His skin was warm. So warm that it was a little bit like touching a person after they just finished a round on the bench press. “Do you… trim your arm hair?” I asked him as my hand ran along his muscled forearm. “You don’t have very much for a bear.”
That was the first time I saw his deep brown eyes sparkle. “All the time,” he said, never taking those burning eyes off me. “Clippers once a day. And you thought it was rough shaving your legs, huh?”
Bashfully, I whispered, “I don’t do that as often as I should,” in Crag’s ear.
He froze completely, like went absolutely rigid. He opened his mouth really wide, and let out one, single, bellowing “HA!”
I’ve never heard anything like it. The one body-shaking laugh was followed by more, louder somehow, until the giant man with his hand on my shoulder was red in the face and doubled over. I just stood there, grinning, and looking back and forth like I’d just shot someone. When he finally came back to reality, Crag wiped the back of his hand across his face.
“I really hope you’re the one he wanted me to meet,” he said. “I don’t think I could handle not having someone like you in my life.”
“Someone like me in your life?” I asked. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Crag looked at me like I was crazy. “Just saying,” he said. “I don’t know the last time someone made me laugh like that. Anyway, as soon as your friend and my cousin took off, I wanted to—”
“They left?” I interrupted.
He smiled again and nodded. “Uh-huh. They took off to the back of the apartment a little bit ago. Just the two of us,” he said. “I’m just a big, dumb brute of a bear, and you’re a cute little fox, and we’re standing around in someone else’s living room.”
Those deep brown eyes charmed me. I was just helplessly lost, adrift without a hope of getting away. Then I felt his heavy, warm hands on my neck. Burning hot, just the gentle brushing of his fingertips against my skin started a fire in my core.
A second later, those hands slid down just a little.
“Hey!” I said, swatting at him. He kept them right where they were, just underneath my shoulders. “What do you think you’re doing? You haven’t even taken me on a date yet. We can’t do something like this before the first date,” I said.
“I don’t see why not,” Crag said. He flashed a grin. Once again, those eyes just trapped me. “I can tell you want me, and you can probably tell how much I want you. So, what’s wrong with giving in sometimes?”
I stifled a laugh. God I always laugh at the wrong times. “I just, I mean, getting all hot and heavy on the first date is tricky enough. But before it? That’s like a whole new world of—”
I didn’t have time to finish whatever silly joke I was going to make before Crag bent down and his lips enveloped mine. He brushed them along my trembling mouth and along my jaw. The two hands on my shoulders moved to the small of my back.
He pulled me tight, cradling my neck with one of his hands and holding me helpless with the other one. When he went back to my lips, he sucked the bottom one with such gentleness that it surprised me. The hand holding my neck extended until his thumb was on my chin, pulling my mouth open just a little.
“Oh,” I gasped. “Oh my, I don’t know if I’ve ever…”
“Shut up and kiss me,” Crag said. Then he did the work for me. “I saw you in the crowd tonight, and I couldn’t take my eyes off you. Almost got me plastered in that last match. Didn’t you notice?”
He leaned low, sucking a kiss on my neck and then behind my ear.
I had thought that maybe he was looking at me, but I didn’t want to admit it. That was a level of crazy I wasn’t ready to try and handle.
“I… oh wow, that’s incredible,” I breathed as he slid his rough thumb along my jaw, tickling me just a little. “I never do stuff like this. I mean never.”
For a second, Crag pushed my head back with his thumb and stared straight into my eyes. “For something you never do, you’re certainly enjoying it,” he said. “But me either. You just… you’re doing things to me.”
Then he kissed me.
Oh God did he kiss me.
It was deep and hard and relentless from the very first second. His tongue explored mine, slid around the deepest parts of me. He seemed to pull the breath out of my lungs. When he finally left me, I almost hurt with how much I wanted him back.