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BLUE FLAME
by Jill Shalvis

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Her expression made him want to touch her, cup her face, stroke his fingers over her jaw and sink into her hair. A shock, because it wasn’t just the usual surge of lust. Here was an opportunity he hadn’t even known he wanted—to talk to her, to have her know him, to convince her he wasn’t a jerk, because suddenly it mattered what she thought of him. Suddenly he wanted her to be as warm and sweet to him as she was to everyone else.

Too bad he couldn’t move without whimpering.

“Probably climbing around after dogs and puppies is a bad idea,” she said, her hand still on him.

“Probably, but you shouldn’t be doing this, either.”

“I’m fine.”

“Headache?”

“Only a little.” She glanced at the puppies now being fed by their mother, who still watched her and Jake carefully. “Looks like we got ourselves a new dog.”

So accepting. So willing to gather whoever and whatever to the Blue Flame.

Had his father been like that? It surprised him to feel sad that he didn’t know. “And six puppies.”

She sighed. “And six puppies. You were good with her; she didn’t want anything to do with me.”

“Animals like me.”

“Women do, too.”

He slanted her a glance. “Most, but not all, I’m learning.”

She mused over that for a long moment. Dropped her hand from him. “Sometimes I don’t know what to say to you.”

“Then don’t say anything.” With a great effort, he leaned in so their mouths were a mere fraction of an inch apart. He put his left hand to the curve of her jaw. “Let’s try this instead.” And even knowing he was crazy for wanting this, he put his mouth on hers.

Her hand slid up between them, until her palm settled against his chest. To push him away? Pull him closer? She did neither but let her lips cling to his for a long moment before pulling back.

“What was that?” she whispered.

“Just one little kiss.” He tunneled his fingers up into the wild silk of her hair, glad it was loose, and leaned in again, needing one more taste.

She held him back. “You said one kiss.”

Right, but he’d also said little. It’d been neither. He wanted more but he couldn’t move his other arm worth a damn. With his good hand, he slid his fingers down the length of her hair to the small of her back, nudging her forward into his body.

Her hand fisted in his shirt, gripping him tight, getting a few chest hairs in the mix. He didn’t care if she pulled them all out one by one as long as she stayed with her body up against his for another moment.

“Jake…” She rocked against him, just a tiny little movement of her hips, which was all the encouragement he needed to lower his head and kiss her again.