After Alyssa’s modeling career came to an abrupt end when her manager boyfriend emptied her bank account and ruined her professional reputation, she’s heading to a new town in Montana to rebuild her life. But things are looking up when she’s upgraded to first class and a mysterious stranger sits down next to her . . .
Jackson Whitman doesn’t believe in love, or commitment, or forever — not since he lost his wife and daughter. But the beautiful woman sitting next to him at the gate has him rethinking that position. Can he convince her to be his for the night? Or will she convince him to be hers for a lifetime?
“One kiss. If there’s nothing, I leave you alone.” He waited to see if she’d take the bait.
She turned around and stared at him contemptuously. “I’m not going to play such a childish game.”
He could barely see her, let alone the way she looked at him, in the shadows cast over the parking lot by its lone light. He would have to fix that.
“Fine. Then I’ll come back tomorrow . . . and the next day . . . and the next . . .” He leaned against his truck with his arms crossed, looking as if time were nothing of consequence to him.
“You’re being ridiculous,” she said, but he could see that he was breaking her down.
He knew he should just leave, let this go. But he couldn’t seem to force himself to do that. Sad.
“It’s up to you, Alyssa. One kiss and I go away . . . If there’s no spark, that is.”
That was the catch. They both knew there were going to be sparks. He could almost see her doing calculations in her head.
He waited. He’d issued the challenge, and it was now up to her whether she’d accept it or not. His hardening body prayed that she would. He’d sleep much better if he could have just one taste.
Who in the hell was he kidding? One taste was never going to do it. Maybe he should take back the challenge, because it would clearly leave him even harder than he already was.
Even though the kiss was sure to start a five-alarm fire, she wasn’t about to climb into his bed. Not tonight, at least. No, he couldn’t back down, because he knew he’d get her there soon.
“One kiss?” she asked, taking a tentative step toward him.
Jackson would never admit how much his heart was thundering from that small step, her tiny concession.
“Yep. One kiss.”
“And then you’ll go away?”
She was now only a couple of feet away, and her chest was already heaving. Good sign—she was having a hard time controlling her breathing. He was having just as difficult a time controlling his, and he hoped to hell that she didn’t notice.
“Yes. I go away . . . if there aren’t any sparks.”
She paused, only a foot away now. He could feel her hot breath on his face as she gazed up at him. One kiss. He had to keep his word. If he tried to push it beyond that, there’d be no chance she would trust him later. He’d have to sing some old church hymns to keep his word, but even if he died just a little, he would keep it.
“Fine,” she said, and she tipped back her head and closed her eyes tight while her fists were clenched at her sides.
Jackson found himself almost laughing. The image immediately brought to mind MissyElwood from the second grade. They’d decided to kiss and she’d looked just like that, horrified that her lips were about to touch a boy’s.
He leaned forward and whispered in her ear: “Breathe.”
The shudder that passed through her body brought him immense satisfaction. He let his lips trail across her cheek in a soft caress before he reached her mouth. Taking his time, he ran his tongue along her cold lips, the taste of her going straight to his groin, lighting a fire unlike anything he’d ever felt. Oh, this was good.
Keep it light, he reminded himself, though his body screamed at him to pull her roughly into his arms. Cupping her neck and stroking her smooth skin with his thumbs, he tilted her head and nibbled gently on her bottom lip.
With a sigh, she opened her lips, and when he immediately deepened the kiss, invading the soft recesses of her mouth, heat shot through his body. But finding himself nearly at the point of no return, he pulled his head back, kissed her one more time on the corner of her mouth, and ran his thumbs across her cheeks. He waited for her eyes to open.
Her lashes fluttered, and then he was looking into the shadowed gaze of her soft blue eyes, smoky with the same passion he was feeling.
“I’d say that’s a hell of a lot of spark,” he murmured.
Jackson took the sweet kiss that Alyssa offered and transformed it. He held her as if he would never let go, and the two of them sank to the floor, onto the soft rug that was spread out in front of the blazing fire.
As his mouth trailed down her neck, Alyssa felt excitement take the place of pain and sorrow, felt passion rise in place of fear. For tonight, she was in Jackson’s hands, and skilled hands they were. He was a masterful lover, confident and sure of himself, able to take her so high that she feared she’d never touch back down again. This had been too long in coming. She needed him. And he needed her.
As he tugged her shirt from her body, she feared this would end too quickly, that being held in his arms for hours was a mere wish that couldn’t come true. Once her shirt and bra fell away, his mouth moved downward, brushing across her breasts and then going lower. She shook as his hands roamed. So fast! Much too fast!
But as if he sensed her anxiety, his hands and mouth slowed. He looked up, his eyes sparkling as his tongue lazily circled the quivering flesh of her stomach.
“You are so beautiful, Alyssa,” he whispered reverently.
“So are you, Jackson.”
He chuckled, then grasped her jeans and panties and drew them off in one fell swoop, leaving her bare to his view. He lowered his head and began doing delicious things to the part of her that ached the most. Moaning in encouragement, Alyssa moved her body to the rhythm of his tongue as she sought fulfillment.
Time ceased having any meaning as his tongue and fingers lifted her higher and higher, as her body reached toward release.
Why had she been fighting this? It was exactly what she’d needed for so long. And there was no one other than Jackson capable of bringing her body such pleasure. When she reached her peak and came against his mouth, Alyssa thought she might stay suspended in the sky like a burst of stars. But when she opened her eyes and found Jackson poised above her, a satisfied smile on his face, his thick erection pressing against her thigh, she realized that this was only the beginning.