Charlotte sat on the edge of her bed, trembling from head to toe. She didn’t know what had come over her when she saw Avery in the shadows at the dance, but something pulled her to him. An urge she couldn’t resist made all of those lingering thoughts—his beautiful smile, his lips, the intensity of his gaze—become a thing of pure need. She needed him. She wanted him. And nobody in this world was going to tell her that she couldn’t have him. Only he could make that decision.
After their world-turning kiss earlier, his presence stayed with her all day—not that she hadn’t thought of him before. The way he laid his eyes on her like she was his, made her ache with anticipation.
It wasn’t only a physical yearning, it was much more than that. His deep voice was soothing, yet commanding, his laughter livened her soul, and his lust for life made her feel the same way. Perhaps they were meant to meet, to help each other. She may have stopped the whipping, but he eased her lonely soul.
Her body became aware the second the front door opened and closed. Charlotte held her breath as the dull thud of his boot heels counted down the seconds. Anxious fear made her throat cinch as she shifted her nervous gaze to the bedroom door.
He was there as if he might’ve been every night for twenty years, leaning casually against the doorframe, his lips curved with awareness. A man’s smile may arouse a flutter in a woman’s stomach, but this one was different. This held the look of pure primal demand.
Good lord he’s a big man.
With wide eyes, she gazed at his head nearly touching the top of the frame. He seemed bigger than before, more imposing. She twisted her hands in her lap, unsure what to say without sounding awkward and unladylike, or pathetic and childlike.
“What you said earlier . . . is it what you truly want?” His golden eyes seemed to spark more with each word.
Charlotte nodded, still at a loss for words.
“Have you been with a man before?” His deep, husky voice slithered over her as if his lips were against her skin.
“No. But I almost . . .” She cleared her throat when his lip curved up again.
“Almost isn’t going to graze the tip of what I’m about to do to you . . .”