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By:Kim Linwood

The whole place is neat and tidy, like a model apartment that no one lives in.

I don’t know who Gavin really is, but he’s money and that somehow makes me even more nervous.

There’s a large fireplace in the corner that flares up when he hits a switch on the wall, filling the room with silent, flickering light. “I like the real wood ones better.” It’s the first thing he’s said since we left the club. “Gas is convenient, but it’s just not the same sound and smell, you know?”

Right, like I’m the type of girl who has opinions on decorative fireplaces that probably cost more than my car. I turn to him. This is all too much. I just need to get it over with. I haven’t changed my mind, but it makes me a little sad to think that my first time has turned into something to get over with.

When I speak, I hear the tightness in my own voice. “Where’s the bedroom?”

He chuckles. “Well, aren’t you all business tonight? Fine, this way, babe.” Crossing his arms over his torso to peel his t-shirt off as he walks, he casually throws it aside while he leads the way to a closed white door.

I’m glad his back is to me, because while his shirt didn’t leave a lot to the imagination, I didn’t expect all the ink that covers his massive torso. Abstract designs made with sleek edges and sharp points wrap themselves around his left shoulder and arm. A pair of Chinese dragons in full color spew fire across his back, undulating as he moves. A single lone dove decorates his right side.

Do they mean anything? I want to ask, but it doesn’t matter. I’m not here to get to know this guy. He’s just taking my cherry. I don’t need to know anything about him except that he’s good in bed, and something tells me he will be.

As soon as we enter the room, he turns, putting me face to chest with his massive inked pecs. He’s chiseled like a Greek god, a masterwork even Michelangelo would’ve been proud to show off. I get the urge to touch him, to trace the designs on his skin with my finger, but I don’t. It feels too personal. Unlike sex. This is crazy.

Putting his finger underneath my chin, he lifts my gaze to meet his. It’s smoldering, his hazel eyes deep and intense. The flecks of color seem to change in the flickering light from the fireplace. Mine feel almost plain in comparison. No matter what he’d said about my eyes earlier at the club, I think I’m the one at risk of getting lost.

He leans close, and I barely get my hands up onto his powerful chest before his lips claim mine. I hadn’t meant to kiss him. For some reason it feels more intimate than just doing it, but suddenly there’s a current running through us, raising all the little hairs on my arms into tingling goosebumps. I don’t push him away. Hell, I even kiss him back. God, he feels good.

His hands drop to my shoulders, then slide softly down my back, gliding over the skin exposed by my dress. Experienced fingers find the zipper and tug, sliding it smoothly down towards the small of my back.

Oh crap. It’s finally happening. I’m really doing this. Closing my eyes, I try not to think about it too much. I’m doing this for us. For me and Paul.

Right? I couldn’t really want this arrogant jerk. He’s just a means to an end. My thoughts flit back to Paul and I almost stop right there. Am I doing the right thing? The obvious answer is no, but then I already know that.

I stop thinking. Instead I explore Gavin with my hands, running my fingers across his silky skin, his tight abs, tracing the inky designs that cover him. His body’s so hard, so strong. He can do anything he wants to me and there’s nothing I can do to stop him. I’ve put myself right into his power, which is both incredibly scary and ridiculously sexy. There’s intense heat building inside me, making want to get out of my suddenly too warm clothes.

He’s happy to help, sliding my dress off my shoulders and down my arms before letting it drop to pool around my ankles. I’m standing here in just my underwear and heels, vulnerable and terrified, yet shivering with need. How does his touch do this to me so easily? If I’d felt this with Paul, there’s no way I’d have been able to wait. It seems so wrong. I shouldn’t be wanting Gavin more than my actual boyfriend.

His hot fingers trace across my skin, sliding over my sides and down to my hips, then cupping my ass and pulling me closer. He’s still wearing his pants, but the large bulge is unmistakable as it presses against my stomach. I shiver in fear, or anticipation.

Tracing a path along my jaw and down into the crook of my neck, his soft lips kiss and nibble their way across my skin. With one hand still holding me close, he glides his other up my back until he reaches the catch on my bra. I draw a sharp breath, holding it.