She smiled. “Didn’t want to scare you.”
“I don’t scare easily.”
“Uh-huh, and now who’s the liar?”
His eyes never left hers as he unbuttoned, unzipped, and shoved down his cargoes.
Her tongue was still hanging out of her mouth when he dove in. Choking back her laugh, she whirled and started swimming, hampered by her bad arm. She’d been raised out here and had swum almost as soon as she could walk, but her arm slowed her more than she’d planned on.
And sure enough, in less than five seconds Brady came up alongside of her, tempering his pace to match hers.
She flipped to her back and used her legs. And still he remained with her. She kept it up for a few more minutes, swimming as hard as she could, enjoying the exertion. After a quarter of a mile or so, she turned and headed back.
Brady beat her by a length.
Treading water about fifteen feet from where their clothes lay, she shoved her hair out of her face and breathed heavily, watching him.
He shook his head, sending water flying. His eyes were dark and hot. God, so hot. His breathing was labored, too, but not nearly as much as hers. “Cocky,” she complained.
“No, I’ve swum in waters much colder than this, and for much farther.”
“Hmm. So you’re a better swimmer than me.”
His smile was slow and sure as he dragged her in close against him, taking away her need to tread water as he did it for the both of them. “Maybe we could find an area where your talents exceed mine,” he said, all low and sexy.
His voice never failed to give her a secret little rush. She found that there were things that she desperately longed to hear from him, things she’d told herself she didn’t need, but she’d lied to herself.
So damn much.
So she pushed even closer, craving the contact, craving the connection, because when they were together like this, his body said things to her that his voice never would. She ran her hands up his chest and let her legs drift around his waist. The contrast of the cold water lapping at her with the warmth of his hard body made her shiver.
“Are you cold?” he murmured.
“No.” She slid her hands into his hair and stroked his scalp with her fingernails. A sound of sheer male pleasure, nearly a purr really, escaped him, and his hands went to her ass, a cheek in each palm. He was hard against her belly. Moving them toward the shallower water, he dropped to his knees with her so that she was straddling his lap, the water at their chests. Her legs were spread by his thighs, his hands tightening on her as he stared into her face. “Every time I look at your mouth,” he said huskily, “I want it on me.”
With a soft smile, she pulled his head to hers and kissed him, long and deep, feeling him pulse against her. Mmm. Reaching down, she stroked him, making both his breath hitch and her inner muscles contract. “In me,” she whispered against his mouth.
His face was etched in pure desire, but he shook his head. “No condom.”
“Just for a minute.” It was reckless, and she didn’t care. Dammit, for once, she wanted to do something wild, something without thinking about the consequences. So she wrapped her fingers around him and guided him home, burying him inside her in one long fluid motion.
He choked out her name in a rough groan and then again when she lifted up until he almost came out of her. Slowly she sank back on him, the angle of their bodies pushing him even deeper. Still gripping her ass tight with one hand, his other came around and lightly stroked her where they were joined.
And then again. And again. Until she felt like she was going to burst. “Brady,” she gasped. “Stop—I’m going to . . . ”
“Do it,” he commanded softly. “Let go for me, Lilah.”
The timbre of his sexy voice alone nearly sent her over the edge. Combined with his caressing thumb as he thrust upside her with every other heartbeat was all it took, and she burst, collapsing into him.
He held her tight through the trembling. He was still rock hard inside her, and she arched her hips, eliciting another rough groan from him. “Don’t.” Tightening his hands on her, he pressed his forehead to hers. “Don’t move. Not even an inch.”
His voice was rough and strained, even lower than normal, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her mouth to his. He took control of the kiss, his fingers digging into her h*ps to hold her still, the muscles in his arms quaking with the effort not to move, not to take his own pleasure. She kissed his shoulder, his throat, his mouth. They were drenched from the water, but there was a heat coming from him, as if he had a fever.
Slowly he pulled out of her, closing his eyes when she made a helpless little sound of loss. Gently she kissed his jaw, then gave him a not so gentle shove toward shore. And then another. Eyes locked on hers, he let her, and when she had him in the very shallow water, he also let her kick his feet out from beneath him.
Laughing, he went down to the sand, bracing himself on his elbows, the water lapping at his thighs. She crawled between them and lapped at him, too.
With a low groan, his head fell back as she worked her way up until she came to his most impressive erection. Kissing the very tip, she absorbed the way he breathed her name. “Trust me,” she whispered again.
When she drew him into her mouth, his fingers slid into her hair, guiding her into the rhythm he wanted, until with a deep breath, he lifted his head. “Lilah—”
He made a sound of frustration and closed his eyes when she resumed, his h*ps rocking up to meet her every move on him now. He said something completely unintelligible, gasping, his hands curling into fists in her hair. His eyes were shut tight, his teeth gritted. “Lilah—Christ! I’m going to—”
“Do it,” she commanded, mirroring his words back at him. “Let go for me, Brady.”
He shuddered and came hard. While he struggled to regain his breath, she kissed his thigh, his hip, the spot low on his ridged abs where his skin was so satiny smooth.
He was still laying there, eyes closed, still as a rock, as if he couldn’t possibly move a muscle. She lifted her head. “You okay?”
The sound he made might have been affirmation or maybe evidence that his brain had been thoroughly scrambled. Feeling quite pleased, she sat cross-legged by his hip and waited for him to collect himself.
The water lapped at them gently. From a distance came the hoot of an owl and the song of crickets. Finally Brady turned his head and met her gaze.
