If the road to Heaven starts in Hell then I was ready to start climbing my way out and Ruben Strong was the man to accompany me. With his devastating good looks, seductively sexy charm and lust for adrenaline he was sure to make it a sensual and erotic experience as well as one to re-awake the passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind woman I’d once been.
I’d given Ruben something, though, without him realizing, and that gift had come from the man I’d loved before. But I couldn’t tell Ruben. I had to keep that a tight secret even as our naked bodies wound together, sought out pleasure and hit the dizzy heights of ecstasy as one. Because Ruben had my husband’s heart, literally, and that heart was still in love with me, so it seemed, and now I was in love with Ruben.
Emotions tangled with bliss, and fears were locked away as I surrendered to the touch of Ruben’s hands, the taste of his skin and the sounds of his pleasure. I couldn’t deny that Ruben had brought me back to life the same way I had him and there was no way I was giving up that feeling, not for anyone.
Reader advisory – Breathe You In is an erotic romance suitable for mature readers, at the end are three bonus chapters from Lily Harlem’s other works for you to enjoy.
My new flat felt alive, as if it were a real home. The sweet, grassy breeze ambled from the living room to the kitchen. The pan on the stove was bubbling away, creating steam that clung to the window. The tangy smell of the onions I’d fried filled my nose, and I could hear the TV, only the news, someone talking, but knowing Ruben was in the living room, that it wouldn’t be empty and soulless when I moved from one room to the other, created a feeling of hope in me—one that made me warm and content for the first time in a long time.
I also felt I knew Ruben better for having seen a glimpse into his old life. Understood how much he’d had to change because of his illness. Maybe he was right. Perhaps he would go back to his old job one day. Return to a wild, hedonistic, fast life of racing and globe trotting and leggy women with perfect bodies. I couldn’t show him my old life, or ever go back to it, but it had been nice to see his.
I flicked the pasta off the boil and stood in the kitchen doorway, one hand on the frame, pushing my hair from my face with the other.
Ruben looked up. Stared at me. He pulled in a deep breath and frowned.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
I didn’t move. “What?”
He smiled. “You’ll think I’m being stupid.”
“No I won’t.”
“I had a dream last night, it just came back to me, really vivid.”
“What was it about?” I straightened.
“Me?” I couldn’t deny the little thrill that word gave me, to think I’d been in this handsome man’s dream. “You were stood, just like that, in a doorway, holding the side, fiddling with your hair.”
He silenced the TV. Put the remote on the tall table by the sofa. “Mine. My bedroom.” “I see.”
He trailed his gaze down my body. Licked his lips.
“And what was I wearing?” I asked. Part of me was desperate to know, the other part afraid to ask. This was a new way for me to be with anyone other than Matt.
“White,” he said. “You were in white.”
He smiled, shook his head. “Oh, no, white stockings with lace around your thighs. White teeny, tiny knickers and a corset‐style top, you know that…” He put his cupped hands on his chest and smiled. “That made you look really pretty here.”
“Sounds like a very detailed dream.”
“It was. It was hot.” He nodded, bit on his bottom lip. “You were hot.”
A tremble started in my stomach and moved lower. Ruben thought I was hot. Hot enough to dream in detail about me. That in itself was like being kissed passionately. It turned my attraction for him to top level; it made me feel like the woman I had been once.
I even remembered a white outfit like that. It was something I’d taken on honeymoon to surprise Matt with one night. I could almost see his face again. His eyes instantly heavy with lust, his lips moist where he’d licked them the moment I’d appeared in the doorway.
Ruben was wearing the same look now, and he shifted on the sofa the same way Matt had shifted on the bed. Taking a deep breath, I walked toward Ruben, wishing I had that outfit on, and straddled his lap. I dug my knees into the cushions and I rested my hands on his shoulders, let my bum settle on his thighs.
“Tell me more?” I said in what I hoped was a suitably sexy voice.
