She liked being in control. It was the only way she knew how to keep her inner voices in check—the ones that told her what a failure she was, that no amount of animal lives she saved could make up for Caramel, or Cyclone, or the loss of her family’s home.
She forced herself to breathe as Evan continued to stroke her lightly. Struggling to clear her mind of the guilt that had plagued her all her life, she focused on Evan’s hand, traveling up and down, up and down.
Why was feeling pleasure so hard for her? Why did she always fight it? Did she think that would help anyone—Caramel, her parents…?
She gasped as his hand traveled an inch higher and brushed the underside of her breast. It suddenly occurred to Bella that she was fighting all the time. Fighting her memories. Fighting her feelings of inadequacy. Fighting the thought that she could never atone for her past failures.
But here and now the challenge was not to fight. The challenge was to simply accept the pleasure Evan brought her with each stroke of his hand.
What if she gave in? Truly gave in—just for tonight; she still planned to win this contest—and let him have his way with her body since she ached all over to be with him?
Well, why not find out?
She took a deep breath and let it out, holding perfectly still as Evan’s hand inched higher, cupped her breast for just an instant, and slid away again. This time he found the hem of her shirt and slid his fingers beneath it. His hand was warm—so warm—and his fingers felt so good against her bare skin. She wanted to groan out loud as he slipped up to cup her breast again, but she was all too aware of the camera dangling right above them, and bit it back. Evan squeezed her nipple and she felt warmth pooling between her thighs, the ache there building with each step of this sweet torment.
Now his motions were smoother, his explorations widening to include her other breast, her stomach, both her hips, and—just once—the place she wanted his touch the most. He inched closer to her until the length of him pressed against her. She felt his hardness and longed to turn over and do some explorations of her own.
Letting all conscious thought go, she reveled in feeling his touch. Her skin burned under each stroke. The heat inside her built until she wanted to writhe in bliss.
Underneath the covers, Evan lifted his hand to tuck her hair behind her ear and kissed the back of her neck. Each breath he expelled made her shiver until she wanted to laugh and gasp with pleasure at the same time. Keeping still, she moved her hips, the better to feel his hardness against the curve of her bottom. She was rewarded with a gasp and an almost-stifled moan.
“Slowly,” he murmured, barely audible. “Remember the camera.” He pushed her t-shirt high over her breasts to bare her from collarbone to waist, and carefully began to roll down her pants. She bit her lip as his hand began stroking her thighs, hips, and then touched her between her legs.
She was on fire. Buried underneath layers of covers and clothing, she was slick with sweat and desire, and when he began to swirl his fingers over her folds, stroking her to further heights, she knew she wasn’t going to last long.
She edged her own hand behind her and found his hip. She searched for the waistband of his boxer shorts. He quickly guided her to it, then returned to his ministrations, and gasped when she pushed them down and reached around to grasp the length of him.
“I have protection,” he breathed in her ear.
She knew what he was asking. “Yes,” she said. “Hurry.”
His hand slipped away again. There was a rustle as he dug in his bag, a sound that could only be his teeth tearing the packaging of the condom, and a few jerking movements, and he was back again. Now he pressed against her firmly, reached around to stroke her, and together they moved into position. Just the pressure of him against her made Bella want to cry aloud. In a moment she would come no matter what he did; she wanted him inside her before that happened.
“Please,” she breathed.
With one arm beneath her, wrapped around her waist, and the other cupping first one breast, then the other, he shifted her hips exactly where he wanted them, and pushed into her from behind.
She bit back a cry. He opened her inch by inch, filling her, sparking every nerve ending in her to life, until she blazed with sensation. He began to move, slow strokes at first, then gathering steam as they slickened with the motion. She’d never felt so alive, so burned up with wanting, longing, desire, and—oh—more, she wanted more…
Evidently still aware of the camera, Evan kept his motions smooth. He didn’t piston into a frantic frenzy, but pumped long and hard, in and out, until she thought she’d tear the sleeping bag to shreds. He squeezed her breasts, pinched her nipples, and rained heavy kisses down on her neck and shoulders. Just when she thought she couldn’t stand anymore, he dipped his hand between her legs, and stoked the fire within her to a roaring flame.
“Bella,” he whispered, a warning and a sound of wonder.
She surged over the edge, wave after wave of ecstasy and release rushing through her. He stiffened behind her then pumped into her again, and she knew he was right there with her, his stifled groans and the jerk of his hips the only outward show of his completion. When they’d shuddered to a stop, they rested together and he kissed her again. Moments later he eased out of her and she missed him immediately. He turned away and she knew he must be cleaning up the evidence of their encounter. Would he leave the tent now? Surely, he’d make a break for the open air after this claustrophobic coupling. She readied herself for his departure, bracing herself for the sick betrayal she knew she’d feel, but he turned back and wrapped an arm around her again.
“I don’t know if I can stay here all night,” he whispered. She could just make out his words. “I really have a hard time with small places, but I want to stay. I want you to know that.”
“It’s okay. I understand.”
“If I leave it has nothing to do with you,” he said again. “I mean it, Bella.”
“Okay.” She rearranged her clothing, already sleepy, his words easing her fears. This is just a fling, anyway, she told herself drowsily. It’s not like I’m going to marry the guy.
Her eyes snapped open.
If she didn’t start winning challenges soon, she would be marrying him.
Desire suffused her again at the idea of doing this night after night with Evan; their lives joined together just like their bodies would be. She glanced at him from under her eyelids.
Would he be up for another round right now?