Authors: Annabel Wolfe
To Ed Morris. With much appreciation for all he has done for our country.
He came in through the window.
It was easy—too damn easy. The house was dark, but considering the hour that wasn’t a surprise. He slipped over the ledge, checked his Glock with a small habitual pressure of his hand to make sure it was secure in the shoulder holster, and reconnoitered the hallway.
All quiet. He passed the kitchen in a soft-footed surveillance sweep, the light from the refrigerator a brief illumination as he opened it and checked the contents. Soy milk, eggs, light yogurt, a container of fresh strawberries, some cheese slices, half a bottle of white wine…good so far. No beer or hot dogs, or anything else that might indicate a male presence in the household. Gently he closed the door, a faint smile touching his mouth.
A car went by outside, the only sound in this quiet neighborhood. He stood, immobile, but it just drove past, the headlights briefly visible through the curtains of the picture window in the living room.
Unlocking his muscles, he rubbed the back of his neck.
Old habits really died hard.
The place was tidy, he’d give her that, the counters shining, the sink empty. He didn’t like messes. His whole existence was predicated on that premise. Clean. Fast. No trace left behind. Silently he moved toward a long hallway.
To his right was a bathroom. He smelled the clean scent of soap and maybe a hint of fragrant shampoo, picturing her naked in the shower, the water sluicing down her slender body, dampening her honey-colored hair. In the gloom he moved with ease, used to the dark, careful but not worried, his pulse picking up the pace.
Would she hear him coming? Sometimes a target did, but usually he thought it was more primal intuition rather than any actual noise he made. A far-flung reach back to a time when animals sensed danger, and after all, human beings were still, at the base of it all, animals.
Take this particular moment. He wanted something from her and he was there to get it. If she wasn’t aware of him yet, she would be in a moment.
Bedroom. The door was open, her breathing just barely audible as he paused and took in a deep breath. In every operation there was a pivotal moment like this one, when nerves and purpose came together. He leaned over and peered in.
His eyes were adjusted to the dimness so he easily discerned a bed with tumbled linens, pale hair spilled across the pillows, her bare foot looking particularly vulnerable with its delicate instep since she was on her side turned toward the opposite wall. There was no sound except the steady respiration as she slept.
She was alone.
In two strides he was in the room, his hand flashing out to roll her toward him, palm down to cover her mouth as her eyes opened in alarm and the vibration of her muffled scream resonated through his very soul.
In a low whisper, he said, “Don’t.”
Of course he’d scared the hell out of her. At six-foot-two, a hundred and eighty-five pounds, athletic and muscular, he was intimidating enough, and he knew it. Her eyes widened and a tremor went through her, the hand that had come up to grip his forearm tightening, her fingers digging in as she tried to wrench his hand away from her mouth.
He repeated, “Don’t. Don’t say a word.”
Beautiful blue eyes filled with tears but she nodded, and he removed his hand to run his fingers lightly across the curve of her bare shoulder. She wore some kind of thin, almost sheer camisole and he could see the curves of her breasts beneath the clinging material. In a swift movement he stripped the sheet off of her and lifted the hem of her top, pulling it upward. “Lift your arms.”
“No.” He shook his head. “No talking.”
For a moment he thought she might rebel, but she lifted her arms, and when he reached for her shorts, easing them down over her hips and those luscious long legs, she briefly shut her eyes.
Naked she was exactly the fantasy that had been running through his brain like a marquis sign. Slim but with feminine curves, tan lines showing she’d worn a bikini this summer, the trim triangle of pubic hair between her thighs just a slightly darker shade than her shining hair…
His mouth was dry, his hands shaking as he unbuckled the shoulder holster holding his weapon, setting it carefully aside on the dresser within reach, then yanked his T-shirt up over his head and threw it carelessly on the floor. He’d taken off his shoes already—tread was like a fingerprint—and so he wore only a pair of jeans as he slid on top of her, shifting so she could clearly feel his erection through the denim material against her bared thigh. “The first time won’t take long,” he warned her, his breath against her lips.
“You bastard,” she responded, tears running into the hair at her temples. “You fucking bastard.”
“Guilty as charged,” he said in response and kissed her.
They’d lied to her, Nicole Lansing thought incredulously. All of them. The military, his family—if they knew—and just about everyone else on this planet, but unless she was having a very erotic dream, he was in her bed, his tongue sliding sensuously against hers, his weight balanced deliciously on top of her naked body…
…and oh God, if this was really happening…
She’d kill him herself with her own hands.
His hands caught hers, fingers twining together, pushing her arms up above her head. He made a sound low in his throat, the kiss deepening in an erotic plunge of his tongue that sent it off the charts, his hips moving just enough that she arched upward in response. The hard bulge in his jeans was certainly no secret, but then again, he’d never had any problems with sex—he liked it. Liked quite a lot of it, and he handled her body like he did anything else, with skilled competence.
It appeared they both wanted the same thing, but then again, hadn’t they always?
“I need to be naked,” he said, finally tearing his mouth away from hers. “I need inside you, dammit. I’ve been waiting for this.”
