He teased at the seam of her lips and she opened for him, taking his tongue into her mouth as totally as she welcomed him into her body. He thrust again and again with bold confidence. He took her every bit as completely as she took him. The sex was raw and physical from a man who was more than her match yet never used that strength for anything other than her intense bliss.
The bristle of the hair on his legs brushed a sweet abrasion along her calves. And his chest, the whorls across his pecs, abraded against her nipples, teasing the ecstasy tauter, tighter inside her. He made love with total physicality, using every part of his body to love her. His mouth cruised her neck, her earlobe. His fingers found the most sensitive pressure points. Alternately lighter and stronger touches found erogenous zones in places she’d never expected. He must be putting that medical training to good use and she couldn’t bring herself to regret his calculation for even a second, since it brought her closer and closer to release until…
She plunged over the edge, freefalling into gripping spasms tightening through her again and again. A moan built in her throat and tore free. Echoed in her ears. Resonated inside her as he thrust, pounded, drew out her orgasm until she thought surely that was all. But as his hoarse shout of completion ripped through the air, a fresh bolt of pleasure shuddered through her already exhausted body until she melted into a limp mass onto his chest.
More than anything, she wanted to stay tangled up in the moment with the warmth of each other and the fire, the sensuous brush of the fur rug, and Wade against her. She wanted to linger, draw in the scent of them together, musky and mingling with the hint of smoke. And she would, for a few more stolen hours.
Panting from the exertion, the sheer power of the pleasure, she slid off him and onto her back. Gusts from the heater stirred the fur against her skin. The sleek pelt teased her all over, from the side of her cheek to the flattened palms of her hands to the lingering moist heat between her legs.
As the perspiration dried on her naked flesh she couldn’t ignore the truth. She’d just experienced the best sex of her life.
And after tonight she could never see him again.
He could see the dim light in the third-floor apartment window, but not much else since they’d drawn the shades.
Keeping surveillance, Deputy Rand Smith ducked down in his crappy rental van. But then what vehicle didn’t turn into rusted-out shit eventually around here? He’d come up to Alaska from Oklahoma, hoping to make some serious money working security shifts in the oil fields. Fat chance. He hadn’t been able to land anything other than a near-poverty-wage deputy job in a tiny-ass town on Bristol Bay. He couldn’t get hired anywhere civilized like here in Anchorage or Fairbanks or Juneau. He hadn’t even been able to save enough money to get back home…
Until Brett had approached him about pulling some private security hours over at the Alaska Peninsula Power Plant. His whole life was turning around now that he was making the kind of income he deserved. He wouldn’t screw this up. He wasn’t a loser like his drunken father always said.
Rand sipped his fourth cup of coffee to stay awake and keep warm. He was running on fumes after traveling all night from the mountain, flying to make it to Anchorage, but his options were fading fast if he wanted to stay alive. And he did. There was no running away from what he’d joined, with smuggling terrorists and weapons into the U.S. With big payoffs came big risks. And people like Brett and his Russian mob associates killed those who failed very, very slowly.
He had his orders. Make sure Sunny Foster never led anyone to her mountain village. Brett needed that unknown patch of earth as a hiding place. Kind of like laundering money through businesses, he laundered people through that community, solidifying their new identities.
Having Sunny out in the open endangered all of that. The second she stepped away from her hulking military bodyguard, a gun to her side should silence her until he could stash her in the back of his rental van. Then, she would die.
But he wasn’t like Brett and his “associates.” He would at least make sure Sunny’s death was quick. The same way he’d done for her friends on the mountain.
Enjoying just watching Sunny breathe, Wade rested on his side, propped on an elbow. With his other hand he skimmed his fingers along her arm as the early-morning sun streaked through the window. There was good sex and great sex. Then there was sex with Sunny, which took great to a whole new level.
He hadn’t been alone in the feeling. He could see, feel, hear her response each time. The power of it still echoed in his memory, and he wanted her again, something he couldn’t imagine easing up anytime soon.
Problem was, he’d seen the barriers returning to her eyes before she’d drifted off to sleep on the rug beside him. They’d never made it to the bed. He’d pulled a blanket and a couple of throw pillows from the sofa rather than disturb her, then started his vigil watching over her in between catnaps. The warmth of her naked body, every curve fitting against him, made him want to stay awake and catalog the feel, the scents. Somewhere around four in the morning, her dog had curled up on a corner of the blanket, staring him down with those two different colored eyes, daring Wade to make him move.
A sigh slipped from her mouth a second before she stretched, her feet inching out from under the wool blanket he’d picked up at an Inuit festival last summer. Sunny’s lashes fluttered open. She stared around the room with disoriented eyes until her gaze landed on him and cleared. Strange how a person could smile and frown at the same time. He stared back silently, waiting to take his cue from her.
She looked away first. “You should be resting. You’ve been through a lot, parachuting out of a helicopter, rescuing me, getting shot.”
“Grazed. And are you telling me to go to bed?” His knuckles detoured over her stomach. “As long as you join me, I’m game.”
