I waited for his arms to circle around me, but instead he grabbed my ass through my dress, squeezing my cheeks. A breeze blew over the river and the feel of the air against my very bare pu**y, plus Hudson’s massage of my behind, had me feeling aroused.
“Good,” he whispered. “You obeyed.”
Ah, so the butt rub was simply a panty check. Whatever the reason, I’d take it.
Hudson propped his leg on the lower rail and continued caressing my behind while, overhead, the sky lit up again and again. Each time the sparks caused cheers from the crowd, drowning out the sound of the music blaring from inside the ship. I’d never been so close to the Macy’s Annual Fireworks, and I was mesmerized. They shot above the river from at least seven different barges, simultaneously turning the darkness into a flash of color—magical.
Things got even more magical when Hudson’s arms wrapped around me. And then his hand made its way under my skirt, hiking the fabric up around my waist, flirting with the skin above my pubic bone.
I was exposed to the night. Though Hudson’s propped leg covered the view on one side of us, the crowd on the other side of me only had to move their interest from the sky to us, and they’d see.
I inhaled sharply. “What are you doing?”
“Setting off fireworks.” His mouth was at my ear, rumbling with the rockets in the sky.
Fuck, I didn’t care who could see—I was turned on.
My eyes burned from the blaze overhead, my nerves lit from Hudson’s touch, my lower belly sparking with need.
“Spread,” he commanded.
I obeyed, lifting my left foot onto the lower rail, mirroring his stance. It gave more privacy, blocking the view from the other side of us. Yet it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what he was doing to me—all anyone had to do was pay attention.
With full access, Hudson stroked over my pu**y, sweetly grazing the newly exposed area. “Ever since you told me you were bare, I’ve been thinking about touching you.” His breath at my neck drove a shiver down my spine.
Then his fingers slid between my lips, finding the sensitive nub, and I thought I might burst—burst with the fireworks above me. He settled his thumb on my clit, circling with expert pressure. “God, precious, I couldn’t keep my hands off you if I tried. You’re so slick already.”
“Hudson.” It was barely a word, more of a cry, really. Louder than I’d intended, drawing a glance from a couple not far from us.
Hudson’s hand froze. “If you want to come, Alayna, you have to promise me you can be quiet.”
“Okay.” Anything. Anything to make him keep touching me.
He started his movement again, his thumb dancing over my cl*t as his fingers went lower. “Do you know what it does to me to see you come apart?” he taunted, his touch now spiraling around my hole. “Do you?”
How did he think I could talk? “No,” I managed on a breathy exhale.
“It drives me f**king insane.” He jabbed two fingers inside. At least, it felt like two fingers. It was difficult to be certain. All I knew for sure was that it felt amazing.
He plunged again as his thumb resumed whirling over my clit. Swirling and plunging, he f**ked me with his hand, right there, in the open air, as the crowd around us stared upward in a patriotic daze.
So. Fucking. Hot.
The tension was building, tightening in my womb.
Then his lips were moving at my ear again. “Sometimes it’s all I think about. Taking you to the edge. Watching you spill over. It’s the most goddamned beautiful thing there is.”
I was close. So close. About to explode. I leaned back against him, rubbing his erection with my ass. I felt incredible. Sexy. On fire. Small grunts formed at the back of my throat.
“Bite on your hand to stifle your screams if you need to.”
I wanted to challenge him—to say, oh you’re so sure I’ll be screaming—but then he bent his fingers and stroked against a particularly sensitive spot. A moan escaped from my lips.
“Hand,” he ordered.
Just in time, I flung my hand to my mouth, biting down on my finger as I came. My orgasm flared through me, erupting in tandem with a spectacular sequence of fireworks. I couldn’t tell what parts of my blinded vision were from the display and which were from Hudson. It was glorious.
But I wasn’t nearly sated.
I wanted more. Wanted him.
I spun into him, kissing him with frenzy. My hand rubbed his c**k through his pants. He was so hard. He wanted me as much as I wanted him. More, maybe.
The fireworks show wasn’t over. I didn’t care. “Take me to bed,” I demanded against his lips.
It was Hudson’s turn to groan. I swallowed the sound with another wet kiss, licking into his mouth with deep strokes. God, he tasted good. I couldn’t get enough of him, was ready to f**k him right there on the deck.
Somehow Hudson found the strength to untangle from my embrace. “Jesus, woman.” His eyes were nearly black with desire. Then he turned toward the entry to the staterooms, pulling me behind him.
The crowd cheered at that moment. For the fireworks, of course, but it drew my gaze up.
That’s when I saw her.
On the upper deck, looking down at me was Celia Werner. My mind flashed back to my dream and the terror that accompanied it sparked through me. Her eyes met mine, piercing through me, and I suddenly understood the phrase “shooting daggers.” Anger emitted from her cold stare. Hudson had said it was he that she was mad at, and maybe she was mad at him. But she hated me. It was evident in her entire posture.
A chill ran down my spine as, again, I realized she’d always be there. She’d always be threatening at the periphery of my life with Hudson.
The realization only fueled my need for Hudson to be inside me.
I pushed Hudson onward, determined to recapture the mood from a moment before, to remind myself that I was the one with him, not her. Me. Only me.
As soon as we were in the hallway leading to the staterooms, we were kissing again. He pushed me against the wall, his hands reaching under my dress to fondle my na**d ass.
Desperate to make his groin meet mine, I curled my leg around his thigh. He relaxed his pressure so that I could jump up and wrap my legs around his waist. He sucked and licked along my neck as he carried me to our room. There, he braced me against the other wall so he could fumble with the key and the lock, swearing as he did until we were finally inside with the door shut behind us.
Panting, we both broke into a laugh. Hudson’s serious demeanor made outbursts like this rare, and I swam in the sound of his unbridled amusement.