Richard saw the denial in my eyes. “Let me prove it to you,” he said softly. “Let me prove that there’s something between us. Give me one chance, Rachel, that’s all I ask.”
“Prove it?” I drew back from him mistrustfully. “How?”
“With a kiss, just one real kiss.” He drew me back into the circle of his arms. “How many boyfriends have you had in your life before Charles, Rachel? How many men in your life before I found you?”
I looked at him uncertainly, surprised by the change of topic. “Um, a few,” I hedged. “Not many, actually. I was always busy with school or my career, I guess.”
“And did you give yourself to any of them? Have you given yourself to Charles?”
I thought of my fiancé’s endless groping and his clumsy, too-wet kisses. “No,” I said at last. “No I…I never.”
“Because you couldn’t,” Richard said. “You’ve been saving yourself; you just didn’t know why.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I was saving myself for my wedding night?” I demanded. But the words sounded weak, even to me.
“When Charles touches you, kisses you, does it arouse you?” Richard looked at me intently, as though everything depended on my answer. With him staring at me that way, I somehow couldn’t bring myself to lie.
“No,” I said, looking away. “No, but that’s just because we’re not married yet.”
“Do you really think so?” he demanded. “He’s human, Rachel, and you’re Amon-kai — the two species are not sexually compatible. Do you think a gold ring to match that ridiculous diamond on your finger is really going to make a difference in how you feel when he touches you?”
“I don’t know, all right?” I flared at him suddenly. He was pushing me into a corner, challenging my very belief in myself, and I couldn’t take much more of it. “But it doesn’t matter anyway because even if Charles doesn’t turn me on, that doesn’t change a thing. He’s still my fiancé, and we’re still going to be married in two weeks.”
“That’s not what you really want.” Richard sounded so sure of himself that I almost believed him.
“What do you know about what I want?” I glared at him angrily, thinking of all the lost and empty years spent apart. How dare he come back into my life now and try to dictate my actions — my very emotions?
“I know what you need,” he said quietly, refusing to fight back. “It’s the same thing I need, Rachel. Give me one chance to prove it to you — just one real kiss.”
So we were back to the kissing again. “What do you think you’re going to prove by kissing me, Richard?” I demanded. “What do you think you’ll gain?”
“Your heart,” he said simply. “Or at least a chance to win it. Please, Rachel, one kiss isn’t so much to ask.”
“Look who you’re asking,” I said, but I could feel myself relenting. If kissing him once would make him abandon this foolish notion, then I supposed I could give it a try. I sighed. “All right — one kiss.”
“One kiss to prove that my touch moves you — that we need each other,” he clarified. “Like the bets we used to make when we were kids.”
I wasn’t sure how he thought one kiss would prove all that, but I shrugged anyway. “All right, one real kiss. But what are we betting?”
He smiled, a slow, lazy smile that made my heart bump noisily in my chest. “More kisses of course, if I prove my point. If I don’t, I’ll move out of your life and leave you alone forever.”
“Richard,” I protested. “I don’t want you out of my life. I just want you to forget this nonsense.”
“It’s not nonsense,” he said. “And it’s not a bet I intend to lose. Come here, Rachel. Let me kiss you.”
Trying to still the beating of my heart, I leaned forward and closed my eyes. Just one kiss, I promised myself. Just one and then I’ll put an end to this nonsense. Even when he touched my breasts at night he didn’t kiss me — it was going too far, giving too much, I always felt. Now I was determined to be calm and cool while I let him kiss me. I decided I wouldn’t react in any way. When it was over he would see how wrong he was and drop all this. Of course, I didn’t want him out of my life forever — I loved him too dearly for that. But it would be good to go back to the way things used to be before he’d brought this awkwardness between us.
“Not like this.” Richard’s voice interrupted my train of thought, and I opened my eyes to see him frowning at me.
“What do you mean? You asked for a –” That was as far as I got before he picked me up and sat me on his lap.
