Giving her a taste.
Her cheeks burned at the uncontrollable thought. She leaned away from him, feeling the loss of his subtle, radiant body heat on her cheeks and lips. She exchanged her paints and went back to work.
What was wrong with her? She’d never had this reaction before while she’d been working. Her skin felt flushed and prickly with awareness. There seemed to be some strange, inexplicable connection between where her paintbrush stroked his taut skin and her clit.
Why did she want to hold on to that brilliant flare of lust that the stranger’s fierce eyes and hard cock promised? Maybe because you were told today that life and a future aren’t a certainty, that both of those things were as ephemeral, as difficult to hold on to as an unexpected lightning strike of desire?
Joy didn’t want to let go. She wanted . . . no, she needed to hang on.
The air around them seemed to have taken on a weight. She forced her lungs to move as she exchanged brushes and reached for a paint she’d deposited at the far end of the table. When she touched him with the wet tip just below his hip bone, his taut abdomen muscle twitched. She glanced up and saw a small smile on his mouth.
“It’s colder than the other ones,” he said.
“I’m sorry. The paint was sitting right in front of the air conditioner.”
His mouth moved again, but no sound came from his throat. Some instinct inside her told her this man didn’t typically become speechless.
She felt a surge of liquid heat at her sex.
She swallowed with difficulty and resumed painting, the feeling of moving in a dream only amplifying. How long would this surreal sensation last? When would the reality of her diagnosis of cancer really set in? Her grim future seemed impossible to grasp as she sat there, flushed with arousal, painting a brilliant tattoo on a beautiful, virile male she’d never seen before that moment, and would probably never see again.
“It’s finished,” she murmured minutes later as she placed the solvent that set the paint on the table. From the corner of her vision, she saw that he didn’t move his hands, keeping his briefs lowered. The fullness behind the seaweed design hadn’t dissipated during the past forty-five minutes.
She glanced up slowly, both hesitant and anticipatory at once at the sound of his hoarse voice.
“I hope you don’t think I’m a complete jackass for saying this, but that had to be the most erotic thing I’ve experienced since Peggy Barton let me touch her breasts when I was fourteen years old.”
She just stared at him in amazement for a second before she laughed. The strangling sexual tension fractured slightly, letting her breathe. He smiled, full-out and brilliant.
Her laughter ceased.
Oh my God, she thought, stunned. Her sunburst tattoo would be considered dim next to that smile.
Suddenly, unaccountably, fear broke over her. She stared at the very image of vibrant life. What would it be like to be snuffed out of existence, no longer able to see, to hear . . . to feel?
Her gaze sunk over him. She absorbed his image hungrily, drinking it like an elixir that vanquished terror. His cock jerked in the briefs when her glance landed on it.
The realization struck her that if she wanted to touch him, if she wanted to stretch this strange, powerful moment, she was going to have to make the move. Who knew? Maybe she wouldn’t even be here this time next year.
It felt nowhere near as anxiety-provoking as she would have thought it would to touch him. In fact, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do.
She thrilled to the heaviness of his cock beneath the cloth. Arousal spiked through her, and those life-altering words—primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma—scattered to the periphery of her consciousness like frightened moths.
“Do you mind?” she asked, looking up at him, her voice vibrating with barely restrained emotion.
His nostrils flared slightly. “Are you kidding?” He sounded downright incredulous at her question. Their gazes held as she felt his heartbeat thrum against her palm. He reached up and ever so gently, careful of his paint-covered skin, touched her jaw. A strange, strangled sound escaped her throat at his caress.
She carefully, deliberately reached inside the pocket of the costume boxer-briefs, intent on not ruining the makeup application on his thighs. She bit her lower lip when her hand closed around the circumference of his cock. She drew out his length.
For a moment, she just stared.
It was like holding life in her hand.
His naked penis stood in stark contrast to the elaborate makeup applied to his body. The long, straight length of it running from root to fleshy cap struck her as sublime. She held him up before her face, the tip slanting toward the ceiling. She ran the tip of her tongue from the ridge beneath the head all the way to the base, flicking a firm testicle experimentally.