Expecting his child(9)

By: Leanne Banks

Her face fell. "I still think e-mail is the best solution."

"It hasn't been that bad this time," he said, rising from his chair and walking closer to her. Following an impulse that could get him kicked, bitten or scratched, he lifted her finger to his lips and sucked the ice cream from the tip. Her eyes grew wide and she jerked her hand from his.

"What has made you more reasonable this time?" he asked. "Maybe you like me a little more than you thought you did."

She took a quick breath and a dozen emotions swept through her blue eyes. Noah would swear one of them was desire. Maybe he was getting through.

"Food," she said. "It was definitely the food."

* * *

It was definitely not the food that was keeping her awake tonight, Martina thought much later as she threw back the covers on her bed. Every time she closed her eyes, a picture from the first time she and Noah had made love flashed across her mind.

She sat up in bed and sighed, holding her head in her hands and surrendering to the memory for just a moment. They'd eaten Chicago pizza for dinner, then Noah had taken her back to his suite to show her how he traded futures on the Chicago exchange on his laptop. His excitement had been contagious, and after a while, she'd been more caught up in his enthusiasm than his words.

"You're not listening," he said, sitting beside her, his thigh rubbing against hers.

Martina felt her cheeks heat. "I was," she insisted.

"Okay, what happens after the price jumps ten percent?"

"I didn't know there'd be a quiz."

He laughed, and the rich, dark sound curled inside her and heated her down to her toes. He tugged her from her chair and pulled her onto his lap. "If you weren't thinking about futures, then what were you thinking about?"

Bracing herself on his shoulders, she considered dodging the question, but followed another instinct, instead. "I was thinking about you," she said, lifting her fingers to his solid jaw. "You have such a passion for almost everything you do."

His eyes darkened and he pressed her fingers to his lips. "More than one person has called me crazy for my ideas."

"A little crazy is not a bad thing," Martina said, feeling a relentless urgency grow in her belly and blood.

He sucked her finger into his mouth, and she held her breath while he held her gaze. "I'm getting a passion for Martina."

"That could be too crazy," she whispered as he pulled her face closer to his.

"Too late," he said, and took her mouth.

Martina's world spun. He had kissed her before, but tonight was different. She felt it in the air, in his touch, inside her. He made love to her mouth, tasting her, seducing her, savoring her until her heart clamored for more. She sank her fingers into his hair, luxuriating in the soft, wavy texture.

He pulled away and she felt almost as if she was in a dream. Giving her a dozen opportunities to stop him, he slowly, deliberately lifted her sweater over her head and unfastened her bra.

"Do you want this?" he asked, touching the aching tips of her breasts with his thumbs.

Her mouth went dry and she closed her eyes. Her heart hammered a mile a minute. There were reasons, very valid reasons, she should stop, but her brain could not produce one of them at this moment. She had never wanted a man so badly in her life. It wasn't so much his incredible body as much as it was his mind, his very being. The way he thought, the way he acted.

"Yes," she said, the honesty coming from deep inside her. "I want you."

He dipped his mouth to one of her nipples and took it into his mouth.

Fire had raced through her, and Martina had bitten back a moan. He would consume her, she'd thought, and a lick of apprehension had mingled with the heat of her desire. He would learn more about her tonight than any man ever had. She would have to keep a part of herself from him. He must never know, she'd decided, that he was her first.

Distress crowded Martina's throat, and a soft sound escaped, breaking her reverie. Somehow she had been convincing enough that Noah hadn't guessed. He had been so caught up in their passion that he still didn't know he had been her first. Unable to sit still one second longer, she rose from her bed. She needed to leave these memories behind, to exorcise them, if only temporarily, from her mind.

She instinctively walked toward the nursery. She hadn't bought a crib or even painted the baby's room yet. The only piece of furniture in the room was a toy chest full of odds and ends she'd begun to collect. She knelt beside the light oak chest and touched the infant sleepers, receiving blankets, a stuffed bear, then brought out the little box that made her heart contract and expand every time.

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