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Authors: Sandra Hill

Heart Craving

BOOK: Heart Craving
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Table of Contents

Praise for
Heart Craving

“This little sizzler will leave you breathless.”

—Bell, Book & Candle

“Sandra Hill delivers a spicy, sexy romp about a man desperate enough to try anything to salvage his marriage.”

—Jill Smith,
Romantic Times Magazine

“Sunflowers, tattoos, mega-sized cats, and VW convertibles make this a story to remember . . . Burning passions that scorch the pages . . . Sandra’s pen is really smoking.”

—Karen Ellington,
The Literary Times


. . .
few authors can fuse erotica with drop-dead humor like Hill
.

—Publishers Weekly

Other Sandra Hill Titles from Bell Bridge Books

Saving Savannah
(a novella)

A Dixie Christmas

(anthology)

Santa Viking
(anthology)

’Twas the Night
(with Trish Jensen and Kate Holmes)

Heart Craving

by

Sandra Hill

Bell Bridge Books

Copyright

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons (living or dead), events or locations is entirely coincidental.

Bell Bridge Books
PO BOX 300921
Memphis, TN 38130
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61194-491-4
Print ISBN: 978-1-61194-510-2

Bell Bridge Books is an Imprint of BelleBooks, Inc.

Copyright © 1996 by Sandra Hill
Saving Savanna
Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Hill

Printed and bound in the United States of America.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

A mass market edition of this book was published in the LOVESCAPE anthology from Leisure Books in 1996

We at BelleBooks enjoy hearing from readers.
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10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Cover design: Debra Dixon
Interior design: Hank Smith
Photo/Art credits:
Couple (manipulated) © Mystock88photo |
Dreamstime.com

:Mchy:01:

Dedication

To all women, regardless of age or culture or background, who yearn for those ethereal things men do not understand: “heart cravings.”

To those good men who try, but just don’t get it.

And especially to those men who try and do get it. Their women are the luckiest of all.

Chapter One

You can’t keep a good man down
 . . .
uh, out
 . . .

NICK DICELLO POUNDED on the apartment door with one fist. The other clutched the legal document he’d just received from the subpoena server he’d been dodging for weeks.

“Paula! Paula, are you in there? Answer the door!”

The only response was the wild barking of a dog.

He took a key out of his back pocket and tried, unsuccessfully, to open the door. “Damn! She must have changed the lock.”

Nick pressed his forehead wearily against the cold wood of the doorframe, then stiffened with determination. Paula wasn’t going to hide from him this time.

A locked door. No problem. Not for a cop in Newark, New Jersey. Hell! Not for a guy who’d grown up on the streets of Newark, either.

Pulling a flat leather pouch from the inside pocket of his sport coat, he selected a small tool. Within seconds, he was inside.

He braced himself for the sound of her security alarm, but silence greeted him.
The same old Paula!
he thought, with disgust. He closed the door after him and checked the keypad. Yep, despite his nagging, she’d forgotten once again to turn on the alarm system.

The dog leaped forward then and almost knocked him to the floor. Backing him up against the wall, the huge German shepherd stood on its hind legs and put its lethal front paws on his chest.

“How ya doin’, Gonzo?”

The dog lapped his tongue across Nick’s face in reply.

He pushed the dog aside with an affectionate ruffle of his fur and walked around the familiar room, checking the door with its numerous locks, the windows, and the high tech, direct-link police security console—unplugged and obviously never used.

Satisfied that everything was okay, Nick dropped down into a chair, planning to wait for Paula’s return. He flicked on the remote for the TV and surfed the channels, stopping at
A Woman’s Edge, with Dr. Sheila Storm
.

Lord, what do women see in this broad?

Dr. Sheila was interviewing a bunch of psycho psychics who claimed they could help people improve their love lives.

“Hah!” he remarked to Gonzo, who sprawled at his feet adoringly. It was nice to have someone show a little appreciation for him. Even if it was only a dog.

Pointing to the TV, he told Gonzo, “Women believe all this relationship crap, you know, but we men know better.”

“Woof!”
Gonzo agreed.

“If women would just tell men what they really want, instead of expecting us dumb schmucks to figure it out on our own, there wouldn’t be any need for scam shrinks. Or divorce,” he added bleakly.

Gonzo gave him one of those male looks that said, “Women! Go figure!”

“So, how’s your love life, boy? Better than mine, I hope.”

