I pulled her body flush to mine, eliciting that little quirk of her eyebrow I was beginning to like so much. “So how are you finding New York?”

“Different,” she said. “Bigger. Noisier.” She tilted her head, finally looking up at me. “The men are a little pushy.”

I laughed. “You say that as if it’s a bad thing.”

“I suppose that would depend on the man.”

“And what about this man?”

She blinked away, smiling politely again. It struck me that Sara behaved like a woman who was very much used to being watched in public.

“Look, I’m flattered by your attention, Max. But why are you so interested in me? Can’t we admit we had a good time and leave it at that?”

“I like you,” I said, shrugging. “I rather like your kink.”

She laughed. “My kink? That’s one I’ve never heard before.”

“Well, that’s a shame. Tell me, when you fantasize, what’s it about? Is it about sweet, gentle sex in a bed?”

She looked up at me with a challenge in her eyes. “Sometimes, yes.”

“But is it also about being touched in a restaurant, where anyone could see?” I leaned in, whispering against the shell of her ear. “Or f**ked in a club?”

I felt her swallow, felt her shaky breath before she straightened, putting a socially acceptable amount of distance between us. “Sometimes, of course. Who doesn’t have those fantasies?”

“A lot of people don’t. And even more people don’t ever act on them.”

“Why are you so hung up on this? I’m sure you could turn that smile on any woman here and take her in any room in this museum.”

“Because, unfortunately, I don’t want any other woman here. You’ve become quite a mystery to me. How can you house such a paradox behind those big brown eyes? Who was that woman who f**ked me in front of all those people?”

“Maybe I just wanted to see how it felt to do something crazy like that.”

There was no hesitating when she looked up at me. “Yes. But look,” she said, taking a step back. My arms fell to my sides. “I’m not interested in being anyone’s plaything right now.”

“I believe I’m asking to be yours.”

Shaking her head, she fought a smile and looked up at me. “Stop being cute.”

“The empty ballroom adjacent to the restrooms. It’s up the stairs and to your right.” I stepped closer, then kissed her cheek as if to thank her for the dance.

I left her there just as the music came to a stop and they announced that dinner would be served inside, immediately followed by the auction. I wondered if she would do it. If she would risk being missed, if she felt the same buzz of adrenaline I felt.

The sound of conversation built as I stepped out of the humid night and into the air-conditioned museum. I climbed the wide staircase and meandered down the hall into the empty, unlit ballroom. The voices dimmed as I pulled the door behind me, leaving it open just a sliver.

I waited just inside for a beat, listening to the muted sounds of the party as it continued downstairs and outside, and listening to make sure I was truly alone in the dark room.

The occasional patron walked down the carpeted hall and inside the empty ballroom, making brief phone calls or looking for the restrooms. It felt as if every sound I made echoed out into the hallway, my shoes slapping on the wood floor as I took note of the layout. The room was longer than it was wide, and the city glowed through the windows on the long side of the room, the hum of traffic steady on the streets below. Along the far, short wall was a rectangular table partially hidden by an ornate screen. The room was otherwise completely empty. I walked over and leaned against the table, behind the screen and even farther out of sight as I waited.

Over fifteen minutes after I’d left her—and after I’d almost given up on waiting any longer—the slice of light through the door expanded and cut across the floor. I watched the shape of her body through the screen, backlit from the light in the hall. I knew that in the darkness, I remained invisible to her, and I took the opportunity to watch her as she scanned the room. I could imagine the pulse in her throat hammering with nerves and excitement. Stepping out from behind the screen, I finally let her see me, a silhouette against the light of the city.

She crossed the room, eyes on mine as she slowly closed the distance between us. Her expression was hard to make out in the dim lighting, and I waited for her to speak, to tell me to go to hell or even to ask me to f**k her again, but she said nothing. She paused with just inches between us, hesitating for only a moment before grabbing my jacket and pulling me to her.

Her lips were warm and insistent and she tasted of champagne. I imagined her downing a glass, hoping to find the courage to come up here and do exactly this. The thought made me moan, eyes fluttering closed as she opened her mouth to me, her head tilted back as her tongue pushed against mine. I palmed her breast with one hand, gripping her hip hard with the other.

“Take this off,” she said, hands fumbling with my tie, fingers tugging at my buttons.

I walked us backward and unzipped her dress, watching it slip from her body to pool around her feet at the floor. She was completely na**d beneath her gown.

“You’ve been like this the whole time?” I asked, taking one nipple into my mouth and looking up at her.

She nodded, lips parted as she twisted her hands into my hair, whispering words like more and with teeth and please. I guided her down to the table, gripping her behind the knees to pull her toward the edge.

My fingers trailed down her ribs and over her flat stomach. I met her eyes, lifting a brow as I ran my hands over the heels of her shoes. “We’ll leave these on, I reckon,” I said, looking down at her otherwise na**d body. She was perfect: creamy skin, spectacular tits, and taut, pink nipples.

Bending over her, I licked a line down her neck to her breasts, pressing my thumb into a fading mark I’d apparently sucked into her skin on Saturday. “I bet you looked at this every day,” I said, admiring my handiwork, pressing just a bit harder.

“Too much talking,” she said, pushing open my shirt. “Too many clothes.”

I grazed my teeth across her nipple, sucking, blowing across the hardened peak. “Touch me,” I said, pressing her palm over my cock.

She squeezed and my head fell against her shoulder.

Her hands shook as she unfastened my trousers, hurriedly shoving them down around my hips. She leaned back on the table, her body stretched, the shadows dipping into the hollow of her collarbone, the curve of her breasts.

“Max,” she whispered, eyes hooded as she looked up at me.

