Always he was in control. His restraint was something that never failed him. He was confident in his abilities to please the woman he was with. He never faltered. Never hesitated. But now? He felt like he was making love for the first time in his life. That he was an untried virgin with no idea what to do with the veritable feast of womanhood that lay before him.

As he pondered those thoughts, the realization came that this was, in fact, the first time for him. His first time to make love. His first time to have sex when his emotions, his heart, were involved. He’d never been in love with the women he’d been with.


Desired them? Yes. Aroused? Absolutely. But his heart had never been involved to the extent it was with Joss. He was terrified of doing the wrong thing. Of touching her wrong. The pressure he put on himself was overwhelming. The fear of failure. Of not making this as perfect as he wanted.

It was a hell of a position to be in. His heart’s desire within touching distance and he was too afraid to take the plunge.

Joss, sweet, loving Joss seemed to know exactly what he was thinking—feeling. She smiled and extended her hand, an invitation for him to come to her.

“It’s all right, Dash,” she said, her smile as soft as her silky skin. “I’m nervous too. But we’ll get through this together. I trust you to make it beautiful—perfect. How could it be anything else between us?”

He let out a groan, pissed at himself for allowing his uncertainty to show. Some Dominant he was when he was paralyzed with fear over touching her.

Then he lowered his body to hers, allowing his weight to press down on her, but he propped himself up on his forearms so he wouldn’t crush her. She was tiny and delicate, so much so that she looked as though she could be broken if handled too roughly. But it wasn’t her body he was most concerned about. It was her heart. Her emotions. He didn’t want to overwhelm her. He didn’t want her to fear him. Never that. Anything but that. He couldn’t bear it if she ever looked at him with fear in her beautiful eyes.

Holding himself up on one arm, he traced the lines of her face with his free hand, committing to memory every second of this first time. He could scarcely comprehend that she was finally his. That she was in his bed, na**d, and that he’d be making love to her in just moments.

He hadn’t wanted her to be overwhelmed, but in fact, he was utterly overwhelmed himself.

“I’ve waited so long for this,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion. “For you.”

-- Advertisement --

She smiled and turned her cheek into his palm, nuzzling farther into his touch. Then she pressed a kiss against his hand, just a simple, sweet gesture that turned his heart over in his chest.

“Make love to me, Dash,” she whispered, her eyes burning brightly. They glowed in the soft light of the bedroom, alive with answering desire.

He lowered his mouth to hers, inhaling her scent as he tasted her lips. He pushed in with his tongue, licking over hers, exploring her mouth.

He was so hard that it was painful. He had to get rid of the barrier between them. He wanted his flesh against hers. Wanted to feel her softness and her warmth.

“Give me a minute to get out of these clothes,” he murmured against her lips. “Don’t move.”

She smiled again and stretched, lifting her arms above her head. It was a gesture of surrender. Was it intentional? A signal of her submission?

He removed his clothes, nearly tearing them in his haste. Her eyes widened when his erection sprang free from constraint. He glanced down and winced, understanding her surprise. He was harder than he’d ever been in his life. His dick strained upward, so swollen and tight that the veins were clearly outlined. The head was nearly purple and already liquid leaked from the tip.

He didn’t dare touch himself. He didn’t trust himself not to spend himself right then and there.

“You have a beautiful body, Dash,” she said shyly, color blooming in her cheeks.

He felt heat stain his own cheeks, embarrassed by her scrutiny. Never had he felt self-conscious about his body before. He kept in shape. Took care of himself. He wasn’t normally modest, but it was important to him that Joss appreciated his physique. Maybe that made him vain, but he wanted her approval. He wanted her to want him every bit as much as he wanted her.

“You’re who’s beautiful,” he said sincerely. “So damn beautiful you make me ache, Joss.”

She arched her body in silent invitation. He needed no urging. He moved swiftly to the bed, no thoughts of dominance. Of commanding or arranging her in a submissive position. Tonight all he wanted was to have her. To seal the relationship beginning between them. Dominance—her submission—could come later.

