He made a muffled gasping noise like his lungs had deflated in an instant. His male scent filled her nose. She twitched her fingers on the shaft, relishing his sheer virility, his weight and firmness.
Yes. This is what she needed.
She tightened her grip, closed her eyes and arrowed his cock between her lips. She abandoned herself to the voluptuous, eternal moment, escaping into it like a fugitive from a harsh, meaningless world.
* * *
Everett Hughes became distantly aware that his muscles were so tense, they felt like they’d break given one more ounce of pressure. He ached.
He studied the crown of her head like he thought his stare could bore down into her brain and read her thoughts. It would probably do him good to read her mind, he thought with grim amusement. Her thoughts were undoubtedly mundane and matter-of-fact. Nowhere near as X-rated as his had become ever since he’d walked into the room and seen Seth Hightower’s niece standing there, looking like a fresh wild flower amidst a field of artificial and hothouse blooms.
She’d been about as aware of him as she was the paint on the wall as she prepared to work. It was an unusual feeling for Everett, to be overlooked. He relished the opportunity to study her openly.
If he’d gone by her face alone, he might have guessed her age in her midtwenties. Only her swift, sure movements as she prepared her paints and the feminine curves accenting a slender, toned body hinted to him that she was likely nearer to thirty than twenty. He knew that Seth was part Pueblo Indian. He saw some evidence of Native American heritage in Joy, but to a lesser extent than in her uncle. Mostly her still, calm expression and smooth, apricot and copper-hued skin called that strain of her heritage to mind.
Everett had become disenchanted with the term beautiful long ago, feeling the hollowness of the term as it was applied to every second woman he
met. But this woman—Seth Hightower’s niece—she didn’t just deserve the descriptor. She epitomized it without trying.
He found himself staring at the top of her long mane of chestnut brown hair as he endured the erotic sensation of her felt-tip marker sliding across his skin. His cock was thickening. He couldn’t seem to help it. He closed his eyes and breathed through his nose, trying to envision the mechanics of a particularly challenging scene with Ellie Granolith, the leading lady in Maritime. Every scene with Ellie was a trial to get through, but this one was particularly difficult.
His half-assed attempts to distract himself fractured when Joy’s marker stimulated a patch of sensitive skin just below his hip bone.
He looked down into a pair of large hazel eyes.
You’ll have to lower your briefs enough for me to make the transition look natural.
His heart had lurched next to his breastbone when she’d said that. Everett was not unfamiliar with recognizing a spark of desire in a woman’s eyes. If he was seeing it in Joy Hightower’s solemn gaze, it had to be the result of wishful thinking, though.
His throat felt tight when he swallowed. He reached for the side of his briefs and lowered them. It felt very vulnerable for him, to expose himself in this way. He typically preferred being the dominant during sex, and something about this situation seemed to speak of the opposite of control. First off, this wasn’t a sexual situation. It was inappropriate for him to be aroused. He couldn’t control his sexual response, however, and that made him both uncomfortable and, paradoxically, more aroused. When she paused for a moment, staring at him while she clutched her marker, he felt sweat bead on his upper lip.
Seth was going to slug him if he ruined his makeup. The makeup department head was formidable, not the sort of man Everett would choose to piss off.
Seth would likely skip punching and go straight to killing him if he knew what Everett was thinking about doing with his gorgeous, wholesome niece at that moment.
Seeing her lovely face so close to the midportion of his body, studying the outlines of her full, thrusting breasts from above, feeling the whisper of her breath on his skin while the tattoo pen rolled over supersensitive nerves; all of it had been titillating. But when Joy transferred to using her paints, Everett entered the realms of torture. His cock swelled so large, he didn’t think there was room in his skin anymore. His jaw hurt from clamping it shut. He was going to explode, and all he could do was tell himself to stand still. It was like telling a lit fuse to be calm.
He couldn’t hide his arousal. How could he? Regret sliced through him when she glanced up, and he saw the anxiety in her eyes. His baser nature had prevailed, however. He’d told her he could handle his discomfort. How could he possibly move away from the temptation of Joy and her slippery, cool brush sliding just inches away from his straining, hurting cock?
Why was he having the most debauched fantasies about taking advantage of her, of wrecking her smooth, calm exterior . . . of making Snow White so hot, she begged for it?
He suppressed a laugh at his idiocy. He really was losing it.
He wasn’t young anymore. A man in his position in Hollywood learned quickly enough that casual sex often didn’t end up being as casual or as sexy as a novice might expect. He’d become extremely particular about whom he associated with in the past several years. So particular, in fact, that his sister, Katie, had taken to calling him jaded. Maybe Katie was right, because in the past few months, he’d been choosy to the point of abstinence.
Maybe that was what made this unexpected experience feel so sharp, so imperative.
Seth could come in at any moment. Dozens of people moved and talked and shouted just feet away from the still room where he stood and Joy sat, etching her magic on his flesh. More importantly, Everett didn’t pull stupid, crazy stunts. Not anymore, he didn’t.
But a moment later, when her laughter had morphed into that still, sublime expression, he would have dared much, much worse than to explore the promise of her inner fires.
Then she’d spoken . . . and he’d almost had a heart attack at age thirty-six.
“Do you mind?” she’d asked.
He minded, all right. If he didn’t get the opportunity to feel her touch where it counted, he was going to boil and cook in his own sweat.