Ruben swallowed, frowned a little and looked into my eyes. “We were alone, there was only us there. It was warm, you smelled of fruit—papaya, melon, all things sweet.”
I smiled. “This is a very specific dream.”
He touched my cheek with the back of his index finger. “I know, and it’s all flooding back to me like it was a real memory.”
“Maybe we should make it real, one day.”
“I’d like that.” He leaned forward and touched his lips to mine. “You have no idea how gorgeous you are, do you?” he said with a smile.
“I’m not gorgeous, not really.”
He jerked his head. “Why would you say that?”
“Well, the women you must have had, you know, when you and Dean Cudditch were out together, swanning around glamorous places.”
“That was just fun. Messing about, there was never anyone serious. I was too busy traveling the world, being part of the winning team.”
“But weren’t they…?”
“They weren’t you. Katie. Matt must have told you all the time how beautiful you are. I get the impression from you that he was a great bloke, a wonderful husband who made you feel special and treasured.”
I nodded. “He was, he did, but…” I glanced downward, kept that delicate balance of mine on the straight and narrow. “But now, well, I’m a bit thinner than I was and smiles don’t come so easy.”
“I’ve seen you smile plenty since I met you, and each one has gone into my happy memory bank.”
His words made me smile again.
“See, beautiful,” he said.
“Thank you. It’s nice to hear someone say that.”
“It’s nice to have a sexy woman sitting on my lap.” He kissed me, softly, and stroked his fingers through my hair. I broke the kiss and touched his hair too. I loved the longish strands and the way they flowed through my fingers like fluid silk.
He slid his hands down the column of my neck and reached for the first button on my work blouse. As he undid it, his smile slipped, and his eyebrows hung heavy in concentration.
My heart tripped. My nipples tightened. The dark look in his eyes was so sexy it went straight to my head, like a shot of alcohol.
He undid the next button, and the next, his jaw seeming to get tenser with each twist of his fingers.
I sat absolutely still, the tops of his thighs pressing into the backs of mine. Watching his face, each blink, each slight twitch of his cheek and the way he dampened his lower lip with the tip of his tongue. It was all making me want to grab him for a kiss but equally kept me frozen, fascinated.
When all the buttons were undone, he looked up at my face. It was a silent question.
I glanced out of the window—nothing but treetops.
Carefully, he slid the blouse off my shoulders, revealing my white lacy bra. It had a small daisy in the center of the cups and one at the base of each strap.
“That’s so much better than my dream,” he whispered, his breath like a caress on my chest. “And you are perfect.” Words danced on my tongue. Words that wanted to explain that I used to be a cup size bigger and filled out my bra better. That maybe I would again one day. But I held them in, swallowed them down. They had no place in this moment with Ruben. Besides, he looked happy with what he saw.
I reached behind myself, unclipped the hook of my bra, let it fall open, but then held it in place with one arm across my chest.
“Katie, if you want to wait…?”
“No, this is fine. More than fine, I want this.” I let the straps slide off my arms and tossed the bra to the floor. “It feels right with you.”
And it did. I’d worried that I’d feel like an adulterous woman being with another man. But with Ruben, well, it was different. Matt was part of it. Part of Ruben. Part of us.
Ruben collected the slight weight of the undersides of my breasts in his hands. Watching his own movements, he parted his lips and his features softened.
His touch was electric and sent a plethora of forgotten sensations blasting through my chest, spiking my nipples and making my flesh feel heavy and engorged.
I pressed into him, just a little, needing more but not wanting to appear greedy. Fearing if I did that, I’d push myself into a wall and cause the bubble to shatter.
He rubbed his thumbs over my nipples. They were tiny stalks, erect and tight. I stuttered in a breath, the stimulation arousing and wonderful.
He glanced up at me. “Are you okay?”
I nodded. “Yes, I like you touching me.”
“I like touching you.” The left side of his mouth rose into a languid half grin.
