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Authors: Elizabeth Finn

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BOOK: Conflicting Interests
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“It’s that good kind of hurt.”

“I find it hard to believe there is such a thing.”

“Well you don’t have a vagina.”

“You got me there. I do not have a vagina but I sure do like
yours.” He kissed the tip of her nose. “Now, can we please go to my bed? It’s
far more comfortable than this one.”

“You’ll remember you’re the one who came in here.”

“Don’t sass.” He rolled from bed, pulling her up to her feet
and walking her down the hall to his room. He climbed into bed after her and
pulled her body into his. “I love you.” He whispered it quietly against her
temple.

“I love you too.”

And then she was asleep.

Chapter Twenty-Four

 

“I’m going to be in San Francisco for the rest of week. I’ll
be back in town late Saturday night.” Then a pause. “No. I’m sorry but I’m not
telling you where I’ll be staying. I’m going to visit friends and you can reach
me by cell.”

Another pause. “What kind of emergency, Detective? I no
longer have a home to be broken into, you’re watching Imogen’s house and she’s
safely out of the country, so what kind of emergency are you thinking would
warrant knowing where I am?”

And yet another pause. “Like I said, you have my cell
phone.” And then she hung up on Detective Smith. No wonder they’d gotten on so
poorly the first time they met. The woman had no problem telling it like it was
to pretty much anyone and, yes, that meant cops—Dillon included.

They’d packed that morning after she made breakfast, and
after he’d set their bags by the front door she’d called Detective Smith. He
thought she was perhaps hoping to reach his voicemail so she could avoid this
conversation but she hadn’t been so lucky.

They needed to go to Imogen’s before they could call for a
cab, so Kat could make sure Kitty had what she needed for the rest of the week,
and so she could pack up a few final items she didn’t have at his place. They’d
call a cab once they returned to Dillon’s to get them to the airport.

When they reached Imogen’s, the officer stationed there eyed
him suspiciously. This was not going to go over well. He punched the number
into the security gate panel and then pulled up in front. He grabbed Katrina’s
only partially packed bag and walked her into the house. The old mangy-looking
critter that was supposed to be a cat found them instantly. She was staggering
about like usual and Dillon loaded up her food and water while Katrina changed
her litter box.

Katrina had a good portion of her wardrobe at Imogen’s house
when her house burned down, so she was fortunate enough to not be completely
left without a thread to her name. She finished packing her bag with the
clothes she had there, as Dillon lounged on her bed watching her.

It was hard to believe he’d managed to fall so in love with
her. The very notion snuck up on him all the time and usually left his heart
fluttering and his cock hard. Making love to her was like nothing he’d
experienced before.

There was such an incredible added depth to what they did
together that simply hadn’t existed with the meaningless women he’d fucked
since Seth’s mom had died. He couldn’t seem to stop his mind from analyzing it
every time he was inside her body. It was odd he should want to study their
dynamic in the midst of sex but there was nothing more powerful than focusing
on how much he loved her when he was plowing into her body.

She eyed him—or more accurately she eyed his erection that
was fighting with the fly of his pants. “What are you thinking about?” She
looked at him seductively.

“You.”

“What about me?”

He studied her for a moment, deciding just how much he
wanted to let her into his head. He decided all the way in. “You know how you
like to touch yourself when I enter your body? You like to feel that spot where
our bodies first meet?”

“Yeah?” She looked nervous, maybe even embarrassed and her
cheeks were scarlet. She wouldn’t feel that way if she knew just how damn sexy
he thought it was when she touched.

“Well I’d like to think that experience for you is, I don’t
know, kind of emotional, right?” He was treading into girl-talk territory and
he couldn’t help but think he might just be out of his depth here.

“Yes it is. But it’s kind of hard to explain I guess.” She
sat next to his hip after she tossed the last of her clothes into the bag. She
thought for a moment then shook her head as though she couldn’t quite figure
out what she wanted to say.

“In the past, I think I did it to try to convince myself
there was more intimacy to what I was doing than there actually was.” She
sounded terrified at what she was saying so freely to him but what she was
saying was so perfect and he understood completely.

“Is it different with me?” He knew it was or at least he
expected it was.

“Yes. I’m not wishing for the intimacy, I just have it and
touching…it’s kind of a rush now.” He reached for her hand, sitting up to her.
The blush of her cheeks hadn’t died down a bit and he knew she was feeling
exceptionally vulnerable.

