The stranger’s shirt was off, his torso a combination of impressive genes and several years of an intensive daily workout regimen that had sculpted the perfection in front of me. I kicked off my heels, and he did the same with his shoes. I ran my fingers over each of his protruding muscles and the ripples of his abdomen. One hand settled on the button of his pants while the other gripped the thick hardness under them.

The sharp sound of his zipper made the warmth between my legs throb, practically begging to be caressed. I pressed my fingers into the backs of his arms while his kisses left my neck for my shoulders and then my chest. All the while, he slowly slipped off my jeans.

He stood and paused for a few seconds, taking a moment to appreciate that I was standing completely naked before him. He also seemed a bit surprised. “No panties?”

“Never?” he asked, his eyes begging me to say no.

I loved the way he was looking at me—part amazed, part amused, part overwhelmingly aroused. My girlfriends in Chicago had always lauded the benefits of the strings-free one-night stand. This guy seemed like the perfect one to try it with.

I arched an eyebrow, relishing how sexy this total stranger made me feel. “Don’t own a single pair.”

He lifted me up, and I hooked my ankles around his backside. The only fabric still left between us was his dark gray boxer briefs.

He kissed me as he carried me to the couch, and then he gently laid me onto the cushions. “Comfortable?” he asked, nearly breathing the words.

When I nodded, he kissed me once and then left quickly to fish a square package from his wallet. When he returned, he ripped it open with his teeth. I was glad he’d brought his own. Even if I had thought to purchase condoms, I wouldn’t have had the foresight or optimism to buy any in his size.

He quickly unrolled the thin latex over his length and then touched his tip to the delicate pink skin between my legs. He leaned down to whisper in my ear, but he only let out a faltering breath.

I reached around to his tight backside and pressed my fingers into his skin, guiding him, as he slid himself inside me. It was my turn to let out a sigh.

He groaned and then put his mouth on mine again.

After ten minutes of maneuvering on the couch, sweaty and red-faced, the stranger looked at me with a frustrated and apologetic smile. “Where’s your bedroom?”

I pointed to the hallway. “Second door on the right.”

He lifted me, holding my thighs, and I tightened them around his middle. He padded down the hall in his bare feet, passing boxes and plastic bags along with stacks of plates and linens. I wasn’t sure how he kept from tripping in the dim light of an unfamiliar condo with his mouth on mine.

As he walked while still inside me, I couldn’t help but cry out the only name I could, “Jesus Christ!”

He smiled against my mouth and pushed open the door before lowering me to my mattress.

He didn’t take his eyes from mine as he positioned himself over me. His knees were a little wider apart than they had been while we were on the couch, allowing him to go deeper and to move his hips so that he touched me in a spot that made my knees quiver with each thrust. His mouth was on mine again as if the wait had been killing him. If I hadn’t just met him half an hour before, I would have mistaken the way he touched me, kissed me, moved against me for love.

He touched his cheek to mine and held his breath as he concentrated, building up to an end. At the same time, he was trying to prolong the senseless, foolish, and irresponsible but amazing ride we were both on. He pushed against the mattress with one hand and held my knee against his shoulder with the other.

I white-knuckled the comforter as he thrust himself inside me, over and over. Jackson hadn’t been unfortunate in size, but without a doubt, this stranger filled every inch of me. Every time he buried himself, it would send a rush of fantastic pain throughout my entire body, and every time he pulled back, I’d nearly panic, hoping it wasn’t over.

With my arms and legs wrapped around him, I cried out again for the dozenth time since he had climbed the stairs. His tongue was so forceful and commanding in my mouth that I knew he’d done this many, many times before. That made it easier. He didn’t care enough to pass judgment on me later, so I wouldn’t have to either. Once I’d seen what kind of body was under that button-down oxford, I couldn’t really blame myself, even if I were sober.

He rocked into me again, his sweat mixing with mine, making our skin feel like we were melting together. My eyes nearly rolled back into my head with the devastating mixture of ache and pleasure surging through my body with every movement.

His mouth returned to mine, and I was easily lost in thoughts of how eager yet smooth and amazing his lips were. Every flick of his tongue was calculated, practiced, and seemed like it was all in pursuit of my pleasure. Jackson hadn’t been a particularly good kisser, and even though I’d only just met this man above me, I would miss those longing kisses once he ducked out of my condo in the early hours of the morning—if he even waited that long.

While he wonderfully and mercilessly fucked me, he gripped my thigh with one hand, spreading my legs further apart, and then he slid his other hand between my legs, tenderly rubbing his thumb in tiny circles over my swollen, sensitive pink skin.

A few seconds later, I was crying out, raising my hips to meet his and then squeezing his waist with my trembling knees. He leaned down and covered my mouth with his while I moaned. I could feel his lips turn up into a smile.

After a few slow movements and tender kisses, his restraint was gone. His muscles tensed as he thrust himself inside me, each time more powerful than the one before. With my climax impressively achieved, he concentrated only on himself as he thrust harder and ruthlessly against me.

His groan was muffled inside my mouth, and then he pressed his cheek against mine while he rode the wave of his orgasm. Gradually, he lay still above me. He took a moment to catch his breath, and then he turned to kiss my cheek, his lips lingering for a while.

Our encounter had gone from a spontaneous adventure to painfully awkward in less than a minute.

The silence and stillness in the room made the alcohol disappear, and the reality of what we’d done weighed down on me. I’d gone from feeling sexy and desired to an embarrassingly eager, cheap score.

The stranger leaned down to kiss my lips, but I lowered my chin, pulling back, which felt ridiculous since he was still engaged.

“I,” I began, “have to be at work early.”

He kissed me anyway, ignoring my shamed expression. His tongue danced with mine, caressing it, memorizing it. He deeply breathed in through his nose, not at all in a hurry, and then he pulled back, smiling.

Damn it, I would miss his mouth, and I suddenly felt really pathetic for that. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever find someone who could kiss me that way.

“Me, too. I’m…Thomas, by the way,” he said softly. He rolled over and relaxed beside me, his head propped by his hand. Instead of getting dressed, he looked as if he were ready for conversation.

My independence was slipping away from me every second the stranger became something more. Thoughts of reporting my every move to Jackson flipped like television channels in my mind. I hadn’t transferred thousands of miles away to be chained to another relationship.

I pressed my lips together. “I’m”—Do it. Do it, or you’ll just kick yourself later.—“emotionally unavailable.”