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starting to crawl

“Don’t hate me,” I whisper.He grabs my hand. “I don’t hate you.”“You haven’t kissed me,” I whisper.He eyes me suspiciously. “I know,” he mutters.
Abruptly he stands and grabs my face between his hands, and in a flash his lips are hard on mine. I gasp with surprise, inadvertently granting his tongue access. He takes full advantage, invading my mouth, claiming me, and just as I’m beginning to respond he releases me, his breathing quickening.
Holy crap he looks hot—his jeans hanging that way from his hips. Oh no, I’m not going to be distracted by Mr. Sex-on-Legs. I try to gauge his mood as he stalks toward me. Angry? Playful? Lustful? Gah! It’s impossible to tell.“I like your jeans,” I murmur. He grins a disarming wolfish grin that doesn’t reach his eyes. Shit—he’s still mad. He’s wearing these to distract me. He halts in front of me, and I’m seared by his intensity. He gazes down, wide unreadable eyes burning into mine. I swallow.
“I understand you have issues” he says silkily, and he pulls something from the back pocket of his jeans. I can’t tear my gaze from his, but hear him unfold a piece of paper. He holds it up, and glancing briefly in its direction, I recognize my e-mail. My gaze returns to his, as his eyes blaze bright with anger.
“Yes, I have issues,” I whisper, feeling breathless. I need distance if we’re going to discuss this. But before I can step back, he leans down and runs his nose along mine. My eyes flutter to a close as I welcome his unexpected, gentle touch.
“So do I,” he whispers against my skin, and I open my eyes at his words. He straightens and gazes intently at me once more.

“I think I’m familiar with your issues.” My voice is wry, and he narrows his eyes, suppressing the amusement that sparks there momentarily. Are we going to fight? I take a precautionary step back. I must physically distance myself from him—from his smell, his look, his distracting body in those hot jeans. He frowns as I move away.

His eyes gleam wildly, then shut, his face tightening as if in pain. Oh, no. He shakes his head, and before I know it he has folded me in his arms, pulling me hard against him.“Oh ,” he whispers as he tightens his hold on me so that I can barely breathe. “If something were to happen to you—” His voice is barely a whisper.“It didn’t,” I manage to say.
“But it could have. I’ve died a thousand deaths today thinking about what might have happened. I was so mad. Mad at you. Mad at myself. Mad at everyone. I can’t remember being this angry
His hands move to the nape of my neck, loosening their grip on me, and I take a deep breath. He pulls my head back.“I don’t know how to deal with this anger. I don’t think I want to hurt you,” he says, his eyes wide and wary. “This morning, I wanted to punish you, badly and—” He stops, lost for words I think, or too afraid to say them.“You were worried you’d hurt me?” I finish his sentence for him, not believing that he’d hurt me for a minute, but relieved, too. A small vicious part of me feared it was because he didn’t want me anymore.“I didn’t trust myself,” he says quietly.“I know you’d never hurt me. Not physically, anyway.” I clasp his head between my hands.“Do you?” he asks, and there’s skepticism in his voice.

“Yes. I knew what you said was an empty, idle threat. I know you’re not going to beat the shit out of me.”“I wanted to.”“No you didn’t. You just thought you did.”“I don’t know if that’s true,” he murmurs.“Think about it,” I urge, wrapping my arms around him once more and nuzzling his chest through the black T-shirt. “About how you felt when I left. You’ve told me often enough what that did to you. How it altered your view of the world, of me. I know what you’ve given up for me. Think about how you felt about the cuff marks on our honeymoon.”He stills, and I know he’s processing this information. I tighten my arms around him, my hands on his back, feeling his taut toned muscles beneath his T-shirt. Gradually, he relaxes as the tension slowly ebbs away.
Is this what’s been worrying him? That he’ll hurt me? Why do I have more faith in him than he has in himself? I don’t understand, surely we’ve moved on. He’s normally so strong, so in control, but without that, he’s lost.  He kisses my hair, I turn my face up to his, and his lips find mine, searching, taking, giving, begging—for what, I don’t know. I just want to feel his mouth on mine, and I return his kiss passionately.“You have such faith in me,” he whispers after he breaks away.“I do.” He strokes my face with the back of his knuckles and the tip of his thumb, gazing intently into my eyes. His anger has gone. 
It’s good to see him. I glance shyly up and smirk.“Besides,” I whisper, “you don’t have the paperwork.”His mouth drops open in amused shock, and he clutches me to his chest again.“You’re right. I don’t.” He laughs.We stand in the middle of the great room, locked in our embrace, just holding each other.“Come to bed,” he whispers, after heaven knows how long.Oh my . . .“ we need to talk.”
“Later,” he urges softly.“ please. Talk to me.”He sighs. “About what?”“You know. You keep me in the dark.”“I want to protect you.”“I’m not a child.”“I am fully aware of that.” He runs his hands down my body and cups my backside. Flexing his hips, he presses his growing erection into me.“Talk to me.”He sighs once more with exasperation. “What do you want to know?” His voice is resigned as he releases me. I baulk—I didn’t mean you had to let me go. Taking my hand, he reaches down to pick up my e-mail from the floor.“Lots of things,” I mutter, as I let him lead me to the couch.
“Close them,” he orders.I roll them first, then oblige.“Hmm. Not good enough,” he mutters. I open one eye and see him take a plum-colored silk scarf out of the back pocket of his jeans. It matches my dress. Holy cow. I look quizzically at him. When did he get that?“Close,” he orders again. “No peeking.”“You’re going to blindfold me?” I mutter, shocked. All of a sudden I’m breathless.“Yes.”
 He places a finger upon my lips, silencing me.I want to talk.“We’ll talk later. I want you to eat now. You said you were hungry.” He lightly kisses my lips. The silk of the scarf is soft against my eyelids as he ties it securely at the back of my head.“Can you see?” he asks.“No,” I mutter, figuratively rolling my eyes. He chuckles softly.“I can tell when you’re rolling your eyes, . . . and you know how that makes me feel.”I purse my lips. “Can we just get this over and done with?” I snap.“Such impatience. So eager to talk.” His tone is playful.“Yes!”

