ROMANCE TEST || CHAPTER 16. DINNER TIME

“Did I leave a beard burn on your arse?” he asks.

“Um– Yeah, you kinda did,” Emilia answers. “Just a little one.”

She gestures about five centimetres between her thumb and index finger. The corners of his lips twitch. He’s suppressing a smile, isn’t he? That was a tad childish, she agrees.

His hand is so large that he just needs to close his fingers to shut the book, and he slowly puts it back to its place. He turns to her again and licks his bottom lip. It’s not a seductive, ‘I’m going to gobble you up’ sort of a gesture. He’s visibly uneasy.

“I’m uncomfortable when there’s someone in my flat,” he says. “I’m generally– I don’t like new people.” That’s quite a statement, innit? “Physically.”

Emilia is digesting the information.

“Right,” she says.

“I tested it first. With the tiramisu.”

He gives her a quick inquisitive look, as if to check if she’s getting it. She isn’t.

“What did you test with the tiramisu?” she asks. Might as well. Of all people, he might be one of the few who will just answer.

“If I could eat from the same dish as you. I don’t normally share food. Or drink.”

OMG! Daniel Oates – the bearman, the three-piece-suit clad sex on legs, who looks pretty much like every cover of a modern M rated romance novel about a dominating millionaire and a sheltered virgin – is squeamish!

“And when I’m stressed or tired, it’s worse,” he delivers another pregnant statement, and once again throws her a cautious glance.

Emilia is trying to organise the facts in her head.

“Were you tired or stressed then?” she asks.

“It wasn’t easy,” he says and looks under his feet. “Having you there. Because you asked me to take control, and I don’t– It’s not my thing.”

Oh.

Oh!

“It took a lot to manage–” He stumbles, and rumbles a frustrated low hum in his throat. “I don’t do well with unstructured sex.”

Emilia’s jaw slacks, and she hurriedly schools her face into a neutral expression.

What, in the name of sanity, is ‘unstructured sex?’

“As opposed to what?” she asks.

And then she remembers Mistress Eva’s ‘I’m not his therapist or your dom.’

“I either have my kink in the club or in a scene,” he confirms her assumption. “Or I just go to a woman’s place. I’ve had plenty of vanilla relationships and one-offs. I enjoy casual sex, and it’s never been an aggro before.”

He frowns, and of course Emilia hears criticism in his words. Obviously, it’s her fault he was having an ‘aggro’ in bed with her.

“I’m sorry,” she mutters. “I did tell you I had no idea what I was doing.”

His eyebrows jump up, and he stares at her.

“What? No! I mean, I just–” He once again closes his mouth and exhales noisily, flaring his nostrils. “And I wasn’t sure what you wanted. You were tense, and I was worried to cock it up. And then it just became– too much.”

“I’m familiar with ‘too much,’” Emilia mumbles. “That’s how I’ve been feeling since that night in The Top.”

They are both silent for a few seconds, and then Emilia asks in a miserable voice, “Then why did you invite me to your flat?”

“You asked me to.” His face expresses little, and so does his tone. “And I did want to spend more time with you.”

“But not specifically to have sex with me?”

Stop interrogating the man, Milly.

“No, I did specifically want to have sex with you,” he deadpans. “More than I normally do with women.”

“Despite being in your flat?” Emilia is still seeking clarity.

“Yes.”

She peeks, and he gives her an uncertain smile. He is, as shocking as it sounds, adorable. So, he wanted her so much that he brought her over, and struggled for as long as he could manage, and worried to ‘cock it up.’ Also, she just remembered how much he enjoyed her backside.

“So, all things considered, here, in my flat, having sex with me wouldn’t be an… aggro, would it?” she inquires tentatively.

He’s quiet, but something changes in his eyes. Emilia decides to throw another offer into the bargain.

“Especially if I don’t ask you to take charge of the sex, right?”

She gives him a tiny cheeky smile, hoping he can see that she’s half-joking. Another half of Emilia is trying to focus on the conversation, and not on the idea that this time – if there so happens to be ‘this time’ – she’d like to unbutton his waistcoat and his shirt herself.

“I would think so, yes,” he answers.

There’s a suspicion in Emilia’s mind, and she decides to test it. The thing is, his eyes are burning, figuratively speaking. They’re darker now, and even Emilia with all her lacking experience can’t call this expression on his face anything but ‘hungry’ – given subtle, as always – but he’s not moving.

Emilia takes a few small steps towards him – and here he is. With an unexpected chutzpah, she stretches her hand and lays it on the lapel of his jacket. The man is like a woodburner! Even through all these layers of very expensive looking, soft fabrics!

Also, ooph! What a colossus!

“So when you asked me to tell you what to do,” she whispers – mostly because she’s pushing through thirty something years’ worth of low self-esteem right now – and strokes the lapel, “you literally meant you needed me to tell you what to do?”

“It just spilled– the kink into the shag.” He’s raspy. “It never does. I normally just– With other women– Normally. Just shag–”

Emilia giggles. The tips of her fingers flutter lower and lower, and then she taps all five buttons on his waistcoat one by one, including the open bottom one.

“I don’t think I quite understand your meaning,” she murmurs and looks up at him – hopefully – flirtily.

He’s staring at her lips. Emilia hooks her finger on his waistcoat and pulls him to her. She is, of course, bricking it – but only marginally. And then he grabs her, and jerks her, pressing her flush into him – and his lips crush into hers.

