Bayou Baby (Butterfly Bayou 2) - Page 41

“It’s okay.” He didn’t want this moment to end. She would realize that they were too close and then she’d put that careful distance back between them. This might be the only chance he ever got to hold her, and he wanted it to last. “You’ve got time.”

“You fixed my steps. I was going to do that. I was going to make my brother help me, but I was going to do it first like you said I should,” she said, her gorgeous eyes on him.

“I didn’t have anything to do this morning and I had some extra wood,” he explained. “It’s nothing I would use for the latticework on the gazebo. It was to support the base.”

“You took it from Beaumont House?” She’d stiffened in his arms.

She was so touchy about anything to do with his family. “I bought that wood myself. It wasn’t expensive. I wasn’t even going to ask her to pay me back. Don’t worry about it. It’s okay. It’s okay to need to lean on someone. I want to help you.”

She relaxed again. “But you shouldn’t.”

“I shouldn’t want to help you?”

“No. You’re a good person, but you should stay away. It would make things so much easier.”

“It wouldn’t make things easier on you,” he replied simply.

She seemed stumped by that, and he had to wonder how many people outside of her family she could truly count on. She shook her head, seeming to come to some kind of decision.

“Harry, I know it’s dumb, but I want you to kiss me. It won’t mean anything except I want to know what it feels like to have you kiss me just once.”

His whole body went still, anticipation nearly overwhelming him. She’d asked him to kiss her? He could do that. He’d dreamed of doing that since the moment he’d seen her. Even as he’d gone over all the reasonable arguments why it would be a bad idea, his hands had itched to touch her. He wasn’t a player. He liked relationships, but the last few years his vagabond lifestyle hadn’t led to long-term bonds. He wanted that with her, wanted more than the mere physical.

She didn’t want that. “It will mean something to me.”

She shook her head. “Then I should get up.”

Nope. He tightened his arms around her. He would take whatever scraps she would give him. “Just one kiss? That’s all you want?”

“That’s all I can let myself have.”

“Then I’m going to make it count.”

He stared at her for a moment, catching her gaze and memorizing how blue her eyes were, how gorgeous she was all flushed with emotion. He let his hand stroke her hair and revel in how soft she was. And then he lowered his mouth to hers and closed his eyes, allowing touch to lead him.

If he’d thought her hair was soft, her lips were even softer. Warm and lush, he gave himself a moment to explore. He felt her palm run along his jawline up to the back of his neck, making his skin come to life everywhere she touched him. His whole body tightened with anticipation he knew damn well wasn’t going to be assuaged.

He started to pull away because the last thing he was going to do was take more than she wanted to give.

“Not yet,” she whispered, pressing her lips to his again, needing more.

He gave in, hauling her closer. He deepened the kiss, letting his tongue run along the seam of her lips until she sighed and opened and let him in. He felt her tongue come out to tentatively touch his own and it was over. He couldn’t stop himself from invading. He took over the kiss and felt the moment she softened around him, offering herself to him in the sweetest way possible.

He let his hand move to her hip as she molded her body to his.

“Harry.” She whispered his name, her voice hoarse, and he knew he was about to go over an edge they couldn’t come back from. Because that whisper of hers wasn’t a stop. It was a go further.

And he knew. He knew she would shut him out if they went much further. She wasn’t ready for anything serious.

He pulled back and took a deep breath. “Well, that went about the way I thought it would.”

Her eyes widened and she sat up, scrambling off his lap. “I can’t believe I did that. Harry, I’m sorry. I was . . .”

There she was. There was the skittish, scared Seraphina who hid under all that sass. “You had a rough morning and you needed some comfort.”

Her face was flushed. “Comfort would have been a hug.”

He forced himself to stand. That kiss had just about done him in. There was nothing he wanted more than to pull her back in his arms and show her how much comfort he could give her. He shoved his hands into his pockets so she wouldn’t see how they were shaking. “You’re too hard on yourself. It was a kiss, nothing more. It was a great kiss.”

Tags: Lexi Blake Butterfly Bayou Romance
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