Authors: Angelita Gill
Her pulse began its inevitable race, but she kept her eyes forward, not acknowledging him.
“Grace,” he said huskily, coming up behind her. Their gazes met in the mirror.
She stiffened, immobilized, unable to say anything. Her heart pounded as hot blood roared in her ears.
“Do you ever think about me? About us?” he murmured, bringing her back gently to his front, his hands snaking around her hips, fingertips sliding on the cotton. To her inner shame, her body surrendered on its own accord as she slowly leaned back, feeling a warm wall of male granite.
His eyes never left hers in the reflection, for they both knew and burned for the inevitability of their physical attraction.
“Do you ever…?” His deep voice melted in her ear as he slid his hands down her stomach, lower and lower, his erection solid and stiff between her buttocks. “Miss these hands touching you? Worshipping you? Oh God, baby.” A familiar wave of awareness coursed through her as his left hand gathered the nightgown over her hip, his knuckles grazing her heated skin as his right hand explored the inside of her thigh. With weak effort, she tried to grip his strong wrists. Her voice barely rose above a whisper. “Don’t.” His fingers teased the edge of her panties and slid inside where she was slick, hot, delicate. She jerked and shuddered. “Jack, please.”
“Please what?” His lips nuzzled close, those fingers moving to her moist center, that voice causing her skin to ripple with bumps. “Please no? Or please yes?”
She opened her mouth on a gasp as his finger slid between the sensitive folds, through the slickness. Her eyes widened with desire and shock as she squirmed, her toes curling.
“Oh…there you are,” he whispered in her hair, his body trembling.
Grace struggled with a choice. Her body wanted to give in; her mind wanted to stay strong.
He lowered his head and pressed soft kisses to her neck. Her breathing became erratic. Her senses kicked into overdrive as his finger stroked her nub, his throbbing arousal probing against her. Under his expert touch, she was so easily undone.
Everywhere, her nerves were on high, throbbing in heat and reaching for an ecstasy she had been craving for so long. An ecstasy she knew Jack could deliver every time his hands were on her.
Feeling as though she was under a spell, she mentally fought with the roaring sexual needs of her body, the lonely cry of her heart, the small, tiny voice of her pride.
“All you have to do is say yes….” He spoke hoarsely, stroking her wet core while she quivered. His restraint proved superior to her own as he continued to play maestro to her needs, her mind spellbound by his rich, seductive words, and the promise of sexual release. “Open up to me, Grace,” he said, his lips grazing the curve of her neck, the strap of her nightgown falling off her shoulder. “Let me undress you. Take you to our bed. All you have to do is say ‘Yes, Jack.’”
She let out a shaky breath. “I can’t. We shouldn’t.”
He set his hands on her hips, swung her around and kissed her, capturing her mouth and breath in his. His technique was perfect and desperate. How long had she dreamed of being subject to his kiss once more, remembering its heavenly effect? By his ragged breathing, by the way his fingers dug into her flesh, she could sense his own need rising and overcoming him. It must be challenging for him not to rip her clothes off, boost her on the sink, and thrust into her….because he’d done just that in this very bathroom, before. It satisfied her, knowing he was losing control, too.
Abandoning the kiss, he wound her hair around his hand until her throat was exposed to him. Dipping to that place below her ear, he slid his lips down the length of her neck, tasting her as a low, feral moan came from his throat. “Come on. Say it.”
An uncontrollable whimper escaped her. There was no doubt she was losing the battle, hanging on by….God, she didn’t know what!
Her eyelids felt heavy as her strength rapidly fizzled. She should stop him but was unable to say the words. Somehow, from the recesses of her fogged mind, a voice speared through, reminding her that making love with her husband would solve nothing. It hadn’t been enough while they were together; it wasn’t enough now.
“Grace.” The strained plea in his hoarse voice nearly broke her. “Come on, baby. Say it. Say yes.”
She closed her eyes against the clinch of her heart. She tugged at his forearms, pulling his hands free and tensing her body from its languid state. “No, Jack. I
to say no.”
He went still, slowly straightening to his full height, and suddenly the temperature in the bathroom went from steaming hot to frigid cold. The storm in his eyes began to clear, reflecting some disbelief, rejection, a blink of sadness.
