her lips brushed over his face and when his eyes locked on hers she saw everything she’d ever dreamed of seeing. There was passion, desire—Josh wanted her. He was as consumed by their lovemaking as she was. They were in sync—completely together.
Her body was hot and damp, almost sticky, as she started to match his pace. She’d done her research, knew the mechanics, but nothing could have prepared her for the rush of sensations. Instinctively, she knew what to do, how to move, where to touch him. There were still twinges of soreness, but all she could feel was Josh, the hard smoothness as he kept moving, kept driving, until she felt her core tighten and a wild spasm start. Caroline couldn’t stay quiet. She thought what he did with his mouth was a miracle, but this? This was almost sacred.
Josh threw his head back, and Caroline reveled in the expression on his face. Pure pleasure, pure release as he came and called her name. Every muscle in his body seemed to seize up before he collapsed on top of her. It was a miracle. A beautiful miracle.
He called her name.
She held him close, wrapping her arms around her spent hero, loving how she’d pushed him right over the edge. His head was resting on her chest and everything was pretty much perfect. If he drew her into his arms and held her, it would be perfect.
Then Josh lifted his head and Caroline saw the question in his eyes and the annoyance written on his face.
“You and I need to have a little talk.”
Obviously, there would be no after-sex cuddling. She was in trouble.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” Josh paced around his room, yanking on a pair of gym shorts, so angry with himself he couldn’t see straight. “Jesus, Caroline. I didn’t want to be your first. I never wanted to be anyone’s first!” Caroline was sitting cross-legged on the bed, her head down.
He’d taken her virginity, he’d upset her. Yeah, he was just a fucking prince. Good God, he still couldn’t wrap his head around it.
The woman was a virgin
. She was a twenty-seven-year-old professional living in New York and he was her first. How did someone get to be her age and not have sex?