Authors: Patti Berg
“That’s not what it looked like to me.”
“If it looked like anything else, you were letting your jealous imagination run wild,” Matt said,
a smirk on his face.
Jon took several deep breaths as he looked toward Elizabeth. Tears flowed from her eyes. The hand holding the broken glass shook at her side. In one long step he was next to her, the glass crashed to the floor, and he pulled her into his arms.
He held her for what seemed an eternity, her cheek against his chest. He felt her heart beating fast and hard in time with his. When it finally slowed, he drew back and cupped her
cheeks, looking gently into her eyes. “Did he hurt you?”
She shook her head. “Take me out of here. Please.”
Gathering her close to his side, he gave Matt one last look. “Touch her again, do anything to her again, and I’ll put my fist right through that pretty face of yours.”
Matt swallowed more wine and laughed. “I’m not afraid of you.”
“You should be,” Jon said calmly, leading Elizabeth across the room. When they reached the door, he looked back at Matt again. “I broke your nose when I was ten. I’m three times as big and three times as powerful now.”
Matt raised his glass. “We’ll see who’s the most powerful.”
“Is that a challenge? Would you like to go outside right now?”
“All in good time, cousin. All in good time.”
Jon felt Elizabeth tugging on his coat. “Please, Jon. Let’s just go.”
He was angry—at himself for letting Elizabeth go to
Matt’s in the first place and for not punching Matt out when he’d first walked into the room. He wanted to grab Matt and hang him on the wall like all the other trophies, but he heard the plea in Elizabeth’s voice and saw it in her eyes.
He didn’t want to run from a battle that needed to be fought, but he wanted to hold Elizabeth more. He wanted to comfort her, to kiss away her tears, and hold her and make her forget all that had happened tonight—not only Matt’s attack, but
the cruel and senseless words he’d spewed at her earlier.
Wrapping a hand gently around her waist, he led her down the long hallway, helped her into her coat, and took her outside, into the softly falling snow.
When they reached the hotel she started to turn, but he pulled her even closer to his side and looked down into her tired, worried eyes. “Come home with me, Ellie.” He touched her cheeks and smoothed away the stain of tears. “I’m sorry about tonight. I was too damn jealous. I shouldn’t have gotten angry, and I never should have let you out of my sight.”
She put a finger to his lips. “Just kiss me, Jon. Make me forget about everything that h
Right there in the middle of town, in the middle of the road, he lifted her like a babe in his arms and lowered his lips to hers. She tasted like wine and tears, and she felt soft and oh so right in his arms.
He kissed her in front of the hotel and in front of the church. He kissed her as he pushed through the gates of Dalton House and all the way up the meandering steps that led to the porch.
He came up for air just long enough to open and close the door, and he carried h
er up the winding staircase to the third floor, to his room, to his bed.
“If you want me to stop,” he said, his chest rapidly expanding and falling as he uttered the words, “say so now.”
“Don’t stop, Jon. Please, don’t ever stop.”
He stood her on the floor just long enough to push her coat from her arms, then shrugged out of his. He laid her gently on a bed of pillows and
goosedown, and her amber eyes burned intensely into his as he stripped his shirt out of his jeans and came close to ripping off the buttons as he tossed it aside.
Elizabeth held her hands out to him, beckoning him to come to her. Instead, he pulled her up to kneel before him on the bed.
“God, you’re beautiful.” Slowly, ever so slowly, his fingers brushed over her shoulders and found the catch of her zipper. Even more slowly he slid it open.
Elizabeth could feel the
chill in the room against the bare skin of her back, then the overpowering warmth of his fingers as they skimmed over her flesh. He gathered the red knit fabric in his hands and pulled it away from her neck, from her shoulders, then slid his hands over the fabric all the way to her wrists, never once removing his gaze from hers. He tugged on the cuffs and pulled the knitted sleeves away, and the top of the dress lay limp at her sides.
His smile sent heat rushing through her breasts. They tingled, hot and flaming, when his sapphire eyes lowered to the satin and lace of her bra.
He wanted her, needed her, with a passion he’d never known. Placing one knee on the bed, he lowered her into the pillows, kissing her sweetness again.
He felt the creamy softness of her skin, afraid for just one moment that the roughness of his fingers and palms would scratch her delicate flesh. But she only moaned when he touched her, sighing deeply, weaving her fingers tightly into his hair and pulling him closer, closer.
He had to taste more of her; all of her. He straddled her legs and knelt before her. Slowly he lowered his head and trailed kisses from her mouth, along the curve of her throat, and over the porcelain skin that flared out soft and full where red satin and lace hid her beauty. He tasted her through the fabric, nipped at her lightly with his teeth, and captured her mouth again when he heard her moan with want.
He rolled over, taking Elizabeth with him. He pulled at the hem of her dress, dragging it to her thighs as she sat up and straddled his hips.
And, oh Lord, he wanted her more.
He lifted the dress, higher, higher, until he’d pulled it over her head and dropped it to the floor.
He lay there and watched her, capturing a memory of perfection.
He reached up again, released the hook between her breasts, and let his fingers slide easily over her curves to the straps, drawing them down until the bra fell away. He cupped her breasts in his hands and just as he’d always expected, they fit perfectly.
Again he rolled over, and as he moved from the bed, he slipped his fingers under the last remaining piece of satin and red lace, caressing her legs as he pulled her panties away. He stood, looking down at the vision he’d pictured over and over, the Rubenesque beauty he’d sketched from memory, from imagination. She wasn’t on the chaise in his turret, but she was in an even better place—on his bed, and she lay on her side watching him, that look of wonder and innocence in her eyes, and wanton red hooker boots clinging to her calves and encasing her feet.
