Secret Jews of Romance Novels

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A82 novel2

Their second kiss lasted longer. Elliot briefly caught Deb’s lower lip between both of his, sucking on it ever so slightly. She swayed against him. He thought he detected a faint tremble in response.

But she had yet to open her eyes, to look at him, to credit what was happening.

The next time their mouths met, she parted her lips for him, allowing Elliot’s tongue free rein to explore her from the inside out, to taste her and to nuzzle her and to caress her. Her hands remained staunchly by her sides, but her body shifted – just a hint, yet it was enough – toward him. Elliot cradled Deb’s face between his palms, marveling at the velvet of her skin at the same time as he attempted to breathe her in, to encircle her, to possess her.

He couldn’t remember how they got from sitting on the floor to the bed. You never could, in dreams, and that’s what this was. He felt positive of it. Why else would both be stirring as if asleep, languid and dreamy, terrified that any sudden gesture would shatter the spell and force them to look at the situation under the austere light of day, instead of wrapped in the bluish hue of twilight.

Deb’s nightgown came off, one spaghetti-strap at a time. Like a spectral presence hovering on the periphery, Elliot watched himself, slowly and gently and with infinite care, slide off Deborah’s nightgown until it wafted to her waist. She opened her eyes then. She looked at him. Only for an instant before glancing away again. But in that instant, Elliot assured himself he’d spotted a touch of bewilderment in the hazel hues, along with a touch of wonder.

But no regret.

And, certainly, no edict to stop.

Because he would have, if she asked him to. At least, that’s what Elliot preferred to think.

Fortunately, he never had to find out.

He buried his face in the crook of her neck, tenderly kissing her there. He cupped one of her breasts in his hand, stroking the nipple with his thumb until Elliot felt it harden and reach out to him, encouraging him to continue, to go further. His own clothes melted away in the moment it took him to lower Deb onto the bed, lying down beside her, studying every inch of her with his eyes, as hungrily as he ached to with his hands and mouth. How had he ever missed seeing how beautiful she was?

Certainly, Elliot, after his initial assessment of her as nothing-special some twenty years ago, had grown to realize that Deb was rather pretty, in an understated, wholesome, intellectual sort of way. Could it be that he’d been looking at her for so long, he actually missed her transformation from a reasonably attractive girl to a woman the sight of whom now took his breath away?

He freed her hair from its clasp, tangling his fingers in it, bringing it to his face, breathing her in. He kissed the hollow of her throat, smiling when he felt her pulse quicken in response, and gradually traced a path down her body, stopping to wrap his tongue around her right nipple, nibbling and sucking and teasing, until, like a miracle, he detected Deb’s hand, lightly but unmistakably, resting on the back of his head, urging him to hurry, to take all of her, to please, please go on.

Elliot did as she bade, continuing to nuzzle her breast while slipping his hand between her legs, caressing her there in rhythm with the throb of his mouth. Her body responded to him where her spirit could not. She simmered beneath his touch, wet and bubbling and hungry. She wanted him. If Elliot still nursed any doubts to that effect, they were assuaged in the way Deb’s thighs tightened around his palm, and the way she pressed herself against him, and in the contented sigh that escaped her lips the moment he followed her silent beseeching and slid one finger inside of her, allowing Deb to impale herself against him.

But it wasn’t enough.

It should have been, but it wasn’t.

Elliot needed her to look at him. Really look at him, and not just for a second before sinking back into that silent realm where, despite her eager response to his touch, Elliot still suspected she couldn’t be reached. Before they went any further, Elliot needed to believe, thoroughly and wholeheartedly and without a shadow of a doubt, that Deborah was making love to him.

To Elliot.

That he wasn’t a stand-in.

Or worse.

Ignoring her barely muffled groan of disappointment, he raised his head from her breast, and, on his elbows, hefted himself upward till they were face-to-face. Elliot rubbed his cheek against hers, thinking that he wouldn’t survive if she answered incorrectly, but needing to ask. Needing to know.

“Who am I?” Elliot whispered, his breath warm along her ear. “Who am I, Deb?”

She stiffened, the furrow between her brows deepening, a touch of newly found rose fading from her cheeks as, with excruciating slowness, Deb opened her eyes. It took her a moment to locate him, to focus totally. A moment that lasted an eternity, and also ended much too quickly. Deborah peered up at Elliot as if seeing him for the first time. The hazel of her irises swirled a murky brown and green so that, no matter how hard he strained, he couldn’t make out anything concrete on the inside.

He got his wish. She was looking at him.

And looking at him.

And looking at him.

Her expression didn’t change. It didn’t even waver.

She looked at him harder and longer than she ever had before.

And then, she understood.

“Elliot.” There was no hesitation in her voice, no confusion, no lethargy. “Elliot.” The hand that had been resting on his head now pulled him closer, and, in the lifetime before Deborah’s mouth found his, she repeated, “You’re Elliot.”

He couldn’t hold back any longer. He planted his knee between her thighs, and she opened herself to him, allowing Elliot to slide inside her with quenching ease and a groan of relief two decades in the making. Deborah arched her back, raising her hips to meet him halfway and, despite Elliot’s sincere intention to take it easy, to let her set the pace, the passion triggered by her desire drove him to thrust deeper and deeper and deeper within her, blood hammering primal against his skull until the only sounds he could still make out were his own heartbeat, and Deb’s maddening moans of pleasure.

He craved to remember each one of them, to capture them inside himself so he could return again and again to relive how he was able to rouse her, to thrill her, to satisfy her, and so Elliot covered her mouth with his, hoping to make every one of her dulcet cries a part of him. He couldn’t remember the last time it had felt this good, this right, with a woman. To be honest, right now, Elliot couldn’t remember any other women at all.

Deb wrapped her legs around his hips, the fingernails of one hand raking against his back, the fingers of the other tangling in his chest hair, tugging just hard enough to rouse his every muscle to attention. Chest to chest, their hearts beat in perfect sync.

It was getting harder and harder for Elliot to bridle himself from exploding, yet he was determined to gratify her first. Elliot wanted to watch her. He wanted to look down and watch as Deborah shattered, and know it was something he was able to do for her. He wanted to feel her tremble and hear her cry out. He wanted to hear her cry out his name.

Deb’s knees dug into his hips as she bucked against him, the flush from her face covering the rest of her in a warm, rosy hue that almost succeeded in driving Elliot over the edge.

And yet, he held back.

Until, looking up at him, Deborah’s eyes locked with his, and, with new conviction, she repeated, “You’re Elliot.”

His world erupted, sensation battling sensation for dominance, with Elliot emerging as the only true winner. Beneath him, he felt his outburst triggering Deb’s own as she shuddered and clung to him and bit down on her lower lip to keep from crying out, an exertion that failed, and, instead, produced the sweetest sound Elliot knew he would ever hear.

His name, as a sigh.

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Alina Adams is the NYT best-selling author of soap opera tie-ins, romance novels and figure skating murder mysteries. She was born in the former USSR, grew up in San Francisco, and now lives in New York City with her husband and three children.