Her eyes moved to my face. “Ever?”

“Shh,” I murmured, leaning back over her. “I’m kissing you between your legs; how can you think of anything else right now?”

With her eyes glued to mine, she began to stroke herself again, slowly, as if waiting for me to tell her exactly what to do.

“That’s it. Let me suck on you, yes . . . just there. I want to hear you come.”

Ruby arched off the bed, her fingers sliding in tiny, tight circles. “I . . . I . . .”

“So soon?” I whispered, fighting every urge I had to bend and suck at the skin at the hollow of her throat that was only beginning to glisten with sweat.

“You feel so good on my tongue,” I murmured. “My senses are full of you.”

The sight of her was unreal; easily the most erotic vision of my life. Her thighs were soft and toned, spread before me. I would only need to bend down and put my mouth on her to make this game a reality. I pressed my palm against my trousers, and moaned.

Her eyes flew open as she came, lips parted, voice tight and desperate.

I knew in that heartbeat I would never get the sound of her orgasm out of my head, the little gasping noises, the sharp cry.

Her entire chest flushed, nipples tight as she lazily touched herself, smiling up at me. I was envious of her fingers, sliding around such luxuriant slickness.

“You are touching me,” I told her, leaning back over her again. “Your hand is stroking me.”

A teasing smile played at her lips. “My hand? That seems a pretty sad gesture of reciprocation.”

“Well.” I shrugged. “It so happens your mouth is greedy for mine at the moment.”

“You love to taste yourself on my tongue.”

Her eyes flamed, lips parting in a sharp burst of air. “I do.”

“I love to indulge you,” I told her, and she nodded. “Besides, you love the weight of me in your hands.”

Ruby’s throat moved with the frenzy of her pulse. “I do,” she said, breathless and wild. “And I could kiss your demanding mouth for days.”

I smiled at the sound of her sweet, gentle whine. “Because we haven’t made love yet.”

Her eyes went wide at this sudden reveal in our strange, surreal little game. “We haven’t?”

She laughed, and the sound was so sweet I nearly bent to taste the echo of it on her lips. “We do everything else?”

Her eyes were still so wide, so genuinely hungry when she asked, “What are we waiting for?”

And finally, I reached my thumb out, sliding it back and forth over the skin of her bare hip.

I stared at her sweet, full lips, the tiny anxious furrow to her brow before telling her, “Sure about me. Sure about all of it before I can’t turn back anymore. I don’t take any of this lightly.”

Truth had settled in. And how odd, too, that it happened after the most erotic vision of my life. I felt unsteady, as if the past twenty minutes had been a dream.

It could have been awkward; we were coworkers and only last week she’d been a stranger to me. Now she was completely naked and had just masturbated while I spoke to her. It could have been the most terrifying moment of my life. But with the alcohol in our blood, and satisfaction loosening her body, it wasn’t.

I grew brave enough to slide my palm over her hip, cupping it.

She reached down, covered my hand with hers. “How do we sleep together after we’ve done this?”

“With me curled around behind you,” I said and then swallowed thickly. “You fit into me perfectly.”

“But you never wake me for sex.”

“I wake you to touch you again, because I’m insatiable for you, but not yet for that.” Did she understand? Or did it make me odd that, in this day and age, the idea of sex changed things? Meant something?

She closed her eyes, moving her hands to rest over her pounding heart. “Do you know how much I want to feel you?”

“Do you always kiss me good night when you leave?” she asked, returning to our game. Her eyes, so wide and vulnerable, warned me to be careful. They told me, maybe, that even Ruby herself didn’t know how careful I needed to be with her heart.

“Always.” But I wouldn’t tonight. I couldn’t, at least not on her mouth. Instead, I bent and pressed a single kiss to the skin just beside my hand, over the soft skin of her navel. Her hands ran briefly through my hair, sending a renewed pulse of heat through me.

As I stood, Ruby sat up. Watching as I grabbed my coat, she didn’t bother to reach for her clothes.

“Is it going to be weird tomorrow?” she asked quietly, eyes sobering. “Have I ruined this already?”

It was all I could do to not go to her, kiss her senseless in reassurance. I didn’t know what I needed in order to be able to take this final step.