Crescent Moon (Chapter 26)

I expected the usual slam bam without even a "thank you, ma'am," sex that bordered on rough, a rocketing orgasm. Instead he slowed things down, and I was lost

"Come." He took my hand; he pulled me across the floor.

I followed obediently, drunk on the taste of his mouth, the scent of his skin. I figured we were headed for the couch and that was fine with me, yet when I hesitated halfway across the room, he turned, shaking his head.

"Not tonight. Tonight we do this right."

We hadn't been doing it right? Could have fooled me.

His bed was made, which gave me a start He didn't seem the kind of guy who bothered. Then again, from the military corners and the tight white sheets, maybe he couldn't help himself.

Just like I couldn't help myself. Certainly I'd proved he wasn't an evil soulless beast or the walking undead. But even if he had been, could I have resisted him? I wasn't sure.

He climbed onto the bed, never letting go of my hand. Did he think I'd run if he released me? I wouldn't get far.

Even as a man, he could catch me. Especially since I'd let him.

The ripple of muscle across his abdomen was accented by the line of his pants. Not a centimeter of excess flesh lapped over the waistband. Reaching out, I traced my thumb along a ridge, and his skin fluttered beneath my touch.

I wanted to taste him, feel life against my lips, push aside the button, the zipper, and lay claim to what was beneath. I wanted to make amends for doubting him, if not for the knife.

What guy wouldn't appreciate a blow job apology?

His slacks were worn soft from years of use. The single button popped free with very little encouragement

He watched me through slitted, lazy eyes, though the hardened length of his body revealed a coiled tension, the tangle of his hair hinted at a certain wildness.

The rumble of his zipper as I tugged it down seemed to fill the room, electrify the air. He continued to watch me without a word or a movement, except to lift his hips just enough so I could slide the pants down. No underwear lay beneath, only skin.

I wanted to learn every line and every curve. Since he didn't appear to be going anywhere, I indulged myself.

A light dusting of hair covered his legs, just enough to make them manly, not enough to nudge them toward beast. I trailed my fingernails through the curls, up the inside of his thighs, and he quivered. How far could I go before he lost control?

My hands roved higher, thumbs skating over the curve where his leg became his hip. He arched, begging me to touch him. I couldn't deny a need I felt so deeply myself.

I lowered my head, and my hair spilled over his chest, hiding me from view as I hovered, my breath brushing his pelvis, making him think, Yes, maybe, now, before I pressed my mouth to his belly, let my tongue circle his navel, then trace a moist path downward.

My breasts cradled his erection. His pulse beat in time with mine. He slid through my cleavage, such that it was, simulating the intimate act. I lowered my head and licked him just once.

His body leaped in response. Eyes closed, he moved against me, and I lost myself watching his face. The man enjoyed sex. With him, I enjoyed it, too.

Not that I hadn't before, but when love is involved the act is more about mind than body, heart than hands, lips, and tongue. There was something to be said about sex for the sake of sex.

My nipples tightened, hardening as they brushed his upper thighs. The rhythmic strokes sent a bolt of heat through me. I wanted to lift my body over his, take him deep within. I wanted to ride him until we were both mindless and begging.

But not yet.

I inched downward and he let me go, hands sliding over my shoulders, up my neck, across my face. His fingers tangled in my hair as I took him in my mouth. He caressed my scalp with languid strokes, guiding, encouraging, urging me on.

He lasted a good long while. His control was downright impressive. It became a battle of wills; who would surrender first, him or me? I didn't plan to lose. I wouldn't

My tongue did things I'd only imagined. I used my teeth where I'd never used them before. Still he didn't come, didn't speak, didn't move anything but his fingers through my hair.

I grasped him at the hilt, ran my thumb down his length, followed with my tongue, scraped him with my teeth, and his hand finally tightened.

His face was set, his eyes brighter, lighter than I remembered. As I held his gaze, I licked him, once, twice, three times, swirling softly, then taking him all and suckling hard.

He swelled and grew, so close to erupting. Frantic, I rode him with my mouth, drawing him to the back of my throat, then nearly setting him free.

"No," he murmured, the rumble of his voice making my lips tingle, my ears buzz. "Please."

I lifted my head and he groaned. I blew on the chilly dampness left by my tongue, and his eyes fluttered closed.

"Please what?"

