Read In McGillivray's Bed Online
Authors: Anne McAllister
“Let me,” she said.
But he didn't. He pressed her back into the mattress, and traced the line of soft lace across her breasts with his finger, his touch light. It was like a feather, teasing a response from her.
She squirmed. He smiled, and then followed his feathering touch with his tongue.
“Hugh!” She arched up off the bed and fisted her hands in his hair.
But he didn't stop. He continued to lave her hot skin, his tongue dipping and teasing beneath the fabric as his hands worked deftly to free her breasts at last. So that when he finally did lift his head, the dampness he'd left on her burning flesh was cool in the night air.
“Tease,” she muttered.
He grinned lopsidedly. “Just making up for lost time. I've been thinking about doing that for days.” He settled back and looked down at her again, smiling his satisfaction at her near-naked body.
“You have?” She was surprised. Then curious. “What else have you been thinking about?” she asked him disingenuously.
“This.” His hands roved over her breasts, tracing circles on them, coming closer and closer to her taut nipples. Then he dipped his head and kissed first one and then the other,
his soft hair brushing against her as his mouth moved to press a line of kisses down her abdomen.
Then he lifted his head. “And this,” he told her. He shifted his position deftly, without her even realizing he'd done it, so that instead of straddling her thighs, he was now between her knees. He was still kneeling himself, but was free now to caress her thighs, to run his hands up the insides of them, to tease the tender flesh there.
Syd trembled and ran her tongue over her lips, trying desperately to stay absolutely still, to pretend indifference, to deny how powerfully his touch affected her.
Until he touched her there.
Right there. Just there.
“Oh!” The cry escaped her without her even knowing she'd done it, until she saw him smile, then do it again. And again. And again.
He was stroking her, caressing her, opening her, stoking the fire within her. Making her writhe. Making her hips arch. Making her clench her toes and bite her lip as she tossed her head from side to side.
And then the stroking slowed, gentled. His touch grew lighter. And Syd clenched her teeth, hating the slowness, the gentleness of his touch. She wanted it deeper, harder, faster.
She was only vaguely conscious of the wind and rain now. The hammer of rain on the roof was nothing to the hammering of her own heart. The storm within was building inexorably. He was making love to her, playing her as if she were a violin.
But it wasn't enough. She hadn't said, make love
me. She'd said
me. She wanted to make love to him, too.
And so she resisted the storm he was unleashing within her, fought her own inclination to simply give in and go with it. This wasn't just about her. It was about
Both of them. That's what love wasâsharing.
And so she reached to touch him, too.
He jerked at her touch and his breath hissed out between his lips as his whole body seemed to tense. “SSSSSyd!”
Now it was her turn to smile.
“Yes?” Her gaze was slumbrous, her eyes heavy-lidded, but she watched him unblinkingly, learning his reactions, reveling in the power she had to make him tremble, to cause him to clench his teeth, to go rigid in an effort to hold perfectly still.
At first her touch was featherlight, caressing the length of him. She felt a shudder run through him and watched him clench his teeth. Then she curved her fingers around him, wrapping him in the warmth of her hand, making him swallow a groan.
They tempted, they teased, they touched.
And then simple touches weren't enough for either of them. They needed more. Hugh pushed forward into the heat of her body, sheathing himself in her, and Syd guided him, savored him, drew him in, then wrapped her legs around him and locked them together. As their bodies met, so their gazes did. And Syd gave him her heart in her eyes. His were so dark as to be unreadable.
But he never looked away. Never shut her out as he began to move, filling her, making a place for himself inside her.
That was it exactly. And Syd wanted him. Needed him. Welcomed him home.
She arched to meet his thrusts, wrapped her arms around him, clinging for dear life as he shattered and she gave herself up to the storm.
in heaven, what a mess.
It was the first thought Hugh hadâwhen he finally managed a coherent one.
It was at least an hour after he'd made love to herâand she to himâbefore he even remembered his own name. Right after their lovemaking he'd been drained, body and
soul. He hadn't cared if the roof leaked, if the house creaked or if the whole island blew away.
It was all he could do to roll over and hold her in his arms, to listen to the thunder of her heart beating in time with his own and drift on the sensations still shuddering like aftershocks through his body. It had been the most incredible experience of his lifeâmore memorable even than when he'd soloed in his first plane.
And yetâ¦it was wrong.
Syd was asleep, happy for the moment in her dreams. He could see her cheek curve as she smiled.
But he wasn't smiling. He didn't know what to do next.
He knew what he shouldn't have done. But it was too late to change that now.
He'd been a fool to make love to her. But he hadn't been able to help himself. He'd gone to her because she'd goaded him, because he'd wanted her for days, because no matter what he'd done to get rid of it, the lust he felt hadn't gone away.
Sleep with her, damn it,
he'd told himself.
It's what she wants, after all!
She'd said so herself.
And maybe that would do the trick.
So he'd set aside the very scruples that had kept him from taking Lisa Milligan to his bed.
He had made love to Sydney St. John for all the wrong reasons.
And for all the right ones, too. And that was the most terrifying thing of all.
He loved her.
Which meant that she was still in his system. Dug in deeper than ever. Under his skin like no womanânot even Carinâhad ever been before. It was worse than loving Carin. Far worse.
He had never made love to Carin Campbell. Had wanted to for years. Or so he'd thought. But now he couldn't imagine it.
His mind had no room for any other woman. It was filled
with images of Syd naked beneath him, Syd in the throes of passion, Syd taking him into her body, Syd shattering in his arms.
He had never met a woman who had affected him like Syd. Never met one who had captured him, heart and soul, blotting all the others out of his mind. Loving Syd had made him forget that Carin Campbell even existed.