Oh…

Oh!

Oh dear.

Wow…

It’s so good that she can’t think, and she just can’t decide what to touch first, so there’s a lot of grabbing and jerking and pulling at his jacket – and then he bends down more, giving her access to the beard, and the hair, and the neck!

Like he said, ‘too much!’

But more like, ‘too much Daniel, not enough time.’ Or ‘not enough hands.’

Oh!

Did he just step to the bed, or did she pull him?

He presses his knee into the bed, one hand on her back, another one on her cover. He lowers her and she’s sort of hovering – and then he just falls forward and down onto her. Emilia makes a ‘guh’ sound – because the man’s massive and she can’t breathe! He pushes off the bed with one hand, shifting on his side, allowing a bit of oxygen into her lungs. He’s still kissing her just as enthusiastically, and now his hand is roaming her torso. He then rises on the elbow of the other arm, and his heavy leg is squashing her lower extremities into the bed.

Maybe she was wrong. Maybe submissiveness isn’t his kink. He’s pawing her tits and hips, and still half-weighing on her body, and he’s anything but… subservient. Also, she’s just gently pushed his head down and lifted her chin, because she remembers what his neck kissing feels like – and she wants it now!

His mobile trills in his pocket, and Emilia squeezes her eyes tightly. Oh no! Not now! Nothing is allowed to interfere with this! Emilia doesn’t want to go back to reality! He shoves his hand into his pocket – and then hurls his phone somewhere into the furthest corner of the room.

That is so bloody… flattering!

But also that reminds her.

“Um– Daniel?”

Blimey, how is his hair so soft, and heavy, and so brilliant to touch? Emilia moans, and then feels his mouth slide on the muscle between her neck and her shoulder.

“Daniel… The phone– It’s the– We had a–” What’s that word?! “Food thing– Reservation! Oh god, what is this– So– God–”

The last three incomplete sentences are her reaction to the fact that he pulled at her collar, baring her shoulder to him, and then dragged his half-open mouth across it. Tasting her skin. With an approving hum.

“We don’t have a reservation,” he murmurs – and shifts lower along her body. His backside probably now hangs off the bed. His hand slides up her leg and bunches up her skirt. Oh gosh, oh golly! “It’s my restaurant. They’ll save the table all night.”

Emilia is so glad she’s managed to locate that one pair of hold ups she bought years ago on a whim, hoping to feel a bit sexier, and predictably failing at that then. The stockings are definitely working for her self-esteem now. He strokes her thigh – his enormous hand is scorching – and for the first time in all her life, Emilia feels like a sexy piece of arse! Must be the growl he’s just emitted before pressing his mouth to the strip of her bare skin between the lace top of the stocking and her knickers.

“But the dinner–”

Emilia isn’t sure why she continues this conversation. She obviously doesn’t want him to stop: he’s just slid even lower and is now kneeling in front of the bed, and her skirt is around her waist, and he’s kissing above her other stocking, closer and closer to the inside of her thigh. His lips halt, and then he looks up.

Oh god, how is he so blinding hot?! His cheekbones are flushed, and just like last time, she notices how much more animated his face is when he’s randy. Also, she’s ruffled his hair, and somehow this dishevelled, aroused look of his makes her very, very bold. She lifts her leg and lightly brushes her ankle against his shoulder. It wouldn’t look like much in porn, but for someone who’s never made a single move in bed with a man… that’s big! It must show on her face, because he wraps his fingers around her ankle, rubs his bearded cheek and jaw to it, and then kisses the little bone.

“Do you really want to stop and go to dinner?” he asks – and that is, most definitely, not about consent right now.

Obviously, she’s certain he will stop and go to dinner if she says so, but also, he knows she’s not going to suggest it. That – was dirty talk. Dirty-ish. Sexy flirting, to be precise.

“I was looking forward to you feeding me,” she answers and pulls her other leg, lifting the knee. She’s hardly sporty, so no Basic Instinct nonsense here, but she has just enough core strength to rub her other ankle to his respective upper arm. “Aren’t your restaurants best of the best, and inaccessible for a mere mortal like me?” She presses her hand to her chest and bats her eyelashes. Hopefully, it doesn’t look too daft. “When will I ever get a chance to try some of your amazing food?”

He catches her second leg and gently bites the bone on her ankle.

“Nevermind,” Emilia announces. She’s so turned on right now, her head spins. “Sod your food.”

He guffaws.

“It’s good to know your priorities,” he purrs, and then rises and moves up her body. He’s now looming over her, and Emilia’s mouth goes dry. “But what if you could have the cake and–” He lowers his hips onto her, and Emilia opens her knees accommodatingly.

“Eat it?” she asks and picks up the top button on his waistcoat. “I’d rather eat a cake than have it, obviously. But in this case–” She pushes the sides of the garment open and splays her hands on his stomach. Their eyes meet. “I forgot what I was going to say,” Emilia confesses. She slides her hands onto his sides – he’s so warm, and firm, and large… oh! – and pulls him down.

“If you let me go right now, I can text them to deliver it here.”

His eyes are twinkling, and then his left eyebrow rises suggestively.

“I don’t think I can.”

Emilia is a hundred percent candid. That’s not even her flirting anymore. She’s going to explode if at least some of this tension isn’t released. Expeditiously.

He smirks and looks her over. Like some sort of pudding he’s going to devour. Oh god, yes, please.

“I have an idea,” he says and dives down.

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