Luna stood close beside him because they’d run out of beach. Tipping her face up to gaze at him, she smiled with obvious pleasure and satisfaction. Her face reflected the radiance of the sun, and Colin couldn’t imagine anyone looking more beautiful than she did at this moment.
“Thank you,” he murmured. And then, because it seemed like the right thing to do, he leaned down and kissed her full on the mouth.
He’d probably expected, on some level, that she’d kiss him back. She didn’t. How embarrassing was that? Yet she’d shown interest in him, or maybe he’d been mistaken, leaped to conclusions. He felt like an ass.
Pulling away, he felt heat spreading from his neck up to his cheeks. “My apologies. I shouldn’t have done that.”
She looked dazed. “Don’t apologize. I liked it.”
“You liked it?”
“Yes.” She reached up and touched her mouth with her fingertips. “I was hoping it might last a little longer.”
“But...you weren’t kissing me back.”
It was her turn to blush. “I suppose not, but you see, I don’t have much...that is, I’m not very...”
He stared at her in confusion. If he didn’t know better, he’d think she was completely inexperienced. Yet she’d been on her own for years, and she appeared to be in her mid-twenties. Sexuality was celebrated in the Were culture, and although choosing a mate for life might be delayed, sexual satisfaction was not.
Her blush deepened and she lowered her gaze. “Never mind. I’m sure you’re famished after all that effort. We should eat.” She turned and started back up to their driftwood bench.
“Wait a minute.” He laid a gentle hand on her arm. “What’s going on, here, Luna?”
She glanced back at him. “Something that shouldn’t be going on. Y’all have a lovely mouth, and I was curious, but kissing someone I hope to do business with isn’t a very bright idea, especially when I’m no good at it.”
“How can you be no good at it? Haven’t you ever...” He saw the answer in her eyes. “But I don’t understand. You’re beautiful.”
“That’s nice to hear.”
“Surely you’ve had Weres who were interested in you.”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve never encouraged that kind of thing. I never...trusted anyone enough.”
Although he still had trouble imagining that she was virginal at this stage in her life, his gut told him that no one could fake the kind of reaction she’d had to his kiss. “Does that mean that you trusted me a little, since you allowed me to kiss you?” He would hardly call it a kiss, but she might think it was, given her apparent innocence.
“I suppose I would tend to trust someone Geraldine trusted, but that doesn’t mean we should be kissing.” She gently pulled away from his grasp. “Come along, Colin. If you’re not starving, I am.”
Fascinated by this unexpected revelation, he followed her back to their temporary picnic site. He was still attracted to her, and she was attracted to him, although she might not realize how much if she’d never allowed herself to feel passion.
The last time he’d been with a virgin, he’d been a fumbling fool, only somewhat more knowledgeable than the female Were he’d had sex with. They’d made a hash of it. But that had been more than fifteen years ago.
He couldn’t imagine that someone as full of life as Luna was happy embracing celibacy. Judging from her response to him, her virginal state was a source of embarrassment to her. If she’d allow him to, he could help her over that hurdle. The more he thought about it, the more he believed it was the gentlemanly thing to do.