A soft smile curved his lips as he took in her na**d form by moonlight. “So who’s cocky?”
She laughed, and his smile deepened as he pulled her close, pillowing her head on his shoulder. Pulling her in closer, he brushed a dazed kiss to her temple. “You undo me, Lilah. Every time.”
“Do you like that?”
“You nearly rendered me unconscious with pleasure. I f**king loved it.”
“Can you move yet?” she asked.
“That would be a firm negative.”
Nodding, she rose and gathered all their clothes. And then started walking back to the cabin.
When she didn’t stop, she heard him swear, heard the sounds of him staggering to his feet. “You took my clothes.”
She kept going.
“We left my truck—”
“Lilah, Jesus. We can’t walk through the woods na**d.”
“You trained for all conditions, soldier,” she called back. “Keep up.”
He didn’t respond to that, but she could hear him right behind her, silent as they walked buck-ass na**d beneath the moon.
“That was crazy,” he said a moment later as they walked into her cabin. “Anyone could have seen.”
“But no one did.” Turning to him, she dropped their clothes onto her couch and smiled. “You swam in the magical waters, Brady. At midnight. You know what that means?”
He was very busy running his gaze over her body like a caress.
“The myth says that now you’re in danger of finding your true love,” she reminded him.
He snagged her by the h*ps and rubbed his na**d body to hers. “I don’t buy into myths. I buy into realism. I make my own fate.”
“Yeah? And what does your fate say?”
“It says I’m about to make love to an amazing woman, right here . . . ” He dragged her down the hall, grabbing a condom out of her bathroom drawer as they went. Then he wrestled her onto her bed and covered her body with his. “Right now.”
When he put his mouth to her breast, she cried out in sheer pleasure. She’d barely recovered from that before he was inside her, whispering in her ear to give him everything she had, every little piece, that he wanted no less.
She had no choice but to give it to him, give him everything, her only solace was in knowing that he was doing the same.
Brady woke the next morning alone in Lilah’s bed with Boss on his chest and Twinkles on his feet, both of them staring at him balefully. He scrubbed a hand over his face and let out a breath. Alone again.
“Arf,” Twinkles said.“Mew,” Boss said, and turned in a circle on Brady’s chest, using claws.
“Jesus!” Brady pushed the kitten off of him. Bare-ass na**d, with all the blankets and sheets tossed to the floor, man and kitten stared at each other. The kitten’s eyes narrowed in on Brady’s morning wood and crouched, butt wriggling, ready to pounce.
“Do it and die,” Brady said, and rolled out of the bed. “Just once,” he muttered on the way to the shower, followed by both animals like they were all in a parade. “I’d like to be the first one up.”
He’d always been the first one awake in the past. Hell, he’d never spent much time sleeping with a woman period. But Lilah seemed to throw his entire universe into a tailspin.
Setting the shower tap to scalding, he climbed in and put his hands on the tile. Head down, he let the water bead down over his shoulders and back.
The icy spray hit him without warning at the three-minute mark, and he swore the air blue. Christ, Lilah shouldn’t have to live like this. He was taking a look at the hot water heater himself before he left town. He dressed and headed down the hall, tripping over Boss, who yowled his feelings on the matter and vanished under the couch. Brady sighed and dropped to his knees, bending low to peer into two pissed-off glowing eyes. “Well, you can’t run in front of me, dammit.”
“Stop it,” Brady told the dog, who was trying to lick his face. “You’re not helping. Boss, out now.”
Nothing but daggers coming his way.
Brady straightened and met the amused eyes of Lilah as she came in the front door. She was carrying two coffees and a donut bag, and right then and there, he fell in love. “If you tell me you have a chocolate-frosted,” he said with great feeling, “I’ll give you my life’s savings and anything else you want.”
“What if I brought something healthy, like a wheat-grain muffin.”
“Then forget the life savings.”
She laughed. “What if all I want is a repeat of last night?”
He grinned. “Then I’d say you’re easy.”
“When it comes to you, anyway.” She set the bag and coffees on the counter. “Enjoy.”
“Wait a minute,” he said as she started out the door again. “Where are you going?”
“It’s this little thing called work.”
“You can’t just show up and go.”
“Sure I can. Watch me.” She pulled open the door, then looked back. “But thanks for last night.”
“Oh no you don’t.” He snagged Boss by the scruff of the neck and dragged him from beneath the couch, cradling the pissed-off kitten to his chest. Then he grabbed Lilah, too. “Thanks for last night?” he repeated, suddenly feeling a little pissed off and not sure why. “What exactly is it you’re thanking me for, Lilah?”
She opened her mouth, but his cell phone rang. Ignoring it, he kept hold of her and reeled her in closer. And because he was also pretty f**king pathetic, he pressed his face into the curve of her neck and breathed her in. “You smell so damn good you’re making me hungry.” He licked her throat and felt her shiver.
“New lotion,” she said. “Mango peach. Aren’t you going to answer that?” she asked of his phone.
“It might be important.”
At the moment he couldn’t think of anything more important than making her respond to his question, but the moment had passed and she was looking at him as if he’d lost his marbles.
And it was entirely possible that he had. Swearing, he let go of her, yanked his cell phone out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. “It’s work.”
“Dell or Adam need a pilot?”
“Oh,” she exhaled, taking a step back. “He’s calling because—”
“Because it’s been a month, which is what I said I needed. He’s been calling me every day for a week telling me to get my ass back to work.”
“I should have already left, Lilah.”
She swallowed. “When?”
“Like I said, he wanted me yesterday.”