Authors: Penny Jordan
'Not to me it doesn't,' Louise told him savagely. 'Why should it?'
Before he could stop her she turned on her heel and ran through the villa, up to the bedroom she shared with her twin.
From its windows it was possible to see the village, with its red-tiled roofs and the hillside beyond, but it wasn't the view that held Louise's attention, her eyes widening as she realised that Gareth had followed her upstairs and was now standing just inside her room.
'You dropped this,' he told her gruffly, handing her her discarded bikini top.
Automatically she reached out to take it from him, and then stopped as she saw the way he was looking at her.
'Keep away from Giovanni, Louise,' she heard him advising her grimly. 'He isn't...'
'He isn't what?' she demanded, anger flaring again. 'I don't
about what he isn't. I only care about what he
He's a man, isn't he...a male? And he can... I'm tired of being told I'm still a child...not a woman. What does it take to make me a woman? As if I didn't know.
'I just want to have sex,' she told him defiantly, 'and I don't care who it's with...not if I can't have Saul...If I can't have Saul then it might as well be anybody...'
'You don't mean that,' she heard him contradicting her flatly. 'You don't know what you're saying...'
'Stop patronising me...' Louise was practically howling at him now, so driven by the combination of her own feelings and his resented, unwanted presence that her reactions were no longer fully under her own control. 'I do mean it...'
'Oh, no, you don't,' Gareth was telling her sharply. 'And I'll prove it to you.'
Before she could even guess what he had in mind he had slammed her bedroom door closed and was standing between her and it—her and freedom. An ominous sense of things having gone too far began to trickle like icy water into her veins, but Louise wasn't going to give in to it and risk losing face in front of him.
virginity to a friend of my youngest sister,' she heard him telling her coolly as he started to unfasten his shirt. 'She was twenty; I was just seventeen.'
Louise couldn't take her eyes off his body, his shirt...his hands... In appalled, paralysed fascination she watched as he finished unfastening it and shrugged it off. Calmly he started to reach for his belt.
Nervously Louise moistened her suddenly dry lips.
'What's wrong?' she heard Gareth taunting her. 'Having second thoughts...?'
'You...you can't mean this. You don't know what you're doing...' she whispered shakily.
'Yes, I can, and yes, I do. You said you wanted to lose your virginity.
said you didn't mind
you lost it to. I'm here, and I can promise you, Louise, that I'm perfectly willing and able to assist you. After all, it might as well be me as Giovanni, mightn't it...?
don't mind which of us it is, after all, do you? And forgive me, but it is quite some time since I've had sex, as the sight of your extremely attractive naked breasts has just rather forcefully reminded me.
that, you know,' he continued conversationally. 'There's something about the sight of a pair of pretty, pert bare breasts that just naturally turns a man's thoughts to how those same breasts would feel filling his hands, how they might taste when he could get to suckle on them, how the
they're a part of might react if he showed her...'
When he heard Louise's small shocked gasp he asked her quietly, 'What is it? I'm not embarrassing you, am I, Louise? After all,
were the one who said that it didn't matter
you had sex with, and, like I've just said, I'm more than willing to oblige you...
than willing... Here, feel,' he commanded, reaching out for her hand.
Louise stared at him in horrified fascination. What on earth did he think he was
He was her
He was... She closed her eyes and then flicked them open again as, shockingly, she had a sudden explicitly clear mental image of him the way he had been that first day she had seen him climbing out of the pool at his own villa. Then she had been very much, if unwontedly, aware of the fact that he was not
her tutor but also very, very much a man, and now, suddenly and inexplicably, she was aware of it again.
'Did you...did you love her...your sister's friend?' she managed to ask him jerkily as she tried to drag her appalled gaze from his face. She did not
to look at his body now that he had removed his shirt and was, it seemed, in the process of removing the rest of his clothes as well.
'I dare say I
that I did,' he told her coolly.
