Authors: Teresa Hill
"No," she whispered, as his hand deliberately circled around her breast, way on the outside curve in big, maddening circles.
"You'd never done that to any other man?"
"No. Not that."
"And no one's done this to you?"
Deliberately teasing her this way? Moving so slowly? Barely touching? Making her ache? Making her wait? "No."
"Good. I don't want you touching anyone else this way, and I don't want anyone touching you this way, either."
Which sounded like some thoroughly primitive stamp of possession, and for some reason, she found it highly satisfying. She didn't want anyone touching him like this, either.
His hand stroked along her hips and down her thigh, and as he worked his way back up, brushed ever so slightly over the blonde curls between her legs. She arched her hips into his touch, felt it through her entire body. If he was going to do to her what she'd done to him—making her wait that long—she was going to end up begging very, very soon.
He laughed. "Grace? You really liked touching me?"
"And having me in your mouth?"
"Making me come?"
He eased two fingers into the warm, wet heat between her legs. "Damn," he said appreciatively. "You did."
She whimpered even more. She was so ready, needed this so badly.
He let his fingers sink in deeper, his touch firm and sure and so very good. She opened herself up to him, lifted her hips just a bit to bring those fingers deeper inside, so close to coming apart, just from this. He didn't object, so she kept going, rocking subtly against him, wanting like she never had in her life, needing.
"Oh, baby," he said appreciatively, rocking his fingers in time with the motion of her body. "I wanted to tease you, Grace. I wanted to torment you. To touch you all over, have my mouth all over you. I wanted to try to show off a little bit, show you I could please you, even if I can't get hard. I wanted to do all of that."
She cried out, in pleasure and frustration, her body moving more urgently against his touch.
"I can't believe I'm offering this," he said, laughing a bit. "But if I said it was still your turn, and you were still giving the orders, would you say something like, 'I can't stand it. Make me come. Right now. Please?' "
"Yes, I would. Exactly that. Please..." She clutched at his shoulders, wanting him closer, not teasing at all. "Just for right now."
"And we understand each other. That this is for you, and my turn comes later—"
"Yes. Yes. Whatever you want. Please..."
His fingers moved faster, right up against the most sensitive spot on her body. He'd found it, watching her, watching her reaction to his touch, and a minute later, the sensation exploded inside of her, rippling out from that spot through her whole body. She shook. She writhed. She nearly screamed. She did whimper. She moaned. She couldn't breathe, buried her face in the warm skin of his neck, and then she just lay there, letting those delicious sensations roll through her.
She felt the heat of his body at her side, his mouth on hers, could feel the grin on his lips pressed to hers, as he stayed with her, patiently, thoroughly, seeing to every bit of her pleasure.
It was just so good, so perfect.
He kissed her softly, down her cheek, finding her mouth and kissing that softly, his hand stroking through her hair, his other hand holding her body close to his. She felt utterly relaxed, utterly satisfied and taken care of and appreciated.
He fussed over her some more, telling her how much he liked watching her come, listening to the sounds she made, feeling the sensations roll through her body. How this made him think he really would do anything for her, because he'd had plans for her, and he'd put them aside just for her, so she could have what she wanted first.
Grace thought she never wanted to leave him, never wanted to move. Life was deliciously perfect at the moment.
That was the last thing she remembered.
Aidan woke up, Grace curled into his side, the faintest trickle of sunlight peeking in through the sliding glass doors leading to the porch, Tink standing over him like something out of a scary clown dream, all giant, goofy head and hair, tongue hanging out, panting.
He blinked a few times, thinking this was one of the oddest dreams ever. The dog whined pitifully and padded toward the door. Beside him, Grace rolled onto her belly and then pressed her side to his with a satisfied sigh. She was cold, he guessed, judging by the amount of pretty, bare skin he saw at the moment. She'd nearly rolled out from beneath the covers completely.
He covered her up and then ran a hand down her back, enjoying the luxury of being able to touch her just because he wanted to, thinking of what an incredible night they'd had. He remembered kissing her softly, laughing with her, in absolute awe of the woman who showed him what his body was still capable of, looking so proud of herself after she gave him the most surprising and most satisfying orgasm of his life. Adding happily and matter-of-factly,
Didn't know you could do that.
And hadn't that been a delicious revelation?
He'd been ready to give her that same, torturously slow treatment she'd given him, until it had become clear she was already so close to the edge herself from what she'd done to him. So he'd given her what she wanted instead, watching her come apart beautifully in his arms with almost no effort at all on his part.
And then, relaxed and happy, his body flooded with all kinds of natural, feel-good chemicals for a change, it seemed he'd fallen asleep on her. Or maybe she'd fallen asleep on him. Hopefully, they'd fallen asleep on each other.
From his spot in front of the door, Tink whined again.
Aidan looked once more at the woman lying in bed beside him and then said to the dog, "I have never hated you more than I do right this minute."
Then he covered Grace up, kissing nothing more than the back of one of her shoulders, and got up to let the dog out. Tink trotted into the great outdoors, then looked back at Aidan, standing naked in the cold of the doorway, and cocked his head, as if to say,
You're not coming, too?
