After entering her room, he closed the door with the back of his leg and carried her over to the bed. As he laid her down he noticed what a slight form she was on the oversized mattress. It highlighted to him just how young and fragile she must be. As he looked at her, he found it ironic how the more perverse side of his nature was toying with the idea of helping her out of her burdensome clothes.
He inwardly smiled as he shook his head and slowly stepped away from the bed. It was evil of him to even think it, he knew. He was about to leave, when her wide eyes opened slowly and looked up at him curiously. With mixed feelings he moved closer to the side of the bed. Unable to stop himself, he sat down beside her and placed a warm hand to her now chilled skin.
"What is it, Kyra," he asked curiously. "Not afraid of the dark are you?" His tone was teasing.
She smiled and shook her head fractionally. The smile lowered as she continued to look up at him. With what seemed excruciatingly slow movements, she raised a hand and let her fingers trace the hard outline of his face with tender curiosity. Her movements very nearly copied his earlier ones in the sewing room. Were anyone else to have touched him so brazenly, he would have assumed it was a sign of consenting desire. With Kyra, he knew that only exhaustion and naivet' allowed her to act so boldly.
As fatigue overwhelmed her, Kyra's arm dropped fractionally and her fingers descended to the softer skin at his throat. Then, even lower to the skin exposed at his shirt collar. She found the sprigs of hair that flattened under her hand distracting and she fingered them quietly.
Caleb held his breath. He was afraid to move lest she come to her senses and end the quiet moment. How could such a brief touch produce an unexpected response within him? He could not remember the last time he had been so affected by a woman this way. It had been longer still since he'd been forced to deny the desire he felt to return her touch.
His mind and body were under a mysterious spell. He should be thinking of a dozen reasons that would surely push him away from her. Somehow though, he couldn't even remember her name let alone a reason to leave her inviting warmth, and his traitorous body was pushing ever closer.
He rested his arms against the pillows surrounding her face. Her fingers fell to rest on the sleeve of his shirt just above her shoulder. She toyed with the material unconsciously and looked up into his darkened eyes. As sleepy as she was, Kyra recalled her earlier wonder of what it would be like to be kissed gently and lovingly by a man. Did Caleb know how to kiss in such a way?
Oblivious of the desire mounting in his eyes, she raised her hand and let her finger lightly trace the full line of his bottom lip. Her own parted in response to the softness she felt. She saw his eyes shifting away and she wondered if he would leave her now. Something deep within her wished that he wouldn't. He was so close, yet he looked suddenly torn in two.
Caleb could not break this moment between them. Perhaps it was simply desire that held him where he was, but he couldn't pull away from her. Her sleepy eyes were so trusting, so curious' It awakened a need deep within him. For the first time in a very long time, he craved such close companionship from a woman. He wished to know nothing more than this desire to feel the first touch of a young woman's lips.
Lowering himself to her, he neared her and swallowed against common sense. He knew this was wrong, even as he let go of his inhibitions. He closed his eyes for a second longer, wondering if in the light of day, would he do this? When he opened them, he stared deeply into her eyes, wishing he could read her thoughts. How he had come to be this close to her, he didn't remember anymore.
Unable to deny the greater need within him, he fought against reason and sanity. His hand reached up, brushing the softness of her chin before his fingers laced through her hair. Did she know that he wanted to kiss her? Was she aware of how much he'd been affected by the touch of her fingers on his lips?
Her eyes hesitantly lowered to his lips and he was lost. He had seen her look of uncertainty when she'd been touching him. Was she still remembering that morning in the garden? He wanted more than anything to erase that memory from her mind. He wanted to show her that he was far from a monster. He wanted to remove that trace of fear from her eyes.
His fingers locked in her hair, promising himself he would let go if she turned away. He was caressing her as he looked into her eyes. His lips nearly touching hers, he breathed, "Just once, Kyra'" He wished to kiss her just once'
She knew he would do it then. She could feel his torment and see it in his eyes. Her heart was racing and she thought it would stop beating when at last his lips touched hers. Far from being hurtful, she found the whisper of his lips against hers a silken, intimate caress. It nearly overwhelmed her senses when he returned with a second gentle brush of his lips, then finally gave in and closed his eyes. They were both lost in the moment.
She felt his loneliness, his pain and his sorrow in the kiss. At the same time, she found his gentleness and that tender sweet thing called passion. She returned the caress this time, raising her hand to touch his cheek as she kissed him back.
Caleb could not believe how badly he needed this from her. As if for the first time, he knew the return of such gentle pleasure from a woman. He had known many responses from women over the years. He'd felt fear and nervousness from Elizabeth and unbridled, eager passion from others, but never something so slow and building as this.
As he kissed her again, a shiver of delight raced down her spine. A strange heat began to penetrate through the pit of her stomach. It traveled downward to burn at the core of her body. His mouth was at first testing, persuading her to join him. In time she did and his kiss deepened. He claimed her lips with greater demand as if willing her to submit to the pleasure of his kiss. His hand caressed the side of her face, pulling her ever closer to him.
When she opened her mouth slightly to take a breath, his tongue penetrated slowly into the delicate interior. She gasped in shock and attempted to pull away. He refused to let her. The hand caressing her face now moved to hold her captive and he nipped lightly at her lips enticing her to continue. She allowed him to draw her in once more to the exquisite pleasure of kissing. This time he deepened the kiss much more slowly. Her heart increased its frantic beating and her breaths were coming in short gasps as they continued.
It was with great pain that he finally ended the kiss. He knew she could expect nothing more from him than this. From her hesitant response when he'd tried to deepen the kiss, he knew she was far too innocent to be taken like this. She would have no idea what they were doing and he refused to behave so irresponsibly.
With a tortured sigh, he finally pulled back from her and rested his forehead against hers. He continued to stroke her hair for a moment and he breathed heavily, "I should never have started that." A wounded look plagued her face and he was quick to assure her. "I find you quite appealing, Kyra. But this is wrong. I cannot allow this to happen."
He pulled a few inches away from her and she raised her head slightly. She wanted to bring him back down to her, but exhaustion was demanding her attention. Her mind was growing clouded and she soon gave up the will to fight against the need to sleep. Her energy drained out and she sank back down into the pillows.
Caleb could see her eyes were fighting to remain open. It amused him to think that she might have fallen asleep on him in the heat of passion. Even though he had pulled away from her warmth, he decided it could not hurt to stay for just a short while longer. At least until she fell deeply asleep...
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