Before Gonzo had a chance to respond, Nick heard water running in the bathroom down the hall. The shower.
Uh-oh!
Paula was home, after all.

Briefly, he considered joining her for a quick one.

Nah, she’s gonna be mad enough that I’ve broken into the apartment.

On the other hand . . .

He couldn’t stop picturing Paula. He knew exactly how she’d look. Her shoulder-length auburn hair slicked back wetly. Soap bubbles covering the nipples of her full breasts, sliding down her flat belly, through silky curls, onto her long, long legs.

Oh, hell!

His heart slammed against his chest wall, and he swallowed hard, forcing himself to look back at the TV, where another loony bird was now advising that men should find out what women crave.

Nick tried to listen, but he was unable to stop thinking about Paula in the shower. Remembering. And a long-neglected part of his body—the one with no common sense at all—jump-started into a full-blown, mind-blistering hard-on.

It had been
way
too long.

He slipped off his loafers, then his socks. Just testing, he told himself. He wasn’t
really
stupid enough to try joining her in the shower. Mentally patting himself on the back for his great self-control, he decided, like brain-dead men throughout the ages, to test himself just a little bit more by removing his slacks and jacket and shirt.

And the intelligence cells in his brain melted.

Testosterone took charge.

“Maybe Paula wouldn’t really mind my company. Maybe she’s as horny as I am.”

Gonzo rolled his eyes. That was doggie for, “It’s your funeral, buddy.”

Rub-a-dub-dub, clueless man style . . .

PAULA STOOD UNDER the shower, her face raised to the warm spray. She’d been there a long time, but still the tears kept coming.

Her lawyer had called a little while ago to tell her that the divorce papers had finally been served on Nick. Their hearing would be in one week.

“So, it’s finally over,” she said aloud.

“Never!” a harsh voice said, and Paula jumped with shock.

Nick opened the shower doors and stepped inside, totally, gloriously nude. At first, relief flooded over her that it wasn’t a stranger who’d broken into her apartment. But her relief soon turned to outrage.

“Nick, get out! You know our lawyers said we shouldn’t be talking.”

“Actually, it wasn’t talking I had in mind.” He smiled at her crookedly, his black hair already wet, beads of water rolling down his neck onto his broad shoulders.

Paula recognized the gleam of passion in his pale blue eyes, and it was impossible to ignore the powerful arousal standing out from his body—what Nick used to call a “blue steeler,” a particularly virile erection.

“No, Nick. My lawyer says we should stay away from each other. Let alone . . . you know.” She backed up against the tile wall and Nick followed. A predator, dangerous and out of control.

“What do lawyers know?” he murmured, pressing his body up against her, rubbing his crisp chest hairs against her sensitive skin. He moaned huskily with appreciation. “You’re my wife. I’m your husb—”

“No! We haven’t been husband and wife for a year,” she cried out and pushed against his chest, to no avail. “You creep! The last time I saw you was at Casey’s Tavern a month ago. You were three sheets to the wind, and your arm was wrapped around Sheila Zeppenzipper.”

“Zapper,” he corrected, putting his hands on her waist and nuzzling her neck.

“Huh?” Paula’s mind was fast turning fuzzy as Nick’s hands cupped her bottom and lifted her, parting her legs in the process. He fitted her to his hardness and moved against her rhythmically.

“Zeppenzapper, not zipper.” He lifted her higher so her breasts came level with his mouth, her toes barely touching the floor.

“Aaarrgh!” Paula wasn’t sure if she groaned over his semantics, or the excruciating pleasure of his mouth suckling her.

“And the reason I was drinking”—he explained with deceptive calmness, deliberately teasing her by pulling away, aware that she didn’t want him to stop—“is that I saw you on the other side of the room with your friends. And you were ignoring me. And I wanted to make you jealous.”

“Jealous! You’re a fool.”

“I know.” He appeared contrite with his black hair plastered to his head and water dripping down the fine bones of his face, like a little boy, but his innocent look was belied by the expert fingers working their magic between their bodies.

“You were trying to make me . . . oh, my . . . ah . . . jealous?” Her knees grew weak, and she tilted her hips forward, reflexively, accommodating his intimate caresses. “After punching Jerry Sullivan . . . stop that”—she slapped his hand away, only to have it move to another equally erotic place—“in the nose . . . the week before? Just because he delivered some . . . some . . . legal papers to my . . . uh . . . apartment?” She knew she was blabbering incoherently. She couldn’t help herself.