“Richard!” I protested, pushing against his chest. He had me settled on top of him so that I was straddling his hips. I was still wearing my gray business skirt and my white silk blouse with small pearl buttons, although I had kicked off the gray suede pumps I’d had on earlier. My skirt hiked up to somewhere around my hips, and I found myself pressed hard against the crotch of his faded blue jeans.
“This is more like it.” He smiled at me, and I understood that he wouldn’t let me go until he had gotten his kiss. I tried to settle a little higher up on his thighs, but he pulled me back down to him, cupping my ass in his palms. “Come here,” he whispered.
Feeling like I was drowning, I relaxed and leaned toward him. One kiss, just one… It became like a mantra in my mind — at least until his lips touched mine. Then the heat that flowed between us wiped out every other thought in my head.
One real kiss, Richard had said, and I knew what he meant — I would have to give him the access to explore me that I had refused him that first night. What I hadn’t counted on was how easy it would be to do just that. His soft, sensual exploration of my lips drew a groan from me, and before I knew it, I had opened my mouth to him with no urging at all.
He tasted salty — like the soy sauce we had both been eating, but under that was a sweet, spicy taste I couldn’t name. Maybe it was just his natural flavor, the taste of the Amon-kai, but I found it completely delicious and utterly addicting. Before I knew it, I was writhing on his lap, the unfamiliar heat raging through my body like a wildfire, out of control. I could feel my nipples hardening into tight, aching points at the tips of my breasts, and between my thighs, my sex felt slippery and swollen — begging for something I had never had but wanted desperately now.
Richard reached behind me and pulled the clip out of my hair, releasing it from the tight twist I wore it in at court and letting it cascade around my shoulders like a curtain made of silk. He ran his hands through the loosened strands, his lips never leaving my mouth as he kissed me senseless. I could feel the rigid lump of his cock against my inner thighs and I ground myself against him shamelessly, loving the sensation of his thickness parting my damp folds, even through the layers of our clothing.
All thought of the wrongness of what we were doing was wiped from my mind by the desire that was building in me relentlessly. The only thing I could think of was that I needed more…more of his mouth on mine, more of his hands on my body, and most especially, more of the feel of his hard cock grinding against the soft, slippery heat of my sex. I forgot that the man I was kissing had been raised with me as my brother for the first seven years of my life. I even managed to forget entirely that I was supposed to be married to another man in the next two weeks. There was no room in my thought process at all for anything except the lust Richard was building in me with his hungry, passionate kisses.
Richard ended the kiss abruptly, pulling away from me and breaking the contact between us.
“What…why …?” I floundered, still unable to think. I had completely lost myself in the kiss, and losing the sweet feeling of his lips against mine was almost as jarring as though he had dragged me out of a warm bed and poured a bucket of ice water over my head.
“Tell me that didn’t arouse you.” Richard was staring at me intently, still breathing hard from the kiss himself. There was a challenge in his pale green eyes, so exactly like my own, that brought me back to myself.
What was I doing here, sitting on his lap and kissing him? Never mind the obvious taboo I was breaking, or at least, felt I was breaking despite the lack of actual blood ties between us; there was also the fact that I was engaged to Charles. The vulgar diamond ring on my left hand sparkled at me reproachfully, reminding me of promises I had made, vows I didn’t intend to break. And then there was the fact that my mother had warned me so strenuously against ever seeing Richard again — there must be something he wasn’t telling me. Something about the Amon-kai that I couldn’t remember. But it was hard to focus on any of these things — hard to focus on anything but the needs of my newly-awakened body.
“Well?” He was still looking at me expectantly.
“I…no,” I said at last, knowing it was a complete lie, but unable to tell the truth. “No, kissing you didn’t, um, didn’t arouse me, Richard.” I tried to crawl off his lap, but he wouldn’t let me, keeping us pressed together. I was uncomfortably aware that he was still intensely aroused himself — the evidence of it was pressing against the sensitive cleft between my legs.
“You’re lying.” His black eyebrows drew together, but his expression was more one of gentle amusement than anger.
“I am not,” I denied with quiet intensity. This was something I had learned in the courtroom from observing the defendants I was prosecuting. No matter how blatantly obvious it is that you’re lying, doing it softly and vehemently makes your lie seem at least marginally more credible.