Grace felt the burn of tears behind her eyes, but she held her chin high.
They stood like that for what seemed like eternity. Grace didn’t offer an immediate explanation as to why she’d stopped him. She shouldn’t have to. Jack remained silent as he searched her eyes, looking as if he wanted to say something.
Her breathing still labored, she remained resolute, silently telling him if he wanted her body—if he wanted her at all—he’d have to do more than take her to bed.
He raised his palms so they hovered at the sides of her face. Then his eyes narrowed in seeming confusion before he looked away and dropped his hands. “Good night.” He walked out of the bathroom.
Countless seconds later, after her heart had stopped hammering, she splashed water on her hot face. Once she walked out to the darkened living room, she paused, only to see the firelight and the top of Jack’s head.
“You’ll touch me, seduce me, make love to me, but you won’t
to me,” she said, anguish heavy in her voice. When he didn’t respond, she went to the bedroom and closed the door. As she laid in the dark, she closed her eyes, hoping sleep would claim her quickly. She whimpered as she thought of Jack’s hands. Still wet and ready from his skillful fingers, she rubbed her heels against the mattress, wishing the sensation of his touch would go away. She let out a small cry and grabbed a pillow, hugging it to her, before crying herself quietly to sleep.
Even though she’d slept in spurts, Grace woke up early, alert and aware. The cabin was peacefully silent as she crept out of the bedroom and toward the bathroom, careful to allow Jack the comfort of sleeping in. A peek into the living room showed her an abandoned sofa and an empty kitchen. She should have remembered a man who worked the way he did never slept in. Had he left? She wouldn’t be surprised. A glance outside showed his car still parked in the drive. A little relieved he hadn’t disappeared without a word, she took a shower and changed into a pair of comfortable jeans and a yellow top.
She wanted to leave soon, but she didn’t want to go without saying good-bye, even though she was certain he wouldn’t care either way.
As she cleaned up her leftovers from last night, Jack came through the door, wiping a towel over his neck and smelling like early morning lake air and sweat. He was wearing his running shorts only, his tanned, broad chest and muscled arms slick with perspiration.
Look away, Grace. Imagine him in a bright green parka, zipped to the neck
He paused, flicking a cool glance her way before sauntering over to the fridge. “Morning. Sleep well?”
Her gaze followed him as he moved around her. Guilt boiled at the pit of her stomach for rejecting him last night. Why, she didn’t know. She had no reason to feel bad about it. “I slept fine. You?”
He shrugged, taking gulps of water from the jug. Satisfied, he screwed the cap back on. “As good as expected on a stupid couch.”
“We used to fall asleep on that stupid couch together all the time. You never complained then.”
He raised a brow. “Considering the things we did on it, I was too exhausted to care.”
She felt her face flame and broke eye contact.
It’s too early in the morning for memories like that
“Still smells like pineapple juice,” he told her in an offhand manner.
Despite herself, a reminiscent smile formed. “After all this time? I can’t believe it. I spent hours trying to get that smell out.”
“I don’t think it ever will go away. I woke up craving a piña colada.”
A soft laugh escaped her. “I could have spilled something much worse on it. Remember the weekend we came back and found out the electricity had gone out?”
He laughed. “Yep. All of our prized catfish had spoiled in the freezer. Stank like roadkill heaven.”
“It was really hot that summer.”
“We slept outside.”
She smiled. “In the hammock.”
He snapped a finger and pointed at her. “Then it started to rain.”
“I was so tired from that week. I was like, ‘We should go inside. We’re getting rained on.’”
He nodded, a faint, sentimental smile on his mouth. “But we didn’t move. We just pulled the blanket over our heads.”
This was the reason why she loved the cabin so much, so many wonderful, simple memories of her and Jack, it was impossible not to. Back in Los Angeles, it was so different.
were so different. Less like devoted husband and wife, more like polite roommates. They came and went at opposite hours, neither home for dinner, both gone before more than a bite of toast for breakfast and a few words.
“Going back to the city?” he asked, breaking the silence.