“Spread your legs, honey,” he said huskily. “Let me see that pretty pussy. I want to taste you. I’ve been dying to taste you. I want you to come in my mouth. All over my tongue.”

She trembled and chill bumps danced across her skin. Her ni**les beaded and puckered, an invitation for him to taste.

He wanted it all. And before the night was over, he’d taste every inch of that delectable skin. No part of her would go unexplored. He’d know what pleased her, where her pleasure points were.

He was dying for her to taste him as well. To have her mouth wrapped around his dick, her tongue lapping at his balls. But there was plenty of time for that. They had all the time in the world. Soon. Soon, he’d have complete mastery of her body. He’d have her complete obedience and submission. But tonight was all about her. Sating her desires, showing her how good they could be together.

When she hesitantly parted her thighs, giving him a clear look at her feminine flesh, he saw moisture gleaming on the delicate folds. Satisfaction gripped him. She wanted him. Was highly aroused. He desperately wanted to push into that sweet pussy, to feel her heat consume him, grip him like a fist. But he forced himself to exercise restraint.

Instead he closed the distance between them, crawling onto the bed between her splayed thighs. Unable to resist, he ran a finger through her folds, lightly grazing her cl*tbefore circling her tiny opening.

She arched upward like a shot, her reaction intense and immediate. She gasped when he continued his careful exploration. He dipped one finger inside, barely rimming her entrance. She was dripping with desire. So wet and moist. He could take her now. She was certainly ready. But he wanted her mindless. Completely out of her head before he took them both over the edge.

Savoring the thought of ultimate satisfaction, he continued touching her, petting her, bringing her closer to orgasm. When she began trembling, her entire body tightening, he drew away, giving her a moment to come down.

“Dash . . .”

His name came out needy, desperate. He chuckled and kissed the inside of her thigh, lightly grazing the skin with his teeth. She shivered again, already working back up to release. He planned to take his time, savoring every second of this experience.

Using his fingers to gently part her folds, further exposing her to him, he leaned down, inhaling deep, absorbing her scent. A low growl worked from his throat. He was desperate for her. He wanted to dive in, devour her with his mouth and then later his cock.

His balls ached with the need to possess her. And then an unwelcome thought intruded, ripping him from the fantasy of f**king her long and hard. Another groan, this time of dismay, ripped from his mouth.

“What’s wrong, Dash?”

Her worried question had him raising his head. He sighed, disgusted with himself for not addressing this sooner. For not even thinking about it. He’d been so wrapped up in securing Joss’s consent, so focused on the act itself that he hadn’t given any consideration to protecting her.

“I’m so sorry, honey. God, I could kick myself in the balls for this. I can’t believe this didn’t come up before now. I gave no thought to protecting you.”

Her brow furrowed in puzzlement. She didn’t understand what he was getting at.

“Birth control,” he said gently. “I have no doubt that you’re safe. I’m not worried about getting anything from you and you have nothing to fear from me. It’s not that I want to use condoms. Hell, I’d give anything not to have to use them. But we have to consider pregnancy, Joss. And if you prefer me to use condoms, I will, absolutely. Whatever you want.”

Her cheeks bloomed with color and she averted her gaze a moment. He hated that the moment was spoiled. They were both so into it that this unwelcome intrusion was like a slap in the face, effectively stifling the mood.

“I don’t want to use them either,” she said softly. “I don’t like them. Carson . . . We used them at first, when we were first together, but I’m sensitive and they made me . . . dry.”

It was obvious she was embarrassed by the intimacy of their conversation. Her cheeks flamed with color and she wouldn’t meet his gaze.

“I don’t want to do anything to hurt you,” he said. “I want you to be comfortable. If we have to wait, we will. I won’t use something that you won’t enjoy.”

