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“You like being in control, don’t you?”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “No. I love being in control.”

“So what are your plans for me?”

“Come here, and I’ll tell you.”

It seemed like it took her forever to reach his side, but at last she was there, heart racing, her mouth so dry. As she carefully sat down next to him she held out her hand for the champagne. He handed her the flute and she took a hasty sip, the cold, tart bubbles warming and fizzing all the way down. She took another sip for courage and then another to help her relax.

Dal reached out and removed the glass from her trembling fingers. “Easy,” he cautioned. “You don’t want to get sick.”

“It’s just champagne.”


She drew a quick breath, wondering how this would go, and what it’d be like to consummate the marriage. “You said it will sting.”

“It’s what I’ve been told.”

“Will it be bad?”

He reached out and pushed her heavy hair back from her face. “I am not an expert in virgins. The whole idea of deflowering a woman has never appealed to me.”

“I thought men loved the idea of being the first.”

“I think those must be very insecure men.”

“You wouldn’t care if I’d been with other men?”

“Do you care that I’ve been with other women?”


His eyes flashed fire, and his head dropped, his mouth covering hers. The kiss was hot and slow, and so incredibly sensual it made her head spin.

She reached for him, holding on to his shoulders, pulling herself closer, needing more of his warmth, and strength and skin. She remembered the night in the pool and how he’d felt against her, and she wanted that pressure and pleasure now.

“Please take your shirt off,” she murmured. “Let me feel you.”

“If you want it off, you take it off,” he answered, his deep voice pitched low.

She felt a frisson of nervous excitement at the hungry, predatory gleam in his eyes as she rose up on her knees to better reach the middle button on his shirt since the top ones were already undone.

When she struggled to get the button unfastened he lifted her off her knees and placed her on his lap, so that she was straddling him, her sheer gown floating out on either side as if they were wings of a jeweled butterfly. Poppy could feel the hard press of his arousal through his trousers. She was wearing nothing beneath her delicate gown and his thick, blunt head pressed against her core.

He was hard, and hot and she shuddered as he shifted his hips, his length rubbing against her where she was open and sensitive.

“My shirt?” he drawled, leaning back to watch her at her task.

Her hands shook as she struggled to unfasten one button and then another. Again, he shifted his hips, the rocking motion deliberate, and this time she pressed down on him, welcoming the feel of his thick tip pressing between her folds, nudging her bud, flooding her with pleasure.

Poppy glanced up into his face. His black lashes had dropped over his eyes, concealing his expression, and yet the sensual set of his full, firm mouth sent twin shots of lust and adrenaline through her.

He was so beautiful. So incredibly handsome and physical.

She’d never met any man half so appealing. Had never met any man she’d wanted the way she wanted him. She’d fought her attraction for years, but there was no more fighting her desire, or him. She just wanted to be his. She wanted to belong to him.

“Are we going to just leave the shirt on?” he asked, arching a brow. He didn’t sound annoyed, or impatient. If anything, he sounded very pleased with himself, and her and all of this.

“Focusing now,” she answered, forcing herself to finish with the unbuttoning of the shirt, even though she could barely focus thanks to the heat of his thighs and the way the hard length of him seemed to be making her melt.

And then at last his shirt was open and she leaned forward, her breasts brushing his chest, to push the smooth fabric off his shoulders and then down each arm until his arms were free and his muscular torso was beautifully bare. Her breasts brushed against him again as she reached for the shirt and tossed it away.

“You are a tease,” he growled.

“Me? You’re the one making me do all the work,” she answered, even as she flashed him a shy, breathless smile.

* * *

The air practically crackled and hummed with desire. Dal had to fight to keep his hands at his sides and not touch Poppy as she finished stripping the shirt off his arms.

Her full breasts had swayed and bounced beneath the sheer ivory chiffon fabric, her dark pink nipples teasing the hell out of him, the tips pebbled tight. It didn’t help that she was impossibly hot and wet. He wanted to bury himself inside her, thrusting hard and deep, but she was inexperienced and even though it had been years since he’d made love, he wasn’t going to rush their first night. He wanted her to see herself as he saw her—seductive, stunning, powerful, feminine. Perfect.

He reached up to touch her, finding her breast through her sheer beaded gown. Her nipple puckered tighter at the touch and she gasped a little as he pinched the tender peak. He watched her face as he stroked her and then took her breast into his mouth.

She groaned as he sucked and kneaded the warm, sensitive peak with his tongue and lips. He reached up to cup her other breast while he continued sucking. She rocked against him, hot and damp and aching for relief, and it crossed his mind that he’d never seen anything half as erotic as Poppy rocking on his lap.

He wanted so badly to be inside her. He wanted to feel her tight heat wrap his length, and when his control threatened to snap, he swung her into his arms and carried her into the bedroom, placing her in the middle of the bed.

She fell backward with a soft sigh onto the sheets. She was still breathing hard, her beautiful, dark eyes wide and luminous, her cheeks flushed, her luscious lips parted and pink. He leaned over her, drinking her in, thinking she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever known.


His wife.

His pleasure.

* * *

Poppy reached for him, bringing his head down to hers so he’d kiss her again. She loved the way he kissed. She loved the way he touched her. He was touching her now, caressing her breast through the filmy gown and then lower, stroking her flat stomach, across her hip and down the outside of her thigh.

Her legs trembled as he slid his hand between her thighs, parting them.

“Don’t be nervous,” he said.

“I’m not,” she lied.

He dipped his head to hers, his mouth covering hers in a slow, hot, dizzying kiss. She relaxed as he caressed the inside of her thigh, stroking down to the back of her knee, and then up again.

She could feel his fingers trailing over the inside of her thigh again, so very close that his knuckles brushed her dark curls. Her breath caught as his knuckles lightly trailed across her mound, the light, teasing caress sliding the delicate gown across her, as well.

She was ready to have his hands on her, skin against skin, ready to feel him touch her as he had in the pool, with his clever expert fingers against her where she was aching and wet.

“You’re torturing me,” she complained when his knuckles brushed over her again, the sensation too light to bring relief and yet too firm to be ignored.

“I don’t want to rush you.”

“I’ve been aroused for hours.”

“Not hours,” he answered, his fingertips trailing over her, pressing the now beaded chiffon over her tender folds and then holding it against her core. “Maybe a half hour.”

She felt herself throbbing as he cupped her, his palm capturing her heat and dampness. She could feel her moisture on his hand.


p; Dal reached for the filmy hem of her gown and lifted it up, drawing it up over her knees, and then her thighs and then over her head, leaving her naked.

She felt his gaze as it took her in. He was studying her so intently she felt as if he was memorizing her. And then his hand returned to her knee, skimming down her shin to her ankle, and then back over her calf.

He caressed her leg until she relaxed and he opened her legs wider, and leaning over her hips, he placed at kiss just above her pelvic bone, and then another one lower, in the middle of her curls.

She shivered at the warmth of his breath and then shivered again when he parted her curls, exposing her tender skin and slick inner folds before placing a kiss right to the heart of her.