They were the words every man wants to hear when he's in a hotel room with a woman.
"Oh, my God! It's huge!"
Logan grinned. He wasn't about to let *that* kind of enthusiasm go to waste. "Wanna get naked and give it a try?" he asked, throwing in a suggestive eyebrow wiggle.
"Um. . ." Marie chewed her lip and gave the immense whirlpool bathtub a nervous glance. "I don't know about that. It's so soon. . ."
"You've been doing fine. It'll be fine."
Marie was still skittish about her ability to control her mutation, despite the fact that she'd been virtually accident-free for weeks. Except for that one time he'd ended up convulsing on the mattress. But there were few things in the world Logan was willing to derail an orgasm for, and as far as he was concerned, as long as the seizures didn't start til he was done, everything was A-OK.
Marie wasn't quite so cavalier about it. Thus her hesitation.
"Well, I'm getting in," he said, turning on the water and closing the drain. He sat down on the step leading up to the tub and started taking off his boots.
"Right now?" Marie asked, eyes wide. They'd been employing fewer and fewer pieces of clothing as she continued to refine her control, but total nudity in such a confined place was a whole new concept, and probably a little intimidating.
"Yep." He stood and started shedding his clothes, leaving them in a heap on the floor, a habit that drove Marie nuts at home, but didn't seem to be of much notice here and now. When he looked over at her, she was giving him a once-over. Hell, it was more like a thrice-over. Below the neck only.
His body began to react to her appreciative gaze, and her cheeks went a little pink when she noticed. She looked up, saw him watching her watch him, and looked away, cheeks even pinker.
Oh, yeah. She was getting in that tub. He was sure of it.
He dug around in the basket of complimentary woman-type crap sitting on the corner of the tub until he found a bottle of bubblebath. Whistling cheerfully, he dumped the entire bottle under the spout. Frothy suds immediately bubbled up and spread along the surface of the water. And kept bubbling. And bubbling.
"Are you sure you're supposed to use the whole bottle?" Marie said from behind him, her voice betraying both her nervousness and her excitement.
He looked over his shoulder. Marie was watching the rising bubbles with a slightly concerned expression. More interestingly, she'd taken off her gloves.
"Eh, it's a big tub," he shrugged, but when he checked again he thought maybe she had a point. Nothing he could do about it now, though.
He practically felt Marie's eyes crawling over his ass as he bent over and dipped his hand in the water, then adjusted the temperature. Satisfied, if a little alarmed by the still-growing mountain of suds, he climbed into the tub and sat down.
Scooting back, he stretched out his legs and spread his arms along the top of the tub. "Aaaahh. This is nice," he said, probably a little too dramatically. Nothing wrong with laying it on thick, though.
When he checked Marie's reaction, he noticed she'd kicked off her shoes.
"You sure you don't want to get in, Marie?" he asked, with as much innocence as he could muster.
There was no denial this time. She chewed on her lip some more and looked a little longingly at the tub. And at him.
"I dunno. . ."
Hmmm. Perhaps she needed a nudge.
"Could you turn the water off for me, darlin'?"
He barely got the question out of his mouth before she bent and reached for the faucet. When the water stopped flowing, she knelt on the step and scooped up a pile of bubbles in her palm, squishing them between her fingers.
Logan, feeling the battle was half over, sat back and said nothing.
Her hand dipped into the water and he felt her fingers brush against his knee, a small touch that still had the power to make his stomach flip. The touch got a little bolder, and then her hand slipped up over the hard muscle on top of his thigh before sliding over to his groin. He sucked in a breath as he twitched under her fingers.
A small smile came to her face at the state she found him in, but she moved on, leaving him grumbling for more. Her fingers traced the lines of his stomach muscles, brushing mischievously against his erection but not really touching him.
He let her play for a bit, enjoying the way she teased him even as it made him want to squirm, but it wasn't long before his patience ran out. He reached down, closed his fingers around her wrist, and dragged her hand up his body until it rested in the middle of his chest.
The ends of her hair dipped into the bubbles as her upper body hovered over the tub. One good tug and she'd be in the water, clothes and all. But that wasn't what he wanted. He wanted it to be willingly, and he wanted her naked.
"I really think you should get in the tub," he said.
Her eyes locked with his, flicked briefly to where her hand rested on his chest. "I want to. . ."
He let go of her wrist so he could draw a wet finger down the curve of her cheek. "I know you do, baby. C'mon. You won't hurt me."
"I might," she said, falling into their oft-held conversation.
"I don't care. I want this."
The first part was his standard response. The second part was new. The look on her face told him she noticed.
She gently pulled away from him, sending a pang of disappointment through his chest before she smiled, almost shyly, and said, "Okay."
He grinned like a fool, and didn't even bother to hide it.
She was still a little nervous as she shed the rest of her clothes and climbed into the water, but he could find no actual fear in her, not even as he pulled her down in front of him, urging her to lean back against his chest. She hesitated, but Logan wasn't going to be denied. He pulled her snug against him and held her there.
"See?" he said, once he felt all the tension drain out of her body. "We're fine. And it feels good."
"Mmmhmm." She relaxed a little more and echoed his contented sigh. Bare skin was still a novelty for them, and this was actually a first, both of them completely unclothed together.
He rested his chin on top of her head and closed his eyes, enjoying the feel of her body sliding against his, the pressure of her against his groin, slippery and warm and *naked*. Her hands skimmed back and forth over his skin, gliding beneath the water, and he poked his knee out of the bubbles so he could watch her fingers trace patterns in the wet hair on his thigh.
Her bare fingers on his bare leg.
He'd never get tired of seeing that.
Soon, he knew, they'd be able to do this in bed.
Just the thought of it made his hips rock against her, and she laughed as she wiggled in his lap. "Are you ready to get out?" she asked, laughing some more at his reaction to the wiggling.
He thought about it for a few seconds, smoothing her hair away from the back of her neck so he could kiss her there. "No," he decided. "Let's stay here a little longer."
"Okay." She twined her fingers in his, pulling his arms around her. After a moment she said softly, "We did it."
"Yeah, we did." It had taken months of cautious progress and disappointing set-backs, but here they were, indulging in crazy amounts of skin-on-skin contact, and Logan wasn't feeling so much as twinge, and Marie wasn't nearly hyperventilating with worry. As sure as he had been that she could pull it off, he still found it a little unreal that it was actually happening.
He thought about the years he'd spent circling around her, telling himself she was too young and he was too wild and he couldn't even *touch her* for chrissake and the fact that she hated the thought of hurting him made attempts at control unlikely. It wouldn't be fair to either of them. It was madness to even consider it.
And now, three years in, it was madness to even consider living without it.
He tightened his arms around her and pushed his face into the crook of her neck, realizing that, as much as he'd longed for her to be able to touch him without fear, he would always be hers, even if she could never touch him again.
They sat, listening to the millions of tiny bubbles crackling around them, and Logan knew that Marie was right.
This was huge.