His eyes were fixed and unwavering on her. She lost her breath just looking at him, and she ground her h*ps to his, unable to control herself.
For once his own control seemed completely absent. Breathing heavy, face tight, he brought his mouth back to hers as he thrust deep, nipping her lip, sucking it into his mouth. “God, you feel good wrapped around me. So f**king good, Lilah.”
Melting, she wrapped her arms closer around his broad shoulders and stroked down his back, her h*ps rising to pull his body even tighter to hers.
The motion wrenched a very sexy, very male sound from him.
“You like?” she whispered.
“Love. I love.”
She tried not to focus on his words, spoken in passion, about his physical pleasure. She tried not to hope that he was letting her in, letting himself fall.
But it didn’t matter, her heart had its own agenda and his words made it ache. So she ground her h*ps into him once again, wrenching another groan from him. She throbbed in response, and the wave began to build within her as he kept moving, stroking hard, harder still, until she came with shuddering impact, crying out his name, arching up into him. He pressed himself even deeper, then stilled as he came with her, holding tight, keeping them connected.
They stayed that way, locked together, for a long time, each of them gasping for air, unable to say a word or move a muscle, shaking with the exertion and the aftershocks. Finally Brady rolled them to their sides. He had his arms around her, apparently just as content as she to prolong their connection. And as she drifted off, she realized that had been the most intimate experience she’d ever shared with a man.
Lilah came awake in slow degrees, aware only of being deliciously warm. Opening her eyes, she realized she was face-first in Brady’s throat.
Mmm. A damn fine place to be.She was also practically on top of him, a leg and an arm thrown over his body like he was her very own personal pillow.
And that wasn’t all.
He had a grip on her, too, one hand cupping the back of her head, the other firmly on her ass.
His breathing was slow and deep and steady.
Unable to help herself, she pressed her lips to his throat and gently rubbed back and forth, knowing exactly when he came awake because his breathing changed. “Hey,” she whispered. “Don’t look now, but we’re cuddling.”
The hand on her ass tightened possessively, making her smile. “So whatcha doing?”
“Sleeping.” His voice was morning rough and gravelly and sexy as hell. “But that’s going to change quickly.”
“I was hoping you’d feel that way.” She gently bit the tendon where his neck met his shoulder, and in one smooth motion he rolled her beneath him.
“Let me guess.” He lifted his head, his eyes and mouth soft in a way she hadn’t seen from him before. “You don’t want to waste our last condom.”
“Well, that’d be a crime, right?” she whispered.
“Wrap your legs around me.” Another command, uttered in that quiet but utterly authoritative voice of his, but since following his directives always brought her mind-blowing pleasure, she wrapped her legs around his waist and hummed her gratification. It was all she could manage because he was hard, deliciously hard and teasing them both. “Are we going to—”
“And then again?” she murmured hopefully, sucking in a breath because his mouth was at her jaw working its way to that sweet spot beneath her ear, the one that, when he kissed it, made her want to offer him anything, anything he wanted . . .
“Greedy little thing,” he accused.
He was right. When it came to him, to this, she was greedy. She was greedy as hell.
“Only one condom,” he reminded her. “We used the other a few hours ago. We’ll have to get creative.”
Thank God. He was good at creative. Really, really good. They kissed and rocked up against each other for a few moments, the room quiet around them with the exception of her own heavy breathing and low moans, until she couldn’t take the teasing any longer. “Brady.”
He lifted his head and looked at her with lidded eyes. “Tell me.”
“More,” she said, making her own demands now. His big hands gripped her h*ps and tilted her in a way that pleased him, tugging a groan from deep in his throat. “Yes,” she said. “More of that.”
“Anything you want.”
It was midday by the time Brady replaced the gauge on the Bell and got them back in the air. For the return flight, he plied Lilah with a glass of wine first.
She denied that it helped, but he could tell by how relaxed she looked that it did—though that might have been from all the orgasms. Hard to tell.She was quiet this time. Not so unusual for him, but absolutely unusual for her. Halfway home, she turned to him, nibbling on her lower lip.
He braced for the worst.
“About whatever it was that you wanted to talk to me about in your hotel room last night before I—before we . . .” She grimaced. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you with wild sex.”
That made him smile. “Yes, you did.”
“Okay, true, I did. But I’ll listen now to whatever you wanted to say.”
He slid her a look.
She smiled at him, completely unrepentant, and he blew out a breath. “I wanted to warn you off of me,” he told her.
“I like being on you.”
He let out a low laugh. “Lilah.”
“You like it, too.”
“I love it,” he admitted. “And you know what I mean.”
“I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m a big girl, Brady. You’re leaving soon. I haven’t forgotten. I wanted this.”
This won him another heart-stopping smile, which he told himself was the wine.
It was early evening when they landed. Lilah had checked in with Cruz several times, but she still headed right off to the kennels to make sure everything was okay. Brady went through his postflight maintenance, then walked across the meadow to Belle Haven.
Twinkles was lying beneath a tree out front looking glum, but he went bat-shit crazy when he saw Brady, wriggling, waggling, rolling in ecstasy when Brady stooped low to rub the dog down. He tried to remember the last time he’d come back from a trip and had this sort of reception but couldn’t.
It was after closing time, and Dell and Adam were in the parking lot playing basketball like it was a war zone. Having clearly finished up at the kennels for the day, Cruz was playing, too, the three of them taking their game very seriously.
“Thank Christ,” Adam muttered when he saw Brady. “It’s these two idiots against me, and they don’t know a foul from their own ass. We’re skins.”
Brady peeled off his shirt and joined the game.
In less than two minutes both Dell and Cruz were pissed. “You can play,” Dell said to Brady in disgust. “When did you learn to play, because you were shit in high school.”
