For now, she’d take the sense of calm. It seemed a good start – though it would’ve been nice to have it last a little longer.
Finn apparently didn’t see things her way. “So when you came to Dustin’s condo and kept your sarong wrapped tight. What were you showing me?”
“Obviously, I was showing you nothing,” she said, diffusing him since he wasn’t going to let it go.
“Yeah, I get the covered up part. That’s not what I meant.”
“I don’t know.” Was being in the dark such a bad thing? “I’m not even sure it was a conscious decision, but I do know you confuse me.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
He was such a man. “Yeah. You would.”
“Hey, confusing you means I’m making you think.”
And he sounded so proud. “Is that what a photographer’s supposed to do? Make his client think?”
At that, he hugged her tighter, brought his mouth closer to her ear. “What I think is that we haven’t been just a client and her photographer for a very long time.”
“Is that because you’re not a photographer?”
He slid his hands lower, found the hem of her tunic top and worked his way beneath. “I looked at the photos after you left. P.I. or not, I take a fierce picture.”
“You had a fierce subject,” she said, trying not to shiver when his fingers found her skin.
“I can see why Dustin’s been bugging you about doing this. Your eyes are phenomenal. You show everything you’re feeling.”
He might think that phenomenal. She found it unnerving, and there was absolutely no way he was getting her to turn around. “Did you see it at the time?”
He flattened his palms on her ribcage. His voice was gruff when he answered. “Are you really asking me that question?”
That’s what she’d thought. “Has Dustin seen them?”
“I don’t know that I want him to,” she said, leaning her head on his shoulder, waiting for him to slide his hands higher. Or lower. Just to slide them. Somewhere.
But he didn’t. “Now you’re confusing me. Isn’t that why we’re doing this?”
“It was. But those . . . I can’t explain. They hurt.”
“That may be what you feel seeing them, but trust me,” he said, his lips at her ear, his teeth nipping the skin just beneath. “That’s not what an audience will feel.”
She swallowed, shuddered. “How do you know?”
His laugh growled through her, possessing, intimate. “You’ll find out at the showing.”
“What if I don’t want to wait?”
“You don’t have to. Say the word.”
“You’ll be honest?”
“That’s who I am. I thought you’d figured that out.”
“I know. And I’m trying to think of the photos as art. Erotic art, even.”
“But the erotic part is getting to you.”
“It’s crazy, isn’t it? I let people look at my body, but having them see what’s in my eyes . . .”
Finally – finally! – his hands moved. Slowly. Upward. Covering her breasts, his fingers twiddling the hoops in her nipples, tugging, twisting. She felt it in the pit of her stomach, in her center deep between her legs.
“What’s in your eyes is desire. I know you were dancing for me. You know you were dancing for me. No one else ever will. For them, the performance was all about the camera.”
“Or about their own fantasies.” God, she loved the feel of his hands, his body warm behind her, the ocean breeze cooling her as it blew.
“Those men that night at Cigar Paolo. Do you think they walked out of there and never thought about you again?”
“I don’t know . . .”
“You stripped for me in your window, and you had no guarantee I was going to call. If I hadn’t, do you think that picture wouldn’t have visited me when I was soaped up in the shower?”
She didn’t respond. She couldn’t. His words wound her up, his touch made it so hard to breathe, as did his erection pressed between the cheeks of her bottom.
“It’s art,” he said. “What they make of it in their own minds . . . that’s not up to you.”
Was it up to her to tell him what she was feeling now? That she wanted him to make love to her until the sun went down, and then finish the night the same way?
She was so out of her element. She knew how to use her body, but to involve her emotions? To make love out of what had always been sex?
She loved that he used her full name. “Finn?”
“If we don’t move, you’re going to be soaked to your knees.”
Her skirt. She felt the weight as the water wicked upward. “I was just thinking I needed to get out of it.”
“Oh?” he asked, and stilled.
She nodded. “The skirt, and a few other things, too.”
Alison Kent sold her first book 6 days after submission, and her second book on national TV. She learned quickly, however, that all of that was luck, and that writing was hard work. She now writes for Harlequin Blaze and her SG-5 series for Kensington Brava wraps up in December 2009. Her blog url is http://www.alisonkent.com/blog