He moved his right hand to the center of my back. Held me firm as he leaned forward and took my left nipple into his mouth.
I gasped and ran my hands into his hair, held him close and arched my spine. Damn, it had been so long since I’d enjoyed this feeling. It was heavenly. Releasing a breath, I watched as the huff of air from my lungs shifted the hair on the top of his head. He moved to the other breast, feeding my nipple into his mouth and tweaking it with his tongue. He massaged and gently squeezed the now damp breast he’d just given attention to.
A type of fever was growing in me. But it was fever of the good kind. Between my legs felt heavy, needy. I had the urge to move just a fraction farther forward in Ruben’s lap and see if the erection I suspected was there was as hard as it had been yesterday.
I stayed still.
Ruben kissed up my sternum, my neck, and found my mouth. He was still fondling my right breast as he kissed me, wetly, hungrily and with a little less control than yesterday.
Running my hand down his chest and over his belly, I found his groin. The folds of denim could do nothing to hide the swell of his hard cock. I itched to hold it, release it. Learn the shape and weight of him the way he’d just done to me. I popped the top button, but as I did so, he grabbed my wrist, pulled back from our kiss.
“Katie,” he said slightly breathlessly.
“What’s wrong?” I stilled.
He looked away.
“We can be ourselves together,” I said gently. “Tell me.”
“I like that.” He gently pinched my chin with his fingers and thumb.
“That there is a ‘we’. Us together.”
“Me too.” I grazed my lips over his. “So tell me.”
He nodded and released my wrist. “It’s just, well, I want you to do whatever it is you want to do, but…” He shut his eyes, as though frustrated with himself.
“But, well, I won’t deny it, I’m a bit anxious, you know, about doing this, with this.” He placed his hand on his chest.
“With your new heart?”
I took hold of the bottom of his t-shirt and peeled it up and over his head, threw it down by my bra. “This heart,” I said, placing a kiss over his scar, “is a good, strong heart that can handle me just fine.”
“I’m sure it will be okay it’s just…”
“You want to take it slow?” I shrugged. “I want to take it slow too. We don’t have to go all the way, not if it’s too soon. We can have some other fun.”
“God, you must think I’m a wimp.” A flash of wounded pride crossed his face.
“There’s nothing wimpy about that package you’ve got in your pants, mister. It’s feeling like a whole lot of hot, hard man to me.”
He laughed. “You always say the right thing, you know that?”
I smiled and pressed my palm over his cock, squeezed through the denim.
His face fell serious. “That feels good. Your hand on me.”
“I can make it feel even better, if you want me to.”
He paused, then nodded. “Yes. That’s what I want.”
I wriggled and slipped between his legs, so mine were folded on the floor and my shoulders were between his thighs. I began to undo the buttons on his jeans.
Lily Harlem really pulls at the heart strings with this unusual set up for a romance. The characters are strong and the emotions gut-wrenching in places. Of course there are scorching hot love scenes, filled with great passion but there is a lot of romance, plot and back story here too. I think it all comes together beautifully to make a cohesive erotic romance that isn’t just about the sex. It’s much, much more than that. This is an interesting set up for a love triangle that you’re just not going to expect and you will soon find yourself engaging with the fabulous characters Lily has created. You’ll never look at peacocks in the same way again!No peacocks were harmed in the writing of this book though, I’ve been assured of that!
Lily Harlem is a multi-published, award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. She lives in the UK with her husband and a bunch of animals, all rescued, and loves to spend her days immersed in imagination.
Her books are a mixture of full-length novels and short stories, some are one offs, some are sequels or part of a series (all can be enjoyed as stand-alone reads). What they each have in common are colorful characters travelling on everyone’s favorite journey — falling in love. If the story isn’t deliciously romantic and down and dirty sexy, it won’t be written, at least not by Lily. So with the bedroom door left well and truly open you are warned to hang on for a steamy, sensual ride – or rides as the case might be!
Facebook author page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lily-Harlem-author-page/200182030094568