'But at seventeen...I was
seventeen. What's wrong...? Louise, have you changed your mind...?'
Oddly, despite the fact that he had been talking to her for several minutes, he had still not unfastened his belt, and yet it had taken him no time at all to unfasten and remove his shirt.
Just for a second Louise was tempted to give in and admit that, yes, she had most certainly changed her mind, but her pride, always one of her own worst enemies, refused to let her. Give way, give in, and to him...? No... No... Never... And besides—besides, she knew perfectly well that he was only bluffing, and that he would never... Well,
could play that game just as well as him, and probably even better.
Her confidence returning, she gave a small toss of her head and told him firmly, 'No. I haven't.'
She pursed her lips and forced herself to make a thorough visual inventory of what she could see of him, determinedly lingering as long as she dared on the bare, bronzed expanse of his torso before quickly skimming over the rest of his, thankfully, still clothed body and returning her gaze to his face, saying, as disparagingly as she dared, 'You aren't as...as macho as Giovanni, but I suppose you'll still do.'
She saw at once that she had touched a raw nerve. A muscle twitched warningly in his jaw, but she willed herself to ignore it.
'By rights I ought to put you over my knee and...'
Widening her eyes, Louise willed herself not to blush as she asked him provocatively, 'Ooh, is that seme special kind of position? I don't have your experience, of course, and—'
'You really are asking for it, Louise,' she heard him warning her, but she wasn't going to give in.
Shrugging, she told him tauntingly, 'Well, yes, I suppose I am... You needn't worry about me getting pregnant, by the way—I
on the pill...'
Her doctor had prescribed it several months earlier, when her emotional trauma had begun to have a disruptive effect on her normal monthly cycle.
'Very practical of you,' she heard Gareth commending her curtly. 'No doubt that was for Saul's benefit, was it? You do surprise me. I should have thought that deliberately encouraging, if not inciting the kind of "accident" that would have forced his hand and made him offer you and his child the protection of his name would have been more in keeping with the high drama of your infatuation with him.'
Louise's face blazed with angry colour.
you?' she breathed taking an impulsive step towards him. 'I would
try to trap a man like that,' she told him with fierce pride—and meant it.
'Louise,' she heard him saying almost wearily as he raised his hand and cupped the side of her face. To tell her what? Something she really didn't want to hear, she was pretty sure of that, and so far as she knew there was really only one sure-fire way to stop him.
Without stopping to consider the consequences of her actions, desperate only to silence him and have him stop dragging up the still raw pain of her loss of Saul, she quickly closed the distance between them, placing her mouth against his as she whispered, 'Save the lecture, Professor;
isn't what I want. What I want—'
She never got to finish her sentence, because suddenly and totally unexpectedly she heard Gareth groan deep down in his throat, and the next minute she was being dragged tightly against his body by his free hand as his mouth opened over the prim closed shape of hers and he proceeded to kiss her in a way she had previously only experienced at second hand, via the television screen.
She had known, of course, that people did,
kiss like this—had even dreamed and fantasised about Saul kissing her with just this kind of intimacy and hard male heat—but the reality of having a man's body pressed up hard against her own, the bare flesh of his torso hard and firm and hot against the nakedness of her breasts while his hand cupped her face and his mouth moved against hers with devastating expertise and determination, was like comparing watching someone else screaming through the air on some wild fun-park ride with being the one sitting there in the seat feeling that experience for oneself.
But no big-dipper ride, however terrifying, appalling and thrilling, could come anywhere near making her feel what she was feeling right now, Louise acknowledged as she felt her whole body submit to an avalanche of feeling—of sensation—of reaction—she had
ever guessed it
She couldn't even control her body's urgent, hungry response to the skilled sensuality of his kiss, never mind .do anything about the way her breasts, her nipples were already aching so tormentedly for the kind of caresses and intimacy he had described to her only minutes earlier.
