Jack’s gaze, abstracted, settled near Phryne’s neck, and his eyes focused rather abruptly on the torn fabric. “What happened to your scarf?”
Phryne glanced down. “Oh,” she sighed. “Archie Woods. Still, it’s better than puncturing my throat!” She tilted her head, showing him the scratch on her neck.
“Looks like he made an attempt,” Jack observed quietly, his fingers gently brushing her scarf aside, lingering on her neck.
Phryne looked up at Jack’s face and saw the tenderness there. “Oh...it’s nothing,” she demurred. Her eyes didn’t leave his face, and she watched as his gaze slid up the column of her throat, across her slightly parted lips, and up to meet her eyes. “I’m sure he’s not the first man who wanted to wring my neck,” she joked quietly.
His hand stayed frozen where it was as the side of his mouth quirked in a smile. “No?” he smiled. Slowly he let his fingers glide further down across her collarbone, stopping just short of the swell of her breast. He watched her chest rise and fall, and something tightened deep in his stomach. Sometimes he thought he would implode with wanting her. He knew he should say something about her casual disregard for the safety of her person, but this close to her all he could focus on was the scent of her perfume and the feel of her skin under the tips of his fingers. The room was quiet but for the ticking of the grandfather clock, and Jack could feel Phryne’s eyes on his face. He wondered if she was staring at his mouth again, and tried to casually wet his lips. He felt and heard her breath catch slightly. So he did have an effect on her, he mused, and watched as his fingers glided slowly across the top of her left breast and then down her side, his hand coming to rest on her waist.
Phryne was almost holding her breath. Jack’s touch was making her insides turn to jelly, but she was so afraid of breaking the spell between them. He was so reserved, her Inspector, but she suspected a fire of passion lurking beneath the surface. How she longed for that fire to be loosed on her! Throwing caution to the wind, his hand still at her waist, Phryne eased nearer to him, closing the gap between their bodies.
Jack’s fingers tightened against Phryne’s hip as her dress brushed his jacket. He looked up and met her eyes again, and saw her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide, a faint blush stealing across her cheeks and throat. He feared that if she came any closer she would hear his heart hammering in his chest - or worse, feel his arousal against her belly. He wanted to take a step away, to run away from her as he always did, but his body betrayed him. Locked in place, he could only gaze helplessly into her eyes, silently begging her to take pity on him and move away.
Phryne didn’t move away, but she didn’t come any closer, either; holding her position as her arms lifted, both hands settling against his chest to take his tie playfully between her fingers. Her eyes never left his face, gaze moving between his desire-darkened eyes and the tantalizing dip of his philtrum. She waited, squeezing her thighs together.
Jack cleared his throat. “Miss Fisher,” he began, somewhat hoarsely, but while he meant to make an excuse and back away, the words that came out of his mouth surprised both of them. “Why do you stare at me like that?” he murmured hoarsely.
Phryne recovered more quickly, and smiled. It was softer than her predatory smile, but no less discomfiting. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, Jack,” she purred softly. “But surely the only way to know where I am staring, as you say, is for you to be also staring at me.”
Jack swallowed. His gaze travelled down, past her lips, alighting again on the scratch on her neck. He took a deep breath. “Shall I kiss it better for you, Miss Fisher?” The words were meant to be playful, but they came out with a gravelly undertone that poorly concealed his mounting desire. The nearness of her body was driving him to distraction, and he frantically composed a plan: drop a soft, teasing kiss on her neck, and then back away to give himself some space. Make an excuse to leave, and get the hell out of there before he came in his pants.
“Oh yes, please, Inspector,” she replied softly.
Jack took a deep, steadying breath, lowered his head, and pressed his lips tenderly to the side of her neck, just above the small cut. Instead of pulling back, though, Jack’s traitorous body betrayed him once more. His lips parted against her neck and his tongue slipped out, sweeping slowly across her soft skin. He felt more than heard the whimper that escaped her, and his left arm wrapped itself around her, pulling her closer against him even as her arms curled around his neck. “Jack,” she gasped, but his mouth stayed on her neck, gliding upwards, dragging hot, wet kisses along her flesh. “Jack,” she gasped again as he mouthed at her jaw, and he stopped, but remained still, his mouth against her skin, his arms crushing her against him, his body shaking with desire.
“I can’t,” he rasped, his voice sounding frantic to his own ears. Phryne held him tightly, but said nothing, her chest heaving against his, her fingers on the back of his neck, her body loose and warm with arousal. “Miss Fisher,” Jack breathed against her skin, struggling to regain control of himself and the situation, but her body was pressed against his and her scent filled his nostrils and the desire for her pounded in his veins. He tried again to pull away, but not without another open-mouthed kiss against her jaw. When he’d pulled back enough to look at her face, he knew he wasn’t going to escape this time. Her face was flushed, her pupils wide and black. Her lips were parted as she breathed shallowly, and she was looking at him not, as she sometimes did, as though he were something to eat, but rather as though she needed him to be able to breathe. Almost of their own accord his hands slid lower, dragging her hips closer to his. Jack bit his lip as he brought her pelvis up against his and the ridge of his arousal settled against her abdomen. Phryne’s eyes widened, and she nestled closer, pressing her breasts to his chest.
Jack groaned and gave in, lowering his head again and capturing her eager lips with his. He kissed her like he’d always wanted to, with none of the awkward fumbling of a first kiss. His lips coaxed hers apart and his tongue slipped between them, tasting her, and then he let her take control of the kiss and she bit gently at his lips, sucking at his top lip as she pressed closer to him.
Breaking the kiss, Jack stared down at her wide eyes and swollen lips. Her face posed a wordless question, and he drew a deep breath. “Yes. God help me. Yes.”
Their lips crashed together again as Phryne pushed his suit jacket from his shoulders, and he reluctantly released her to shrug it from his arms, letting it fall to the floor before gathering her up in his arms again and pulling her tightly to him. Her breasts were crushed against his chest, and his hands slid down to cup her ass, almost lifting her against him. Jack moaned softly into her mouth, squeezing her trouser-covered flesh, biting at her bottom lip. His erection was throbbing almost painfully, and Phryne’s attempts to grind against him weren’t helping. Jack tried to push away the fear that he would disappoint her. It had been so long and he wanted her so badly.
They’d never make it to the bedroom.