Excerpts from Ingénue:
When his hand slid over to her pants zipper, she placed a hand on top of his and moved it away. He kept kissing her, but when she deterred him the second time, he pulled away looking at her quizzically. “I’m getting mixed signals here.” He was genuinely perplexed. “Is this yes or no?”
She realized at that very second the answer to his question, and her own, was no. She felt more than a little guilty for leading him on. “I’m sorry. I’m just not ready, Eric,” she said.
His lips tightened, and he sat up. Sara lay still on the couch, expecting him to try to change her mind. She pulled her camisole down to cover herself. He sat on the side of the couch, resting his elbows on his knees, his shirt hanging loose. Sara peered at him through half closed eyes. He looked so damn sexy! He reached up and rubbed the back of neck. He sighed heavily. “Wow,” he said. “Okay.”
He stood up and buttoned his shirt. She expected him to be angry. She expected him to leave. Instead, he caught her completely off guard. He bent down, and sliding an arm behind her back, and his other under her knees, he swept her up and turned, sitting back on the couch, cradling her in his lap. She stared at him.
“You must think I’m crazy,” she said.
He chuckled, caressing her cheek. “Maybe a little.”
“I’m sorry, Eric. I really am. I feel like an idiot and another very unpleasant word.”
“It’s alright Sara. Despite my reputation, I actually can control myself.”
“I know your reputation. ’Notorious womanizer’ I believe, is what people say.”
He shrugged. “People say a lot of things.”
“Yes, but in your case, it’s true.”
“Look Sara, what do you want me to say?”
“I don’t know.” She shook her head. “If I was going to have a one night stand, it would definitely be with you. Really! It’s not that I don’t want to.”
He squeezed her hand which he was holding. “Yeah, I get it,” he said. “You don’t trust me. I wouldn’t either. So, let’s forget about sex for now. I’d really just like to spend some time with you.”
“You could have told me that Eric was Eric Leland, Mom,” Levi said when she came back upstairs. “It was kind of embarrassing to find out when he showed up at the door with flowers.”
“I didn’t want you to worry,” she replied. “Come help me clean up the kitchen, and tell me what you think.”
Levi began gathering the dirty dishes and setting them on the counter by the sink. She started rinsing the stacked plates and putting them in the dishwasher. “So…?” she said.
“He’s pretty cool, Mom. I like him. He’s not anything like I would have expected. He comes across so arrogant on TV, but he’s surprisingly down-to-earth. Smart, too! And funny. I can see why you fell for him.” Sara smiled. “You didn’t have to send him home because of me you know,” he said as she filled the sink with pots and pans and hot, soapy water.
“Thanks for your permission,” she said, throwing the dish towel at him so he could dry, “but we’re not sleeping together.”
“Okay, Mom,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“Levi,” she said evenly, looking him straight in the eyes, “not that this is any of your business, but I am not sleeping with Eric.”
“Why not?” he asked, shaking his head. “You two are great together. And if I recall correctly, you always told me ‘a physical relationship can be part of a loving relationship,'” he said in a high pitched voice, imitating her.
“I prefer that you wait until you are in a committed, adult relationship,” he continued in his falsetto, “but if you find yourself swept away, please, please, use protection.”
“There’s a damn good reason I stressed that point,” she said, swatting him with a towel.
When she came back a few minutes later, Eric was sitting on the edge of the bed. He had put his boxers back on and was wearing his shirt. It was a very sexy picture. She walked over and handed him the water.
“You’re getting dressed? I thought we had established I like having you naked in my bed,” she said.
He smiled at her. “And there is no place I would rather be. I’m just trying to be prepared.”
“In case you want me to leave. I don’t want to presume that you want me to stay.”
“Don’t you want to?”
“Yes, of course. But not if you don’t want me to. That’s okay too.”
“This is weird,” she said, shaking her head.
“Your wish is my command,” he said.
She stood up, dropped her robe to the floor, and straddled him, this time it was she who tumbled him backwards on the bed. “Stay,” she said, softly. His hands came up, and pulled her mouth down to his, and they made love yet again.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“Sara,” he said, “aren’t you happy to see me?” It was a good question. She had been thinking obsessively about him ever since he’d ravished her so unexpectedly and so satisfyingly the other day. She had, in fact, just sent away the love of her life so she could see him. The look on Eric’s face as he left floated in her mind’s eye. She pushed the thought away.
Right now, Nathan Remington was standing in front of her. She had not expected to see him again. Was she glad to see him? She was definitely having a physical reaction to his presence. She wondered again why he had this effect on her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, taking a seat away from him. She wanted to keep as much distance as possible between them. She didn’t trust herself to be near him.
“No small talk, Sara?”
“Sure, whatever. Take your time getting to the point, if there is one. It seems I’ve cleared my schedule for you.”
“Don’t be sarcastic. It doesn’t become you.” She shrugged. “Don’t play with me Sara,” he said. She sat, silently waiting for him to tell her why he was there.
“I haven’t been able to think of anything but you since the other day. I don’t know how you’ve bewitched me, but you have. I am besotted. I crave you. I’ve got to have you. Don’t you understand?”
She thought she did. She stood up, and started to walk over to him.
“No,” he said, and she stopped. “The other day was so rushed. I want to take my time.” He smiled at her. “Take your clothes off.”
“What?” She stared at him.
“I want you to undress for me.” She realized he was perfectly serious. He sat on the couch looking at her expectantly. “You aren’t going to feign modesty, are you? With me?” She felt herself flush. “I love it when you blush! You look so innocent. But we know better, don’t we?”
Sara sensed that he would not relent until she acquiesced to his demand. She also knew she would do it. She would undress for him. She reached down and grabbed her sweater and pulled it off over her head. Nathan smiled, and leaned back on the couch. She stared at him mutely, unable to stop her body from trembling, whether from shame or excitement, she did not know.
She turned her back to him before reaching behind and unhooking her bra. Her hands were shaking. She slipped it off and let it drop to the floor. She turned to face him, her arms crossed in front of her.
“No, Sara, I want to see. Don’t cover yourself.” She looked at the floor, and slowly lowered her arms. “Look at me.” She forced herself to meet his gaze. “You have lovely breasts. Don’t you want me to look at them?” Despite feeling exposed and embarrassed, Sara had to admit she was aroused. His voice, low and husky, sent shivers through her.
She unzipped her jeans. She hooked her thumbs in the waist and began to slowly inch them down. They were snug fitting so she wriggled a little trying to get them over her hips. She saw Nathan smile. She stooped and pulled them off her feet. She straightened, standing there in nothing but a pair of black, lace underwear. She hesitated.
“Don’t stop,” he said. “Take them off.” His words were a caress. Sara shivered with anticipation, and felt the throb of desire. Trembling, she began to slowly pull the underwear down. Nathan drew in a sharp breath, and leaned forward on the couch.
The panties dropped. Sara straightened up and instinctively crossed her hands in front of her. “No,” Nathan admonished her gently. “Let me see.” Staring at the floor, she let her hands drop to her sides. “Lovely,” Nathan sighed.