“I’m safe,” she said. “I was on birth control when Carson was alive. He didn’t want children. At least not right away, and as I said, condoms weren’t an option. I never went off them, even after he died. I probably should have. It’s not as though I anticipated having a sexual relationship with anyone. I couldn’t. But it was habit and it never occurred to me to go off them. They regulated my periods and made them more bearable for me. Before I went on them, my periods were difficult. They were irregular and for the weeks I was on them, it was awful. I was moody, I hurt and the cramps and headaches were unbearable. For a time, I had to take pain medication just to make it through my period. My doctor advised that I go on birth control even before Carson and I were married, but I hesitated because I feared not being able to get pregnant when I went off them. I’ve read a lot that it takes some women a long time to get pregnant after going off birth control and I wanted children very much. I was disappointed that Carson was so resistant, but when it was evident that he wouldn’t bend, I really had no choice, no reason, not to go on birth control, especially since condoms weren’t an option.”

“I understand,” Dash said, relief gripping him. “And are you okay with being with me without condoms? I’m safe, honey. I can provide you my medical history. I’ve never been with any woman without condoms. Not even once. And I have regular checkups. But there hasn’t been another woman in a long time.”

Her eyes softened. “You don’t have to justify your sexual history to me, Dash. And yes, I’m okay with you not using condoms. I trust you. And you already know there’s been no man for me since Carson.”

Her face flushed again and she ducked her head.

“He was my first. My only. I was a virgin when we met. And when he found out, he insisted we wait until we were married. And since our courtship was such a whirlwind, it wasn’t as though we had to wait long. He wanted to marry me much sooner than he did. If he’d had his way, we would have been married within weeks of meeting. It was me who insisted we wait. I wanted him to be sure.”

“And not yourself?” Dash asked.

“I was sure of him,” she said softly. “I knew he was the one. I loved him—fell in love with him from the start. But I wanted him to be certain. I didn’t want us to rush into a marriage if he wasn’t absolutely certain that I was whom he would be happy with. And I wanted him to be happy. He had such a hard childhood. He deserved to be happy.”

Dash’s heart turned over all over again. He was seized by his own love for this special, generous woman. Most women would have jumped at the chance to marry Carson Breckenridge. Wealthy. Handsome. Successful. And he loved to spoil Joss. He did so shamelessly. From the very start. Yes, Dash had his own set of reservations over the speed of Carson’s relationship with Joss. Carson was his best friend and he hadn’t wanted him to get hurt. He, like Joss, well knew of his past. His horrific upbringing.

But all reservations had fled when he’d seen firsthand how fiercely loyal and devoted Joss was to Carson. She didn’t have a mercenary bone in her body. She’d insisted on continuing her job as a nurse even though Carson had pressed her to quit from the moment they started dating.

She’d persisted, however, because she hadn’t wanted it to be perceived she was with Carson for his money. It was only after a year into their marriage that Carson had been able to persuade Joss to quit. And he’d done so by telling her of his desire to have her all to himself. So she could travel with him on the many business trips he took. When Joss was working, she’d been tied to her schedule and she couldn’t up and leave on a moment’s notice.

It had frustrated Carson, because he’d wanted Joss with him at all times. And so he’d pressured her into quitting so her time would be his.

Dash had worried that Joss wouldn’t be happy once she quit her job. She was a natural in the medical field. Her specialty had been pediatrics, and before she’d married Carson, she’d planned to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

All of that had changed the moment Carson entered her life. Did she have regrets? Did she have the desire to complete her training and go back to work? It was something he’d discuss with Joss later. Right now he wanted to reestablish the mood that had been broken by his boneheaded move.

“You deserve to be happy again,” Dash said tenderly. “And I’d very much like a part in making that happen for you. If you give me the chance, Joss, I’ll make you smile again.”

At that she did smile, her eyes lighting up, transforming her entire face into something so blindingly beautiful that it took his breath away.

“You already make me smile, Dash. You make me feel . . . beautiful. I haven’t felt beautiful in a very long time. Thank you for that. For giving me that part of myself back again.”