“What’s this?” he asked, cupping her face in his hand and running the thumb along the lower edge of her too-full lips. “A little hint of maturity? Silvie Childs apologizing?”
She nipped his thumb at the jibe, not hard, just enough that he hissed out a breath in reaction. All hint of humor fled from him. He was intent, serious now, every nerve in his body on high alert. “Is that how you want to play it?” he whispered, his voice guttural. “Huh?” He moved a little closer to her, maneuvering her up against the open door. Slipped his thumb between her lips, parting them. “You think we’ve danced around this enough for one day, hmm?”
“I don’t know what you mean.” Her lips brushed against his thumb as she spoke, igniting a spark within him. Interesting.
“Liar,” he said as he dipped his head close enough to replace his thumb with his lips. But he didn’t. Instead, he skimmed his lips along her cheekbone to her right ear, flicked his tongue along the rim of the opening. Into her ear, he whispered, “When you stop lying to yourself, I’ll give you what you want.”
She grabbed the hand he still cupped her face with, the gesture almost – convulsive. Hmm, what was that about? Her breath in his ear sent a shiver throughout his body. “And what,” she whispered against his cheek, “do you think I want?”
He nipped her earlobe, smiled at her shocked gasp. Soothing the nip with a flick of his tongue, he murmured, “Oh, I don’t know.” Into her ear, “Think about it.” Sliding his lips along her cheek as he withdrew, he couldn’t resist allowing the tip of his tongue to flit across her lips in parting. When she opened her mouth as if in protest, he warned, “Uh-ah, you’ve got to stop lying to yourself first.”
She slipped her fingers into his hair, grabbing hanks of it to anchor his head and prevent his retreat. He resisted the urge to smile – and to kiss her when she made the overture to him. He merely slipped his thumb back over her lips, using it as a barrier between them. When she cast him a pleading look, he asked, “Do you still hate me?”
“Yes,” she admitted when he slid his thumb away, releasing her lips from captivity. “More than ever.”
He smiled and angled his head, as if preparing to kiss her. “Why?” he asked instead.
“You know why!”
“Mm,” he murmured, accepting that as her answer. “And who do you hate more right now?” He dipped his head a little closer. “Me, because I won’t do what you want – or you, because you want it?”
“Me, all me,” she whispered as she swooped in close and took what she wanted from him. What he allowed her to take from him. Voraciously.
Good Lord, he thought moments before she pulled away, shock at her own actions clearly written on her face. Where had she learned to kiss like that?
“Ah, Silvie,” he said, dragging his thumb over her full lower lip before he favored her with a lingering, open-mouthed kiss, “I don’t think you hate me as much as you think you do.” He pulled back before she could respond – to his words or his kiss – and jogged down the three short steps from her front porch to the walkway. “Goodnight, Silvie,” he called over a shoulder. “Lock the door behind me.”