New Delhi, India
Startled, I spun at the sound of my name and stumbled into the newcomer’s arms, my feet slipping out from under me, and the dupatta falling off my head.
Shock rushed through me. As much as I hadn’t expected to see Sudesh while I was in New Delhi, it hadn’t really occurred to me that if I did, it would be in the museum. It was an illogical thought. He was as much an archaeologist as I was, so why wouldn’t he be here?
My flesh came alive as I slid against him, his familiar scent washing over me in a tidal wave. My heart pounded in my throat, cutting off my air. I was sure I looked as startled as he did.
The weight of my body in his arms compounded our closeness, as he stumbled to keep us both from falling to the floor. A few inches more, and I’d be supine with him on top of me. The thought made that place between my thighs thrum to life.
I’d always loved the way he pronounced my name. His soft accent made the old-fashioned name I never liked sound sensual and beautiful. Even now, after so long, that one simple word was like a punch in the gut that brought up all the feelings I thought I’d cried out of me.
Even to me, his name sounded like a caress on my lips. I clung to him, praying he’d opt for the floor, even as he pulled me up to stand before him.
“Namaste,” he greeted me.
He didn’t release me but embraced me tenderly. He cupped my cheek in one hand and kissed me. I felt his fingers at my nape as his palm seared its imprint on my face. I gasped against his mouth.
His kiss was too short to be passionate, too long to be casual, but just long enough to muddle my thoughts. I tasted Masala tea on his lips, and this morning’s dream flashed before me. The short stubble around his mouth heightened the electricity building inside me.
I fisted the fabric across his back and sensed muscle mass beneath that I didn’t remember from our time together in Dublin. I knew every inch of his body—or I had, anyway. His time working dig sites had obviously filled him out, and I was curious to see him as he was now.
I didn’t push him away—I couldn’t—but I had to fight my instincts to pull him closer. He’d left me heartbroken, but damn it, I suddenly didn’t care.
It was Sudesh who finally ended the kiss, though he didn’t take his arms from around me.
His dark eyes, framed with black lashes, darted over me as if searching for something. I couldn’t look away.
His black hair was a little shaggier than I remembered. It fell around his face as if he’d only finger-combed it.
The stubble around his mouth was also new. The short whiskers surrounding his perfectly-shaped, full lips told me he hadn’t just missed a couple days’ shaving, but was now his style.
At college, Sudesh had presented himself as a clean-shaven young man with a short haircut. On the outside, he’d been very businesslike. He wasn’t my type, so I’d only reluctantly agreed to go out with him. But I quickly realized never to judge someone by their looks. It was in the bedroom that his inner tiger emerged. Now, that tiger was very much in evidence. And I liked it.