God, how he wanted her.
“I’ve dreamed of you, Ellie.”
“Stop dreaming. Please, stop dreaming.”
Somehow, in just a matter of seconds, he pulled away his boots, his socks, and the Levi’s and shorts that were way too confining, and after sliding on a condom he’d taken from a drawer beside the bed, he crawled back onto the mattress and wrapped her in his arms.
Her lips were hot when he kissed her, and she was wet and oh so ready when he touched her. He couldn’t wait another moment, his need and want were stronger than his will to wait.
When he entered her he felt he’d just gone to heaven.
Elizabeth raised her hips, her fingers digging into the muscles of his back. Oh, how she wanted him and needed him. He felt so right inside her, so perfect.
They moved together slowly, rhythmically, in a dance as old as time, but new and magical to them.
Each touch, each stroke, each whispered word sent her higher and higher.
Each cry, each sigh, each beat of her heart sent him beyond the realm of thought.
The enchantment captured them.
His fingers wound tightly in her hair.
Her boots dug deep into his thighs.
He was hers.
She was his.
And a million fireworks exploded and scattered, raining down slowly, softly, a flicker here, a flicker there, till only smoke and heat remained.
Her breathing calmed.
His heartbeat slowed.
And they lay together, waiting to strike the match that would send them soaring again.
“Are you cold?” he asked, tucking the comforter more tightly around her neck, taking the opportunity to run his hand over her blanket-covered breasts.
“A little, but that’s no reflection on the efforts you’ve made to warm me. It’s just plain old cold in this room.”
“I’ll have that taken care of in a few moments.”
Jon bounded from bed and Elizabeth watched the stark naked titan stroll across the room. With each move he made, a muscle flexed. Two hundred and sixty pounds of muscle, if she remembered correctly. They’d discussed his size sometime during the night when intimacy had turned to reflection, and that had turned to laughter.
He’d pulled off her hooker boots. Hooker boots! That’s what he’d called them. She’d smacked him for laughing at her taste in clothing, and he, in turn, smoothed his hands over her body and told her he hoped her style would never change.
She watched him now as he fed kindling into the flame, piece after piece, until it caught hold and the room filled with warmth and light. His body glistened, every inch of him, and he slipped back under the covers and pulled her
Elizabeth rested her head against his chest and yawned.
“Long night?” he asked.
“Not long enough.” She yawned again. “But there’s always the morning.”
He softly kissed her hair, and Elizabeth closed her eyes and slept.
A thread of morning light inched between the curtains and raced across the bed. Elizabeth stretched and reached out to hold Jon again. But the bed was empty and the place where he’d slept was cold.
She sat up, pulling the blankets with her, but she didn’t need their warmth. The fire blazed and crackled on the hearth, and Jon sat silently in a chair, legs crossed, and watched her.
“Good morning,” he said.
“I thought you’d gone.”
He shook his head slowly. “You’d have to do a lot more than snore to run me off.”
“I don’t snore.”
He grinned and nodded. “Afraid so, Ellie. Hooker boots and snoring ... best combination I’ve ever found in a woman.”
He sat a little straighter in the chair and uncrossed his legs. He was still naked. Still splendid.
“Care to join me?” he asked.
Elizabeth pulled the blanket with her as she climbed out of bed, and then she saw Jon shake his head.
“You don’t need the blanket, Ellie. It’s warm enough here without it.”
She felt an instant quiver shoot from her heart, through her stomach, and between her legs. Her breasts burned again. How could he do that to her, she wondered, with just a look, with only his words?
Her fingers slipped away from the comforter and
it dropped to the floor, puddling thick and deep around her legs. She stepped over it and walked slowly across the enormous room, the heat of Jon’s gaze rushing through every speck of her body, every place he looked.
She stood before him in the light of the fire. He could see the rise and fall of her breasts, could almost hear the rapid beat of her heart. Her porcelain skin glistened, and he could feel her raging heat when his fingers were still inches away.
He touched her and the warmth spread through his chest, his stomach, his groin. He was hotter now, the flames leaping on the hearth cold compared to the blaze that stepped between his widespread legs.
She placed a soft hand on his heart, branding him for all eternity, and her fingers slid downward, over his stomach, as she knelt before him. She looked up momentarily and smiled, then she lowered her head and caressed him with her mouth. Oh, God! All he’d wanted her to do was sit with him by the fire, but her idea was so, so much better.
He rested his head against the back of the chair and tried to control his breathing as she swirled him with her tongue, and kissed him, and tasted him.
And when he could stand the torture no longer, he slid his hands around her and laid her down on the carpet before the fire.
Once more, and once again, he made love to her.
Elizabeth curled up in the big chair by the fire, wrapped warmly in the blanket Jon had draped around her before he’d gone downstairs for coffee
and something to curb the growl in her stomach.
He’d slipped into his Levi’s before he’d left her, and she rather missed watching the beauty of his hard naked body as he walked from the room. But she’d see it again; of that she was certain.
Soon. Very soon.
She watched the flames playing leapfrog across the logs and for the first time noticed the large pad of paper lying just to the side of the fireplace tools, a charcoal pencil resting on top. Leaning over, she picked up the pad and opened the cover.
Her own face looked back at her. The drawing was rough, the details not very well defined, but she could tell it was definitely her. She turned another page and saw herself again: a little bit more this time—head and chest, with her braid curling across the bottom of the sheet.