Or at least she was searching.
‘Hey, steady on,’ Kevin had said, laughing, as he grasped her wrists and kept her still, ‘what’s the hurry?’
Joanna blushed, aware that she was dishevelled and breathing heavily. She felt mortified at having seemed so keen. She usually played the self-possessed, hard-to-get hand with men, and it usually worked. It was only because she was tired and disorientated that she had let herself rush things.
Frowning, she jerked free of him, then clutched at the gaping neckline of her blouse.
‘Hey,’ he said again, softly this time, cajolingly. Then, like quicksilver, he caught hold of her by the upper arms, and leaned forward to kiss her slowly on the mouth.
For the first few moments, he simply pressed his lips to hers, letting her enjoy the warmth of the gentle, quiescent contact. Joanna had closed her eyes, automatically, but now she opened them and found that his too were open. Blue and placid, they were level, intent, lazily watchful. She tried to pull back, but his hands whipped up from her arms to cradle her head. Her eyes widened, and she tried to struggle, but before she could achieve anything his tongue flicked between her lips like a small hot serpent. He continued to watch her as it probed and lewdly darted.
For a reason she didn’t quite understand, Joanna found it impossible to move. She stood, almost limply, her head still lightly gripped in Kevin’s hands, while his tongue flashed around her mouth and explored its inner membranes. She closed her eyes, but she sensed his were still open.
The kiss went on for several minutes, and throughout it, Joanna remained passive, letting Kevin command the initiative for them both. His hands moved constantly in her soft blonde curls, adjusting the position of her head; gently tilting it, occasionally stroking it. It was as if he were a sculptor creating the kiss as a work of art. Joanna had never been kissed that way before.
When his lips finally left hers, she swayed. Though her eyelids felt weighted, she opened her eyes, just as Kevin released her head, and when she focused, she discovered him stripping off his clothes. Torn between anger and desire, she let desire win, and began unfastening her blouse. She was astounded however, when Kevin - his tie, shoes and socks already flung about him and his fine cotton shirt undone - grasped her hands again, and squeezed them, as if to still her. She was even more surprised that when he let them go, they stayed where they were; clasped against her chest, fingers curled, while he continued.
In a moment or two, he was naked, and almost reluctantly, Joanna was impressed. Wearing clothes, Kevin was an appealing man, for all his unusual, pointed features; but without clothes he was something else entirely.
Continuum is available now in the UK and from 6th Feb '07 in the US