When he reached for her cheek and pulled her mouth to his, it
was just to reassure her. Then he moved to her ear.

“I like to think about how much I love you when I’m inside
you. At first the thought just popped up when I was making love to you, because
it was so fucking new it caught me off guard. Now, I like to focus on it
intentionally, because it’s such an incredible high.” She smiled at him when he
pulled back from her ear. “Sound odd?”

“No. Sounds sexy as hell.” She kissed him and he stood from
the bed, carrying her bag back down to the car.

They grabbed coffee on the way back to the house and as they
hopped in the cab he’d called to pick them up a bit later, she watched him. He
could see her out of his peripheral vision, studying him. When he reached for
her hand, she sighed.

“I’m nervous.”

“And if I tell you you shouldn’t be?”

“I’ll still be nervous.”

“Just as I thought. Well then, be nervous for no good reason
and I’ll tell you I told you so later when you realize there was no reason
whatsoever to be nervous around my family.”

He smiled at her quickly, ignoring the cab driver’s watchful
eyes. He’d already bought and printed their boarding passes, so it was a fairly
uneventful stripfest at security before they had an hour and a half to kill
until they could board. He suggested a drink and she nodded quickly.

They grabbed a table, parking their carryon bags next to
them and spent the next hour getting pleasantly buzzed. She managed to down
three cocktails, and when they stood to leave, she swayed on her feet a little
and he chuckled. So long as it relaxed her he wasn’t going to complain. She was
actually incredibly cute when she was a bit tipsy and when they finally found
an open pair of seats in the pre-boarding area she sank into hers lazily.

“Did I tell you I hate flying?”

“No you did not. Unfortunate since, you know, we’re going to
be flying.” That might explain her need to pacify her nerves with a bit of
alcohol and here he’d just assumed it was fear of meeting his family.

“We should drive.”

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

“Yes. Well kind of. I really hate flying.”

He quickly figured out just how true that statement was. He
ended up with fingernail crescents gouged into the top of his hand and she
likely frightened a number of nearby passengers with her yelps and moans every
time she heard a new sound or the airplane shifted in any way
whatsoever—impossible for airplanes not to, which made the trip one panic
attack after another for her. Thank God they were driving home.

As they were standing in the aisle ready to debark, he
leaned down to her ear from behind her. “Remind me to never torture you in such
a way again. I truly had no idea someone could be so terrified of the safest
form of travel.”

She turned to him and smiled. It was the first smile he’d
seen since getting her onto the plane, but as they grabbed a cab her smile
faded and her hands started trembling.

“Please don’t be so nervous. There’s nothing to be worried
about.” She glared at him as though he’d just sworn at her. He chuckled.
Couldn’t help himself. She wasn’t just cute when she was tipsy—she was cute as
hell when she was nervous too.

 

He’d lost his damn mind if he thought she shouldn’t be
nervous and she was two seconds from smacking him. Of course that would require
she let go of his hand and since it was the only thing keeping her sanity anchored,
she thought perhaps she should hold on tight. She couldn’t stop her fingers
from trembling and as they rounded a corner onto a residential street, the
tremble turned to violent shakes. He squeezed her hand and scooted to the
center of the seat, wrapping his arms around her.

They pulled upside an amazing three-story home smack in the
middle of a hill that would likely give her an asthma attack regardless of the
fact she didn’t have asthma. As the cab driver helped them get their bags from
the trunk she stared up at the beautiful porch in front of them. Dillon grabbed
both of their carryon suitcases and led the way up to the front door.

When the door was pulled open, Molly was standing there
smiling broadly at them both. Katrina was instantly glad to see her face. She
at least knew Molly.

“Ms. Page! I’m so glad to see you!”

“Please. It’s Katrina and I’m glad to see you too.” And she
was—relieved more like it.

“Come on in. Mom and Dad are excited to meet you. Mom’s been
fluttering about cleaning since I got Dillon’s text message saying you were
both coming. The boys are at the park so you won’t see them for a while but I’m
guessing you’re ready to relax anyway.” Molly was speed-talking and Katrina’s
heart was finally slowing. Dillon followed her into the entryway and set their
bags on the stairway landing.

