He ignores me completely and instead slides his finger down to the bow between my breasts. “The smallest bow I’ve ever seen.” He dips his head and bites it. We’re going so slowly, I wouldn’t be surprised to open my eyes and see daylight. He’s always completely different from what I expect. Soft instead of hard. Slow instead of fast. Shy instead of brash. My previous boyfriends and any of their egg-timer foreplay attempts are distant memories now that I’m experiencing the intense pleasure of lying underneath Josh. He slides a hand into my hair and the scrape of his nails against my scalp makes my skin break into goose bumps. He licks them. He coils up smoothly to kneel between my feet, seemingly just for a better view. It works for me. I watch his stomach flex, and I make a sound like ohhgah. “How do you even look like this?” “I don’t have anything better to do than go to the gym.” “You do now.” I sit up too and drag my mouth across the muscles, and I do what I’ve always wanted to. I get my hands on his ass, and it is fabulous. His hands slide into my hair and I begin making out with his stomach. I can’t help myself. I find a little bit of hair, and look up to see he’s got a light dusting on his chest, in a line down, disappearing beyond the waistband of his suit pants. “Horny eyes,” he tells me shakily. “No kidding. I want to snort you. You always smell amazing.” I press my nose into his skin and breathe in as hard as I can, and he begins to laugh. I look up at him and grin. His fingers are resting on the zip at my side. “I’m completely covered in bruises,” I say by way of a disclaimer. I suck my stomach in, looking at his abs. “You’re cute when you get shy. I’ll go slow.” He eases one strap down, lets it rest against my arm. He does the same with the other one. He bites his lip. “I’m going to sit down. I feel too tall.” There’s a brief reshuffle when he leans against the headboard and I settle between his legs and rest back against him. His hands spread over my shoulders, and my eyes close as he begins to rub, the sweetest, most strangely timed massage. Most men would be unzipping and feeling by now, but he’s not most men. “You sat like this when you were sick.” He continues to massage, the friction between us blooming outward. He scoops my hair away and presses his mouth on the side of my neck. I’ll barely be able to remember my own name at this rate. He slides his hand into the satin and weighs my bare breast in his hand. Slowly, gently, his fingers pinch. “Oh, yeah,” he groans, and presses his mouth back to my neck. I hear the sound I make. The kind of harsh intake people usually make from extreme pain. Except I feel like I’m halfway to orgasm. “Imagine all the things we’re going to do,” he says, almost to himself. “I don’t want to imagine. I want to know.” My feet are scrambling uselessly against the sheets, like I’m being electrocuted. “You will. But tonight isn’t enough, I can already feel it. I’ve always told you, I need days. Weeks.” I barely notice the zipper sliding down. He’s easing me out of the stretchy satin, because the feeling of his big palms smoothing over me is sublime. I’m being coddled and patted, skin warmed, everything admired. When I manage to open my eyes, his breath is steaming hot underneath my ear and the cream fabric is puddled at my waist. He unclips my stockings and leans over my shoulder to look at me. “Mmm.” He hooks his fingers into the sides of the fabric at my hips, tugs it down my legs and I’m naked except for my stockings. I see the leg of his suit pants, which makes my nudity feel even more vulnerable. I bring my knees up, trying to hide myself, but there’s no point. He makes kind, soothing sounds against the back of my ear. His huge hand strokes down my hip, my thigh, then clasps my waist. The other hand follows suit. “Lucy,” is all he can seem to say. “Lucy. How am I going to walk away from tonight? Seriously. How?” I get goose bumps. I’m wondering the same thing. I let my head drop to one side, and we kiss. I’m hoarse and breathless. “I’m gonna die tonight. Please take your pants off.” “I want that embroidered on a pillow,” he says, and I laugh until I’m gasping. “You’re so funny. I’ve always thought so. I could never laugh, but I wanted to.” “Ah, so that’s one of your rules.” He slides off the bed, hand on the button at his waistband. “So the aim of the game is to not laugh?” “The aim is to make the other person laugh. Come on. I’m getting cold.” I’m getting impatient, more like. He pulls the sheets and blankets over me when I shiver and I watch him like a lecherous creep as he manages to ease the zip down on his pants. “I have my own rules. And the aim of the game is different for me.” Watching Josh take off a pair of suit pants is on another level. He’s in these stretchy black trunks. They’re badly bent out of shape in front. “Do tell. Come on.” He slides