Harlequin® BlazeTM #96
Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 0373791003
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Pub. Date: July 2003

She turned her back and lifted her hair. "Help me with my zipper."

If he'd been reluctant before, she had apparently changed his mind. He nibbled her neck. "I am accustomed to calling the shots."

"I am very determined."

"I admire that in a woman." He nipped her ear. "You also have a very beautiful neck. I admire that, too."

She'd never thought acting so brazenly and uninhibitedly could bring so her so much joy. Between wearing her mask and Quinn having no idea of her true identity, she had a freedom to say and do whatever brazen thought struck her next.

Time to go for broke. She lowered her voice to a seductive whisper. "Unzip me and you might find other things about me that you like."

His fingertips brushed her nape, shooting a tingle of anticipation down her spine. His warm breath fanned her ear, and she had to stiffen her knees to prevent a tremble.

"You don't mind if I take my time, do you?" At his query, her mouth turned dry, but his question was clearly rhetorical. She was so-ready for Quinn's touch, and yet contradictorily, she wanted him to linger, so she could savor every precious moment.

And as he'd so casually reminded her, he was a man accustomed to calling the shots. So she remained silent, and he chuckled, his rich tone signifying a promise to edge her right over her comfort zone to another level where she'd never been. He tugged down the zipper several inches. The bodice of her gown parted in back and the front dipped from her flesh, allowing cool air to waft over her naked breasts.

"It may take me a while to explore all of you. I'm very thorough," he promised, his voice a silky caress. His fingertips stroked tiny circles on her neck and bared shoulders, parting the dress at her spine, edging the material aside. She stood for him, holding up her hair, the action raising her breasts which ached for the caress of his clever hands.

He was going too slowly. Now that he'd started the zipper, she could finish what he'd begun. She reached behind her back, tugged. And the gown pooled at her feet, leaving her exposed—except for her mask, a scrap of lace panties and her heels.

Quinn didn't miss a beat. "You have a marvelous back."

"Ah, mon cher, and what do you think of the front of me?" She turned around then, pleased at his intake of breath.

"You are a work of art—"

"Who wants to be touched." She placed her hands on her hips.

He reached . . . for her mask. His move took her unawares and she stifled a gasp. She'd thought he would go for her breasts. But no, Quinn had to be Quinn. Unpredictable. He had to do the unexpected and think outside the box. But she'd planned as well as she could for this eventuality. If he didn't allow her to keep the mask, she would leave. But after all her elaborate scheming she was not yet ready to flee—not when the passion she craved was so close to fruition.

She stepped back, almost tripped in her haste. "It's your turn to take something off," she told him, forcing a playful tone into her French accent.

He loosened his tie. Tossed it onto a chair.

"More," she demanded.

He slipped out of his jacket and took a step toward her. She shook her head. "I'm practically naked."


"And you still have too many clothes covering you."

With a wry lift of his lips that made her mouth go dry, she licked her lip as he reached for his belt. Quinn might call the shots at the office but not here.

"First, the shirt, Monsieur. Si'l vous plait." It was a powerful feeling to give him orders to do exactly what she wished. As he obeyed, unbuttoning his shirt and removing it in quick, efficient moves that left her breathless, her breasts ached and her nipples hardened into nubs so tight that she had to refrain from throwing herself against him.

She'd never seen his bare chest. And his powerful shoulders and sculpted abdominals revealed that Quinn liked to lift weights. But he didn't have the bulk of a wrestler, more the lean lines of a distance swimmer.

Maggie let her gaze sweep over him in appreciation. The candlelight reflected off his toned body, emphasizing the clean lines of his limbs, his tapered torso. The triangle of hair that spread from nipple to nipple and narrowed into the waistband of his slacks made her long to see more.

She licked her lips. "Now, the belt."