Janus moved closer, putting his hands on her waist. “You need the money, Stevie.”
She shrugged. “Everyone needs money. That’s the way capitalism works.”
That was true, but Janus didn’t need the money. Hell, he was thirty-one years old and had a disgusting amount of money!
“Next time, I’ll sneak it into your purse,” he warned.
Her eyes widened and she shook her head. “Please, don’t do that. It would feel…” she hesitated, searching for the right words. “It would make me feel…cheap if you gave me money and then kissed me.”
He understood immediately and pulled her closer. “That’s not what this is about, Stevie.”
“I know, Janus. Just…please, don’t give me money. It would make this feel wrong. When you touch me, it feels so good. Very right. Don’t sully that by trying to give me money.”
He thought about it for a long moment, then nodded. “Fine. But I’m still going to walk you to your door and kiss you goodnight.”
Instantly, he felt her relax, almost leaning into him. He pulled her closer, trying to eliminate the “almost” in her touch. He wanted her leaning against him. Hell, he wanted a whole lot more than just leaning, but this felt pretty damn good! “I won’t do it again.”
She beamed and his reaction to her approval seemed to be out of proportion for the issue.
“Thank you,” she replied and stepped away. Janus wanted to curse. Why was it that Stevie felt so damn good when she touched him while he’d always steered clear of clingy women in the past?
Sighing, he took her hand in his and let her lead him to her apartment. “You never told me how you hurt your nose,” she said, the silence of the night cocooning them in the early fall weather.
“I was tossing a ball around and wasn’t paying attention. The ball hit me in the face.” Her soft chuckle soothed him like nothing else ever had. He didn’t bother to tell her that he’d been at football practice at the time and that he’d been distracted by thoughts of visiting her. It had been a rookie mistake and his teammates had laughed at him. He’d felt like a genuine fool at the time. The team’s opening game was this Sunday and he had to focus. It was an important game and he couldn’t let himself be distracted.
So why the hell was he here, ready to kiss this utterly distracting woman? Hell, he’d been playing football since he was a kid and nothing had ever distracted him from the game before.
Although, he had to admit, the game was beginning to lose its appeal. He was tired of getting hit by two hundred and fifty pound linebackers when his defense couldn’t stop them, tired of the constant pressure, and beyond sick of the weekly grind. It wasn’t just the weekly games from August through January. There were publicity events, interviews with sports reporters – and every one of them asked the same damn question. And he gave them the same, tedious response that didn’t really mean a whole lot.
This…he looked down at Stevie as they climbed the stairs to her second story apartment. This was nice, he thought. Just being with a gorgeous woman who wanted nothing more from him than a kiss.
Stevie pulled out her keys and looked up at Janus. “This is my apartment,” she announced, wishing that she didn’t sound so nervous.
“Is it a nice neighborhood?” he asked.
She turned and leaned back against the wall next to the door. “Do you care?” she teased.
“Not really,” he replied. She could see the lie in his eyes even in the dim light of the hallway. He cared, she thought. The realization warmed her.
She felt his hands on her waist and knew this was the moment she’d been waiting for since he’d walked into the bar so many weeks ago. This kiss was the culmination of many nights of flirting and talking and getting to know this man.
“I think…” she started, but before she could finish, his mouth covered hers. He pulled her closer, pressing her hips against his, her breasts against his hard chest. Exactly what she wanted. He was so strong, so commanding, and his movements obliterated her nervousness. Tilting her head back, she deepened the kiss, needing more, fearful that he’d stop. Her hands crept up his arms, her fingers exploring the hard muscles there, curling around his shoulders.
Janus must have felt the same thing because he deepened the kiss, unconsciously lifting her into his arms and pressing her back against the wall. That pressed his prominent arousal against her and Stevie automatically lifted her legs, wrapping them around his waist, kissing him as if her life depended on it. And it kind of did! She knew that if he stopped kissing her, she would burst into flames. The apartment manager would have to sweep up her ashes in the morning.
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