started toward her.
She held her ground, fighting the urge to back down the stairs. “None.”
“No urge to feel my hands on you, my mouth on you. My body over yours, under yours.” His voice dropped to low, smooth temptation. “Inside yours.”
“Zero.” Her voice dropped, too, into the obvious emotional crackle of someone not telling the truth. She wrapped her arms around herself, hating her reaction to his approach.
“Zero.” In less than a second, he took a last step, took hold of her upper arms and took possession of her mouth.
She slammed her hands to his chest, pushed him back. He lost balance and control for only half a second, stood solid again, watching her. Their breaths came out loud and harsh in the silent neighborhood.
Darcy should leave. Now. She should be forceful about putting an end to this farce while she still could. She should march out of here and teach him and Marie and Quinn a lesson about respecting her decision to stay away from this man—from any man.
Her feet wouldn’t move. She couldn’t tear her eyes away from Troy’s.
She couldn’t leave.
As if he read her mind, he moved in again, his lips soft and warm in the cool air, his taste and scent impossible to resist, drawing her to him until a wildfire of longing burned as powerfully as the first time, and Darcy lost herself to her body’s sensual demands for this man’s touch.
She let out a helpless moan, hating the sound, hating herself for needing this so much that she couldn’t hold on to the defiant attitude that had seemed so important to her pride.
Troy broke the kiss; the silence was again filled with the sound of shallow, uneven breaths. She should say something. She should do something. She should collect her thoughts and act, be decisive and strong, and make sure he understood—
“It’s still there.” He spoke reverently, stroked her hair, touched her cheek, rubbed his thumb over her lips. “Whatever this is between us, it’s still there. I didn’t imagine it.”
Darcy’s only reaction was a convulsive swallow. She was overwhelmed, leaning against his chest, hers so full of emotion she couldn’t speak.
“Come inside, Darcy—” he bent to kiss her again “—to tell me why, when you respond to me like this, you disappeared, why you ignored my email and took down your profile.”
“I can tell you that now. Right here.”
“Inside.” He took three steps back, opened the door and gestured her in.
For a moment she rebelled. He’d gotten her here by trickery. He was insisting she come in. This was all feeling very manipulative and self-serving, and her alarm bells were ringing. No man would ever have her again who didn’t care enough to compromise, who didn’t care enough to give as well as receive, who expected her involved in his life, but made no effort to become involved in hers, made no effort to understand what was important to her.
Then she looked and saw that though Troy stood confident and calm, waiting, his eyes were anxious and vulnerable.
Air exited Troy’s mouth and she realized he’d been holding his breath. Nearly comical, but somehow it wasn’t in her to be disdainful of this man and his emotions, at least not right now, not tonight. Instead, she was touched.
Yeah, touched. In the head. Why was she leaving herself open to more disappointment? Letting down her guard meant passionate first feelings she might mistakenly think were love. It meant relaxing into coupledom, starting to believe that this time love could last forever. Then, inevitably, the courting period would be over, the demands begin for his every need to be met, along with the sudden indifference to hers.
All guys weren’t like that. She knew that no matter how much she blustered and put on the big man-hater act, which burst out of her like anger. Not all guys, no.
Just the ones she fell for.
You could kick a dog only so many times before his loyalty wore out and