Briefly, bravely, Louise tried to fight what she was feeling, to withstand the dizzying surge of hormone- drenched arousal that swamped her, but it was a lost cause, her brain no match for the clamouring hunger of her body. Weakly she clung to the only solid thing she could find to cling to, her nails digging unwittingly into the hard muscles of Gareth's upper arms as she hung onto him for support.
She heard Gareth protesting warningly against her mouth, as though he could feel what was happening to her and was urging her to resist it, but Louise
resist it; she didn't
to resist it and she didn't want him to tell her to.
'No. No-o-o...' she moaned, pressing tiny pleading kisses against his lips, his jaw, his throat. 'No...Gareth... No, don't stop. Don't stop now...' she begged him, lost to everything. 'No, you can't. You can't...'
And to prove her point she pushed her body even closer to his, moving frantically against him, bestowing eager, feverish kisses against whichever bit of him she could reach.
'Louise. Louise... No. You...' She could hear him protesting, but at the same time his hand was reaching out to cup her breast.
Louise shuddered wildly in sensual delight as he touched her, urging him huskily, 'Do what you said you would do before... You said you wanted to taste me...them...' she reminded him, her voice sensually soft and slurred, her eyes bright with shocked passion, dilating in betrayal of her need as she focused blindly on him. And as she saw him hesitating she moved invitingly against him, arching her body against his, showing him the need she could feel pulsing so strongly through her veins and her senses.
The rest of the villa was empty, silent, the air in her room hot and languid from the afternoon sun.
Louise could see a tiny bead of sweat forming on Gareth's throat. She watched it in fascination as he tensed, his throat muscles rigid. Each second—each breath she took—seemed to stretch out for ever. Time itself felt as though it was standing still. She could see, hear, almost feel Gareth trying to swallow; the small bead of sweat moved. She reached out with her fingertip and caught it, holding his gaze with her own as she very deliberately transferred it to her tongue.
His whole body seemed to be caught up, galvanised by the fierce shudder that racked him. His hands cupped her breasts; his mouth covered hers. Louise shuddered in intense pleasure as wave after wave of sensual response flooded over her.
She could feel Gareth's hands, firm, broad, his fingers long and supple, shaping her as they slid down the silky hot flesh of her back before coming to rest on the rounded curves of her bottom. He bent his head, his hair brushing against her naked skin softly, in the most tenuous and spine-tingling kind of caress. She could feel the heat of his breath against her breast, and the delicate shivers of sensation down her spine became fierce, gut-wrenching, arousal-drenched waves of female need. He was caressing her breast with his mouth, gentle, slow, deliberately explorative kisses that drove her into a fury of impatience and longing.
Overwhelmed by her own need, she moved franti- cally'against him. His mouth brushed her nipple, stiff and aching with the hunger that he himself had conjured up with his shockingly explicit verbal descriptions earlier.
She felt him hesitate, and her frustration boiled up, bursting past what was left of her self-control and ability to think and reason logically.
Her hands found his shoulders, the flesh hot, and stroked the muscles and bone beneath, and their sensory message of his alienness, his total maleness, made her groan deep down in her throat—the same kind of feral yearning sound a hunting lioness aching for a mate might have made.
Her hands reached his back, strong and sleek, and urged him down towards her body. She felt the heat of his expelled breath against her nipple and shuddered uncontrollably beneath its impact. So might the hot peaks of a desert sand dune feel, when lashed by the scorching burn of the hot sirocco wind, the sensation both at once an unbearable aching pain and the promise of an even more intense and untenable pleasure.
'Do it... Do it...'
Not even hearing herself breathing the thick, urgent, guttural words had the power to shock or silence her, and the sensation that rolled through her as he gave in to her female command was not one of triumph or any kind of cerebral pleasure. Rather it was a form of relief so exquisite that she felt as though her whole body, her whole self was being drenched in a sensation so acutely intense that it was almost beyond her to bear it.