“Yeah?” I was distracted by her neck, her breasts, her hand curling around my cock.

How did she do that? How did someone so contained, so naturally refined, let loose that completely? I reached into my jacket—still hanging open from my shoulders—and pulled out my phone, holding it up to her. “This’ll do?”

“Will you take pictures of us?”

I blinked, and then blinked hard again. Was she kidding? “Fuck. Absolutely.”

A beat of silence passed as we both considered what I could do with this gadget in my palm. She wanted pictures of what we were doing. I reeled from the knowledge that she got off on this as much as I did. I could see it in the way her pulse beat wildly in her throat, at the fever in her eyes.

“Nobody else sees them,” she said.

I smiled. “I don’t relish the idea of sharing any part of you. Of course no one else sees them.”

She leaned back and I brought the phone up, aiming at her. The first shot was of her shoulder. The second of her hand on her breast, her nipple caught between her fingers. A soft moan left her lips as I smoothed my hand up her thigh to slip between her legs.

Voices echoed in the hall, pulling us out of our dark corner and back into the reality of where we were, and how we both eventually needed to return downstairs. I rolled a condom down my length and reached up to press my thumb to her mouth, slipping it inside.

She answered wordlessly, wrapping her legs around my h*ps and trying to pull me closer. I watched myself slide into her just as the door to the ballroom creaked open.

As it had before, the brightness from the hall spilled into the room, filtering through the screen and painting her torso with its ribbon of light. Her breath caught but I didn’t stop, instead lifting her chin and motioning for her to stay quiet as I pushed into her again. Heat spread from my c**k up my spine at the feel of her around me.

She closed her eyes tight and I gripped her hip to steady myself, thrusting into her harder, pulling her farther down the table toward me. The light from the city was just enough for me to capture a sensual, dark photo of my hand on her skin. Footsteps crossed the room toward the window, and her legs tightened around me as if to keep me from pulling back and away.

I watched her ni**les harden, her lips part in excitement. Don’t worry, I thought with a smile. I’m not stopping.

My movements were shallow and I gripped her breast, pinching her nipple. “They’re right there,” I whispered, bending to kiss her neck and relishing the wild rhythm of her pulse under my lips. “They could see us if they wanted.”

Her breath caught and I pinched again, rougher this time. “I’m not pulling back. I just want to push farther and farther and farther in.”

I swore against the skin of her neck. “You’re f**king dirty, you know that?”

Her mouth opened in a silent gasp as I rocked into her, wishing I could get even deeper somehow. I felt her stomach tense against mine, her h*ps roll up with greater insistence. Fuck, she was warm and slick and if she didn’t get there soon I was going to go before her. Thankfully, with a squeak, she dug her nails painfully into my shoulder, her body tensing as she came apart around me. I felt lightheaded, euphoric, as if something inside was about to explode.

The sound of footsteps returned, and then came to a quiet stop just on the other side of the screen. I felt my orgasm barrel down on me, white hot and enough to make me see stars. It went dark as I pushed one final time, my head buried in her neck as I let myself drown, lost to every other sensation as I came deep inside her.

And then silence, the collective moment when we struggled to contain our panting breaths, and nobody dared to move.

I became vaguely aware of the sound of breathing just beyond the screen, the stillness of someone waiting. Listening. I turned my head and saw Sara’s wide eyes, her teeth buried into her bottom lip. A moment passed, and then another before the footsteps moved on, the light slipping along our sweaty bodies just as the door closed.

Monday morning, I found Chloe in her suddenly cluttered office, staring out the window. Her furniture and all of her boxes had finally arrived, and her pacing and mumbling told me that she was more than a little overwhelmed at the prospect of unpacking.

I’d spent most of the weekend alternating between horror and celebration over what I’d done at the fund-raiser, and had come in to work to get my mind to stop looping through and looking too closely at what my actions said about me. I stayed until midnight on Saturday and, unfortunately, made my way through all of the contracts and invoices I needed to get done this week. Other than a handful of phone calls, I had nothing to do, and these days an idle Sara was not a good thing.

Chloe laughed, flopping down on her couch. “I don’t even know where to start. We just finished unpacking our apartment. Plus, I feel like I just packed all of this up.”

“Start with your bookshelf. I never feel organized until I can see the neat rows of books all set up.”

Shrugging, she slid from the couch and crawled to where a few boxes were stacked against a wall. “Did you have fun at MoMA?”

I opened a box of supplies and pulled out a box cutter. “Definitely.”

I could feel her look up at me, and her lingering attention pressed into the side of my face. I probably should have elaborated, but my mind turned completely blank when I struggled with what else to say. What else had happened? We arrived. Had some hors d’oeuvres. Max and I danced, and then I asked him to take pictures while he pounded me on a table.

By the time I remembered the rest—the dinner we’d missed, the silent auction he’d gone to attend, the beautiful garden I’d escaped to after our . . . encounter, too much time had already passed for me to add to my one-word answer.

“Good,” she said, and I could hear the smirk in her voice. “I’m glad you decided to come. Max and Will apparently host that every year and they raise a ton of money for the charity. I think it’s amazing.”

“Amazing,” I mumbled in agreement, remembering Max in a tux. Good sweet baby Jesus, the man was born for black tie. He looked pretty amazing half na**d, too.

I looked out the window, remembered the throbbing heat of his breath on my neck.

“I’m not pulling back,” he growled, spreading a huge hand over my breast. “I just want to push farther and farther and farther in.”

My br**sts weren’t small but the size of his hand had made me feel tiny, like he could pick me up and snap me in half. Instead of feeling afraid, I had spread my legs wider, welcomed him deeper.

He pulled back to look at me. “My hand, or how I’m f**king you?”