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The first time he kissed me, I knew him for a student of the infinite knife-edge of tenderness and aching.

He edged me back against a door frame, a slow rumba of breathing and hot eyes. I sagged back against the wood; he held himself away. The warmth of him, the want of him electrified me long before we so much as touched.

His thumb grazed my cheek. A slow stroke, feathery and agonizing before his fingertips claimed me. The first one drew a lock of hair down from my haphazard knot. The second… the third… the fourth… down my neck, each one a brand, and yet his lips only whispered his secrets over mine.

Whispered secrets tasted like brandy when those lips touched me. There was welcome pressure, heat, and inevitable surrender. And then he drew his teeth over my bottom lip, tugging slightly. I felt the softness of my own flesh slide between his teeth and I was lost.