In full view of Connor, he turned Maddie's still flushed face to his and kissed her.
Connor watched as Maddie's lips softened and relaxed into the kiss. He watched her mouth open to Gabe's probing. Her pink tongue met his darker one, and damn, he wanted to be the one kissing her, making her sigh like she'd just got a taste of heaven.
Christ, he wanted to be the one showing her heaven.
When Gabe pulled away, Maddie moaned her disapproval. "Later, baby," he promised, then looked up at Connor. His mouth curved into a knowing smile. "She's all yours," he said with a wave and walked away.
"Don't I wish," Connor muttered under his breath.
"Wish what?" Maddie answered. Her voice was all lazy, her pupils tiny pricks of black in her hazel eyes. With her kiss-swollen lips, her beaded nipples and her luscious body, she looked like sex personified.
"That you were all mine," he told her without skipping a beat.
She stood up, drawing her wrap around her shoulders. The glow from a light above her caught the gold glints in a wisp of her hair. She didn't look like sex. She looked like an angel.
"I'm Gabe's," she said. "You know that."
He too got up and touched her shoulder, indicating she should walk ahead of him. "I'll share," he told the back of her head. "You know that."
Her footsteps faltered. "A Maddie sandwich," she mumbled to herself
That's when he grinned. He guessed she hadn't meant for him to hear, but he had. And he was very happy indeed. It appeared she had conjured up a different version of a Maddie sandwich. A version which turned him on no less than his original recipe.
"Is it on the menu?" he asked. "Because I would like to order one. To go."
She almost tripped, but he caught her arm, steadying her, and led her out of the restaurant. Her skin felt like silk beneath his fingers and he did not let her go until she was seated in the rental car and he had no choice.
The minute he switched on the engine Maddie spoke. "Connor--" She floundered, seemingly at a loss for words. "I ... it's ... Look, it's not..." Her voice dropped off and she shook her head. "How am I supposed to respond when you say something like that?"
He glanced at her and lowered his voice. "Tell me you want a bite too."
The full moon and clear sky provided enough light in the dark of the night for Connor to see her color deepen. "I ... I..."
"Okay, I'll make it easier for you." Christ, that virginal blush played havoc with his hard-on. "Tell me you don't want a taste."
She blanched. "Connor. Dear God, how did we even get on to this subject?"
When he noticed her nipples poking through her shirt, bathed in the moon's soft rays, it was with a certain measure of satisfaction. This time Gabe was not the one who had induced the response. Connor's desire hit him like a blow to the gut, hard and fierce. "You can't do it, can you? You can't deny you'd like to be the middle of a you, me and Gabe sandwich?"
She stared out of her window, silent for a long time. "I can't do this, Connor," she said at last. "I can't play these games. I'm with Gabe. You know that."
Such strong words. So why did she sound so unconvinced by them? He couldn't help it, he had to touch her. Reaching out, he tucked a tendril of hair behind her ear. Beneath his hand she trembled.
"What if..." Shite, he had to change gear, had to pull his hand away, "...this wasn't a game. What if the two of us, Gabe and I, turned your sandwich into a reality?"
Maddie let out a shuddery breath. Fog steamed up her window.
Connor forced his attention onto the road in front of him. "What if I really did join your pajama party?"
She whimpered out loud.
Focus on driving. Don't crash the car because you're thinking with your dick. "You, me and Gabe, sweetheart. What do you say?"
Maddie opened her mouth, but no words came out, just a strangled groan.
Think outside the box, Maddie, he urged in silence. Open your mind to any possibilities, not just the obvious ones.
Connor pulled up outside Gabe's building. He turned to her, took her hand in his, and noticed with satisfaction that she did not draw away. "Here's a new puzzle for you, Maddie. One only you can solve." Her skin was warm and just a little damp. Nerves? "A man sits down to dinner. He meets a woman who makes his world shift slightly off its axis, who makes him hard as a rock and horny as hell. But the woman has a boyfriend--the man's best friend. Tell me, Maddie, what happens next?"
Maddie stared at him, her face wild. Her chest rose and fell in uneven ripples, like her choppy breath.
"Ponder that one, sweetheart," he said and swung open his door.
Maddie sat where she was, looking dumbstruck.
He circled the car and opened her door, waiting chivalrously as she climbed out. They walked up the stairs to Gabe's apartment in silence, but Connor could sense Maddie's tension, could hear her knuckles crackling as she clenched and unclenched her fist.
He let them into the flat.
"I know the answer to that one," Maddie said as Connor put his keys down.
Connor's heart rate slowed.
Maddie ran her tongue over her lower lip. "The ... the woman goes to bed." She nodded, as though to emphasize her answer. "With the man's best friend. Just like she did last night and the night before that." She gave him a tight smile. "Goodnight, Connor, and thank you for the lift."
Maddie turned towards Gabe's bedroom.
Before Connor had time to register the crushing disappointment wrought by her departure, she swung back round and their eyes locked. Gone was the contained woman who'd answered with such certainty. In her place stood a vixen with fire in her eyes and lust in her gaze.
His heart slammed into his ribs.
"Fuck you, Connor." Her whisper was harsh. She took three paces forward and poked her finger into his chest. "Fuck you for putting me in this untenable situation." Without giving him a chance to defend himself, she raised her head in defiance, swore again and pressed her lips to his.
It was over too soon. She'd messed with his brain and sent a hurricane hurtling through his stomach and it was over. He hadn't even had a chance to appreciate her actions before she pulled away.
"No!" She couldn't leave. Not now, not like this. He grabbed her arm, halting her retreat. He looked into her eyes, acknowledged the hunger and the confusion and the awkwardness he saw there, and then he kissed her.
Connor had experienced his share of first kisses. Some were nice, some were hugely erotic, some needed practice and one had just been bloody awful. Indescribably bad. Kissing Madeline Jones was like nothing he had ever encountered before.
Never, ever had a kiss stopped his heart beating before kicking it into overdrive. His pulse drummed to an erratic, irregular rhythm, pounding so hard it sent blood roaring through his ears, drowning out sounds.
Her lips parted to his seeking tongue, offering him entry into the warm, wet cavern of her mouth. He tasted wine on her breath, and honey, and a bewitching mix of woman and desire. Lord, a man could become inebriated on her taste alone.
Time lost meaning as her tongue twined with his, as she wrapped herself around him, pulled his chest to her breasts, brought her hips to his groin. Space no longer existed, it was just him and her. Together. He felt himself slipping, dropping and falling into Maddie. Whatever she ultimately did or did not agree to, Connor knew it would never be enough. One kiss was all he needed to know that with Maddie he wanted everything.
And then she groaned, twisted and pulled away. She stared at him in horror for perhaps five seconds, pressing her fingers to her puffy lips. Then she looked at her hand as if not comprehending what it was, before wheeling around and racing down the hall.
When there was nothing left but the soft echo of her footsteps ricocheting through his head, Connor found his voice again. "I'm coming after you, Madeline Jones," he promised her absent form. "Sooner than you think."