5 CHERRIES: "The very first chapter grabbed my emotions and put them through the ringer... Across a Crowded Room is a gripping tale of intrigue and suspense with tons of sensual teases and excitement to keep readers flipping pages at a furious pace. It has a satisfying happily ever after between characters I really connected to. I had a great time reading this story because I never knew where it was going to go and how justice would ultimately be served. Romantic suspense readers are going to get what they are looking for when they dive into Ms. Marchat’s well told tale. I’m so glad I read it." -- Xeranthemum, Whipped Cream Reviews
5 TEA CUPS: "Across the Crowded Room is a suspenseful thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat and not wanting to let go until you are done with the story... This book will keep you interested until the very end... I highly recommend this book to any one. It is one that I would read once again." -- Monica, Happily Ever After Reviews
Jason called to her. “Emily?”
“Be right there. I’m ready,” she announced.
She rounded the corner upstairs, and when she came into view, he couldn’t stop the response that escaped along with the rest of the air in his lungs. “I’ll say!” He could see she was definitely ready for something.
She paused at the top of the stairs and glanced down at him. One of her hands flipped a stray curl back off her shoulder, and the other rested lightly on the old wooden banister.
Emily was fully aware of the impact she made. He could tell from the glint in her eyes. But regrettably, he couldn’t focus on her face once she took the first step. She looked incredible, and he felt gut punched. The multi-colored flowered skirt was too short. It looked even more so from his vantage point.
Strategically situated at the bottom of the stairs, Jason wished he could be sorrier about the view. But in the deepest recesses of his mind, the only feelings he could drag to the surface were pleasure, pleasure, and more pleasure. He’d just caught a glimpse of heaven, and poking his eyes out now wouldn’t be enough to erase the image of a sliver of black lace that was now branded in his memory.
He quickly tried to blind himself from the sight, but wasn’t fast enough. His gaze dropped, and he locked on the image. The only thing he could do was turn away.
Instead of soothing the impact, the image reflected repeatedly in the mirrored foyer. She was everywhere, taunting him. His mouth went powder dry. It took every bit of self-control to force his eyes shut and turn back to her and focus on her eyes.
After the day’s events, he felt like a lab rat. She was the motivation, and he kept responding. He couldn’t seem to stop his reactions, no matter how much he tried, and just like any good lab rat, he didn’t care. All he wanted was the reward at the end of the experiment.
She is that reward, all right.
She smiled that womanly, all-knowing smile with a casual glance directed boldly at his fly. His body jerked to attention as she took that first step, giving him an even better view with her knee bent. An uncontrolled groan escaped as his body reacted. Was she aware of the power she wielded? Damn right, she was. It was maddening to be at her mercy like this.
In a few minutes they’d be with the whole family. How was he going to manage any self-control under the circumstances? With each step she took toward him, his anxiety increased. God, what was wrong with him? He was very worried. She was initiating a full-out assault on his senses, and his control was diminishing as the day wore on.
He winced. This was going to be a long night.
There was no point trying to hide his response from her. Since she walked in the door earlier this afternoon, he’d managed to sport a chronic erection. He was past being embarrassed by his dick. Trying to recover some ground, reclaim some of his masculine pride, he dragged his gaze back to her face and forced himself to stare directly at her. Making sure to hold her attention as she descended the rest of the steps, he boldly reached down and adjusted himself.
Score one for the boys.
Jason felt triumphant, felt a smile start, until she looked directly at his face. He had to rethink his success. Her blush was intoxicating. Her tongue flicked over her parted lips, her hand dropped to her blue diamond pendant, and she inhaled, drawing his attention to nipples alluringly visible through the thin material of her top.
He swallowed. He readjusted.
This time her expression widened a little in response. A small smile tempted the corner of her lips, but she contained herself. She seemed pleased instead of shocked.
Rats, no ground gained for the men’s side. Maybe he’d been too quick to claim victory.
When she reached the bottom step, he moved toward her, taking her coat from her. He had an urge to wrap her up in a useless attempt to cover her. Maybe if her body was concealed, he could put this hunger aside.
His hand lingered, refusing to be controlled as it slowly slid down her arm, taking in the silkiness of her skin. Caught in his own trap, a little voice in his head laughed as he draped her coat over her shoulders. He knew it wouldn’t help. It was too late for him. He sniffed her hair one last time before they headed out the door.
