tagRomanceMelting the Ice Ch. 03

Melting the Ice Ch. 03

byMugsyB©

By now I hope you've all realized I had this story finished. I'm sorry for the panic I caused. I should have phrased my earlier disclaimer a little differently, as in: This is my last completed story for a while. :) Surely you know me well enough by now to know that I'd never start posting something that's incomplete. Ah well.

Here's the ending of Hayden and Natalie's story and I hope you'll enjoy it.

Happy Reading!

MugsyB ;)


***

"Hayden, there you are."

Hayden turned at the familiar feminine voice. He smiled down at Regan, Craig's lovely wife. "Yeah, here I am. What can I do for you?"

She arched an eyebrow at him and Hayden felt like he was being chastised. "What are you thinking, leaving that gorgeous creature alone for half the night?"

Yes, definitely chastised.

Hayden shuffled his feet as a flush crept up his neck. Regan moved closer and put her hand through his arm. They moved a few steps away from the roulette table and Hayden asked if he could get Regan a drink.

"I don't need a drink, Lindy." She still sounded miffed with him. "I came to tell you that your date decided she'd had enough of being ignored and decided to leave."

"What?" Hayden stopped in his tracks and stared down at her.

"You heard me. Craig took her outside to get a cab."

"Why didn't she tell me?" Hayden wanted to drop Regan's arm and run from the building.

Regan gave him a narrow look that made him uncomfortable. "She didn't know where you were."

So all of Hayden's efforts to keep his hands to himself had backfired. He'd been avoiding her because if he'd spent much more time close to her, smelling her, feeling her body warm under that stunning dress, he'd have hauled her into a closet hours ago. He'd have made love to her until they both couldn't see straight.

"Shit. I have to go get her."

Regan nodded. She dropped her arm from Hayden's and jerked her chin towards the main entrance. "They went that way."

Hayden wasn't listening. As soon as Regan released him, he took off across the ballroom, moving as fast as he could. He reached the front steps outside just as Craig was turning away from a cab.

"Craig!" Hayden bounded down the stairs.

His captain turned away from the street and the cab drove off.

"No! Natalie!" Hayden ran past Craig like an idiot onto the street.

Craig grabbed his arm. "Lindy! For Christ's sake, get off the road!"

"Was that Natalie?"

"Yeah. She wasn't feeling well so she asked me to get her a cab." Craig pulled on his arm until Hayden returned to the sidewalk with him. "Are you all right?"

"I can't believe she'd just leave." Hayden looked after the cab.

"Well, you weren't around when she said she was feeling sick."

Hayden stared at Craig. If Regan's words to him were any indication, Natalie wasn't feeling ill. She was most likely ticked that he'd practically ignored her all night. He felt even worse. "I have to go talk to her."

Craig studied him in silence before nodding. "Be careful."

Hayden wasn't sure if he meant be careful on the drive, or be careful with Natalie. He fully intended to do both.

He hurried away, looking for the limo he'd hired. On the way to the university, he wondered what he could say to make it up to Natalie. He couldn't believe he'd been so stupid. He should have tried harder to be with her.

I'm a grown man, for crying out loud, he thought and shook his head. I could have controlled my urges for a few hours.

He stewed over his mistake all the way to NYU and leapt out of the limo almost before it had stopped moving. He spotted Natalie right away. Her cab must have arrived only seconds ahead of his limo. He called her name as he jogged across the lawn after her.

"Natalie! Please, wait."

She stopped and turned, nervously backing up until she recognized him. "Hayden? What are you doing here?"

"Regan and Craig told me you'd left," he said as he came to a stop in front of her. He drew in a deep breath and clenched his hands into fists to keep from reaching for her. She had a guarded expression on her face and didn't look entirely pleased to see him there. "Why didn't you come find me? I would have brought you home."

She lifted her chin and met his gaze directly. "I didn't think I should have to search for my date."

Hayden winced. "I'm sorry, Natalie. I didn't mean to leave you alone."

She arched an eyebrow at him and the corner of her mouth curved up in a smile. "All night?"

"At all," he agreed. He noticed the chill in the air then and took note of the way Natalie had her hands shoved into her jacket pockets. "You're cold. Come on, sit in the limo with me for a bit."

"Why?" She sounded tired and that made Hayden feel even worse.

