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Authors: Sidney Bristol

LineofDuty (10 page)

BOOK: LineofDuty
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He thrust harder, the sound of their joining bodies, pants
and moans mixing together, weaving a lust-born spell.

Nicole’s grip tightened and she let out a long moan a second
before orgasm rolled through him. He rocked against her, the vibrator trapped
between them, drawing the climax out until pleasure turned to pain. He buried
his face in her shoulder and tossed the vibrator on the floor. She slumped in
his hold, panting into his hair.

Jake lay down, cradling her close. His muscles were so worn
out he almost dropped her, but managed to get horizontal without incident. He
smoothed her hair away from her face and kissed her brow.

He loved this woman so much.

For several minutes they lay entwined, the buzz of the
vibrator keeping him from slipping into sleep. Finally he got up on shaky legs
and turned it off, carrying it into the bathroom.

He rinsed the vibrator off and cleaned himself up. Nicole
followed him a few minutes later, her cheeks pink and a slightly dazed smile on
her face. They glanced at each other as they shuffled around, sharing the same
intimate space as they had in previous years.

It was easy, friendly even. As if the walls between them
were gone, not just cloaked in shadows, waiting for the morning.

He took her hand and led her back to the bed, helping her in
and curling in beside her. He cradled her head on his shoulder and squeezed her
fingers, content to hold her.

“I miss you,” he said into the darkness.

She grew still for several moments and didn’t reply. Maybe
his admission had startled her?

“I miss us,” he added. “The way things were.”

“Me too.” She paused. “I just don’t know if we can get back
there.”

“We can try.”

“Then why haven’t we?” She peered up at him and though the
darkness masked her features, he knew a world of hurt stared back at him. He’d
failed her. There was no other way around the facts and he had to own his
mistakes.

“I thought we were. I thought you needed time and space,” he
replied.

“I needed you.”

“I know that now. But I didn’t then.”

“I told you I needed you.”

“Yes, but I didn’t know what that meant. Baby, I was just as
lost as you were.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about this right
now. I just want to go to sleep.” The watery quality of her voice, the way it
broke as she spoke, pierced his heart.

“Okay.” He pulled her against his chest and kissed the crown
of her head.

 

Diego sat in his borrowed car at the end of the street and
stared at the SUV sitting in the drive. It was the same standard-issue vehicle
most of SWAT drove. He grinned, barely able to contain his glee. Things were
going all right for him. Two of his so-called friends were out of commission
and now this. His plans were falling into place so well. He couldn’t have
anticipated things working out this way. Not in his wildest of dreams.

Jake Vant had returned.

The honey had drawn the bear.

Now to set the trap.

Chapter Seven

 

Nicole rose slowly to consciousness, but she didn’t want to.
It was so warm and pleasant in the darkness. A shiver stole up her spine and
she groaned, but something held her in place. The skin on her neck crawled and
she tried to twist away from it, but she couldn’t.

She blinked. Most of the room still obscured by darkness,
but a little light filtered in through the window, signaling dawn was close at
hand. A dark shape loomed over her but she knew the scent. Soap, aftershave and
mints.

Jake.

His lips traveled up the side of her throat. His hands caged
her, holding her in place, not that she was going anywhere now. Not with his
cock against her thigh and his mouth on her cheek.

The memories of sensual sex came back to her and her stomach
tied in knots. To have that again—she could have it now.

Nicole hooked her arm around his neck and pulled him down.
His weight settled perfectly on top of her, familiar. She wrapped her leg
around his thigh and cupped his face. Jake lowered his mouth to hers, allowing
her to guide him.

Their lips touched and her inner muscles quivered. She
lifted her hips, grinding their sexes together.

Yes!

That was what she wanted.

He left her mouth and kissed her face, her chin and back
down her neck. He gently bit the side, his teeth scoring her flesh. She arched
up into him, holding him close. She’d have to wear a scarf today. So what?

Fuck her coworkers. With a chainsaw.

That wasn’t what she wanted to think about. Not with Jake
with her.

Neither of them wore a stitch of clothing. They’d gone to
bed naked, skin on skin, and for that she was now immensely grateful. She
reached between their bodies and grasped his hardening cock, stroking the
velvety flesh. He hardened further in her hand, ready for the morning’s
exercise.

His breath fanned her cheek as she pumped him from root to
tip. His hips moved helplessly with her motions, urging her on.

She let go and pushed his shoulders. There was no way she
could move him unless he allowed it, and while she did like a good manhandle
treatment she wanted something else right now. He’d gotten his way against her
wishes and when she was weak. Now she wanted to give him a bit of his own
medicine.

He rolled, taking her with him so that she sprawled across
his chest. She pushed up, hands planted on his ribs, and straddled his thighs.
His cock pressed against her stomach, fully erect.

In the growing light she could make out his features, the
glint in his eye and a slight curl of his mouth.

