She blushed, her cheeks going warm beneath the heat of his gaze.

“Are you tender today?” he asked gently.

Her cheeks flamed with heat even more, and she ducked her head, pulling from his grasp.

He laughed softly and nudged her chin back up with a tender touch.

“I don’t ask to embarrass you. I just want to know if you’re up for what I have planned.”

She smiled, suddenly shy as his thoughts were broadcast in his smoldering stare.

“I’ll suffer through it.”

“Ah, such a grand sacrifice,” he said, amusement twinkling in his green eyes. “I will endeavor to not make you suffer too badly.”

“Oh, I’m sure you will,” she said breathlessly.

Then his gaze grew more serious. “Are you too tender, sweetheart? There are other ways of pleasuring you that doesn’t require me to penetrate you.”

Gah, but she had to stop this endless blushing every time they spoke intimately. But he seemed delighted with her shyness, his smile as gentle as his words.

“I’m okay, Donovan. Truly. And if it hurts too much, we can stop, can’t we?”

“Absolutely. I’ll not do anything that hurts you, Eve. Ever.”

As he said the last, he moved in close, his body heat wrapping her in its soft cocoon. He trailed a finger down her cheek, caressing, sending shivers down her spine. Just his touch. Something as simple as the slight touch of his fingertips and she was shaking with need. Would it always be so? Would she always need him, desire him as she did in this very moment?

Perhaps it would only heighten with time. If it did, then she certainly had much to look forward to. And then she realized that for the first time she was actually thinking of the future in optimistic terms. As if she didn’t have the very real fear of Walt and the police and her reality of being a wanted criminal.

Donovan did that for her. He gave her hope. He gave her the confidence that her future was not fixed. It was in fact undecided. It could be what she wanted it to be. And she wanted her future to be with Donovan.

A sigh escaped and he drew away, staring intently into her eyes.

“What are you thinking, honey?”

She smiled, allowing her happiness to spill onto her features. “The future.”

“Ah, happy thoughts then, I hope?”

“The very best,” she whispered.

His eyes gleamed in satisfaction. “Then how about we make those thoughts even happier? I want to undress you. I want to make love to you again, Eve. And tonight I want to take it nice and slow. As I should have last night. Let me make it up to you, honey. Let me give you the experience I should have given you last night.”

“Oh, Donovan,” she breathed out. “Don’t you know? Last night was perfect. The most perfect night of my life. You can’t make it any better. It’s not possible. It’s only your first time once, and my first time was more than I could have possibly ever imagined.”

Her eyes narrowed and she glanced up at him in question.

“Tell me you haven’t worried about this all day.”

To her surprise he looked slightly embarrassed and discomfort registered in his eyes.

“It may have occurred to me a few times,” he muttered.

She laughed. “Good Lord, Donovan. You’ve got to stop with the virgin guilt. You didn’t hurt me. I quite enjoyed our lovemaking. And if you think you’re getting out of it tonight, you’ve got another think coming.”

He relaxed, a charming grin curving his mouth upward. “Far be it for me to deny my lady anything.”

“Good,” she said huskily. “Now if we’ve gotten that out of the way, there is the matter of us both still being dressed. Think you can do something about that?”

“Last one naked is a rotten egg,” he challenged.

“That’s not fair,” she sputtered as he started ripping at his shirt. “Women have far more to take off than men!”

“Less talking, more undressing,” he said as he began peeling his jeans down his thick legs.

She hastily tore her shirt over her head, fumbling with her bra straps even as she reached for the fly of her jeans. She hadn’t even stepped from the confines of the denim before he was standing in front of her, naked, arms folded over his chest in mock impatience.

She shook her head. “I guess you’ll have to help me.”

He gave an exaggerated sigh. “I guess I can make that sacrifice.”

She rolled her eyes as he turned her to unhook her bra. But there was no impatience to his movements. His fingers worked slowly as he removed her bra, pulling it forward to slide the straps the rest of the way down her arms. Then he turned her back, reaching for her hands so she could step the rest of the way from the one leg of the jeans still remaining around her ankle. Then he reverently pulled her panties down and let the tiny scrap fall to the floor.

“That’s better.” His gaze raked up and down her naked body. “Much, much better,” he murmured as he bent his head to kiss her.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him in close as their mouths melted together. She wasn’t sure who sighed. Maybe they both did. But there was a harsh exchange of breath. She could taste him on her tongue. Inhaled his scent, holding and savoring it before finally letting it go for the briefest of moments before inhaling it all over again.

He backed her slowly toward the bed, arms wrapped as solidly around her as hers were wrapped around him. It was almost like dancing. A slow, decadent, seductive thrill. Moving sensuously, unhurried, as if they had all the time in the world.

She didn’t want slow and unhurried. She wanted him with a ferocity that until now had been completely alien to her. Never had she felt such raging want. Now that her sexuality had been awakened, now that she’d been shown how very good it could be. Unspoiled by memories of Walt’s depravity. She savored the coil of desire that whispered through her body, becoming more urgent with each passing second.

He started to ease her onto the bed, but she pulled him with her, surprising him with her strength as he tumbled down on top of her.

They landed with a soft bounce, him atop her, their bodies entwined, flesh on flesh. She loved the contrast between them. His hard lines to her much softer ones. He was muscled where she was soft. Her body cradled him, molded to him as if they’d always belonged. Two interlocking puzzle pieces finally put together.

She rubbed her leg up and down his thigh, nearly purring with pleasure at the simple decadence of touching him. Of being able to explore his warrior’s body.