I closed my teeth over his tip, scored the skin just a little. His eyes shot open. I expected something gruff, perhaps crude. But had anything ever been as I expected with him?

"Take me inside, cher. I want to feel your body all around me."

I frowned at the request, too personal, too revealing. I was tempted to finish him off despite any protest. He was too close; a few more strokes, and he'd be able to do nothing but come.

Though oral sex could be more intimate than anything else, right now it wasn't. There was a distance between us, a distance I wanted to keep. Why was he trying to breach it?

His hand still tangled in my hair, his thumb stroked my cheek. My eyes burned, and my chest ached. This was so not a good idea.

In spite of that, I was captured by his gaze, compelled by his voice, murmuring words in French that I didn't understand.

I did as he wanted, because I wanted it, too, surrounding him, taking him in. We moved together as if we'd done this a thousand times. The advance, the retreat, so new and yet so familiar, first filling me up, men nearly leaving me alone. The latter made me clutch him tight, hold him close, grasp him in the depths of myself, and consider never letting him go.

"Look at me," he ordered.

I didn't want to. If I didn't see his face, he wasn't a man, or a beast, he was a ride, albeit a damn good one.

Disgusted with my thoughts, I again did as he asked, meeting his gaze, seeing myself. Who was that woman? Could she be me?

"You don't think of him when I'm inside you."

I said nothing, not even when he arched his back and touched me more deeply than ever before.

"Say it," he whispered. "Say it, or I won't make you come."

Even if I could have spoken, I didn't know what he wanted. He stopped moving – a little too late.

The release began so small, so far away and yet so large, so near, I wasn't sure if the spasms were him at first or me. Didn't matter, because both of us were rocking together, coming apart.

I collapsed on his chest; he ran his hand up my back. The world returned, and he was still inside me. I was draped all over him. Uncertain, almost childlike, he began to play with the fleur-de-lis chain at my waist.

"What did you want me to say?" I asked.

"My name. That's all."

I lifted my head, shifted my body, but kept our legs tangled together. "Why?"

"You said 'Simon' de last time you were in my bed."

I flinched at the sound of my husband's name while my body still tingled from another man. I didn't want to talk about Simon. Not now, not ever, and definitely not here and not with him.

"I was asleep," I snapped. "It isn't as if I called you Simon while you were doing me."

This time be flinched, and I got worried. Was he expecting more than I could ever give? He didn't seem the type. Then again, what type was he?

"I'm sorry, Adam." I rolled onto my back so we were no longer touching. "I wouldn't like it if you said another woman's name, either. Even though…"

I paused, uncertain what to say.

"Even though there's nothing between us but tins?" he finished.

I turned my head; our noses nearly brushed. "Yes."

For just an instant I wondered if it could be more. If I could love another man the way I'd loved Simon. If I could love this man.

"I wish I could love you," he whispered.

Was he reading my thoughts? Mirroring them? And speaking of mirrors…

"You don't have any," I blurted.

Confusion flickered over his face. "Love?"


The confusion fled, replaced by wariness, just before the stoic mask returned. He'd shut me out as if he had something to hide.

"I don't like mirrors, cher."

"Because …?"

He sat up, presented me with his back. "What you want me to say? That I can't see my reflection? Or that I don't want to?"

I sat up, too, but turned toward him. Something was going on here; I just couldn't figure out what

"There are things I've done," he said softly. "Things you couldn't imagine."

Was he talking about the army? Or something else?

"What did you do?"

He stood, muscles rippling in his back, his legs, his arms. "More than I can ever say."

"I meant, what was your job in the army? Detective Sullivan couldn't access your file."

"My life then is dead. I'm here now, and I'll never be free."

He spun around, putting his hands on the bed, leaning over me, crowding into my space. "I'm not de man for you."

"I know."

"I can't love you."

"I can't love you."

"Don't ask me to."

"I didn't." My voice was clipped, my back tense to the point of aching.

"Just so we're clear."


His lips twitched. "What you so mad about, cher? I'm just gettin' things out in de open. No hard feelings later that way."

"Fine with me," I said, but my back was stiffer than a scrub brush bristle.

He sank onto the bed, rubbed a big hand over my shoulders.

"Shh," he whispered, pulling me into his arms. "We both want de same thing. While you're here, we'll be together. When you go, we won't be."


"Because you will go."


Especially since he hadn't asked me to stay.