She lifted up and grabbed his cock, positioned it at her
entrance and sank down. They groaned as he slid into her slick channel. It
wasn’t uncomfortable, not anymore. She fit him like a glove again, and she
hadn’t forgotten how to make him come.

Nicole leaned forward, sliding her breasts up his chest, and
sank back down on his length. The wiry hairs on his chest tickled her sensitive
nipples, adding a whole new level of sensation. She gripped one of his hands,
lacing their fingers together, and planted the other on the bed and repeated
the move, this time squeezing him with her internal muscles.

“Fuck,” he muttered.

Still got it.

Again and again she stroked his cock, need spiraling through
her. He dug his free hand into her hair and moved her faster, urging her on as
he began to thrust up to meet her movements. She moaned as warmth unfurled in
her belly and held on tighter.

Not yet.

She bent, kissing him, and slid her hands down his chest. He
caught her hand before it reached the point where their bodies connected and
pushed it to the mattress.

His gaze speared her even in the dimness. He replaced her
hand with his, thumbing her clit as she fucked him. She sat up, hands planted
on his abs, and tossed her head back.

“Fuck,” he growled. He never lasted as long as he wanted to
in the mornings.

He tweaked her clit ever so gently and she gasped as he
shoved up into her.

They came as one, groaning and shouting the orgasm as
muscles tensed and held, hands squeezed and her small seed of hope blossomed.

She collapsed forward onto his chest, breathing deep while
he smoothed her hair back away from her face. After several minutes she rolled
to the side. He pressed a quick kiss to her temple before rising and going into
the bathroom.

While he moved around in the next room, Nicole lay back,
hands laced together over her chest. She evaluated their relationship, trying
to put the sudden, intense emotions aside.

The sex was still good. They wanted each other. But would he
really be there for her? Could he?

She wanted to say yes but she couldn’t. Not in good faith.
Not yet.

Nicole rose and joined Jake, edging past him in the bathroom
she’d always complained was too small. In the new house, it was two or three
times the size, with a separate closet for the toilet, a shower stall and tub
big enough for two Jakes. Here it was a small space but it felt more intimate.

As they finished up in the bathroom, Jake paused in the
doorway, tipping her chin up with his knuckle. He studied her but nothing of
what he felt telegraphed through. She held her breath and waited for his
judgment, the findings of whatever he saw when he looked at her.

“I still love you. Do you know that?” he asked.

Her heart quaked and her knees grew rubbery. “I think so,
but it’s different to know you’re loved than to feel it.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

Jake wasn’t the kind of man to shy away from apologizing,
but his sudden about-face left her reeling. In the last few days he’d said more
to her, expressed his feelings and thoughts more than he had all year. It was
more than a little disorienting.

“Come on.” He took her hand and flipped off the light,
leading her back to bed.

She glanced at the clock and resisted the urge to groan. Her
alarm was going to go off in a few minutes, and then this little dreamland
would be gone.

Jake pulled her onto the mattress after him and flicked the
blankets over her legs. He fished something off the floor and turned on the
lamp.

“Is that necessary?” She glared at the light.

“If you want breakfast it is.”

He opened a white baker’s box with a collection of her
favorite donuts inside and offered her first pick.

“You fight dirty.” She selected a chocolate donut with a
liberal amount of sprinkles and bit into the soft, sugary goodness. “Mmm.”

“I thought you’d like them.” He pulled out a cinnamon twist
and tore off bite-sized chunks.

“When did you go get these?”

“Right before I woke you up. I couldn’t sleep. Got off duty
and went home and crashed for too long. Sleep schedule’s all screwed up.”

She nodded. It wasn’t unusual. They used to keep one of the
guest bedrooms made up for him to use when he wanted to sleep at odd hours and
not wake her up. The practice had died at the new house, though at times he’d
slept on the couch. He just hadn’t wanted to stay in one of the guest rooms
next to the nursery, and she couldn’t blame him.

“How bad was it yesterday?” she asked.

“Not bad. It was a clean sting.”

Nicole left it at that. There were some things she was okay
not knowing. The extent of his job was one of them. As long as he came home to
her, that was all that mattered. These moments they shared were precious,
because as much as she wanted to daydream about a family together, it wasn’t a
sure bet. Accidents happened all the time. He could get hurt or killed in the
line of duty.

God, I’m thinking like we’re back together already.

“Would it be so bad if you came home and we worked this out
together?” he asked, head tilted to the side, slanting his gaze toward her.

The donut seemed to go stale in her mouth. Was this what the
sex was about? Fuck her brains out and then reel her in?

She swallowed and placed the half-eaten pastry back in the
box.

“We haven’t fixed anything,” she said, studying the
comforter.

“I know, but we can.”

“If I come home, then what? We go back to the routine of not
talking and ignoring each other?” She shook her head. This wasn’t about
changing or fixing things, it was about conquering her and bringing her back to
his cave. “No, I’m not going home with you. I’ll stay here.”

