“Are you sure no one is here?” Miranda asked Talmadge as he put a key in the lock of his grandparent’s inn and pushed the backdoor open. Blood roared through her veins and her stomach did a flipity-flop. Was she really about to do this? With Talmadge Oaks?
She tried to steady her uneven breaths.
Yes! She was doing this with Talmadge. Because her prospects in Red River were dwindling by the nanosecond.
“The inn is closed for a couple of weeks. Water leak.” Talmadge closed the door behind them and locked it. “This way.” He took her hand, cut through a back hallway to the grand staircase, and pulled her up the stairs.
The wood creaked under their feet and echoed through the inn. At least it sounded like an echo. Or were her ears ringing? Because she wasn’t sure.
There was only one thing she was sure of at the moment. Watching her best friend get married, and the other bridesmaids with their boyfriends or fiancés or husbands…she’d likely spend the rest of her life alone. It was just more than she could take. Plain and simple, there was just no one left in Red River for her.
They reached the landing and he pointed to the right. “Most of the rooms are that way.” He looked down at her with a lazy smile, his breath sweeping across her heated cheeks. He gave his head a bob in the opposite direction. “But we’re going to the honeymoon suite on this end.” The sensual promise lacing his words sent a quiver racing through her all the way to her toes.
How appropriate since they’d both just been in a wedding. Or inappropriate since they hadn’t been the bride and groom.
“Come on.” He tugged her to the left and opened the only door on that end of the hall.
“The plaque is sweet,” She said. “And so appropriate for a honeymoon suite.”
Talmadge closed the door, and came to stand in front of her. He didn’t touch her. But his presence, his closeness washed over her nonetheless.
“My grandfather gave it to my grandmother on their wedding night, so she hung it in this room when they opened the inn.” Just a breath away, his heat reached for her and so did the faint scent of his fine cologne and the microbrew he’d been drinking all night. “Are you sure about this?” His tone was hushed and soothing. “I’m leaving in a few days.”
She nodded and tossed his jacket onto a dresser next to the door. “I’m sure.” His leaving was the reason she wanted him and no one else. Okay, not totally true. She wouldn’t want anyone else but him even if he stayed in Red River forever.
No, Talmadge was the perfect candidate for this particular task, and Miranda was tired of waiting for Mr. Right that was never going to come along in Red River.
“You’re really, really sure?” He placed his warm hands on her shoulders and slid them down her arms.
“Talmadge, just kiss me already.” Miranda flattened her palms against him and slid them up his tight, hard chest.
He eased her against the wall. “Since you put it that way.”
And then his mouth was on hers, his kiss powerful and passionate and perfect. As though he’d wanted her for as many years as she had wanted him. That would’ve been so nice, wouldn’t it? For that to be true? It wasn’t, of course. Talmadge Oaks had never noticed her until tonight, at least not in the form of attraction. He’d made that painfully clear in high school when he announced to his entire graduating class that he hadn’t touched her in the closet of Lorenda’s basement and never would.
Looked like he was wrong.
She almost snorted. Because that was another reason why Talmadge would do just fine for tonight’s top-secret Deflower The Town Darling mission. He’d never tell anyone because he wouldn’t want anyone to know he’d been with her.
His hand found the slit of her dress again, and wandered up her thigh.
Oh, yeah. Totally wrong.
She just wished she had a little more experience to make it at least pleasant for him. Her heart stuttered at the likelihood of seeing disappointment in Talmadge’s eyes after it was over.
He tore his mouth from hers. “You’re trembling.”
“I’m fine. Just a little nervous.” She speared her fingers into his hair and pulled his mouth back to hers.
Hooking a hand behind her knee, he lifted her thigh so that one ankle locked around the back of his legs. When he pinned her to the wall with the weight of his hard body, searing heat rocketed to her center.
His lips trailed wet kisses across her cheeks and down her neck until she whimpered. The tension in his body filled the entire room, like he was holding back, so she slipped two fingers between the buttons of his shirt and massaged the bare skin of his chest. It was warm and smooth and firm all at the same time, and it felt so, so good. So she eased the button from it’s hole and slid her entire hand inside his shirt, molding her palm against his chest.
He hissed in a breath. “I want you, Miranda,” Talmadge murmured against her ear, then took the lobe between his lips and suckled.
How was it possible that Talmadge Oaks wanted her?
His hips pressed into hers, and the granite bulge in his pants set both of her thighs and everything in between on fire.
His hips ground into hers. “Can you tell how much?”
She went slack in his arms. The raw desire in his touch, his quickened breaths, his words, stole every ounce of her strength.
Chuckling, he caught her around the waist with one strong arm.
“I have to be back at the reception in an hour for the bouquet toss. Lorenda will kill me if I miss it.” Her voice sounded shaky, even to her. “Maybe we should hurry.”
On a deep breath, Talmadge blew out a soft laugh. “You picked the wrong guy if you wanted to hurry.”
Well. She didn’t know what to say to that.
She brushed her mouth across his muscled neck, the hint of evening stubble prickling her lips. She placed soft, nurturing kisses there, and his head tilted back to give her more access. When her tongue flicked over his skin, he moaned.
With one hand, Miranda reached under her arm and unzipped the dress before she lost her nerve.
That one act, the soft sound of a zipper on its downward journey, finally caused the tension in Talmadge’s body to ease, and he took over. Thank God, because she had no idea what she was doing or what to do next. His hands moved to the front of her dress, and covered her breasts. He massaged with gentle but authoritative strokes, the silk material of her gown creating just enough friction to cause a shock wave of sensation to riot through her veins.
And the rest was all Miranda had imagined it would be. And so, so, so much more.