Paula hated her weakness. After refusing to see or talk to Nick in person the past year, how could she suddenly succumb to his advances? It must be because he’d caught her off guard, she told herself. And because, with the delivery of the divorce papers today, the clock had begun counting down the final hours of their marriage. Only seven more days.

“There’s a perfectly good explanation.” He brushed her lips with his, back and forth, coaxing her to open for him.

She jerked her head aside. “Huh? What explanation?”

He chucked her under the chin, knowing the effect he was having on her, and loving it. “An explanation as to why I punched Jerry Sullivan, honey. I thought he was your date.”

“Oh, you are incredible! He’s my lawyer, for God’s sake! But even if he was my date, you had no right to hit him.”

“I know. I know.” He closed his eyes on a deep moan as he lifted her once again, wrapping her legs around his waist.

She could barely hear over the roar of blood in her ears.

Taking his erection in his own hand, he placed himself against her.

“What did you say?” she choked out.

“I . . . don’t . . . know,” he whispered on a gasp. Before he’d barely entered her body, she began to convulse around him. “That . . . feels . . . so-o-o . . . good.”

It was her turn to gasp.

Trembling with hard-fought restraint, Nick embedded himself in her with one long stroke and began to push her against the shower wall. The stall shook with the force of his thrusts.

Her orgasm never stopped.

Over and over he moved inside her, hard, violent plunges into her woman’s center.

The small spirals of her climax widened, becoming harsher, longer in duration.

Nick seemed to grow larger inside her body’s sheath, reaching for her very womb.

It was over in minutes.

His neck arched backward with a guttural growl of masculine release.

Paula felt him jerk inside her, and she shuddered once more with a violent internal convulsion.

Drawing in deep draughts of air, Nick finally pulled away and let her feet slide to the floor. The shower continued to pelt them both with its hot spray.

Leaning back against the opposite wall, fighting for breath, he said, “I love you, Paula.”

Then he grinned with typical male self-satisfaction.

He probably expected her to swoon and say, “Oh, Nick, you are so wonderful. I forgive you everything.”

Instead, she swung her arm in a wide arc and punched him in the stomach.

Love hurts, for sure . . .

FIFTEEN MINUTES later, Paula padded into the living room in her bare feet, having donned only jeans and a T-shirt. She was still drying her hair with a towel.

“Nick, I told you to leave,” she said testily.

He’d combed his thick black hair off his face, but it was still wet from their shower. She tried to shut off her sensual awareness of him, but memories assaulted her. How many times, over how many years, had she seen him looking just like this?

She had trouble swallowing over the lump in her throat.

He was sitting in front of the television, fully dressed in khaki, pleated slacks, open-collared Oxford shirt, and navy blazer, watching
The Woman’s Edge
.

Dr. Sheila? Nick?

His long fingers were idly stroking Gonzo’s fur. The traitorous beast sat at his feet, making doggie sounds of slavish ecstasy. A lot like she had a short time ago.

Oh, Lord!

“We have to talk, Paula.” He waved the divorce papers at her angrily.

“Like we just did in the shower?”

“I didn’t plan that. That’s not why I came over here.”

“Hah! The devil made you do it, then?” She threw down her towel with disgust and finger-combed her hair back off her face.

“Nah, it was some other . . . being,” he countered and winked, looking down between his legs.

Well, she’d stepped into that one. But she’d had enough of his foolishness.

“Listen here, you big jerk. Don’t ever,
ever,
break into my apartment again and assault me. Because, believe me, I’ll have you arrested. And don’t think I can’t.”

“Assault! Hey, you’re suffering a memory lapse here, babe.” His strong chin lifted with affront. “You wanted it as much as I did.”

She felt her face flame. “Yeah, well, it’s not going to happen ever again. I’ll get a restraining order if I have to. I mean it. This marriage is over.”
So, why do I feel like he’ll always be mine?

“If you think a restraining order would stop me, you’ve got another thing—”

Holding up a hand to halt his bitter words, Paula tried another tack. “While you’re here, Nick, there is something I wanted to tell you.” Her voice softened. “I got my master’s degree last week. Finally.”

“Oh, Paula, that’s wonderful!”

She knew that Nick’s enthusiasm was genuine. She’d been an elementary school teacher, attending college at night the past three years to get a master’s degree in social work. He, more than anyone, knew how much time and heart she’d put into her studies.

BOOK: Heart Craving
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