She snapped back to the present, her voice sharp. “Yes.”
“All right,” he said, pushing away from the counter. “Drive safe.”
Watching his back, she couldn’t swallow the lump that formed in her throat after he shut the bathroom door, shutting her out with an insouciant good-bye, as if she were a stranger or an acquaintance. Grabbing her bag, she strode out of the cabin, refusing to release her welling tears.
The long drive home later, she barely registered coming to a stop in the driveway. All she could think about was Jack and how he’d touched her last night, begging to make love to her. She turned off the ignition and closed her eyes. Even now, she couldn’t believe she’d had the strength to turn him down. The old Grace would’ve caved at the first word, would’ve melted under his touches without a breath of protest, surrendered completely to him….only to wake up to an empty bed. That was how it always ended. He would say nothing in the morning, and then go to work on a triumph, believing all he had to do to was make love to her until she cried mercy, believing sexual satisfaction was enough. He never wanted to
. She never knew how he
Where could they go from here? Were they destined to fail, or was there still hope to live on?
She opened her eyes on a frustrated sigh and got out of the car.
Distracted, she unlocked the front door, walked in, and flipped on the light switch.
Movement in the living room caught her eye and she gasped in fright.
She locked eyes with a boy no more than fifteen, dressed in a black hoodie and sweatpants.
“Shit!” He dropped the crystal rabbit he’d been inspecting and dashed out the patio door. Grace screamed and ran out the front door and down the stairs, her heart wild with fear, adrenaline rushing through her veins. She ran to her neighbor’s. Shaking, she grabbed her cell phone from her pocket and dialed 911.
Jack shifted gears and moved his Lexus slowly with the traffic, thinking of the past few days. He’d gone to the cabin to clear his head, come up with a plan to win her back.
No more time. No more distance.
But, as wicked fate would have it, she happened to be there, too. A curious coincidence. Especially since they’d both claimed they had no time for weekends at the lake. Was she there to think about the good times…or just one last visit for closure? In hindsight, he probably should’ve come straight out and asked. The opportunity never really presented itself. She’d glared at him as if he offended her by his mere presence. While she’d tried to goad him into a pointless argument, he’d fought against taking her in his arms to shorten this rift between them. Ultimately, he was reined in by his ever-dominant pride. Demanding his way back in her heart and bed only worked in his daydreams. Torn between being totally unprepared to see Grace and the absolute pure need to have her, he couldn’t sort it out with her there distracting him. She didn’t attempt to have a real conversation with him. As usual, Grace started off with difficult questions and shot accusations when he didn’t supply the answer she wanted to hear.
He’d been at a loss.
Unable to stand the strain between them and overwhelmed by constant desire for her, he’d given in to his damned pride and tried to seduce her. A monumental fail.
His jaw clenched as he remembered how good it felt to touch her again.
touch her, where he knew she couldn’t lie.
He played the stop-and-go game on the 210, allowing himself to fantasize about the body he knew, and loved, so well.
As the red taillights of the car in front of him beamed into his tired eyes, he thought of the last time they’d made love. It was at the cabin, of course. He recalled the way he’d smoothed his hand up her calf, over her thigh. He thought of grazing his mouth over her hip, dipping his tongue into her belly button, hearing her breathless laugh.…
His hands tightened on the steering wheel, knuckles turned white, as he imagined how the moonlight had shone on her breasts, and how he took a nipple in his mouth with firm lips so her hands would grip in his hair, a sign he was driving her wild, making her hot…. His cock twitched as he thought about running his tongue up her chest, her neck…about inhaling her unique scent, never getting enough of it. Then capturing her panting mouth in his, tenderly biting her lip with a soft whisper of desire, before thrusting inside her—
A car horn blasted behind him. “Hey, buddy!”
Traffic had moved yards in front of him while his mind had wandered to the past. He lifted a hand in apology and moved his car forward, determined to keep his focus from that moment on. If he daydreamed like this while driving, he could easily get in a wreck, even at five miles an hour. With a frustrated grunt, he shifted in his seat, his cock stiff and aching. He switched on the radio until he found a public broadcasting station discussing the vanishing frog species in South America. Perfect.