"I want to talk to you. I want to apologize."

"So apologize."

She met his gaze steadily and Hayden felt his body react to her expression. He'd always found her attractive, but with the color in her cheeks from the cold and the flash in her eyes, she was devastating.

"Aren't you cold?"

"A little."

Hayden didn't know what to say. All he wanted to do was pull Natalie close and kiss her. At the moment, he didn't think she'd be too receptive. He mimicked her pose, pushing his hands into his pockets.

"I'm sorry, Natalie." He looked up to see the same closed expression on her face. "I should have spent more time with you tonight."

"You should have."

They stared at each other. Hayden sighed and reached for her, deciding he wanted to risk it. She let him touch her and Hayden moved closer.

She peered up at him, her eyes shadowed. "Why were you avoiding me all night?"

Hayden cringed inwardly. "I wasn't avoiding you."

Her eyebrows went up and her lips curved into a smile. "What do you call it then?"

Encouraged that she wasn't pushing him away or scowling at him, Hayden smiled in return. "I don't know. Self-preservation?"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

Hayden sighed and gave Natalie's shoulders a squeeze. "Do you mind if we sit in the limo? Just for a few minutes. I swear I won't take you anywhere."
Natalie didn't resist but she didn't say anything as they walked back across the lawn to the waiting limousine. Hayden undid the buttons of his tux and turned to face Natalie but she wasn't looking at him. He hadn't realized until then that he'd upset her so much.

With her face turned away from him, he took a moment to admire her. It made him smile. He couldn't not admire her. In spite of the distance between them this week, he wanted her even more than that first night.

Her dress was perfect, her hair tantalizingly lifted from her bare shoulders and her lips had looked enticingly kissable all night long. She turned her face towards his and he couldn't stop himself. He reached out, closed his hands on her shoulders, and drew her close for a kiss.

She stiffened in his arms at first, then melted against him. Hayden had enough presence of mind to raise the partition between them and the driver before he parted her lips with his tongue and took the kiss deeper.

***

Natalie was swept away by the heat of Hayden's kiss. She sagged against his hard body and gave a little sigh of pleasure as his lips moved on hers. All the hurt and her self-conscious doubts from the evening faded and all she knew was the stroke of his tongue.

His hands moved from her shoulders to slide down her back, hauling her closer. She went into his embrace, winding her arms around his neck. She tipped her chin up and gasped as Hayden moved his mouth down her throat, laving gentle circles on her skin. He reached the collar of her jacket and stopped. Natalie wanted to lean back to give him room to pull the buttons apart but Hayden cupped her cheek in one big hand, forcing her eyes to his.

"What?" She was confused and felt drugged from his kiss.

He grinned and pressed a brief kiss to her lips, keeping his gaze on hers. "I didn't bring you here to kiss you."

"You didn't?" Why the hell not?

"Well, I sure wanted to, believe me. But we need to talk."

Talk, right. She blinked at him and cleared her throat. Pulling her arms away, she shifted back from him and tried not to clench her fingers together. "OK. Right. You were going to tell me why you avoided me all night."

Hayden sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. The motion left several strands of hair hanging over his forehead and Natalie longed to brush them away. Everything about Hayden, even this state of frustration, drew her in. How is this even possible after such a short time?

"I didn't think I was avoiding you that much," he began. "The first couple times I just got pulled away by different people. Then every time I found you again, you... you looked... so amazing..."

His voice dropped several octaves and Natalie shivered. When she looked into his face, she saw his eyes narrow and heard the increase in his breathing. Her body reacted to his desire, flushing with heat, and it made her squirm in her seat.

"I had to stay away from you, Natalie. If I'd had my hands on you for too long tonight, I'd have taken you in a dark corner."

His unashamed admission gave Natalie a jolt. So did her own reaction. All she could think was, God, yes.

Her blood roared in her ears and she felt her body swaying towards Hayden. He opened his arms and she fitted herself against him. He was so warm, burning her through her jacket and his. His breath was warm on her forehead and somehow he managed to work his hands under the bottom of her coat. She felt the warmth of his palms through the satin of her dress and shivered.

"I didn't want to push you." Hayden's voice was husky, his accent more apparent. "I didn't think you'd like me trying to seduce you all night."

