The Scandalous Warehams. Penny Jordan

The Scandalous Warehams - Penny Jordan

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a suitable crushing response he continued easily, as he filled her glass, ‘It seems to me that the best way to quench your sexual curiosity would be to satisfy it.’

      What the hell had made him say that? Ilios challenged himself grimly. But of course he already knew the answer. Lizzie wasn’t the only one battling against a desire she didn’t want. Maybe what he’d suggested was the best way for them both to rid themselves of a need that neither of them wished to have.

      What was happening? Was she hallucinating or was Ilios actually suggesting …? No, she must be imagining it.

      ‘Is … is that an offer?’ she managed to ask Ilios, in what she hoped was a voice that suggested she knew it wasn’t.

      Only she was left thoroughly bemused at his response.

      ‘If you want it to be.’

      Did she? What was happening here? Was Ilios really implying that he wanted her? Physically? Sexually? In bed?

      Lizzie refused to answer him. She simply didn’t dare.

      She didn’t like the way Ilios was looking at her. And she certainly didn’t like the way that look was making tiny rivulets of giddy excitement and longing rush through her body, like teenage fans rushing towards an idol, oblivious to reality or danger. Neither did she like the way she suddenly and overpoweringly wanted to look at Ilios’s mouth and imagine … She could hardly breathe, barely think—at least not of anything that didn’t involve her getting up close and personal with Ilios and discovering if that full bottom lip did mean what it was supposed to mean. What would happen were she to touch it with her fingertips, taste it with her tongue, explore it and …?

      In desperation Lizzie took what she hoped would be a cooling gulp of her champagne. She certainly needed something to dampen down the sensual heat that had taken hold of her. Ilios was still looking at her—looking at her as though he knew every word she was thinking and every thing she was feeling. No, she did not like that look and all it suggested at all. Lizzie drew in a shaky breath of air as her conscience prodded her. Well, all right, she did like it—but she didn’t like the fact that she liked it.

      The truth was, Lizzie realised ten minutes later, as Ilios held opened the car door for her, that much as she ached for the experience of having sex with Ilios, and eager as she was to explore and appreciate every bit of him, she was still female enough to want him to make the first move and show her that he wanted her as much as if not more than she wanted him. She needed to know his desire for her. She needed to feel that he wanted her so much that he could not deny that wanting. Only then would she truly be able to indulge her own desire for him. And of course that was not going to happen—was it?

      But what if it did? Ilios could be right, and the best way for her to get over the longing that was tormenting her was for her to go to bed with him. Hot excitement kicked through her body. She was a woman, she reminded herself—she was twenty-seven years old, after all—not a teenager. She knew perfectly well what the situation was and she couldn’t claim any different. Did she really want to go back home without experiencing what Ilios offered her just because she had panicked and wanted to be wooed? Wouldn’t she, years from now, look back in regret, or even worse in yearning, for what she had not had? It was perfectly safe, after all, and so was she. It wasn’t as though she was in love with Ilios and thought that somehow having sex with him—making love with him—was going to change him and cause him to fall head over heels in love with her.

      No, this was purely about sexual desire. It was about answering, exploring, satisfying the need that had been aching, growing inside her from their first meeting. No one but the two of them need ever know that she had briefly stepped out of the role she had cast for herself after the death of her parents—a role that meant that she must always be the responsible eldest sister, monitoring her own behaviour in order that she could set their family standards and guide her younger siblings. Here, with Ilios, it was safe for her to experience being what in her real life she could never be—sensually eager, responsive to her own desires and those of her partner, without having to think about anything or anyone else.

      What possible harm could there be in it? If it happened it would be a one-off, that was all—an exciting, tantalising sensual adventure. If Ilios should repeat his offer, was she going to be brave enough to do what she knew she wanted to do? Or was she going to be a coward who would spend the rest of her life regretting her hesitation?

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