He could cover her up all he wanted. He’d still be thinking of the contrast between that scrap of black lace against her pale pearl skin all night.
He glanced around. The street was empty. As concerned as he was about their public display, he didn’t stop mauling her in the middle of the street where she lived. Jason watched the mist from her hot breath rise with her smile. He tried to smile back, uncertain of his success as she stared hungrily at his mouth. He thought about devouring her right here, right now, damn the neighbors, but she grabbed his hand and dragged him up to the door of the old Victorian house.
Slipping his hands inside her coat, he undid her bra and pushed it up, giving his hands and lips full access to her breasts. He could hear her struggling to catch her breath as he bent in to nuzzle her nape while skimming his hands down her sides and over her hips. That short skirt ended up around her waist, and his fingers came into contact with hot velvet skin as he cupped her tight ass in his hands. That scrap of black lace he’d moaned about earlier would be no barrier when pushed aside, better yet, when he tore it off her.
He wasn’t the only one desperate for skin to skin contact. Emily tore off a couple of his shirt buttons accessing his chest, and her fingers scraped over his nipples, driving him to distraction. He suddenly realized she had his fly open and her hand wrapped around his throbbing cock before the door completely closed behind them. As fantastic as her grip felt, he grabbed and took both of her hands in his, inhaled, and lifted her fingertips to his lips. They had to slow down, or he was afraid he’d lose control, and he hadn’t let that happen in a very, very long time.
Damn, what made him so crazy with her, so crazy he couldn’t wait? After this afternoon, the hard-on he’d been sporting hadn’t subsided for more than a few minutes at a time. He’d already waited too long. He was ready to explode. Her hair wrapped around him and her scent enveloped him. He was lost.
She pulled her hands free and grabbed his hips, pulling them toward her as she fell to the steps. His knees hit the bottom step, and he had her back against the railing, legs open, spread-eagled. He was on fire, blinded with passion, intoxicated with her.
Patience escaped with his good sense. He shouldn’t take her there on the steps. Even though he didn’t want to stop, thoughts tried to sneak through the red haze.
“Stop thinking,” she said.
She was right. He’d been thinking too much, for too many years, and now all he wanted was the sensation of burying himself deep inside her, of finally being immersed inside her soft, tight heat. Merging their bodies as one.
Instead, he paused at her entry, still kissing her senseless. He waited until he was physically capable of dragging them up to the first landing, hoping he could manage the rest of the stairs and get them into the bedroom before every ounce of self control left him.
But the landing was as far as he got before she moaned. “Please, here, now.”
He couldn’t resist her. The need to brand her with the fire burning in him and make her his was too great. More than anything, he wanted to plunge into her without thinking and damn the consequences. He took another deep breath, still paused at her entrance despite his desire. The crown of his cock surged against her warm, moist opening, fighting back at him with independent intentions.
Emily lifted to him and arched, as if inviting him to push in past her hot, slippery folds, a silent request to take her deeper. The initial shock, the sensation of having him penetrate her, knocked the breath from her. Her gasp emptied into his mouth as he leaned in and kissed her.
Obviously she wasn’t very experienced, but no matter what pace she wanted to set, he knew he had to prepare her to take all of him. He paused again to give her time to adjust, deliberately slowing his entry as she stiffened slightly. “Oh, Emily, you feel so good, so damned tight.”
Gradually, Jason stretched past her tight opening, inch by painful inch, despite thinking he’d have to push into her fast and hard or die holding back. Somehow he forced himself to take her slowly, prepare her more for his size, make their first time together last.
However, her body and her moans goaded him on. She pressed against him, whimpering needy sounds, and her nails dug into his hips, her legs embracing his thighs. Then, just as he was ready to press further inside, he met an obstacle.
He paused. Damn! Suddenly cold with the realization, stark reality returned in a heartbeat.
Unbelieving, Jason stopped breathing for a moment, shocked at the barrier of her virginity. He stared into Emily’s eyes, not really looking for answers, but the expression on her face told him everything.
“Don’t think. Don’t stop,” she said as he held himself back. A flare of pure determination lit up her expression, warning him. She wasn’t letting him off this time.
As he held his ground, her next move really didn’t surprise him. She did the only thing left to her when she impaled herself against him. Stifling a scream, she forfeited her own innocence and stared deep into Jason’s eyes in defiance. With the deed done, neither of them moved.