There was no way she could lie to herself and call this a hometown fling. Not when being with Calvin was so much more than that. It was why she'd stayed away from him for so long. Because she'd known that if she ever let her defenses down, he'd be right there, stealing even more of her heart than he already had.
But hadn't she been strong for years? Hadn't it eaten through her soul to be that strong for so long? She'd spent so long worrying about complications. Couldn't she have one more night with him? One final night where he was hers and she was his?
She'd have to be strong again soon, she knew that. But with her grandmother in the hospital, with her career suddenly having more to do with yarn than Fortune 100 business development, with Calvin's eyes seeing things no one else ever had, as her fingers curled with tension into the sweater in her lap--suddenly all she could think was, One stitch at a time. No looking forward. No worrying about making it to the end.
She looked into his eyes, held his gaze, and let him see all her desire, all her longing. "I'm here now." For one more night.
A second later, Calvin was lifting her off the couch, her knitting sliding off her lap onto the cushions. "I don't want to waste one more second with you." And then he was making good on his words by kissing her as he took her back to his bedroom.
His mouth was magic, the first kiss he'd ever given her when they were teenagers having ruined her for anyone else. One small kiss was all it took for her knees to go weak, but there was nothing small about the way he was kissing her now. With such passion. With such possession. With so much sensuality, so much desire, that it turned her inside out--and made it impossible for her to hold back just how much she needed him. Just how much she wanted to possess him too.
Once inside, he pushed the door shut with his shoulder, then turned them so that her back was to the door. As she slid down his body, onto her feet, every inch of contact caused a slow burn across her body.
"I swore I was going to do this slow," he said as he pulled her shirt off, along with her bra. "I told myself I was going to have some control this time."
But Sarah was sick to death of control.
"Please," she whispered as she helped him slide off her jeans and panties. "Love me, Calvin. Just love me."
His dark eyes dilated to black, and then her hands were tugging at his pants, at his boxers and T-shirt. And after he quickly took care of protection then put his hands on her hips and said, "Wrap your legs around me," it was the most natural thing in the world for her to trust that he would hold her.
To trust that he wouldn't let her fall, no matter what.
And then he was pushing into her and she was opening up for him, wanting all of him. She buried her head in the crook of his shoulder as he filled her so completely that her breath left her lungs in a whoosh.
She lifted her head, had to look at him, had to say, "Calvin."
He held her body still around his, his arms strong. Steady as he said, "I love you."
That was all it took for the dam to break. She'd never felt so wild, so strong, so good. Nothing mattered but how good he made her feel, where there was no past, no future.
Only a stunningly beautiful present. One where release came roaring through her, so powerful, so breathlessly good, that it was all she could do just to hold on and let pleasure stream through her.
But even as she came completely apart, he held on to his control, his muscles, his tendons tight as he gripped her hips tight and helped her squeeze out every ounce of bliss as she rode him, rode the pleasure he was giving her. The pleasure that only he could give her. The same pleasure she wanted to give him. Because she craved him, craved everything about him. Not only the sound, the feel, the wonder of loving him, but also his smiles, his laughter, the way he loved so deeply. So truly.
And then he was moving them to his bed, not letting them part, not letting anything come between them, not even air, as he ran kisses down across her temple, down over her cheekbones, her closed eyelids, the tip of her nose.
With each sweet press of his lips against her skin, she felt herself coming alive, inch by sensual inch. His body was a wonder, his shoulders and arms corded and rippling with muscles, his chest broad, his abs defined by the deep shadows between them, all of it tapering down to slim hips.
"I can't believe I'm here. With you." Nothing had ever been this good, nothing could ever be as good as the incredibly sensual feel of his body inside her, his heat over her, his arms around her, his gaze so full of love as he looked into her eyes. "How do you do this to me? How do you make me feel so much?"
His low chuckle was full of sensuality. Full of such deep desire--and love--that she didn't know how to take it all in. "My sweet Sarah."
No one but Calvin had ever called her sweet. As far as she knew, no one else had ever thought it.
He'd given her so much already, and yet she was still so desperate for him. Desperate to run her hands over his chest, his shoulders, his back. Desperate to lean up from the pillows to press hot kisses over his tanned skin. Desperate to nip, to taste, to wrap her legs more tightly around him as he grew impossibly, wonderfully, bigger inside of her.
And then he was taking her hands in his, threading their fingers together, linking them in every single way, before lifting her arms to the sides of her head.
That was all it took. The whisper of her name. The way he was looking into her eyes, giving her everything inside his heart, holding nothing back. And it was so much more than she'd ever thought to have again. More than she'd ever dreamed was possible.
She was lost to emotion, lost to pleasure, lost to Calvin, when everything stopped--her breath, her heart, her thoughts--as she came apart beneath him. And then he was calling out her name as he found his own explosive release.
She couldn't open her eyes, couldn't move a muscle. Not when she was still reeling from the passion--and the emotion--between them. But then she felt him shift as he brushed a lock of damp hair away from her face.
"I've never seen anything, or anyone, as beautiful as you."
And she had never felt as beautiful as she did when she was in his arms. But before she could find the breath to say the words aloud, sleep came at her like a runaway freight train, leaving her only barely aware of his words of love, of his lifting her and sliding her beneath the covers, warm and safe against his body before she fell asleep.
Sarah woke up alone at two a.m. The bedroom was dark, and all she could hear was the slow push of waves on the shore outside.
Where was Calvin?
Slipping out of his bed, she wrapped his robe around her. Making sure to keep her footfalls quiet so that she wouldn't wake Jordan, she went down the stairs and was looking into the kitchen when she heard the creak of a chair out on the porch.
She pushed open the front door, and the cold fall air hit her as she stepped outside. He looked surprised to see her and then glad, so glad that her heartbeat kicked into double time.
"Come here, sweetheart."
He pulled her onto his lap, covering them with a nearby blanket. He settled her more firmly, and it was the most natural thing in the world for her to lay her head against his shoulder.
Sitting on the porch, curled up safe and warm in his arms, looking out at the autumn moon, she felt as though she was in a home she'd thought existed only in fairy tales. She wanted to sink into it, wanted to let herself believe that she really was home. Wanted to pretend that he could make her dinner every night and she could teach his sister to knit, and then later, when the sun fell and the moon rose, she could lose herself in his kisses, his heat.
And yet, even as he pulled her closer, she knew she couldn't let herself get used to this feeling. Because Summer Lake wasn't home for her, no matter how good it felt to be with Calvin. "Why did you get out of bed?"
"It doesn't matter." And then his mouth was on hers, demanding and giving all at the same time, and for a few long moments, she wasn't able to do any
thing but submit to his need--and her own.
It took every last ounce of self-control to pull away. "It matters, Calvin," she said softly. "Talk to me. Please. You wouldn't be out here if something wasn't wrong. Tell me."
"I'd rather tell you what's right. You're here."
She smiled, even though she knew he was stalling. "You weren't sleeping?"
He shifted beneath her, and she could feel his discomfort at her question. "No." He looked out at the lake, anywhere but at her.
A muscle jumped in his jaw. "Old demons. That's all they are."
She reached a hand up to his face, wishing she could take his pain away. "Is it us?"
"I told you our breakup was behind us, and I meant it."
She knew what it had to be, then. "It's your parents, isn't it? You still think about what happened to them, don't you? About what happened to you? How could you not?"