Natalie couldn't stop the giddy laugh from escaping. She clapped a hand over her mouth when Hayden gave her a wounded look. "Hayden, you don't need to seduce me. Me wanting you is not a problem."

All of sudden, he seemed to take up all the space in the limo. Natalie knew they'd been sitting close but he felt closer, larger somehow. He loomed over her, his sexy blue eyes darkening as he gave her a crooked smile.

"Then what's wrong?"

The question was different. She knew he was done apologizing and she'd accepted it. Now he wanted to hear her explanation.

Maybe a more mature woman wouldn't have reacted like I did tonight, she thought, taking her bottom lip between her teeth as she nervously looked away.

When she brought her eyes back to Hayden's, she was caught up in his intense gaze and couldn't speak for a moment. "I wanted us to get to know each other better before we take the next step." She blushed furiously as she heard her own words. "I know we've already... done that, but I just... oh, God. You must think I'm an idiot."

He chuckled and grasped her shoulders. He held her upright when she tried to bury her face in his chest. She wanted to disappear.

"So basically you're saying you don't think we know each other well enough yet?"

She shrugged, unsure herself if that was the whole problem. Another thought occurred to her and she looked into Hayden's face. "You... it didn't seem like you... had a hard time... resisting me."

Almost immediately, she regretted voicing the thought. It sounded terribly immature to her own ears and so contradictory to her other concerns. He must think I'm such a jerk.

"Are you serious?" His eyes bored into hers and Natalie wriggled in his grip, unsettled by his intent gaze. "Natalie, avoiding you tonight was the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

"What?"

He shook his head. "I told you. All I wanted to do was drag you into the coat closet and push your dress up. I wanted to feel your skin and feel your legs around me again. God, you know how close I came to doing it anyway?"

He jerked one hand back through his hair, leaving even more of it dangling over his forehead. His gaze dropped to her throat and the pulse fluttering just under her chin. He dragged his fingertip over her chin, down her throat and yanked at the first button on her coat. Natalie gasped as he moved swiftly on to the next one. Before she'd even registered what he was doing, he'd opened her jacket and shoved it back off her shoulders. Instead of allowing her to slide it off, he caught her arms behind her back with it, holding her captive.

"Do you know what I want to do to you now?" His voice was hoarse and his eyes were so dark.

Natalie felt moisture explode between her thighs and bit her lip to keep from moaning. It shouldn't be possible for a man to make her respond like this, so fast, so wantonly. But here she was, arching away and offering her bared throat to him. She felt his breath brush her skin and she shuddered, feeling the teasing caress like a sure stroke inside her body. Then his lips touched her and she held her breath. She wanted to feel more of that, more of him. Getting to know each other be damned.

"Do you know what you do to me?" As he spoke, his lips brushed her throat. She felt the rasp of his beard and her nipples hardened.

He moved one hand up to grasp her chin and pulled her face down so he could look into her eyes. Natalie was spellbound by the look on his face. She'd never seen him look so serious, so intent.

"Do you know I've never wanted another woman as badly as I want you right now?"

Natalie felt her chest constrict and had to close her eyes to hide the sudden sheen of tears. His words touched her, stirred something deep inside of her.

This can't be happening, she thought as she bit her lip. We've only known each other a week. How can he mean it?

As his mouth opened on her neck again, and she felt the pulse of his tongue against her skin, she decided she didn't care. For now, her desire was overwhelming and she wanted to give in to it. "Mmm, Hayden..."

Hayden froze with his mouth at her throat when she throatily spoke his name. Then he released her arms and moved his hands around her waist, hauling her body right up against his. Natalie clung to him, lowering her mouth to his. They dissolved into a passionate kiss, tongues stroking each other and bodies straining.

Natalie slid her hands from his shoulders to his chest and pushed them inside his jacket. She shoved his jacket off and he let go of her just long enough to shed it. Then his arms were back around her waist and he held her close as he expertly caressed her tongue with his. One hand slid up to hold the back of her head, to keep her trapped as he ruthlessly plunged his tongue over and over into her mouth.

She writhed against him, wanting to feel more. His heat was searing her through her clothes and she fumbled at his shirt buttons. She wanted to rip the shirt open and lay her palms flat on his smooth chest. Her fingers slipped on another button and she made a sound of protest. Hayden pulled away and looked down with a laugh.

"Here." He brushed her hands away and undid each button.

