[Theresa and Damien, strangers, were seated side by side
in business class. Heâs been flirting and sheâs found
herself responding. Now dinner is overâŚ]
When the flight attendant had gone, Damien watched Theresa
add milk to her coffee and stir. Her bare arm moved in
circles, graceful and feminine. A smart, strong woman, yet
vulnerable and wary. She must have had other lovers since
her divorce, but her ex had done such a number on her, she
still mistrusted men. How could a guy be cruel to Theresa?
âAbout your husband,â he said abruptly.
The spoon clicked the side of the cup as her hand jerked.
âWhat? Oh, enough said. Itâs in the past.â
âYeah, but all the same, Iâd like to meet up with the bugger
in a dark alley. Iâd punch his lights out.â
His words, the grimness of his tone, clearly werenât what
sheâd expected. Her eyes widened. âDay! Thatâs . . . you
wouldnât. Thatâs so . . . uncivilized.â
âYouâre saying civilized meanness, like white-collar
cheating, is okay, but being physical isnât?â
âWell . . .â Her tongue came out and ran across her top lip
as she considered. Color rose in her cheeks. âViolence isnât
a solution.â Her lips tipped up at the corners, then the
smile took over, widening on her mouth, making her eyes
light. âAll the same, Iâd like to see it. Jeffrey would . .
.â She gave a snort of laughter. âGod, heâd be no match for
Damien loved seeing her laugh. Man, she was beautiful.
âTheresa? The guy was a fool. A woman like you shouldnât be
taken advantage of, you should be appreciated. Slowly and
thoroughly. By a man who wants to make you feel like the
beautiful, sexy woman you truly are.â
The laughter had faded from her face as he spoke, to be
replaced by wonder. âDay? Thatâs a really nice thing to say.â
He shrugged. âItâs the truth. Any man in his right mind
would feel that way.â
âNot so as Iâve noticed.â The humor was back, this time wry.
âThen you havenât been looking in the right places.â He
picked up a strawberry. âWant another?â
âI think itâs your turn.â She took the berry from his
fingers, dipped it in mousse, and held it out to him.
He nibbled the treat and with the last morsel sucked the tip
of her index finger into his mouth.
She gave a startled, âOoh.â A flush colored her cheeks and
the exposed V of her chest. Under the thin sweater, her
It was those nipples he imagined as he sucked on her finger.
When he freed her, he teased, âDo you blush when youâre
teaching at the uni?â
Her hands went up, covering her cheeks. âNo.â
âI guess because I know what Iâm doing. Iâm confident.â
âBut not with me?â He put a slice of cheese on a cracker and
offered it to her.
âNo thanks, Iâll stick to fruit and chocolate.â
He ate the bite himself and fixed another. âYou didnât
answer my question.â
âItâs not you, Day, itâs men. Iâm not confident with men. As
colleagues and students, yes, but not, uh, socially.â
That was nuts. She had so much going for her. How could she
have let one man destroy her confidence? âJeffrey has a lot
to answer for.â He broke a grape off the small bunch on his
plate, dipped it into her mousse then held it out so she
could take it from his fingers, her soft lips a tantalizing
whisper against his skin.
âIt wasnât only him. I was always years younger than the
boys in my classes. Like, graduating high school at
fourteen? You can bet no one asked me to the prom.â
âI see what you mean. But once you reach a certain age, when
everyoneâs grown up, the differences donât matter so much.â
He fed her a slice of overripe papaya and a bead of juice
trickled over her bottom lip and down her chin.
He wanted to lick it, but she caught it with her finger.
âYes, but by then I had my doctorate.â She stuck her finger
between her lips and sucked it, which made his cock jerk
inside the confinement of his jeans.
âIâd missed out on all the girlie stuff,â she said. She
slanted him a glance, wet her lips. âAnd on sex.â
Sex. The word, coming out of her full lips, sent a surge of
lust straight to his already aroused groin, and he could
barely suppress a moan.
âSure,â she went on, âI knew the textbook facts about
male/female relationships, but thatâs not the same thing as
being a normal teenager. Trying to decide if a boy really
likes you, having your first kiss, wondering how far to go.
Knowing when youâre in love versus in lust. Knowing when a
guyâs in love versus just using you.â Sheâd gone from
sounding wistful to bitter. Thinking of her ex again.
âOkay. But hell, Theresa, youâre grown up now. A beautiful,
intelligent, interesting woman. You mustâve gained a bunch
of experience since Jeffrey.â
She shrugged. âI wasnât interested in trying again.â Quickly
she added, âLook, Iâm not completely pitiful and naĂŻve.
Jeffrey wasnât my first and he wasnât my last.â
âI didnât mean that.â Only that she was vulnerable. Perhaps
he ought to back off. He didnât want to hurt her.
Theresa jabbed a finger in the middle of his chest. Hard. âNo!â
He jerked and almost knocked his food tray off balance.
âI see that look in your eyes.â She jabbed him once more. âI
hate that âpoor little smart girlâ look. Donât you go making
decisions for me. If I let you . . .â she went even pinker,
âuh, feed me dessert, itâs because I want to.â
Feed her dessert? The woman had to be aware that the dessert
âNot,â she went on, âbecause Iâm some loser whoâs desperate
for the attention of a handsome guy. And I want you doing it
because you want to, not because you feel sorry for me.â
He gave a surprised laugh. His throbbing cock sure wasnât
sorry for her. She was damned fine to look at, sexy, and he
enjoyed talking to her. He was having the most fun heâd had
with a woman in a very long time, even though they were both
fully clothed. âNo fear of that. But I donât want you
getting hurt again.â
âGod! You and your massive ego.â Interesting to note that
billabong eyes could spit fire. âDay, I wonât give anyone
the power to hurt me. If we do â whatever â itâs going to be
fully consensual. If weâre using each other, itâs for our
mutual pleasure, and thatâs all.â
Using each other? Nah, thatâs what he and Carmen wouldâve
been doing. Her wanting to fuck a celebrity, him just
wanting to get his rocks off. He reached over to spoon up
some mousse then held the spoon to Theresaâs lips.
âConsensual is good. But Prof . . .â
Slowly she licked chocolate from the spoon, her gaze holding
âProf, if we . . . share dessert, or anything else, itâs not
about using each other. Mutual pleasure, yes. Using, no. Got
âY-yes. I do.â Her eyes were luminous.
Gently he used his thumb to clean a smudge of mousse from
her upper lip. Then he licked the chocolate from his thumb.
Her eyes widened. Glittered with sexual heat. âMutual,â he
She nodded as if hypnotized.
Damn, but he was impatient for the cabin lights to dim and
give them some privacy.