Richard didn’t bother getting into a verbal “are not, am too” sparring match of the kind we used to have on the rare occasion we fought when we were children. Instead he laughed softly, a low, warm chuckle that seemed to pour through me like melted butter. Reaching up, he began unbuttoning my white silk blouse.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I demanded.
“Proving my point.” He pulled the blouse apart, and I watched, feeling somehow helpless to stop him as he unfastened the front-hook bra I wore and pulled it apart, baring my breasts to him. I had never watched as he did this, never acknowledged it when his hands slipped under my night shirt and stroked my nipples, but now he was forcing me to watch. Forcing me to look while he cupped my naked breasts in his large, warm hands, making me gasp.
“What about these?” he asked, flicking my hardened nipples lightly with his thumbs. “Why are your nipples hard if you’re not aroused?”
“I…you…” His touch sent fire shooting through my veins, bright sparks of pleasure that seemed to burst inside my chest, making it almost impossible to refute him. But somehow, I knew I had to try.
“Well?” Richard laughed at me again. He pinched my nipples lightly, his touch on my inflamed flesh making it terribly hard to think.
“I — I’m cold,” I stuttered, though I felt I was burning up. I wanted to pull away from his touch, but I was powerless to do so — as powerless as I had been to stop kissing him.
“Rachel,” he said softly. “You’re still lying. Don’t make me prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.”
“I…I don’t know what you mean.” He twisted my nipples gently, sending sparks of pleasure straight down to my slippery sex. I knew I ought to stop him, but somehow I just couldn’t. Touching Charles had never made me feel like this — my fiancé’s hands on my body had never made me feel like I couldn’t get a deep enough breath, like my heart was going to pound out of my body. It was a completely new sensation and one I was helpless against.
“I mean this.” His hands left my breasts and slid down my trembling abdomen to the tender vee between my legs. I gasped and bit my lip as Richard ripped a hole in the crotch of my pantyhose, exposing my white silk panties.
“What…?” I couldn’t even form the question.
“Are you wet for me, Rachel?” he whispered softly, cupping my pussy through the thin, silky material in one warm palm. “I’m only going to ask you one more time. Did your body respond when I kissed you?”
The panties I had on were unlined, and I gasped as he pressed one large finger against them, rubbing the slippery material into the hot, wet folds of my cunt. I had never allowed him to go so far while we lay in bed together, but now I couldn’t seem to stop him. I could feel my body opening for him spontaneously, my pussy lips so swollen and hot that they were spreading of their own volition, welcoming his invasion despite the thin silk barrier between us. But still I couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth.
“N — no,” I whispered, biting my lip as the lie escaped me.
Richard sighed. “You leave me no choice, Rachel,” he said. With one swift, violent motion, he gripped the crotch of my panties and ripped them away, baring me completely. I gasped when I felt the thin sides of the panties give way and the cool air of the room hit my unprotected sex. Then Richard’s big hand was there again, cupping me, spreading me so that his blunt fingertips could explore my naked cunt with nothing between us.
“Richard…please,” I begged, but I didn’t know if I was begging him to stop or to never stop. I had never felt so helpless or so completely out of control of my body. Here I was, straddling his lap, my breasts exposed completely and my legs spread wide while he explored my naked, wet pussy with gentle but insistent fingers, and yet I couldn’t stop — didn’t want to stop.
“If my kiss didn’t arouse you, then why are you so wet?” he whispered roughly, in answer to my plea. “Why are you spread out on my lap, letting me touch you like this if you don’t like it? Who have you been saving yourself for all these years, if not for me, your Lanor-zur?” he demanded.
I shivered and bit my lip as he pressed one long finger gently into me, feeling my virgin barrier. No one had ever touched me there before, not even Charles. But I could feel my body wanting more, wanting Richard to breach that barrier and claim me as his own, even as my mind was insisting that it was completely, utterly wrong. It was difficult to understand how something that felt so wrong mentally could feel so right physically.
“Please,” I gasped again, then bit my lip to keep the rest of my plea from coming out.