Natalie didn't wait for him to part the shirt. She yanked each side open and touched his hot skin, gratified by his responding shudder. Her eyes lifted to his as he reached for his tie. He loosened it and tossed it beside his jacket on the floor of the limo. She kept her eyes on his as she touched his bare skin and slid her hands over the contours of his muscles.

Something flickered in his eyes and she gasped when he grabbed her hips. He bore her down to the floor as he closed his lips on her throat again. His tongue caressed her skin and Natalie gasped for breath, her hands struggling with the catch on his pants. She worked the button free at last and scraped the zipper down far enough to get her hand inside. When she brushed her fingers against his straining erection, Hayden groaned, the rumble sending a delicious tingle through her body.

He lifted himself above her and narrowed his eyes as she smiled impishly up at him. As she gave his full length a stroke over the cotton of his underwear, he started to bunch her full skirt in his hands. Her eyes popped wide open when she felt the first hot touch of his fingers on her bare skin. Her hand froze on him as shifted, shoving more of her dress out of the way. He lifted an eyebrow at her and tugged her panties down. Natalie choked out a laugh, a small piece of reality sinking through the haze of her lust.

We're in the back of a limo!

Then Hayden was moving one hand between them, pushing his pants and underwear down. Natalie let her breath out in a slow moan and helped him until she felt his rigid member brush her hand. With a swiftness that left her breathless, Hayden scooped her up in his arms and knelt on the floor. Natalie found herself in his lap and felt the urgent pulse of his cock between her thighs.

Hayden's hands closed on her thighs, lifting her, and she reached down to circle his erection. The first touch of him at her damp opening stopped them both for a moment. Natalie stared into Hayden's eyes and struggled to catch her breath. This was all happening so fast. Then Hayden pushed up as he jerked her down and they both let out startled moans.

For a second, neither of them moved. Their faces were so close together and Natalie could smell the tang of alcohol on his breath. His heady masculine musk overpowered that and Natalie inhaled deeply, intoxicated with all of Hayden. His body moved against her and he sank deeper inside.

"Hayden..." she gasped his name, breaking their gaze as her eyes fluttered shut.

He moved again, lifting up as he pulled down on her legs. One arm lifted to wrap around her back. Natalie felt his lips brush hers and parted her own, welcoming his wet, demanding kiss. They rocked together, finding a slow, steady rhythm that left Natalie trembling in minutes. She writhed against him, thrusting her pelvis forward, desperate to feel more. Hayden's fingers dug into her thigh and she broke from their kiss. She threw her head back and arched away from him as he pushed up. He thrust hard into her for several strokes, taking her right over the edge.

As she was moaning and pulsing with her orgasm, she felt herself being lifted and she clung to Hayden, not wanting to let their bodies part. He chuckled darkly and Natalie opened her eyes just as he set her down on the limo floor. He touched her cheek with one hand as she was still thrumming from her sudden climax. Then he kissed her, keeping his eyes on hers. She lifted her hips in silent plea for more. He obliged, maintaining his grip on her thigh.

He angled her body up and pushed deep into her. Natalie moaned, beyond caring about how she sounded, how she looked. Hayden's body over and inside of hers made her feel so good. She felt like she was burning up and didn't care. If Hayden was the one taking her there, she would go without a fight.

He tilted his head and thrust his tongue into her mouth as he pushed into her again. His pumping hips increased in speed and his grip on her thigh started to slip. Natalie hooked her foot behind his leg and lifted her hips, meeting his rapid thrusts as much as she could. Her breath whooshed out of her with each pump of his body into hers, so forceful was his movement. She wound her arms around his neck and kissed him back, sliding her tongue around his as she met him stroke for stroke.

Hayden made a strangled sound low in his throat and slapped both hands down to the floor on either side of her head. He pushed hard, his thrusting erratic, frantic, as he rushed them both towards a stunning end. They came together and Natalie felt his teeth close on her bottom lip as he came apart in her arms. She had the dim thought that it might hurt in the morning but with him pulsing deep inside of her, it was very hard to care about any consequences.

After a minute, Hayden eased out of her and sat back against one of the side seats with a dazed expression on his face. Natalie propped herself up on her elbows and smiled at him. She couldn't even fathom what she looked like - with her skirt rucked up around her body and her face raw from his beard - but Hayden looked like she felt.

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