Her hands ran up the smoothness of his chest as he fumbled with his fly. He was thinner, she realized with a jolt, the musculature under her fingertips taut and lean, but with a hint of the bone structure underneath, his ribs more prominent than usual.
One thousand questions whirled in her mind, but she thought she understood why he’d told her to wait to ask them. This was about the two of them, about the distance of his absence, and if the way he rid himself of his jeans and moved over her was any indication, it was a lot about how much he wanted her.
How much she wanted him. How much the balance of the world had just shifted…
“Foreplay would be a miracle,” he told her, his dark hair longer than she’d ever seen it, curling against the tensile strength of his neck, his gray eyes shadowed in the dimness of the room. “I’ve been abstinent since…well, hell, when was the last time we saw each other?”
“About thirteen months, ten days and a few hours or so.” She tugged him down for another kiss. “Not that I was counting or anything.”
“I was,” he muttered before he took her mouth again in a searing combination of lips and tongue, and his hands did an interesting foray from breast to hip to between her thighs. She parted willingly and took in a breath when he slipped a long finger erotically inside her. When he lifted his head, his grin was a flash of white in the dark. “Glad to see you missed me, sweetheart.”
It might have embarrassed her to be wet and receptive so quickly under other circumstances, but not now, not when he was
Real, if the heat of his skin under her fingertips wasn’t part of a hopeful dream, if his scent didn’t envelop her, and the brush of his hair was like raven silk against her cheek. “I did,” she confessed on a whisper. “More than you could know.”
“I could debate that,” he argued, positioning himself so the crest of his rigid cock nudged her clit, her eyes going shut at the wash of pleasure. “Because I think I have pretty good idea if it is anything like what I went through… But I’ll save that for later. Right now I want to make love to you so badly my whole body is shaking. Can you feel it?”
She could actually, the tremors a reflection of her own reaction. He was all heat, honed muscle and musky male, the seep of semen from the tip of his erection making it slick against her. The smooth friction as he teased her was so pleasurable she reached between them and curled her fingers around the solid length of his shaft. She’d forgotten how well-endowed he was, his size something she used to tease him about back when they had loved and laughed and talked about their future…
Before he’d disappeared without a word.
“Ah…man, that’s good,” he gasped when she gently squeezed. Above her, his silhouette was dark in the dim light from the streetlamps against the curtains. “You’d better watch it, Nikki. I wasn’t kidding. I might go off at any minute. Let me take care of you first.”
He slid down before she could speak, his mouth trailing a warm path, his hair brushing the sensitive skin of her inner thighs as he parted her labia with his fingers and licked her clitoris.
Tingles ran up her spine, every nerve-ending quivering, the taunting rapture of his mouth and tongue doing exquisite things to her body, blotting out the world.
He brought her to climax so swiftly she gave a cry of surprise when her orgasm rushed through her, acute pleasure shaking her entire body, the rapture bone-meltingly intense. He gave her a moment, and when her lungs started to work again, he made it happen a second time.
In the aftermath her hands were tangled in his hair. “Stop,” she pleaded and tugged as he gave a final wicked lick, noting his grin as he rose above her.
miss me. The feeling is entirely mutual, babe.”
“Then by all means put this here.” She showed him explicitly where she wanted it, lifting her hips and guiding his cock to her feminine opening. “Do it.” It was not quite an order, nor was it begging either but a plea, because if this was just some beautiful, erotic dream, there was always a chance she would wake up before…
“You don’t have to ask me twice,” he said between his teeth, his voice a low hiss as he entered her in one insistent thrust.
No condom. The thought flickered through her brain because Jack had always been so careful in that regard, but… God, she didn’t care. The penetration forced her wide, his lean hips hard against her inner thighs, and it was her turn to gasp as he sank in deep.
“Wrap your legs around me,” he said in terse instruction.
When he rocked against her, another wave of ecstasy made her shudder and say his name. Then, true to his word, about three inward and outward glides later, he let out a strangled groan, the pulse of his ejaculation milked by her still-contracting inner muscles.
The aftermath was poignant.
Bed. Heavy breathing. His weight, heavy but not suffocating, his skin slick and damp beneath her fingers…
It was really Jack.
Was she crying again? She thought so, the warm trickle beyond her control, though truthfully she couldn’t decide if she wanted to kiss him again or hit him with every ounce of strength she could summon, which probably wasn’t much at this moment.
“Hmm.” He nibbled on her earlobe. “That was just like I remembered it.”
, she thought,
because I’m actually starting to think you’re real
He moved, not withdrawing, just settling his body with elbows braced and looking into her eyes. “You have a lot of questions, I know. Some I can answer and some I can’t, Nikki. But if you want to talk about it, I’ll do my best.”
“Like this?” Her laugh was a mirthless explosion of breath as she gazed up at him. “Not exactly the circumstances for a profound conversation like we need to have, is it?”
“My dick likes it exactly where it is.” He softened the less-than-elegant reference to their current intimate carnal position with another of those killer smiles that had always managed to melt her defenses. “Nice and warm and at home. If I had my way we’d be in this position all the time. And no, not now. No one has ever had a good conversation at two in the morning, and besides, we have better things to do.”