So much better out here,” Haven said, the night air cool against the tingling warmth of her skin. Although she was pretty sure that not all of the heat burning through her insides was from the alcohol—her unusual flirtatiousness and closeness to Dare over the past half hour had made her desperate with a heat that had nothing to do with her drinking game.
She walked to the railing and leaned against it, chuckling a little at herself for needing the support it offered. She felt so damn free, and it was a heady, exhilarating thing.
“What’s funny?” Dare asked, settling a hip against the railing right beside her. Arms crossed, jaw ticking with tension, dark eyes blazing, he was staring at her like he wanted to reprimand her or devour her. Oddly, neither alarmed her the way she would’ve expected it to.
Haven shook her head, leaning it back and letting her gaze float over the night sky. Blurry points of light swam in the moonlit heavens. It was beautiful and peaceful despite the pounding bass beat of music thumping from inside the clubhouse. “Not funny, just good. Happy, you know? Being able to do something a little . . . scary, but knowing I’d be safe doing it.” When Dare’s gaze narrowed, she shrugged. “I don’t know.”
A long moment passed before Dare finally spoke. “You are safe here, Haven. Never doubt it.”
Peering up at him, she nodded, all kinds of words sitting on the tip of her tongue, challenging her to let them fly. “It’s weird feeling safe—or at least safer—after a lifetime of not. It makes me want to try things I could never let myself try before. It makes me . . .” She shook her head and dipped her chin.
Dare stepped closer, his thighs coming up against her hip. He lifted her chin and made her look at him. The contact combined with the command in the gesture lanced white-hot desire through her veins. “Makes you what?”
“Want to feel alive,” she whispered, her heart suddenly racing in her chest.
Dare’s jaw ticked again as his gaze swept over her face. She didn’t think she was imagining the raw emotion pouring off of him and wrapping around her, but she wasn’t sure if she was reading that emotion right or projecting her own desire onto him.
“Do you feel alive, Dare?” she asked, the alcohol flowing through her and the night spinning around her like she was walking through a dream.
“Jesus,” he bit out.
The rough desperation in his voice made her wet between her legs. “Just once,” she whispered, not sure what she was asking him for.
But he seemed to know. Because his hand was suddenly tangled in her hair and his mouth was suddenly on hers, claiming, probing, tasting. Haven moaned and parted her lips, inviting him deeper.
Dare jerked back from her, his fingers rubbing roughly over his lips. “Fuck, I’m sorry.”
On instinct, Haven’s body pursued his, pinning his back to the railing. “Please don’t stop,” she said as her hands gripped his shoulders. She had the strongest urge to climb him, to wrap her legs around him, to grind against the hard bulge pressing electrically against her belly.
“Please,” she whispered, tilting her mouth toward his. “I liked it.”
Dare’s hand cupped the back of her head. “You’re killing me.”
“Dare,” she said, her body restless against his.
In a move that sent the world spinning, he flipped them around so that she was the one pinned against the railing. He pushed his legs between hers and leaned down over her, forcing her to arch her back, to yield, to open to him.“Tell me what you want from me. Say the words,” he said, his eyes absolutely on fire.
Her heart was a runaway train in her chest, frantic and picking up speed. The thought of giving voice to her desires was terrifying and thrilling and dizzying all at once.
“I want your mouth,” she said. The words sounded odder out loud than they had in her head, but they were more accurate than asking him to kiss her—because her mouth wasn’t the only place she wanted his.
“Jesus,” he rasped again, his mouth coming down on hers once more.
The whimper she released was part relief, part anticipation. It had been so long since she’d kissed someone that she felt a little uncertain, but Dare’s intensity barely allowed her the capacity to worry about it. He was like a dark storm bearing down on her, relentless, magnetic, all-consuming.
Rough callouses from his hands scratched against her cheeks as he guided her. Hard breaths spilled over her lips, and the wet slide of his tongue tasted like whiskey and desire and man. Her hands found the soft length of his hair, and her breasts pushed against the hard plane of his chest.
Then her lips were freed as his mouth slid over her skin—exploring her cheek, her jaw, her ear, her neck. He hiked her up to sit on the wide railing, the move surprising a gasp out of her, especially as he crowded the space between her legs, pushing himself closer, bringing his erection against the place between her legs craving friction, hardness, so much more of him. Maybe even all of him.
One strong arm wrapped around her back and held her steady, while the other hand stroked her hair, her face, her breast. The soft groans and breathy grunts spilling out of him were delicious and thrilling, and bolstered her confidence that she wasn’t the only one losing herself in this moment, in these touches. She almost couldn’t believe this was happening, and part of her was certain she must be dreaming. Because Haven Randall didn’t have beautiful things in her life. At least, never before.
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About The Author
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.