It was true. He’d been shit at basketball in high school. “I played in the army every night with the guys in my unit. They were street players, hard core.”
Adam grinned and passed the ball to him. Brady caught it, pivoted, and shot, making a very sweet three.
Dell swore viciously.
When the game ended, they were all sweating like hookers in a confessional, and Adam and Brady had won by two. He turned to grab his shirt and found Lilah standing there, his camera around her neck.
“I’m back,” she said, and handed him his camera. “Nice game.”
“Thanks.” Brady watched her head off into the center. He took Twinkles and headed to the loft to shower, then checked in with work via e-mail to see if Tony was still pissed.
Brady closed the e-mail program and downloaded the pictures from his digital and realized he was in many of them.
Lilah had seen to that.
There was a photo of him flying the Bell, a look of concentration on his face as he spoke on his headset. Another of him glancing over at Lilah, eyes still serious, and then yet one more taken in the next instant, when he’d softened for her, a warm, caring smile in his eyes and on his mouth.
He would have sworn on his own life that he never looked at anyone like that, and yet here he sat staring at the proof.
Lilah had taken several pictures of the view, and they weren’t half bad. There were also his shots from the restaurant, of Lilah. She was laughing in all of them, a silly, sweet little smile on her face, her eyes lit up with pure joy.
There was one of him at the table, clearly absorbed in watching Lilah. He had yet another small smile on his face, but that wasn’t what caught him about that picture.
It was his eyes and the heat in them. The hunger.
A little shocked at the na**d longing he’d displayed, he turned to the next group of pictures, which were of the basketball game, including a close-up of him sweaty and grinning from ear to ear as he came down from a layup.
The very last picture was him turning his head toward the camera—the exact moment he’d realized that Lilah was standing there watching. He was smiling with triumph right into the lens, looking more carefree than he could remember feeling.
He shut his computer just as Adam came up the stairs, suited up for a rescue, two of his dogs at his side. “Need a lift,” he said.
“There’s a big search for a lost kid up in the Kaniksu National Forest. They need all the help they can get. You in?”
Yeah, he was in. An excuse to fly? Check. An adrenaline rush of a search and rescue? Check and check.
A reason to keep his brain from fixating on one Lilah Young? Check, check, and check.
They spent the next six hours straight in the mountains, providing assistance to the search. The kid was located, not by them personally but by a group of rescuers using dogs that Adam had trained last season, which was just as satisfying.
On the flight back, Adam looked over at Brady. “About Lilah.”
“Just one thing. Don’t play her, man. She . . . she’s been hurt.”
If the subject matter hadn’t been so serious, Brady might have laughed. Because he was just beginning to realize the truth: for once he wasn’t the one doing the playing.
Lilah woke up the next morning to Sadie bumping her little kitty nose into hers.
“Mew.”“It’s not time,” Lilah murmured. “The alarm hasn’t gone off yet.”
This was from the eight-week-old kitten trying to get around Sadie, the sole leftover from a rescue the week before. Lilah had placed both of the little guy’s sisters but hadn’t yet found him a home. He was black, with a white spot on top of his head that looked like a little cotton ball, and he liked to be the boss of his world, which is why Cruz had named him Boss.
Lilah pushed them both away and snuggled down into her covers. She was warm and comfy but not nearly as warm and comfy as she’d been in Brady’s hotel bed, with his big, hot body as her personal furnace.
Just remembering the wild hotel sex heated her up pretty good. Sure, she had a small sneaky little feeling that maybe it hadn’t been just wild sex, but that was hopefully the endorphins messing with her brain.
“Mew,” Sadie insisted.
Dammit. “You have got to work on your aversion to the sandbox, missy.” Staggering out of bed, Lilah pulled on a pair of sweats and opened the front door for the irritated cat, who was weaving in and out of her legs and threatening to topple them both over.
She caught Boss before he could escape with Sadie. “You’re not old enough to run free, little man.” She paused and stared down at her porch. “There’s an army bag on my porch. Why is there an army duffel bag on my porch?”
Sadie didn’t answer because she was already gone. Boss didn’t answer because he was a man, after all, and didn’t talk much.
Lilah sat on the top step in the early chilly morning, Boss in her lap and the bag at her feet. Adam had been National Guard, not army. She only knew one man who’d been army, and the thought of him bringing her something left a silly smile on her face.
Inside the duffel bag was yet another bag, this one a pretty frothy pink color, from the Pharmacy in Boise. It was filled with soaps and lotions and . . . the pretty blue lingerie she’d been drooling over in the window display. “He didn’t,” she said to Boss.
She laughed, even as her throat tightened. Heart melted clean away, she pulled out her phone and called Brady. “Morning, Santa.”
He was silent.
“At least I hope you’re my Secret Santa,” she said. “I can’t imagine Cruz or Nick picking out that thong—”
A growl sounded through the phone and she smiled. “Thank you,” she said softly. “I love it, and the soaps and lotions, too. You shouldn’t have.”
“I like the way you always smell.”
“That’s the coconut and vanilla and stuff.”
“It’s you. You make me hungry, Lilah.”
“You know,” she murmured. “You don’t have many words, but you seem to make the most of the ones you have.”
“You going to wear that thong today?”
“You are such a guy.”
Their silence was comfortable, and she found herself smiling like an idiot, all alone on her porch.
“Wear it today, Lilah,” he said softly, silkily.
And she knew she would do just that. “See you around, Brady.”
“See you,” he said, and she could hear the bad-boy smile in his voice.
She closed her phone. “I’m not falling for him,” she told Boss, and pulled out a soap. She pressed her nose to it, inhaling the delicious scent. But she was.