‚ÄúAre you afraid of me all of a sudden?‚ÄĚ
Jessica turned and smiled. ‚ÄúOf course not. Why would you think that?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúBecause you‚Äôre always running away.‚ÄĚ A flash of lightning lit the chamber momentarily.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm not running away.‚ÄĚ Jessica crossed her arms across her chest. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a difference between running and stretching your legs.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIn that case...‚ÄĚ He took her trembling hand in his and led her back to the rock slab. ‚ÄúI think we‚Äôve both had enough exercise.‚ÄĚ He drew her down beside him. ‚ÄúBesides, you‚Äôre still cold.‚ÄĚ Taking both her hands in his, he began to rub them vigorously between his palms.
The effect wasn‚Äôt a warming sensation at all. A more accurate description would be inflaming. Her body was instantly infused with heat, pure and scorching heat that had nothing to do with the massage. Shocked by the immediate response to his touch, she lowered her eyes to stare at the middle button of his flannel shirt.
‚ÄúCome here,‚ÄĚ he replied huskily, as if he too had noticed the undeniable chemistry and was just as affected by it. To her surprise, he turned her around and enfolded her with his arms.
Straining against the steely bands of strength that surrounded her, Jessica fought the temptation to lean back and enjoy the wonderful sensations the close proximity created. ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think this is really necessary.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúCalm down. I‚Äôm doing this for me as much as for you. We could be stuck here for some time and I don‚Äôt want to freeze.‚ÄĚ
Reluctantly, Jessica sank back onto the solid wall of Paul‚Äôs chest, attempting to maintain a steady breathing pattern. She dragged the heavy weight of her hair around to drape the tresses over one shoulder. This was to prevent her from getting his shirt wet with the still dripping hair. ‚ÄúI doubt if there‚Äôs much chance of that since the temperature ranges between 50 and 55 degrees throughout the cave.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúParty pooper.‚ÄĚ He shifted slightly to bring her closer to his warmth. ‚ÄúRelax. You‚Äôre as stiff as a board.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúI‚Äôm not accustomed to being held by someone I barely know.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThen, let‚Äôs get to know one another better. The only thing left for me to know about you is your favorite color. Let‚Äôs get it over with.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúOh, all right,‚ÄĚ she said reluctantly. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs lavender.‚ÄĚ She turned her face up toward him playfully. ‚ÄúAnd yours?‚ÄĚ
Another flash of lightning illuminated the cave, casting his face in sharp relief. Her breath came in a rush, moist and cool as their gaze locked. For those few seconds, time stopped, suspended in the misty confines of the cavern. She was sure he could hear and feel the beating of her heart as it slammed against her ribs.
‚ÄúGreen,...I think,‚ÄĚ he breathed softly in his deep cadence.
So absorbed was she that it took a minute for what he said to sink in. ‚ÄúWh-what?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúMy favorite color.‚ÄĚ
She managed a breathless, ‚ÄúOh.‚ÄĚ
His breath fanned her cheek, his lips dangerously close to her earlobe when she turned away. A ripple coursed through her limbs. She closed her eyes. Irrational as it seemed, she wanted nothing more than to be kissed by those lips, drugged with his caresses. It was enough to make her try to put some safe distance between the two of them. As if sensing her conflicting emotions, Paul twisted her about to study her face. Slowly, he tilted her face up and encircled her tiny waist with one arm in one smooth movement and supporting her back with the one arm, he gently held her chin with his free hand.
Jessica‚Äôs nagging voice of reason suddenly grew still as she let herself take in the moment. Following their lingering kiss, the two stared at each other, Jessica still cradled against the warmth of his body. Torn between what she knew of Paul, who could have any woman he wanted, and what she knew of herself, Jessica fought to try to get her thoughts and feelings under control. This wasn‚Äôt who she was. The whole arm‚Äôs length concept had crumbled. In this moment, all she wanted to do was stay right there in Paul‚Äôs arms.