Carefully he unwrapped her arms from her legs and pulled her forward until she was in his arms, his arms wrapped around her body. They were face to face, their mouths only an inch apart. He could feel every puff of air that escaped with her breaths. They were short and jerky and her pulse was racing, fluttering like a butterfly at her neck. He was seized by the urge to kiss her right over that pulse point in her neck, and so he did just that.

She emitted a sharp gasp and then melted into his embrace, her body going slack against his. He could feel her heartbeat against his chest, felt every one of her curves, the imprint of her nipples against him.

Sweet. So incredibly sweet. She tasted soft and feminine and utterly perfect. He was holding perfection—every one of his dreams he’d ever had—here in his arms. It would never be more perfect than tonight. The first time they made love. The first expression of their growing love. Him showing her without words—what words couldn’t possibly express—all she meant to him and all she was going to mean to him.

He licked over her pulse and then kissed her again, moving upward to her ear. He pulled the lobe gently between his teeth and nipped before soothing with his tongue. Then he traced the outline of her ear and the sensitive inner shell, flicking his tongue until she was squirming against him.

“I want to undress you, honey. I want to see your beautiful body. I’m going to savor every second of tonight. I want it to be perfect for you—for us. I’ll never forget tonight. It means more to me than you will ever possibly know or understand that you’re giving yourself to me. That you’re trusting me with not only you but with Travis and Cammie as well.”

“I won’t forget either,” Eve said huskily, her voice laced with desire.

She pulled back and lifted her hand to his face, cupping his jaw as she stared into his eyes with so much warmth that his insides did a twist-and-tumble routine.

“I want to undress you too,” she said in a shy voice. “I want to see you and touch you.”

He did groan this time. “You’re killing me, honey. I want that too. Believe me, I want you to touch me more than I want to breathe.”

She smiled and then lifted her mouth to his and kissed him. It was the first time she’d made the first move, and he savored the sensation of her exploring his mouth. Of her taking the initiative. He was a willing captive to whatever she wanted to do to him.

“How about we undress each other?” he murmured when she finally pulled back. “But I get to go first. I want you naked when you undress me so I can enjoy the sight while you do your thing.”

She laughed, the sound warm and vibrant in his ears. God, but she was beautiful when she smiled. It was like a fist to his gut every time her face lit up, and he vowed that he’d do everything in his power to ensure she smiled for the rest of her life. That she would always have something to smile about.

He rose from the bed and reached for her hand to pull her to stand beside him. Then slowly, reverently, he began undressing her, taking his time with each piece of her clothing. When he bared her breasts, he sucked in his breath as he stared at the plump mounds. Her nipples were puckered and protruded outward as if begging for his touch. His mouth. Oh yes, he was dying to taste her.

She hesitated, lifting her arms as if to cover herself, but he caught her hands and carefully lowered them back down.

“Don’t hide from me, honey. You’re so beautiful. You take my breath away. Never hide from me. You’re too beautiful for that.”

She smiled and her arms went slack against her sides and then he reached for the waistband of her pajama bottoms, pushing them over her hips to fall to the floor. She stepped out of them and kicked them away, standing before him in just her panties.

She presented a delectable sight. So dainty and rounded in all the right places. She was thin—likely from her forced reality over the last months—but she was still curvy at her hips and breasts.

He turned her to the side as he slipped her underwear down, exposing her behind, twin globes that begged for his hands to cup them. And he would. He’d palm them as he slid inside her, angling her upward to receive him more easily. Sweat beaded his forehead as he was bombarded by the imagery of sliding into her delicate sheath.

No longer able to withstand the urge to touch her, he ran his hands down her body, caressing and petting, savoring every touch.

Chill bumps rose and dotted her flesh and she shivered as he cupped her breasts, pushing them upward for his avid gaze.

“I’ve been dying to taste you,” he murmured just as he lowered his head to suck one puckered crest into his mouth.

She made a grab for his shoulders, her nails digging into his flesh as she strained upward, meeting his mouth. Her entire body tensed and a soft moan escaped her lips. Smiling his satisfaction, he moved to the other nipple, licking lightly in repeated swipes before sucking it between his lips, exerting more pressure than he had with the first.

She gasped again and her nails pressed harder into his skin.

“Feel good, honey?”

“Yes,” she breathed out. “So good, Donovan. I feel like I’ve waited forever for you.”

He lifted his head to look into her eyes, wanting her to know how serious he was.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life for you, Eve. For this. For you. For this moment. You’re mine and I’m never letting you go. I hope you’re prepared for that.”

Her eyes went soft with answering . . . love? Could he hope for that so soon? He wasn’t expecting it. Not so quickly. But he wanted it. Wanted it with all his heart. The day she gave him those words would be a day he’d never forget. Until she gave him those words, this thing between them wasn’t solid. Wasn’t permanent. When she gave him the words, he would know that she would truly be his in every sense of the word.

“I want it,” she said quietly, her voice thick with emotion. “I want this. I want you. I want . . . everything.”

“I’ll give you everything you could possibly want or need and so much more, honey. Never doubt that. I want you to go to bed at night knowing I’ll always be here, and I want you to wake up in the morning with that same knowledge. I don’t want a minute to pass that you don’t know exactly who and what you are to me.”

“Make love to me,” she whispered. “Please, Donovan. I need you so much. Let me undress you so we can make love together. I’ve never wanted something more than I want this.”

