Key of Light (Key 1) - Page 72

“Yes. I think we’ve established that beyond doubt.” She sat on the side of the bed, offered him the glass she’d brought in.

“You were naked.” He took the glass, gulped down water. “You were all over me.”

She cocked her head. “And your point is?”

“If you regret this—”

“Why should I?” She took the glass back, swallowed the stingy sip he’d left behind. “I got you where I wanted you. I’d been drinking, Flynn, but I knew what I was doing.”

“Okay, then. Okay. It’s just that, after what you said this morning . . .”

“That I’m in love with you?” She set the glass on the coaster she kept on her nightstand. “I am in love with you.”

Emotions ran through him, all too hot and fast to decipher. But layered over all of them was sheer, sweaty fear. “Malory.” When she only continued to study him with a quiet patience, the fear began to trickle into his throat. “Listen, I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then don’t.” She gave his hand a comforting little squeeze. “Actually, you’ve got a lot more to worry about than I do.”

“I do?”

“Yes, you do. I love you, which means, naturally, I want you to love me back. I don’t always get what I want, but I usually find a way to get it. Almost always, in fact. So to my way of thinking, you’ll end up in love with me. Since the idea of that scares you, you’ve got more to worry about than I do.”

She trailed a hand over his chest. “You’re in really good shape for somebody who works at a desk.”

He grabbed her hand before it could head south. “Let’s stay focused here. The whole love deal just isn’t in the cards for me.”

“You had a bad experience.” She leaned in to give him a light kiss. “That sort of thing’s bound to leave a mark. Lucky for you, I can be patient. And gentle,” she added as she shifted, then straddled him. “And very, very determined.”

“Oh, boy. Malory—”

“Why don’t you just lie back and enjoy the fringe benefits of being courted?”

Aroused, flustered, grateful, he let her nudge him back. “Sort of hard to argue with that.”

“As well as a waste of time.” She unbelted her robe, let it slide from her shoulders. She ran her hands up his chest, then caught his face in them before she kissed him senseless. “I’m going to marry you,” she murmured. And laughed when his body jerked in shock. “Don’t worry. You’ll get used to the idea.”

Still laughing, she smothered his unintelligible protest with her mouth.

SHE felt so good. Not just the sex, Malory thought as she sang in the shower. Though that could hardly be discounted. She always felt good, confident, directed, when she had a clear, well-defined purpose.

The quest for the key was so nebulous that it confused as much as it energized. But convincing Flynn that they belonged together was crystal clear. A goal she could get her teeth into.

She hadn’t a clue why she’d fallen in love with him, and that’s what told her it was real.

He certainly didn’t fit her image of her dream man. He didn’t cook gourmet meals or speak fluent French (or Italian) or love spending his free time in museums. He didn’t wear tailored suits or read poetry.

At least, she didn’t think he read poetry.

She’d always planned to fall in love with a man who had some of those attributes. And, naturally, in her outline the right man would court her, charm her, seduce her, then pledge his undying love at the perfect romantic moment.

Before Flynn she had analyzed and dissected every relationship, picked at every flaw until she’d worked a dozen holes into the cloth of it.

And in the end, that hadn’t mattered, because none of them had been right.

She had no desire to worry about the flaws with Flynn. She only knew her heart had gone splat when she’d least expected it. And she liked it.

She had to admit she also liked the idea that he was spooked. It was intriguing, and it was challenging to be the pursuer for a change. To be the aggressor, and to keep a man slightly off balance with honesty.

When he’d finally managed to stumble out of bed sometime around three in the morning, she’d sensed his fear and confusion just as much as she’d sensed his desire to stay.

Tags: Nora Roberts Key Fantasy
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