“I had every intention of taking things slow and sweet,” he said in a ragged voice. “But Eve, what you do to me. You drive me crazy.”

“I want you crazy,” she whispered just before she sank her teeth into the lobe of his ear and nipped playfully. “I want you so crazy for me that you forget all about going slow. I want it hard and fast, Donovan. I want you.”

He groaned and kissed his way down the side of her neck, nipping as she’d done, eliciting a gasp from her with every graze of his teeth. He went lower still, until he reached her breasts. Her nipples were painfully erect. Begging for his mouth, his tongue and yes, his teeth.

“Donovan, please!” she begged. “I’m about to crawl out of my skin! I need you inside me or I’m going to come now.”

He slipped his fingers between her legs, testing and gently probing as if to reassure himself that all she said was true. She felt her slickness on his fingers, felt how easily they slid inside her body and back out again. She knew she was ready—more than ready—for him. And if she didn’t have him soon, she was going to take matters into her own hands and ravish him until he begged for mercy.

It wasn’t bad as ideas go, but she’d wait another night. Maybe even tomorrow. When she wasn’t so on edge that the slightest touch would send her right over. Right now she just wanted it hard and fast. No other way would do.

“I’ve got you, honey,” he soothed. “I’ll take care of you.”

She nodded her agreement, her jaw clenched tight as she battled back the orgasm that built and swelled inside her. He carefully parted her thighs and she nearly groaned her impatience. Deciding to prompt him, she parted her legs and circled them around his back, urging him closer.

“To hell with it,” Donovan muttered. “I can’t hold back any longer either.”

“Finally,” she breathed out.

He smiled and then positioned himself between her spread legs, guiding his erection to the mouth of her pussy. And then he groaned, dropping his forehead to hers.

“Damn it.” Disgust was evident in his tone.

Her eyes flew open in alarm. “What is it?”

“Forgot the condom,” he grumbled. “Shit. Give me a second, honey. Don’t move an inch.”

She smiled as he scrambled hastily from the bed and yanked open the nightstand drawer to get a condom. In two seconds flat, he had the condom rolled over his rigid erection and he was back on top of her.

“Wrap your legs around me again,” he said. “Just like before.”

She eagerly did as he instructed and then wrapped her arms around his neck, anchoring him to her as he carefully pushed inside her.

Such exquisite torture. Inch by delicious inch, he consumed her. Pushing, stretching, until he was all the way in, his body pressed tight against hers.

She lowered one arm, cupping his jaw in her palm. It was rigid beneath her touch. Teeth clenched together as sweat beaded his forehead.

“Why are you torturing us both, Donovan?” she asked softly. “I know what it’s costing you. And me. Don’t be afraid of hurting me. I want this. I want you.”

With an agonized groan, he withdrew and then rocked forward, forcefully planting himself deeply within her. She gasped at the fullness, overwhelmed, shocked. Pleasure splintered through her body, jagged, sharp and yet so beautiful.

He thrust again, harder, deeper. He arched over her, thrusting again, sliding into her with ease even as her body clutched at him like a greedy fist.

Her eyes glazed over, her vision dimming as ecstasy blazed like an inferno. Tension coiled, low and almost vicious in her belly. But it was a delicious bite. An edge of pain that led to the most mind-bending pleasure she’d ever experienced in her life.

“Am I hurting you?” Donovan demanded, his voice hoarse and thready with his own passion.

“No, yes, God no. I don’t know. But please don’t stop. I’m so close, Donovan. So close!”

“I’m with you, honey,” he said as he pounded into her again, shaking them both, the bed rocking with their movements. “We’ll go over together.”

“Yes,” she whispered. “Together.”

She closed her eyes, arching upward, into him, closer to him. Melting against his body even as she grabbed onto him, her anchor in the sudden, violent storm. The tornado she’d survived had nothing on this. She lost all sense of herself. Of everything around them or even where they were. All she could do was feel. And she never wanted to lose this moment. This sensation. Knew she’d never feel it quite the same as now. It would be different. Perhaps better in the future. But never like this.

And then she broke free of her constraints. She simply floated away, weightless, a dreamy haze overtaking her. It was like being intoxicated. Drugged. All rolled into one. But if there was ever a drug that mimicked this, there’d be no hope for it. Everyone would be hooked, doing whatever they could to get their next fix. And she’d be right there in line.

After a moment, a minute, an hour, she had no idea of how long, she became aware of Donovan’s weight pressing her into the mattress. His heavy breaths against her neck. The loose, sated feeling in her limbs. The blankness in her mind. And the overwhelming sense of rightness.


How long had it been since she’d truly felt peace? Her brow furrowed as she tried to muster the mental energy to think back to when she’d ever felt so . . . safe. Cherished. Had she ever?

“What are you shaking your head at, love?”

Donovan’s gentle question brought her focus back to the present and she found him staring down into her eyes, his own thoughtful as he studied her.

She smiled. “Nothing. Nothing at all. I was just being fanciful and a little silly. And who could blame me after . . . that. I don’t even know what to call it. Surely there aren’t enough words in the English language—or any other language, for that matter—to adequately describe what we just had.”

There was a note of wistfulness even she heard. Donovan’s features softened, his eyes going warm and so very tender. He stroked a finger over her cheek, his weight still blanketing her, warm and so very reassuring.

“I think what it was is wonderful,” he said simply.

She nodded her agreement and then he pushed himself up and off her, pulling free of her body. She shivered the moment he left her to discard the condom. She already missed his warmth. His touch. The void left her aching, however short the distance was.