Molly had already linked elbows with Katrina and was
ushering her farther into the house but Dillon came up behind them, resting a
warm hand on the back of her neck and his other gripped her free hand and squeezed
gently to reassure her. She craned her head around to see him behind her and he
winked at her quickly.

“Mom! She’s here!” Katrina was escorted into a large and
open kitchen. The counters were marble, the floor was a worn and likely
reclaimed plank wood flooring and the ceilings were as tall as they had been in
the living room. She was in awe. Dillon had a nice home but this was
incredible. It wasn’t lavish by any means but it was perfect and comfortable—so
incredibly inviting. Dillon’s mother was standing at the sink filling a
teakettle and she turned to them instantly.

“Oh! You must be Ms. Page!” Katrina smiled instantly at the
woman. She was surprisingly short like Katrina was and her hair was wavy and
white. She’d obviously grayed younger than most but she pulled it off
stunningly.

“It’s Katrina, please. You must be Mrs. Adler.”

“It’s Delphi but please just call me Del. Oh you’re just
lovely. I knew you must be but you…well, you are!” She pulled Katrina into a
tight hug and it wasn’t until Dillon cleared his throat that she was finally
allowed to breathe again. “Oh, Dillon! You’re here too. Yes. How are you?” She
grabbed Dillon just as tightly as she had Katrina.

“I’m well. Where’s Dad?”

“He’s out in the garden, watering. How was the flight?”

“Oh, ask Katrina. She loved it.” He smirked at Katrina who
instantly felt her cheeks burning.

Del turned to Katrina with a questioning look and she shook
her head in embarrassment. “I don’t fly well.” She said it sheepishly as Dillon
held his hand up, showing the claw marks she’d inflicted. Molly burst out
laughing and Del gave her a sympathetic look.

“Well I have something that’ll take care of those nerves.”
Del walked to the fridge and grabbed an open bottle of sparkling wine. She
grabbed five glasses, handing a couple to Dillon. Turning back to the fridge, seemingly
as a second thought, she grabbed another unopened bottle of wine, passing it
off to Molly. “Outside to the patio, I think. Oh I almost forgot.” She started
toward the back door off the kitchen. “I set up two spare rooms for you two but
if you’d prefer one, then just pick whichever you’d like.”

“Oh no. Two is just fine. Thank you.” Katrina responded as
Del turned back and smiled kindly.

“Like hell it is.” Dillon muttered from behind her.

The patio was just as stunning as the interior. The backyard
was small but every square inch that was free was filled with greenery and
flowers that were just starting to bud. Narrow brick paving-stone walkways
meandered through the lush plants and she could hear a water feature
somewhere—though it was hidden from her sight at the moment. There was a large
open paving stone patio just outside the back door and a roomy wooden table was
situated with six surrounding chairs.

Molly took a seat and ushered her over to her side as Dillon
hollered for his father. She could hear the rustling of branches before she saw
the man and when he finally made an appearance, she was shocked at the
resemblance between Dillon and him. He still had a full head of dark hair that
was speckled with gray. He wore contemporary glasses and even in heavy linen
gardening gloves he was tall and intimidating. That was until he smiled at his
son.

“Oh, Dillon! I’m so glad you’ve made it. Your mom has been
acting like a lunatic all day, getting ready for you and your guest. And where
is she?” His eyes landed on Katrina as she stood and rounded the table to meet him.

“Dad, this is Katrina. Kat, this is my father, Michael.”

“I’m pleased to meet you, Katrina, and we’re so glad you’re
here.” She thanked him before returning to her chair.

Dillon quickly took the seat next to her and he reached for
her hand instantly. Molly noticed immediately and started to beam at him. It
was all very cute—nerve-racking for Katrina but Dillon obviously had a
wonderful family and there was something incredible about seeing him with them.

Del brought out a loaf of bakery bread and some different
spreads and a lime that she cut and offered for the wineglasses. Then she
poured a round of drinks.

As everyone settled in, Molly turned to Dillon. “So am I
allowed to ask about what has been going on with Katrina’s case? You’ve refused
to say anything up to this point but well, I mean, the cat’s kind of out of the
bag, right? No pun intended, Kat.”

Dillon answered immediately. “It’s entirely up to Katrina if
she wants to talk about it or not.” He looked to Katrina and she nodded.

BOOK: Conflicting Interests
11.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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