The Drafter

Page 17

Heads bowed together, they held each other, and her shoulders eased when he reached behind her robe and ran his thumb down a line of her muscle. Exhaling, she looked at the ceiling as heartache was suddenly pushed out by desire. His hands rose to find her breasts, his motions trapped under her robe, somehow more throat-catching than if she’d been naked under him.

Peri curved her hands around him to feel the strength in his shoulders. Relations between anchors and drafters were expected, as it took commitment and trust to merely do their jobs, but love, real love, was frowned upon for just this reason. How could anyone prepare for the pain of loving someone who might forget them tomorrow?

She knew his frustration was because she was forever losing parts of herself, a renewable distraction with a reset button. He gave, and gave, and gave, but he needed her as much as she needed him. Today she remembered. That was all they ever dared to try to keep.

Peri traced the line of his shoulders, liking the sheen of hazy morning outlining his biceps. With a sigh, he dropped his head to find her breast with his mouth. Peri’s breath caught. Wanting more, she wrapped her legs around him and ran her fingers through his hair, following the curve of his head down to his neck and then his smooth chest. One by one, she outlined the defined edges of his abs, teasing as she reached down as far as she could. It wasn’t far enough.

Jack pushed her robe open. She shivered as the golden light bathed them. Her eyes met his, her own desire kindled deeper at the need rising in his gaze. With a happy sigh, she pulled him back to her, mildly frustrated that she couldn’t take his shirt off without making him stop what his lips were doing.

Her fingers stretched, reached, and finally, unable to resist, she slipped from the chair, sending it toppling over behind her as they knelt together. They kissed, the hint of his tongue sparking through her. His lips tasted of coffee and walnuts, the scent of hotel soap a whisper rising between them as their breaths quickened.

His hands moving, always moving, Jack’s kisses spun from her lips to her neck, becoming more aggressive. His grip became firmer, more demanding. She found his mouth again, and wouldn’t let him leave until she reached to pull his shirt over his head, her shoulder aching from her bruise.

But she got it off him. Relief was a flash, followed by wicked desire as she groped for his zipper. His teeth on her neck shocked through her. One hand traced his tight backside as the other unzipped his pants. He sighed as it went down, but she needed two hands for the button, and she teased until she got it undone and reached to find him.

She squirmed as he pushed her panties down, careful when he skimmed over her bruised hip, and she shivered as she met his mouth with hers, stiffening in delight when his hand traced a firm, demanding path up the inside of her thighs, defining her with his touch. He was a beautiful man, sculpted and toned by the needs of fast action and evading death, and her pulse quickened. He was hers. All of him. And she loved him.

Breathless, she sent her hands everywhere, gentle here, demanding there, until he found her breast again, and she gasped, back arched. They needed to reaffirm that they were both alive and that she was here with him and not dead on the floor of an upstairs corner office.

“Oh God. You’re going to be the death of me if you don’t do something more,” she whispered, almost humming with desire.

His lips lifted from her, and he smiled, reaching behind her to pull the cover off the bed. Her robe had come undone, and he lowered her to the faded bedspread, their passions hesitating as she sent her eyes over him, loving the way he looked, the way he made her feel.

He knelt above her, his pants kicked off and his shirt in a corner. In the rich light filtering through the curtains, he looked like an amber-skinned god. Peri traced the lines of his abs again, drifting lower to make him growl and lean down over her.

“Jack …,” she whispered, pushing suggestively into him, and then her hands on his shoulders tightened as he entered her, first warm, then cool as he withdrew and slipped within her anew. Breath fast, her motions became demanding, the pains from last night forgotten as he moved with her, his hands in her hair, his mouth on hers. She bit his lip, and he tilted his head, lunging into her neck with a motion that was both loving and aggressive. Her passions began to peak, and her grip on him grew tighter yet, pace quickening with a desperate need.

She wanted this, she wanted it now. The barest slowing, a widening of motion and catching of breath warned her, and she slowed, knowing it was close and wanting to prolong it. She strained, legs wrapped around him.

And then she found it, gasping with release as waves of ecstasy pulsed through her, shaking them both.

Jack groaned. His hands sprang from her hair as he clenched his fingers into the bedspread, shuddering. She could feel him inside her, and her body responded again as their motions with each other slowed and stopped, warmth eddying between them until all was still.

Panting, she slowly unkinked her hands from his backside, not remembering having put them there. Smiling, she looked up at him, liking what she saw in this moment of unguarded contentment. Sweat sheened his tanned skin, making him glow, almost. His eyes were still closed, his breathing heavy but slow.

She turned to see his hand dug into the bedspread beside her ear, still white-knuckled. There was a sock under the bed that she didn’t want to forget, her talisman button beside it. Not wanting time to move, she pulled him down to her to breathe him in. The floor was hard and the smell of dirt in the carpet unnoticed until now. A line of sun glowed in from under the door, and the scent of cheap soap and coffee added to her contentment.

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