He knew now that what he'd felt for Carin had been a dream. The fantasy of a young man's hopes pinned on the wrong woman for him.
Carin had known that.
Now Hugh knew it, too.
He knew how different that was from what he felt for Syd. She had been in his arms. He had loved her. Still did.
No one else.
No one else.
For all the good it did.
He knew himself. Knew his strengths and weaknesses, his reach and his limitations. He couldn't be Mr. Corporate Husband while his wife ran St. John Electronics. And even if he could, it didn't matter because Syd would never want to marry him.
They had been using each other from the very start.
She had used him to avoid marrying Roland. He had used her to keep Lisa from infiltrating his life. Tonight she had wanted him to make love to her not because she was in love with him but because it had been part of her emancipation. One more way of declaring herself her own person, free of her father and Roland Carruthers.
Just because she had turned her back on Roland Carruthers, that didn't mean she'd turned her back on sex.
Syd was a vital passionate woman. Who knew that better than him? From the very beginning something had sparked between them. Had it been chemistry? Hormones? An itch she'd wanted to scratch?
Whichever. Hugh had been elected to scratch it.
And that was that.
There had been no “I love youâ¦”
Because she didn't.
He'd been a means to an end. No more, no less.
Syd had never seen Hugh this quiet. Of course she knew he was exhausted. She didn't have to be told that his flight back from Miami had been harrowing, even though he'd pretended otherwise. And she knew that their frenzied desperate lovemaking had shattered her, so it seemed only right to expect it had taken a toll on him as well.
But she had slept afterward. She didn't know about Hugh.
Every time she had lifted her gaze to look at his face, his eyes were open. He had been staring into the distanceâat the ceiling, out the window, anywhere but at her.
And when she called him back to her, when she whispered his name or touched his cheek with her fingers or pressed a kiss into his shoulder or along his jaw, he looked at her then, but only briefly. He smiled, but it seemed a sad smile, a distant smile.
She told herself he loved her. He had to.
He couldn't possibly have made love like that and not cared. Could he?
They had slept together all night long. He held her in his arms.
But all the words she wanted to hear, he never spoke.
And now, this morning, when she awoke, he wasn't there.
His side of the bed was cold and empty, and Syd felt a moment's panic, as if the memory had been a dream and the reality was that he hadn't come back at all.
But then she heard his voice outside, talking to someone, sounding easy and normal, and she knew it hadn't been a dream. And for a few minutes she lay back and dared to hope.
The sun was shining. The air was fresh. There was only
the slightest breeze coming in off the sea. She dressed and went out onto the porch to find that he had put everything back on itâthe hammock, the porch swing, the shelves with the snorkeling gear, even the stack of magazines.
Exactly the way she'd had it.
What about getting his life back? Doing things the way
wanted them done? What about that?
She smiled. Her hopes rose a notch.
He hadn't seen her yet. He was shoveling hard and furious, his back already slick with sweat as he cleared the sand off the walk.
“Good morning,” she said.
He jerked, then swung around, but his eyes were hooded, his expression unreadable. “Morning.”
She almost said something about the way he'd put things back on the porch, then decided she'd better not. So she contented herself with “I can't believe how beautiful it is. Cool. Quiet. You'd never think that last night we nearly got blown away. What a difference a day makes.”
Their gazes metâand though she was sure this time what he was thinkingâthat today things were indeed different between them than yesterdayâshe still didn't have a clue what he thought about that.
And he wasn't going to tell her. He simply nodded. “Yeah.”
Then he turned and gazed out toward the beach and the sea, which now lapped calmly on the sand. “Turk Sawyer just came by. Wanted to know if you'd like to go scavenging with him and the Cashes.”
“Looking for stuff after the storm. He said he told you that they got a lot of good stuff that way. They're going out this morning. Thought you might like to come along. You can see 'em down the beach there.” He jerked his head toward the point and, through the bushes, Syd could just make out three small figures moving slowly down the beach. One was pushing a wheelbarrow.
“Turk said if you wanted, you were welcome to catch up with them. They'd be glad to have you along.” He looked as if he was surprised to be reporting such an invitation.
Syd was gratified to have received it. It meant she had connected with Turk and the Cash brothers. It meant she hadn't lost her touch.
Not with most people, anyway. She wasn't sure about Hugh.
She wished he would smile at her, wished he would lean his shovel against the wall and come to her and take her in his arms.
But she'd pushed him as far as she dared. The rest was up to him.
Maybe if she went with Turk and the Cashes, he would have time to think about what had happened between them. Or maybe he would ask her to stay and spend the morning with him.
“I believe I will go,” she decided. “Unless,” she added, “you'd rather I stuck around?” She made it a question, but she didn't want to hint too broadly.
Hugh shrugged and went back to shoveling. “Have a good time.”
work was good for what ailed you.
His father had always said that. So had Aunt Esme. The U.S. Navy certainly believed it.
Hugh believed it, too.
But hard work wasn't helping this time. Not helping at all. He spent the morning shoveling and sweeping and cleaning and reopening the shutters and doing whatever repairs needed to be done. The house looked greatâbetter than it ever had.
Then he started on the roof. He'd bought the shingles last year, but he hadn't bothered to put them on because the rains hadn't been bad. Now it seemed like a good time
to get to work. And from up there he could keep an eye on Syd and the oldsters as they ambled down the beach.
He'd been amazed when Turk had appeared this morning, voluntarily coming to seek her out. Turk and the Cashes might not be bona fide recluses, but they were very close. And yet Syd had charmed them. She'd talked to them about their work, encouraged them to talk to her. It was clear that all three old men were pretty impressed by her.
“She's got a way about her, that 'un,” Turk said.