“I must feed you first,” he says and brushes his lips over my temple, calming me instantly.Okay . . . have it your way. I resign myself to my fate and listen to his movements around the kitchen. The fridge door opens, and he places various dishes on the counter top behind me. He pads over to the microwave, pops something in, and turns it on. My curiosity is piqued. I hear the toaster lever drop, the turn of the control, and the quiet tick of the timer. Hmm—toast?“Yes. I am eager to talk,” I murmur, distracted. An assortment of exotic, spicy aromas fills the kitchen, and I shift in my chair.“Be still, Anastasia,” he murmurs, and he’s close to me again. “I want you to behave . . . ,” he whispers.Oh my. My inner goddess freezes, not even blinking.“And don’t bite your lip.” Gently he tugs my bottom lip free of my teeth , and I can’t help my smile.
Next, I hear the sharp pop of a cork being drawn from a bottle and the gentle glug of wine being poured into a glass. Then a moment of silence followed by a quiet click and the soft hiss of white noise from the surround-sound speakers as they come to life. A loud twang of a guitar begins a song I don’t know.He  turns the volume down to background level. A man starts to sing, his voice deep, low, and sexy.“A drink first, I think,” he whispers, diverting me from the song. “Head back.” I tip my head back. “Further,” he prompts.
I oblige, and his lips are on mine. Cool crisp wine flows into my mouth. I swallow reflexively. Oh my. Memories flood back of not so long ago—me trussed up on my bed in Vancouver before I graduated with a hot, angry  not appreciating my e-mail. Hmm . . . have times changed? Not much. Except now I recognize the wine, his favorite—a Sancerre.“Hmm,” I murmur in appreciation.“You like the wine?” he whispers, his breath warm on my cheek. I’m bathed in his proximity, his vitality, the heat radiating from his body, even though he doesn’t touch me.“Yes,” I breathe.“More?”“I always want more, with you.”
I almost hear his grin. It makes me grin, too. “ Are you flirting with me?”“Yes.”His wedding ring clinks against the glass as he takes another sip of wine. Now that is a sexy sound. This time he pulls my head right back, cradling me. He kisses me once more, and greedily I swallow the wine he gives me. He smiles as he kisses me again.“Hungry?”“I think we’ve already established that.”
The troubadour on the ipod is singing about wicked games. Hmm . . . How apt.The microwave pings, and he releases me. I sit upright. The food smells spicy: garlic, mint, oregano, rosemary, and lamb, I think. The door to the microwave opens, and the appetizing smell grows stronger.“Shit!” he curses, and a dish clatters onto the countertop.“You okay?”“Yes!” he snaps, his voice tight. A moment later, he’s standing beside me once more.“I just burned myself. Here.” He eases his index finger into my mouth. “Maybe you could suck it better.”
“Oh.” Clasping his hand, I draw his finger slowly from my mouth. “There, there,” I soothe, and leaning forward I blow, cooling his finger, then kiss it gently twice. He stops breathing. I reinsert it into my mouth and suck gently. He inhales sharply, and the sound travels straight to my groin. He tastes as delicious as ever, and I realize that this is his game—the slow seduction of his wife. I thought he was mad, and now . . . ? This man, my husband, is so confusing. But this is how I like him. Playful. Fun. Sexy as hell. He’s given me some answers, but I’m greedy. I want more, but I want to play, too. After the anxiety  and tension of today, and the nightmare of last night with Jack, this is a welcome diversion.“What are you thinking?”he murmurs, stopping my thoughts in their tracks as he pulls his finger out of my mouth.“How mercurial you are.”He stills beside me.He plants a tender kiss at the corner of my mouth. Grabbing his t-shirt, I pull him back to me.

“Oh no you don’t. No touching . . . not yet.” He takes my hand, pries it off hisT-shirt, and kisses each finger in turn.“Sit up,” he commands.I pout.“I will spank you if you pout. Now open wide.”Oh shit. I open my mouth, and he pops in a forkful of spicy hot lamb covered in a cool, minty, yogurt sauce. Mmm. I chew.“You like?”“Yes.”He makes an appreciative noise, and I know he’s eating and enjoying, too.
“More?”I nod. He gives me another forkful, and I chew it enthusiastically. He puts the fork down and he tears . . . bread, I think.“Open,” he orders. He in a playful mood increases my appetite.“More?” he asks.I nod. “More of everything. Please. I’m starving.”I hear his delighted grin. Slowly and patiently he feeds me, occasionally kissing a morsel of food from the corner of my mouth or wiping it off with his fingers. Intermittently, he offers me a sip of wine in his unique way.“Open wide, then bite,” he murmurs. I follow his command. Hmm—one of my favorites, stuffed vine leaves. Even cold they are delicious, though I prefer them heated up, but I don’t want to risk he burning himself again. He feeds it to me slowly, and when I’ve finished I lick his fingers clean.“More?” he asks, his voice low and husky.I shake my head. I’m full.“Good,” he whispers against my ear, “because it’s time for my favorite course. You.” He scoops me up in his arms, surprising me so much I squeal.
“Can I take the blindfold off?”

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