He handed her the water bottle, and she took a sip, pulling her dress down over her knees and tucking her breasts back into the top of her dress at the same time. Even though he told her she wasn’t allowed to be shy, she was having a hard time looking at him.
She located her G-string, but it was too far away on the floor, and for some reason she didn’t think he’d be too pleased with her if she stood up and retrieved it. So instead, she simply sat there, staring at her knitted hands, her stomach churning, her pulse thundering in her ears and her thighs slick.
“Lowenna.” His deep, calm voice drew her to look at him. How could she not? His gaze was kind but avid, almost concerned. Heat still flickered behind the intense blue, but there was also a wariness there now too. “You okay?”
She nodded for what she felt like was the millionth time. “Yeah.” She exhaled. “I’m more than okay.”
That earned her a big smile.
“Good. Me too.” He reached over and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, his hand lingering and then cupping her cheek, his pinky finger resting along her neck, undoubtedly feeling her rapid pulse. “I’ve wanted this for so long, Lowenna. Wanted you. Since the moment you came into my bar and sat there with your little notebook and pen, interviewing man after man … ” He shook his head and huffed a laugh, glancing down at his lap. “Even if you weren’t interviewing gigolos or, I dunno … if you were a madam of some kind, I wanted you. Wanted to get to know you, everything about you.”
She blew out a breath and leaned into his hand, closing her eyes. “Mason … I … ” She blinked rapidly a few times as she took a moment to process everything he’d just said. When she lifted her head to his meet his gaze once again, the look that greeted her was no longer worrisome or wary. It was intense and heated, and it made her entire body tremble instantly.
He ran his free hand through his hair, exhaling another shaky laugh. “Hell, I didn’t even know you yet, had the opportunity to kiss half a dozen women on New Year’s Eve, and I didn’t, because all I could think about was you. I’m falling for you.” His lips twisted. “Or maybe I’ve already fallen, I don’t know. But I don’t want this to be a business arrangement anymore. I want us to be real. I want us to be together. I don’t want to just give you the boyfriend experience, I want to be your boyfriend.”
Desire … and something else rolled through her in big, lazy waves, touching every inch of her until her entire body burned like the surface of the sun for the man whose soulful blue eyes were at that moment looking at her like no man had ever looked at her before.