“How are we supposed to fix things if you aren’t around?”
His tone rose and he dropped the twist back in the box.

So much for the power of donuts.

“We’ve been under the same roof with the same problems and
didn’t solve anything. Maybe we can’t glue the pieces back together, Jake.
Maybe we’re different shapes now.” She got the words out without crying,
without the watery quality in her voice. It hurt. It hurt so bad, like someone
was carving her heart out all over again.

“We can, you just have to want us to work.”

“I’ve wanted us to work out, Jake, but you weren’t around.
You checked out and left me. All I’m doing is trying to move on. Our marriage
has been empty since Willow died, and you won’t even acknowledge it.”

The buzzer on Jake’s phone began to blare. She rolled her
eyes. Of course. Saved by the job.

“This isn’t finished.” Jake pushed out of bed, glaring at
her.

“Great.” She rolled her eyes and got to her feet, slapping
her alarm to prevent it from going off.

She stepped into the walk-in closet to get some space, or
more accurately to hide. She sucked in a deep breath and squeezed back the
tears. Loving him might not be enough. The sex, however great, was a high price
to pay for a few more moments in the arms of the man she loved.

The door opened and Jake stepped in, brows two dark slashes
across his forehead.

She backed up until she hit the wall but he just kept
coming. He gently took her chin between his finger and thumb and tilted her
face up to him. The creases and the frown didn’t go away but he brushed her
cheeks, wiping away tears she hadn’t realized she’d cried.

“I’m not done loving you. Give me a chance to make this
right.” He wiped her other cheek and she sniffed, barely holding back the sobs
that wanted to rack her body. “I’ll be back. Tonight or in the morning, I’ll be
here. Don’t give up on me.”

Jake kissed her forehead, lingering there for a moment
before backing out the door.

She watched him go, and when she couldn’t see him anymore,
she listened to his footsteps, the close of the door, until she couldn’t
discern which sounds were him.

Nicole sank to the ground, pulling her knees up to her
chest, and sobbed. She’d thought not feeling was horrible—she’d been wrong. The
emotions, the sensation of having her heart ripped out of her chest and all of
her nerves tied into knots, this was horrible. She buried her face in her hands
and cried, for herself, for the pain, for what might be and what would never
be.

* * * * *

Jake hauled his gear into the unisex bathroom in the garage
and quickly changed into his uniform. He could still feel Nicole’s fingernails
on his skin and even smell her sweat on him.

Today was not the day he wanted to be on duty. Not when his
focus was at home, where he’d had to leave his wife crying. Fucking tears. He
hated them. Watching her cry tore him apart. He wanted to ram his fist into a
wall.

Someone knocked on the door.

“Just a minute,” he called out.

“Dude, we’re waiting on you,” Becca said on the other side
of the door.

“I’ll be out in a second,” he snapped, tucking in his shirt.

He rushed through suiting up and opened the door. Becca
stood on the other side, hair coiled into a tight bun, one brow lifted.

“What crawled up your ass?” she asked.

“None of your business.” He shouldered his bag and
side-stepped her.

Two SWAT units were congregating around the white dry-erase
board, half in partial states of dress, like him, while the others were ready.

“Are you shadowing me for a reason?” he asked Becca.

“You look like a raging rhino. Just wondering what’s up,”
she replied. “Is it your wife still?”

He glanced away. Thanks to his drowning his sorrows in a
bottle, everyone knew what was going on with his personal life. He’d have done
himself a favor if he just drank at home alone like any sensible officer did.
But no, he’d had to go out to do it.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” She headed away from him.

“Becca, wait.”

“Hmm?” She pivoted and paused for him to catch up.

“Yes, it’s Nicole.”

She nodded.

“Do you—would you have any suggestions on how to, I don’t
know, show her I’m up for change? Or whatever it is she wants?”

“I’m pretty sure you have to know what she wants in order to
get it for her.”

“Okay, she wants me to be there for her, but she won’t let
me be around her. How do I fight that?”

“Don’t fight it. If you push her, you’ll lose. I’m going to
make a lot of assumptions here, but something bad happened between you two,
right? Like a while ago?” Becca stared at him and damn if he didn’t want to be
anywhere else. Her piercing gaze had even him fidgeting.

“Yeah, something bad.”

“And then I’m guessing, since you were here all the time and
never home, you just sort of swept it under the rug and pretended to forget
about it?”

“Yeah.” When she said it like that, he was a fucking looser.

“My suggestion? Listen to her. She’s probably got an awful
lot of stuff to say you’ve never heard before. Once you know what she’s upset
about you can fix it. Girls are easy. We want someone to hold us, listen to us
and be with us. Except when we don’t. That’s when you leave a box of wine and a
bag of chocolate on the doorstep and get the fuck away.”

“Hey, gossip girls, care to join us?” Aaron shouted across
the garage.

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