The band was playing "Moon River," the saxophone oozing out its sexy notes as he slid his hand around her back and pulled her in just close enough to allow for the nearby dancers but no closer. His propriety was appreciated, but it was still way too close for Matilda's comfort.
He had the good grace not to answer. Or gloat. He just grinned at her as he performed some fancy pivot manoeuvre, pulling her close and spinning them both around a couple of times before easing back from her again.
Matilda's pulse tripped. "Impressive," she murmured. The Tanner Stone she'd known had been a shuffler. "Where'd you learn to dance?"
"Took some lessons a few years back when I was best man for one of the guys. Didn't want to look like a complete heathen."
"The maid of honour was that hot, huh?"
He grinned, completely unabashed. "You wound me."
Someone jostled them from behind, forcing them closer, as she had feared. Their proximity ratcheted up the awareness rippling through Matilda's body. In her heels, the top of her head fit neatly under Tanner's chin, and she fought the urge to press her cheek to his shirt. He smelled amazing-no chemical undertone this time-and she wanted to intoxicate herself on the ouzo essence of him as she listened to the slow, steady thump of his heart.
A stark contrast to the rapid trip of hers.
"Thank you for being nicer in your article on Friday." His voice rumbled around her, oozing like notes from the sax.
Matilda had decided to stop giving him such a hard time after the other night. She may have started this thinking of it as killing two birds with one stone-a fast track to features, and revenge on Tanner Stone. But she hadn't found the jerk she'd expected. No matter how mad she was with him over Jessica Duffy.
He'd rebuilt her grandmother's porch railing. And painted it. Then spent an hour in her place hanging art that she'd been neglecting for five years. And the fact that he'd gone down on her and given her a truly spectacular screaming orgasm was as much on her - lying there lapping it up - as on him.
Part of being a responsible journalist was to be impartial. It wasn't a place for revenge, and it shouldn't be coloured by personal baggage.
She was too old to be petty.
So she'd written the article about his early years at the Sydney Smoke with absolutely no agenda. It may not have been effusive but it had been solid and stuck to the facts.
"I was a little disappointed there was no mention of Captain Cunnilingus," he murmured, his mouth near her temple, goose bumps prickling across her scalp.
Matilda glanced around her, her face flushed at the brazen words, hoping no one had overheard. She was hyperaware of where they were, of how many eyes were on them. His large hand rested firmly on the small of her back as if he was he worried she might try to flee such risqué conversation.
He needn't have.
Even if she could push past all the bodies, she doubted her wobbly legs were up to the task now she was flashing back to the moment his tongue had found, with startling efficiency and precision, exactly the right spot. She'd relived it about a hundred times since, and it never failed to quicken her breath or cause a heavy rush of longing between her legs.
But she was annoyed at the amused catch to his voice, and irritated that he was choosing such a public place to flirt with impunity. She guessed this was what he meant by those parting words the other night. This time, I'm playing to win.
Matilda straightened her spine as the words circled on an endless loop through her head. No matter how mellow she was becoming, she wasn't in the game anymore, and she'd be damned if she was going to let him turn her on in front of a couple of hundred people. Not without a fight, anyway.
See how he felt taking a little of his own medicine.
"You think," she said quietly, deliberately shuffling her body closer until it was pressed along the length of his, "I should have told everybody that Tanner Stone went down to"-she lowered her voice for dramatic effect-"lady town?"
He chuckled, and it disturbed the wisps of hair at her temple. "Hmm. Maybe that would be a bit too much information."
"Oh, I don't know, Tanner." She tipped her head back to look him in the eye. "A man with a gift like that shouldn't be shy about it."
"I'm gifted, huh?"
Amusement laced his voice, but Matilda could also discern the husky edge to it and was intimately attuned to the tightening of his hand on her back.
Maybe this conversation was having an effect on him, too?
"You should rent a billboard."
If he was confused by her banter, he didn't show it, but he did search her gaze for long moments as they swayed to the music. Long moments during which she became aware of the hardening ridge of his arousal. Her pulse spiked as it pressed with more and more urgency against her stomach.
It was having an effect on him.
She shifted against him deliberately, goaded by his brazenness and the wild pulse between her legs. It felt good.
"Any time you want my services, you know my number."
His voice was like gravel now, and it was all she could hear as the world narrowed down to just the two of them, rubbing against each other more than dancing. The music faded, the people pressing in around them faded…propriety faded.
"Oh, you do house calls?"
"For you?" His gaze dropped to her mouth before flicking up again. "Absolutely."
"That's very selfless of you."
"Not really. I get plenty out of making you come."
Matilda's breath hitched. If that was a line, it was a damn good one. "You wouldn't want a little…" She shifted against him again, and a triumphant buzz coursed through her body as his hand clamped harder in the small of her back. "Something in return?"
He smiled, but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "Only what you're willing to give."
He stared at her mouth again. "That could be quite nice."
"Maybe" - she slid her hand from his shoulder up into the hair at his nape - "second base?"
His gaze dropped to the artificial depths of her cleavage. "I do like second base."
"What about a…blowjob?"
He glanced up, swallowing hard and huffing out an uneven breath. "I wouldn't say no to that."
"Oh?" she asked innocently. "You like blowjobs?"
"I'm quite partial to them."
"Really?" More wide-eyed innocence.
He lowered his lips to her ear. "If you think I haven't been fantasising about your mouth around my cock, then you're crazy."
It was Matilda's turn to swallow, as a mental image of her on her knees sucking his dick, his hand on the back of her head, shimmered like a mirage through her mind.
He was upping the stakes. Bring it.
She turned her face, her lips near his ear now. "I remember how you liked me to go deep."
"I liked it any way you gave it."
"Except I didn't swallow."
His half laugh came out all ragged and uneven. "I don't care."
"It's okay," she whispered. "I do now."
In this grudge match, the first to score…
When style columnist Matilda Kent accidentally lets slip that she was once involved with the captain of the Sydney Smoke rugby team, she suddenly finds herself elevated to the position she’s always wanted – feature writer. The catch? She’s stuck doing a six-part series on her ex. Still, there’s no way she can turn down a promotion…or the chance to dish the dirt on the guy who so callously broke her heart.
…could win it all!
Tanner Stone wants to be involved in a feature series about as much as he wants to snap an Achilles. But the thought of seeing Tilly again is a bonus—and has him more worked up than he wants to admit. Only he’s not prepared for how different she is – all cool and professional. His Tilly is still in there, though…and he still wants her, now more than ever. All he has to do is charm her into giving him a rematch. And this time, winner takes all!
"I ADORED this book. A total 5 star read for me. This is the gold standard of what I LOVE in a second chance romance." Eve Recinella, GoodReads
"This book was like opening a glorious present and getting the best kind of laughter, shocks and smexy characters rolled into one read. Cheeky characters who were full of surprises in all the right ways and heat - so - much - heat! Just awesome reading. The read had its share of drama mixed with laughter and tears - the "will they, won't they" moments and the second chance possibility. What a phenomenal series opener from author Amy Andrews" Taking Books