She laughed, a forced sound that didn’t come close to filling the space between them. “That would necessitate walking, and I don’t think I can manage that just yet.”
“Then we can stay put right here.” He stoked the embers in the grate and tossed on another log before reclining back with a barely disguised wince.
The need for sleep clawed at him, but he couldn’t rest until he could be sure she would still be around when he woke up. As if he could anchor her here a while longer, he draped the Inuit blanket over her again to cover her escaped toes. The wings of the raven woven into the print seemed to wrap around her protectively, the way he burned to do.
Settling beside her, he curled an arm around her waist. “I make amazing chocolate chip pancakes.”
She laughed again, more freely this time. “Sounds positively… unhealthy.”
“Whipped cream and all, which is not limited to use on the pancakes. I have a sweet tooth.”
“I noticed from your kitchen.” Sunny captured his hand, her thin fingers linking with his with surprising strength. “I have to go, you know that.”
Yeah, he’d gotten that vibe and didn’t like how much the thought of her leaving unsettled him. “You’re a bit underdressed and most of the world’s still asleep. We may be in a town bigger than yours, but we’re still not in the City That Never Sleeps.”
“Huh?” She gave him a blank look, her hazel eyes uncomprehending.
“New York City… the City That Never Sleeps… Never mind. Explaining jokes doesn’t work.” Just like the whole “Free Bird” moment back in the cave, it was as if she had holes in her vocabulary.
“Point made. We’re in Alaska.” Her words were hurried, embarrassed almost. “The pace is slower. This whole huge state is like a small community.”
How secluded was her mountain town? “And where exactly in Alaska would you be from, in case I wanted to call you for pizza and a movie?”
She sat up abruptly, blanket clutched to her chest. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.” She held out her arm for Chewie to sit beside her, her fingers disappearing into the dog’s black-and-white coat. “Unless I misunderstand, your job takes you away most of the time, and even when you’re around, dating me? Well, the commute’s a bitch.”
“Hey, I’m only talking about a date. And as for the commute, doesn’t everyone around here hitch rides on all the little planes like they’re buses or taxis?” He wasn’t in the market for anything long-term, especially not with a deployment to Afghanistan coming up soon. He tugged a strand of her hair, the same chestnut brown, rich color of the woven blanket. “Why don’t you leave it to me to decide if I can handle the trek? Starting when I take you back.”
“You aren’t going to go with that ‘You’re my mission’ line again, are you?”
“That would be pointless.”
“I’m glad you understand.” She tipped her head, easing her hair from his hand, her emotional walls all too clear.
“So you want me to do what, exactly?”
She studied him warily, her eyes as narrowed and standoffish as the dog’s. “I do need help, obviously. There should be money wired to me by the morning. That’s why I needed to use your computer. So it’s only a matter of finding out which bank to go, which will be in an email.”
“And if the money’s not already there this morning?”
Her hold tightened around her dog’s neck. “I don’t want to borrow trouble. Let’s wait and see.”
Frustration chewed through him, damn near buzzing in his ears, louder and louder. Until he realized his cell phone was vibrating on the kitchen table. Ignoring the call wasn’t an option. It could be work, and if he had to leave, she wouldn’t even be here when he returned.
Damn it all. For once he didn’t look forward to the rush of a new mission. He shoved to his feet and padded barefoot and naked across the room. He couldn’t even take heart in the fact he felt Sunny’s eyes following him every step of the way.
He snatched his phone from the table, and sure enough, a number with a prefix from the base flashed across the screen. “Sergeant Rocha speaking.”
“Wade, my friend.” Major McCabe’s voice filled the earpiece with none of his normal lighthearted humor. “You’d better sit down. The National Guard just checked in after retrieving those two bodies.”
“There weren’t just two bodies.”
His gut clenched. His eyes shot to Sunny. “How many?”
“Thirteen, for now, including the pair you found. But there could be more. They’re still scouring the site. And every one of them was murdered, throat slashed.”
The memory of Ted and Madison staring up sightlessly through the ice slammed through his brain. He plowed a hand through his hair and wondered how to break this news to the woman staring at him intently from across the room. The woman who would be devastated when she found out the news. “Thanks for letting me know.”
So he could make damn sure Sunny didn’t take off on her own once that cash transfer came through.
“This isn’t just a courtesy call,” McCabe continued. “Since you’re involved, Special Agent Lasky with our OSI is working with local cops. We need for you both to come to base to look at some pictures, see if she recognizes any of the faces.”
His eyes raked over her protectively and he balked at the notion of exposing her to more violence, putting those images in her brain forever. She stared back at him curiously, her arms still around her dog’s neck, the blanket draped over her. He wanted to freeze this moment, because without a doubt, he knew in his gut that life was about to go to hell hard and fast.
And while he couldn’t protect her from she was about to see, no way was he letting her out of his sight.
Misty tugged the zipper on her backpack as slowly as she could. Not that it made any difference. Her sister wasn’t going to walk through that kitchen door this morning. Sunny wasn’t going to insist she eat some whole grain tofu crap for breakfast so that Misty could fake fits of gagging.