"Just do what you absolutely have to do," he told the dog, then closed the door for a moment.
He went back to Grace, curled up under the blanket, the firelight dancing all through her pretty, blonde hair, along that gorgeous skin of hers. He had to be the luckiest man alive then, he decided, thinking of her sweet, tender hands, her kind heart and her gorgeous, willing mouth.
Never would have taken her for the kind of woman to order a man around in bed—or for him to be the kind of man to like it—but God, it had been hot. He'd ached to touch her. His jaw had actually hurt from clenching it tight to try to keep quiet, to keep from begging her to give up and let him do what he wanted.
And then he'd fallen asleep before he could do anything more than make her come once, hard and fast, not nearly what he'd wanted to do for her. He'd wanted to dazzle her, fuss over her, pay her back by tormenting her as she'd done to him.
He reached out and brushed a hand through that gorgeous hair of hers. She made a tiny sound of pleasure and eased a bit closer to him. She was a snuggler, or maybe it was just too cold in this cabin for her, with nothing but the fire and him for heat.
He leaned over and nuzzled his nose against her hair—she smelled so good—and let his hand slide beneath the covers and find bare skin at the small of her back, just needing to touch her again. When he closed his eyes, he could still see her, leaning over him, running her hands over his body and then over her own, that sexy smile she gave him, the incredible sight of Grace, his good girl, going down on him with such abandon.
He wanted more of her, right then. But she still had faint shadows under her eyes, months of not sleeping well, no doubt. She'd been sleeping a good ten hours a night here, and he didn't want to interfere with that. She obviously needed the rest.
So he dragged himself away from the bed of most beautiful woman in the world. He'd take the dog for a long morning walk, work the tightness out of his muscles and hopefully make it back before she got out of bed. He got wood from the pile by the cabin and let the dog back in. While Aidan built up the fire again, the dog nabbed his spot in the bed next to Grace, looking at Aidan as if to say,
She likes me more than you.
So Aidan was laughing as he got into the bathroom, and when he glanced in the mirror, to his great surprise, the man staring back at him looked very much like himself, not that battered and beaten-down version of him that had come back from Afghanistan the last time.
That's what she'd done to him. Made him laugh. Made him happy. In that moment, looking at himself in the mirror, his legs nearly gave way beneath him, his whole body feeling like it was not quite his own as he thought about how close he'd come to not being here at all. What would it have been like to have never met her? He simply couldn't imagine that, felt certain that this woman was meant to be here and a part of his life.
He thought about that a lot as he walked that morning. His muscles would be in knots if he didn't, and he had a reason—an important reason—for wanting to be a hundred percent recovered physically. He could do that. It should be so much easier now that he actually wanted to.
He got to the spot on the road where he made calls and dialed his shrink. He had the Captain's personal cell phone number. That's the kind of shape he was in. The doctor picked up right away.
"Lieutenant Commander Shaw? This is a surprise."
"Captain, you said I could call anytime," he reminded the doctor.
"I did. You just never have, except when you've been ordered to do so, and this isn't one of your mandatory check-in days. What's going on?"
"I need you to be absolutely honest with me."
"All those times you told me I could get past this—you weren't bull-shitting me?"
"No, I wasn't. I don't lie to my patients."
Aidan could breathe a little easier. "It sure as shit hasn't felt like I would."
"I know. People feel exactly like that, like it won't ever get better. That's depression talking, Commander."
"And you were right, I didn't... It's not that I actively didn't want to get better. That would have taken too much energy, too much effort, more than I had. I just didn't care if I got better or not, so I wasn't trying."
"I know. People feel that way, too. And they still get better."
"Say it again," Aidan had to ask. "I need to hear it again."
"You're going to get better. I think you're going to be fine. I know, because I've been through this with patients before. I know how this works. I know just how bad you've felt, how hopeless. It's nothing I haven't dealt with before. I know how to help you, and I'm very glad you're finally ready to let me."
God, that was amazing to hear. He hadn't believed it before. He'd nodded and said nothing, not ready to let anyone in on just how bad he'd felt. It had been too bizarre to admit even to himself.
"You can trust me, Commander," the doctor said.
"Okay. So, how does this work? Do I have to come back there?"
"Ordinarily, I'd say yes. But whatever you're doing, wherever you are, seems to agree with you." The doctor offered him a day and a time to talk at length the following week, which Aidan agreed to do. "Commander, what happened to change your mind about everything?"
"A woman," he admitted.
The doctor laughed. "Good for you."
"I don't want to hurt her. I don't want to be unfair to her, asking her to get involved with me, when I'm such a damned mess."
"You've been through a serious trauma and a major, clinical depression. But people get over both. They get better."
"I've told her what I went through, and she's still here."
"Good. That's very good. Women are a lot stronger than men like to think they are."
"Yes, sir. Thank you."
"Thank you, Commander. This is the kind of call that makes my day."
Aidan clicked off his phone and sat there for a long time, trying to take that in, the promises, the reassurances, the hope. God, he wanted to hope. He wanted Grace. He wanted his life back. He wanted to be with her, take care of her, be free to love her. And he was a man who hadn't wanted anything, hadn't cared about anything, in months.