the way you look tonight - Page 42

Tonight, no matter what, he’d give her not only flowers but memories of more than passion and heat, too.

When Mary let him in that evening, she was so beautiful and she tasted so good that he nearly forgot his plans for the evening. Her eyes widened at the red poinsettia plant in the green-painted pot that he was holding out to her.

“You bought me flowers,” she said, slightly stunned.

They’d shared the ultimate intimacy, yet he found he was nervous as he held out the flowers. “I was going to get you roses, but when I saw this, I immediately thought of you.”

She took the pot from him and admired the large flowers. “When I was a little girl, there were hundreds of these plants all over town at Christmastime.” She lifted her gaze to his again, wonder in them as she asked, “How do you always know me so well?”

He prayed that she already knew the answer…even if he’d promised not to speak those words of love aloud until she was ready to hear them.

“I should find a good spot for this,” she said. But instead of moving into the living room, she simply put the pot down on the floor, then pulled him toward her and pushed the door closed behind him. Her lips found his, and then she was raining kisses from his mouth to his jaw, before nipping seductively at his earlobe. “I missed you today,” she told him between kisses. “So much.”

He’d made plans to give her romance, and Jack Sullivan always followed through on his plans…but how could he possibly keep his hands from roving down her curves?

“I don’t just want you for your body,” he told her as he tried to keep hold of the reins long enough to take her out for some long-overdue wooing. “I want to give you a romantic evening tonight.”

Her eyes flared with surprise and obvious pleasure at his intention, but when she lifted one leg and wrapped it around his thighs and kissed him again, Jack realized that for the next few minutes he had no choice but to completely give up the tenuous control he had over himself.

His hands dove into her hair as he crushed her mouth beneath his. Together they moved just far enough inside to sink down onto the soft rug in front of her Christmas tree. She pulled off his sweater and he untied the sash around the waist of her dress. His belt buckle opened at the same time silk slid from her shoulders. He got the clasp of her bra to come free just as she gave up on the final buttons of his shirt and yanked it open.

They rolled together on the rug with Mary on top, straddling his hips as she pressed hot kisses all across his chest. But moments later he was the one moving over her, his hands stroking her body so that she was crying out with pleasure. There was no rhythm to their lovemaking tonight, no plan, no goal as both of them followed their wild—and loving—instincts.

* * *

They were lying side by side on the rug, her hand in his, when he told her again, “I had plans for us tonight.” He was still trying to catch the breath she’d stolen from him.

Post-climax, her eyes were hazy but still filled with wickedness as she informed him, “So did I.”

He grinned back at her. “Clearly.” But when he was helping her back onto her feet, he couldn’t stop his eyebrows from going up in shock. “Ruining your dress wasn’t in my plans. Forgive me?”

She seemed stunned when she looked down at the state of her outfit. The bodice of her elegant silk dress was down around her waist, and the delicate fabric was badly wrinkled from where he’d grabbed it in his fist to drag it up by the hem as he’d moved between her legs to take her. One stocking was still in place around her thigh, but the other was a couple of feet away, tossed onto a corner of the rug in the midst of their passion. But Mary seemed most stunned by what she’d done to his button-down shirt—one sleeve ripped, half of the buttons strewn across the rug.

“I did that?” Alongside the surprise on her face was a hint of sensual pride that heated him up all over again.

“I’ll bet that’s how you open Christmas presents, isn’t it?” he teased.

“I would if I ever had a Christmas present as good as you,” she teased back.

They were already behind schedule, but if he couldn’t tell her he loved her, he needed to say it with a kiss instead. Her lips were still heated from his earlier kisses and sensitive now from their wild lovemaking. Quickly, the kiss began to spiral into something more, but Jack carefully drew back from her.

His voice gruff with emotion—and desire that grew from moment to moment—he said, “Go put some new clothes on so I can take you out for a special date.”

“Jack, it’s really sweet that you want to do something romantic for me tonight, but don’t you know you’ve been wooing and romancing me every single second since I’ve known you?”

“Pie and ice cream isn’t wooing. Dinner with my family isn’t romance.”

Her blue eyes were clear and full of emotion as she told him, “It is when I’m with you.”

My God, he loved her. So damned much the word was right there on the tip of his tongue.

“Hurry, or we’re going to be too late.”

He thought he saw disappointment in her eyes before she turned away and moved down the hall to her bedroom to change. It was almost as if she’d secretly hoped he’d break his promise and confess his love for her.

* * *

Mary didn’t recognize the address Jack gave the taxi driver, but she knew his romantic surprise would be amazing. Just as she’d told him earlier, he really did know her.