Taming Natasha Page 20

“Spence.” Her fingers dug into his shoulders; she fought a war between the need to stop him and the impossible desire to go on. “Please.”

He was as shaken as she and took a moment, burying his face in her hair. “Something happens to me every time I’m with you. I can’t explain it.”

She wanted badly to hold him against herself, but forced her arms to drop to her sides. “It can’t continue to happen.”

He drew away, just far enough to be able to take her face into both hands. The chill of the evening and the heat of passion had brought color to her cheeks. “If I wanted to stop it, which I don’t, I couldn’t.”

She kept her eyes level with his and tried not to be moved by the gentle way he cradled her face. “You want to go to bed with me.”

“Yes.” He wasn’t certain if he wanted to laugh or curse her for being so matter-of-fact. “But it’s not quite that simple.”

“Sex is never simple.”

His eyes narrowed. “I’m not interested in having sex with you.”

“You just said—”

“I want to make love with you. There’s a difference.”

“I don’t choose to romanticize it.”

The annoyance in his eyes vanished as quickly as it had appeared. “Then I’m sorry I’ll have to disappoint you. When we make love, whenever, wherever, it’s going to be very romantic.” Before she could evade, he closed his mouth over hers. “That’s a promise I intend to keep.”


“Natasha! Hey, ah, Natasha!”

Broken out of thoughts that weren’t particularly productive, Natasha glanced over and spied Terry. He was wearing a long yellow-and white-striped scarf in defense against a sudden plunge in temperature that had sprinkled frost on the ground. As he raced after her, it flapped awkwardly behind him. By the time he reached her, his glasses had slipped crookedly down to the tip of his reddening nose.

“Hi, Terry.”

The hundred-yard dash had winded him. He dearly hoped it wouldn’t aggravate his asthma. “Hi. I was—I saw you heading in.” He’d been waiting hopefully for her for twenty minutes.

Feeling a bit like a mother with a clumsy child, she straightened his glasses, then wrapped the scarf more securely around his skinny neck. His rapid breathing fogged his lenses. “You should be wearing gloves,” she told him, then patting his chilled hand, led him up the steps.

Overwhelmed, he tried to speak and only made a strangled sound in his throat.

“Are you catching a cold?” Searching through her purse, she found a tissue and offered it.

He cleared his throat loudly. “No.” But he took the tissue and vowed to keep it until the day he died. “I was just wondering if tonight—after class—you know, if you don’t have anything to do… You’ve probably got plans, but if you don’t, then maybe…we could have a cup of coffee. Two cups,” he amended desperately. “I mean you could have your own cup, and I’d have one.” So saying, he turned a thin shade of green.

The poor boy was lonely, Natasha thought, giving him an absent smile. “Sure.” It wouldn’t hurt to keep him company for an hour or so, she decided as she walked into class. And it would help her keep her mind off…

Off the man standing in front of the class, Natasha reflected with a scowl; the man who had kissed the breath out of her two weeks before and who was currently laughing with a sassy little blonde who couldn’t have been a day over twenty.

Her mood grim, she plopped down at her desk and poked her nose into a textbook.

Spence knew the moment she walked into the room. He was more than a little gratified to have seen the huffy jealousy on her face before she stuck a book in front of it. Apparently fate hadn’t been dealing him such a bad hand when it kept him up to his ears in professional and personal problems for the last couple of weeks. Between leaky plumbing, PTA and Brownie meetings and a faculty conference, he hadn’t had an hour free. But now things were running smoothly again. He studied the top of Natasha’s head. He intended to make up for lost time.

Sitting on the edge of his desk, he opened a discussion of the distinctions between sacred and secular music during the baroque period.

She didn’t want to be interested. Natasha was sure he knew it. Why else would he deliberately call on her for an opinion—twice?

Oh, he was clever, she thought. Not by a flicker, not by the slightest intonation did he reveal a more personal relationship with her. No one in class would possibly suspect that this smooth, even brilliant lecturer had kissed her senseless, not once, not twice, but three times. Now he calmly talked of early seventeenth-century operatic developments.

In his black turtleneck and gray tweed jacket he looked casually elegant and totally in charge. And of course, as always, he had the class in the palms of those beautiful hands he eloquently used to make a point. When he smiled over a student’s comment, Natasha heard the little blonde two seats behind her sigh. Because she’d nearly done so herself, Natasha stiffened her spine.

He probably had a whole string of eager women. A man who looked like him, talked like him, kissed like him was bound to. He was the type that made promises to one woman at midnight and snuggled up to another over breakfast in bed.

Wasn’t it fortunate she no longer believed in promises?

Something was going on inside that fabulous head of hers, Spence mused. One moment she was listening to him as if he had the answers to the mysteries of the universe on the tip of his tongue. The next, she was sitting rigidly and staring off into space, as though she wished herself somewhere else. He would swear that she was angry, and that the anger was directed squarely at him. Why was an entirely different matter.

Whenever he’d tried to have a word with her after class over the last couple of weeks, she’d been out of the building like a bullet. Tonight he would have to outmaneuver her.

She stood the moment class was over. Spence watched her smile at the man sitting across from her. Then she bent down to pick up the books and pencils the man scattered as he rose.

What was his name? Spence wondered. Maynard. That was it. Mr. Maynard was in several of his classes, and managed to fade into the background in each one. Yet at the moment the unobtrusive Mr. Maynard was crouched knee to knee with Natasha.

“I think we’ve got them all.” Natasha gave Terry’s glasses a friendly shove back up his nose.

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