those shorts down, and my mouth drops open. Seems that even my fevered imagination was woefully inadequate. I’m about to tell him that he is glorious when he snaps the lamp and we are plunged into darkness. “No! Josh, that’s absolutely not fair. Light on. I want to look at you.” I flail my arm at the lamp but when he slides into the blankets and I register the warmth of his body against mine, we make identical sounds of disbelief. Skin to skin. The heat of it. I have no idea where he is precisely. He’s all over me. I think I feel his breath in my hair, but we roll a little and when he sighs it’s down near my rib cage. It’s disconcerting and erotic and I nearly jolt out of my skin when he slides one hand across my ribs. Another hand is dispensing with my stockings, smoothing down my legs. He’s touching my ankle and gently pinching at the little curve of my waist. I’ve got hands sliding all over me. “You’re so soft it’s ridiculous. Everywhere my hand slides, you fit me. I was so right.” He demonstrates. Throat. Breast. Ribs. Hips. Then he shows me his mouth fits perfectly too. My skin heats with every kiss and press. He licks at the sheen of sweat beginning to mist across me, and I hear a faraway sound that I realize is me. Whimpering, begging noises. He takes no notice and shows no pity. He presses his perfect mouth on whatever section of skin he pleases. Inch by inch, he is charting me like a map. Which is all very well, except that Josh has a body that I need to get my hands on. When he’s partway through traversing the upper curve of my spine, my pleading whispers begin to wear him down. “Please let me touch you.” He relents and rolls me over, and I run my hands down his neck to the big muscles at the tops of his arms. I squeeze. I bite. I use both hands to stroke down one bicep, weighing the muscle in my hand. It’s such a pleasure, to be touching someone else. It’s satin, this skin. My palms tingle from stroking it. My mouth fits everywhere that I can kiss him. My eyes are adjusting, and I can see the glint in his eye as I take my time, testing every new muscle, tendon, and joint that I encounter. In the dark, I slide my body against his, feeling his sighs, and I tug him down to lie on me properly. “I’m pretty heavy. I’ll flatten you.” “I’ve had a good life.” He laughs, husky and pleased, and obeys me, pressing me down so firmly into the mattress I lose half the air in my lungs. “Oh, so good. So heavy. I love it.” He kneels up after another minute because I am gradually dying. I reach down between us and take hold of his intriguing hardness. He lets me fondle and play until his every broken breath convinces me of the fact that he’s falling apart at the seams, and it’s because of me. I can’t think of anything more I could win. But then I feel his mouth against my hip bone, and then he starts kissing my thighs. I have to laugh, both from the tickling of his stubble and the memory of our uniform argument from a lifetime ago. He kisses my thighs in openmouthed reverence, whispering things I can’t properly hear. They feel like they must be complimentary words; the hot breath punctuated with licks, bites, more kisses. I could never withstand the soft pressure of this mouth, and there’s no doubting his intention. My legs fall open, and I stare into the dark at the ceiling. The first touch is a swirl. The kind of lick you’d make to the top of a melting ice cream cone. I breathe in so hard I nearly snort, and he kisses my inner thigh, a reward. I can’t form any human words. The second is a kiss, and I think of his signature first-date kiss; chaste, soft, no tongue. The promise of everything to come. I hug a pillow and decide he’s never going on a first date with anyone, ever again. The third is a kiss again, but it disintegrates from chaste to dirty so slowly I barely know when it’s changed. He’s got all the time in the world and with each minute ticking by, my body simultaneously relaxes and winds tighter. I find my voice and manage to sound crisp and prissy. “I don’t think there’s anything about doing this in the HR manual.” I can feel him shiver and groan. “Sorry,” he tells me. “You’re right.” He doesn’t stop, but continues to flaunt the HR regulations for an untold number of minutes. I’m shaking closer and closer to the blinding personal explosion I feel nearby on the horizon. Frankly I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long. I put a hand down and sink my fingers into his hair and tug. “I can’t handle it. Please. I need more. Way, way more.” I slide away, clutching at him, pulling him up by the arm with superhuman strength. He sighs indulgently and kneels up, and I finally hear that magic foil-rip. His voice would sound authoritative when he speaks next, except it has a shaky, breathless edge, totally undermining his efforts. “I’m finally having you.” “I’m finally having you,” I counter.