His heart was about to burst right out of his chest. His dick was straining against his jeans so hard that he’d likely wear the imprint of his zipper for days if not weeks! He’d much rather be surrounded by her velvety softness than trapped in the rough denim of his pants.

“I know you said you wanted to undress me, honey, but why don’t I get it done so we can get on to more important things. Like me touching every part of your body. Me kissing every part of your body. And me inside you so deep that you feel me at the very heart of you.”

Her breath hitched and her pupils flared in reaction. A full-body shiver overtook her, puckering her nipples into even tighter beads. He took her reaction as response enough and quickly divested himself of his shirt, jeans and underwear. When he turned his attention back to her, she was staring avidly at his erection.

He glanced down, following her gaze, and winced. No wonder she was so agog. He was sporting a hard-on to end all hard-ons and he was straining upward and was so tight that the head was nearly purple. He was ready to explode and he hadn’t gotten anywhere near her pussy yet.

When he looked back up at her and saw her lick her lips, he damn near lost it on the spot. He reached down and pinched the head between his fingers to stave off his impending release. Jesus, it would be a miracle if he got inside her before coming everywhere.

“Just give me a minute, honey,” he said in a raspy voice. “You’re so damn sexy that I’m ready to come and I haven’t even gotten inside you yet. I want to make this good for you, not have it be over the minute I push inside you.”

She smiled, delight entering those gorgeous amber-gold eyes. The flecks of gold shone even brighter in her aroused state, making them gleam in the low light cast by the bedside lamp.

“It makes me feel sexy to know you react to me that way,” she said shyly. “I’ve never had a guy look at me the way you look at me. I like it.”

“I’ll rip the balls off the man who ever looks at you the way I’m looking at you,” he growled.

She smiled again and then crawled onto the bed, lying back against the pillows, a silent invitation in her eyes. He needed no more encouragement than that.

Thinking back on the other women he’d slept with, he could honestly say that he’d simply gotten laid. Not that his partners hadn’t gotten his absolute respect and regard, but he’d gone in knowing there was no emotional involvement. Not anything close to the way he felt about Eve. This was, in essence, his very first time to make love to a woman.

He treated all women with utmost respect. He’d never do anything to make them feel cheap or used when he had sex with them. But they, like him, had known the score from the beginning. He’d even dated the same woman for a period of time, but they’d always been fun relationships. Nothing heavy. Nothing that involved his heart to the degree Eve had.

It wasn’t that he’d had anything against a relationship or even marriage. He wanted those things. Had never been opposed to the idea. In fact, he’d go as far as to say that he’d actively searched for the one. But none of them had ever spoken to the heart of him. They hadn’t stirred his soul. And he knew by seeing how his brothers were with their wives that the women he’d been with hadn’t been the one. He’d waited patiently, knowing that his soul mate existed. Somewhere out there, waiting just like him. He only had to find her. And he finally had. She was here. In his house, his bed, in his arms. And he was about to make love to her for the very first time.

“Why are you staring?” she whispered, concern entering her eyes.

He kicked himself for mentally checking out for a moment. Even if it was to cement in his mind the importance of this night.

“I just wanted to savor this moment,” he said honestly. “This is special to me, Eve. You’re special to me. I want this to be just right. I don’t want to hurry through it. I want to take it all in and remember it always. Forty years from now, I’ll remember the way you looked tonight. How beautiful you are. How soft and warm and how very sweet every part of you is.”

Tears glistened in her eyes and she swallowed visibly as she stared at him in almost helpless fashion.

“How can you say such beautiful things to me? You say that in forty years you’ll remember how I looked and how I felt. But you know what I’ll remember? I’ll remember the things you said to me and I’ll cherish them always.”

He smiled as he crawled onto the bed to position his body over hers. Then he leaned down to kiss her, their bodies meshing, molding perfectly together.

“I guess we’ll both always remember this night,” he said.

“Yes,” she whispered. “Now make love to me, Donovan. Don’t make me wait. I want you so much. I’m burning with need. I ache.”

He slid his mouth down her jaw, kissing a path down her body to her breasts. He licked and sucked at the taut peaks, working her into a frenzy before he moved even lower, pressing gentle kisses to the valley of her breasts and then over her flat belly to her navel.

He toyed with the sensitive area, enjoying the shivers that quaked her body as he tongued the shallow indention.

“Spread your legs for me, honey. I want to taste you.”

Trembling, she parted her thighs, widening them so he could position his body between her legs. He settled down, his head just above the downy patch of hair that shielded her femininity.

Using his fingers, he parted her folds, already slick with her arousal. He inhaled deeply, taking in her scent and savoring it. Then, spreading her wider, he lowered his head even further and ran his tongue over her clit.

She bucked upward, her hands flying to his head, digging into his short hair as he circled the taut bud with his tongue. He flicked the tip over her clit repeatedly, then sucked it gently into his mouth, exerting steady pressure.

She writhed underneath him, gasping out his name as he brought her closer to the edge. She was wet, slick and hot beneath his tongue. He devoured her, losing himself in her feminine essence. This was his. She was his.

He continued to tongue her, sucking and then probing her entrance with his tongue. He wanted her crazy for him. So desperate with need and want that she’d easily accommodate his size. She was a small woman, dainty, her features and bone structure delicate. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her.

“Donovan, please!” she begged. “I know you want it to last. I understand you want it to be good, but I want you inside me. I want to come with you inside me. I need you now. I’m so close. I can feel it! It’s overwhelming. I feel like I’m about to burst into a million tiny pieces.”