“You look nervous.”
Her gaze flew across the room, looking anywhere but the hunk of a man standing before her. A tall drink of water, her mother would have said.
Why was she thinking of her mother?
The cabin was tiny but cozy, set back into the woods. Despite the nerves, she felt like she had when she crawled into one of the forts her kids built in the basement with blankets and pillows. They practically needed to be dragged out from between the fabric walls when it was bedtime.
Why was she thinking of her kids?
The room sparsely decorated in white and shades of blue, but the bed still looked comfortable enough that she had fought the urge to sink into it. Crawl under the thick white duvet, resting her head on the pile of pillows heaped artistically against the wrought iron headboard and close her eyes. Maybe then everything would go back to normal.
But she didn’t want that.
“No, no, I’m not nervous.” She struck a pose with her hand on her hip, still hovering by the door, trying to look cool and confident like she did this all the time.
Anyone could tell that was a lie.
How could she not be nervous? She hadn’t even seen a naked man that wasn’t her husband, let alone had sex with him. And now she was here with …him.
She bit her lip as he approached, stopped when she remembered that was what Anastasia Steele did the whole of Fifty Shades of Grey.
He towered over her, all long muscles and broad shoulders, his hair already touseled from when she had run her fingers through it. Those lips could kiss, even if they had only focused on her neck. And the way he was looking at her told he had plans to do more than kiss her neck.
Maybe she could do this.
She certainly enjoyed the way he had pushed her against the tree on the way to the cabin, roaming his hands over her body.
She hadn’t wanted to stop.
But they had heard voices, other couples stealing along the paths to find their own cabin and so he grasped her little hand and led her to their door.
Their cabin. This was their cabin for the night.
His lips found her neck again, teasing the sensitive skin in an attempt to stop the trembling. The feel of his mouth moving against her throat, tongue and teeth and lips, only made the shaking worse.
She found herself clinging to his shoulders, not from desire, but because she was afraid her legs weren’t going to hold her up.
So he swept her up into strong arms, like some cover of an old-fashioned romance novel.
There was nothing old-fashioned about the way he threw her on the bed.
She landed with a bounce, a panicky giggle escaping as he flopped down beside her.
“Nothing has to happen,” he said. “Unless you want it to.”
She stared into his brown eyes, slowly brought her hand to stroke his cheek, feeling the stubble along his strong jaw.
He looked like the hero of an old-fashioned romance, the ruggedly handsome hero; brooding and full of secrets but with a heart of gold.
Her hand trailed down his chest to feel his heart beating. And then instead of answering, she leaned in and kissed him like she used to kiss her husband.
He seduced her slowly, so carefully that she didn’t realize what was happening until she was naked, her body tingling from his touch.
“Do you trust me?” he had whispered.
She had nodded.
And now the pillows were on the floor, the duvet thrown over a chair. The only thing adorning the bed now was her, spread-eagled across the crisp sheets.
As she watched him finish tying the red scarf to the headboard, she was amazed how a man his size could be so gentle. His hands had cradled her head when they kissed; there had been no hesitation when he swept her up into his arms, and she was not a small woman.
But he made her feel delicate. Fragile. It was a heady sensation, almost as exciting as the touch of his hands as he tested the bindings.
If she listened closely she could hear the faint hint of Scotland in his voice. Just enough so when the light shone on his head to give his hair a reddish tinge, she could tell herself Michael Lorde looked a little like Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series.
She swallowed hard before nodding her head.
“I won’t hurt you.”
“I know,” she said, the words tripping out of her mouth. “I’m not – I’ve just never done this before.”
“I know.” He smiled, his dimples making her heart flutter.
Her sudden intake of air was audible. She wondered if Lorde had any idea how unbelievably excited she was.
He gave the last scarf a tug to test it. “Tell me to stop anytime you want to. But I don’t hurt. This is just …” He met her nervous gaze and winked. “…for you.”
She took one last look at him before he covered her eyes with the blindfold.
How on earth did she end up here, with this man, this beautiful man, who looked like a brute but touched her like she was a breakable piece of china? Why did he pick her out of all the others?
His lips touched hers ever so briefly before moving to her neck. She tried not to gasp when she felt the pressure of his mouth on the swell of her breast.
How did she get here, with Lorde, with her husband so close by?
Was he watching?
She wanted him to watch.
And she wanted Lorde to stop being so gentle.