By: Brenda Jackson

Duan eased on the bed beside her and relieved her of her glass, setting it on the nightstand. “Now for some real celebrating,” he said, still holding his glass with one hand while untying the belt at her waist with the other. She wet her lips as she watched him open her robe, revealing her nakedness.

And then with his fingertips he reached up and slowly traced a trail from the base of her throat to her breasts, downward to her navel and lower still to the curls between her thighs.

“So what do you say about us really getting downright festive?” he suggested. And before she figured out what he was about to do, he tilted his glass until champagne splashed on her.

She drew in a sharp breath as the cool liquid contacted her skin. A shiver went through her when it followed the same trail from her breasts downward.

“Oops, sorry, I’m rather clumsy,” he said, placing his glass beside hers on the nightstand. “I guess I’m going to have to lick it off you.”

And he proceeded to do just that.

KIM’S CELL PHONE RANG the moment she was settled in the backseat of the taxi. She flipped open her phone and smiled after seeing the caller. “Yes, Mom, how are you? You missed a great wedding.”

She glanced over at Duan. He was sitting beside her, leaning back against the seat. He had his hand on her thigh and was staring at her with a look that said it wouldn’t take much for him to push her down and have his way with her.She understood. From the moment they’d sneaked out of the wedding reception to make out in that room, something crazy had happened between them. It was like an addiction. One that would hit them with the urge to have sex whenever, wherever and however. The only reason they were controlling themselves now was because they didn’t want to scandalize the cab driver. And there was also the risk of getting arrested.

Kim shook her head. This was crazy. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before. It was as if their bodies were acting on impulse without any logical thought. That would explain why two adults had made out in an elevator on the way down to catch their cab.

Sex between them was off the charts, the best she’d ever had. Every orgasm—and there had been plenty—had proven better than the one before. And she appreciated the fact that Duan was such a skillful lover. The past twenty-four hours had been the most pleasure-producing—and memorable—she’d ever had.

“I’m fine, baby, and I hate I missed the wedding,” her mother was saying, pulling Kim’s attention back to the conversation but not fully away from Duan. She could feel sensations stirring in her belly at his nearness, at the way he was looking at her with all that heat.

“I’ll give Sherri a call once she returns from her honeymoon,” her mother added. “But now I’m ready to tell you why I wasn’t able to join you in Chicago.”

“All right.” Kim tried to focus completely on the conversation with her mother…at least as much as she could.

Each time she glanced over at Duan she would get aroused. With him she’d gained a boldness that was new to her. To make out with a man in an empty room during her best friend’s wedding reception was certainly over the top.

She forced her attention back to her mother. When she had called a few days ago she had been pretty secretive about the reason she could not make the wedding. After convincing Kim that she was fine, Wynona Cannon-Longleaf-Higgins-Gunter had assured her daughter she would tell her everything later.

The last time her mother had behaved in such a manner there had been a man involved. Kim didn’t begrudge her mother meeting someone and being happy. At fifty-five Wynona was still attractive, although it had taken Kim a long time to make her mother believe that. Her abusive father had convinced his wife that if she left him, no other man would want her, and where would she be without a man taking care of her.

Unfortunately, Wynona had remained with her husband, taking his abuse, both physically and mentally. Kim would never forget how in her senior year of high school her mother had landed in the emergency room from one of those beatings, and it was then that Wynona had made up her mind it would be the last whipping any man would give her. She had tearfully told Kim she didn’t want her daughter to assume that physical abuse was something any woman should tolerate.

While Kim was grateful her mother had finally gotten the strength to leave her dad, the only other thing Wynona needed to rid herself of was the notion that a woman needed a man to survive. That belief was the reason Kim had eventually ended up with three stepfathers. Although none were abusive like her father, the four had lacked substance, and none of the marriages had lasted more than a year or two.