Deadly Fear Page 18

The sheriff had frozen, but he didn’t glance back at her. “My town is safe now,” he said again, and Luke wondered if he was trying to convince Monica of that fact—or himself.

Then an EMT raced up to her, muttering about the blood dripping on her arm. And the sheriff kept walking.

“Sheriff—” Monica called.

Luke stepped in front of her. “Stitch her up,” he ordered, shoving his hands into his pockets. The better not to touch. Hold.

Not now. Because that message was plain in her eyes.

Her rules. Her game. Not for much longer.

Monica could hear the ticking of the bedside clock, counting off the seconds. So slowly and way too loud.

No, not too loud. The room was just too quiet.

Monica grabbed the clock. Yanked the batteries out and threw the damn thing across the floor. Her hands were shaking, her entire body trembling.

Fury rode her. It tightened her gut and pounded through her head. She jumped out of the bed. Can’t stay there. Pressing her palms against her eyes, she began to pace. Fast, desperate strides.

F-fuck… you.

Her hands dropped. A dead man’s voice, playing like a broken record in her head.

And even when she closed her eyes, she could see him.

His eyes—angry and afraid.

F-fuck… him.

Had he been afraid of her? Of Luke? Or of something more?

M-my… way. His way, all right. A shot to the head.

“Dammit,” she whispered. “Just… dammit.”

“Monica!” She froze. A fist pounded on the connecting door, hard enough to shake the wood. “Open the door—or it’s coming down!”

Her heart thudded in her chest. Luke. Oh, Christ but she needed him, needed him so much she’d intended to stay away. Because she knew that the moment she was alone with him, she’d break. Shatter.

Covered in a dead man’s blood.

That was how she’d left the crime scene. She’d stayed in the shower for an hour, let the hot water scald her skin, but she still didn’t feel clean.

“Open. The. Door!” Another hard thud with his fist.

I need him.

Too much. One touch, and the need, the hunger, would be too strong. In the past, she’d always had control with her lovers. Even with him.

“Fuck!” Wood splintered. The door flew open and banged against the wall. Her eyes widened.

He’d just kicked her door down. Well, damn.

Something hard slammed against the wall on the far left. A fist? “Keep that crap down!” A man’s voice, snarled and sleepy.

Monica licked her lips. Her heart drummed in her ears, fast, faster, so—

“You could have died today.”

He’d showered too. His blond mane was still wet. He had on his boxers but his chest glistened.

“He could have shot you instead of himself.” The low words rumbled as Luke took a step inside. “You took a risk—you should have shot him.”

She would have. Her finger had been squeezing the trigger. Then she’d realized he wasn’t aiming for her.

No, the gun had been rising, turning, but not at her. At himself.

She’d just been too slow to save Jeremy Jones. A tremble ran the length of her body. “Luke, don’t—” Don’t come any closer. Touch me, and I’ll break.

Touch me, and I’ll feel.

Feeling, that was the dangerous part for her.

He stiffened. A muscle flexed in his jaw. “Don’t what?” Another step. “Don’t tell you how scared I was? Don’t tell you that I wanted to shoot the bastard, kill him cold the minute he pulled that gun on you?”

On us. Because he’d been trying to take Luke out, too, and when the shots had started, fear for Luke had nearly choked her. Can’t do this. She could smell Luke. Could all but taste him. “Don’t make me need you more.”

His eyes narrowed. It seemed to take her words a minute to sink in, then he was on her. Grabbing her, jerking her close and crushing his mouth down on hers.

She clutched at him. Her fingers were greedy, desperate. Her mouth locked on his. Her tongue drove past his lips. She stroked him, tasted and craved more.

Her nails bit into his skin. She didn’t care. Right then, the only thing she cared about was the way he made her feel.

No, that he made her feel. Even if the feelings were about to rip her apart.

His hands clenched around her hips. His cock—hard and long and ready—pushed against her sex.

Luke’s mouth tore from hers and he started licking her neck. His teeth raked over her flesh, and he muttered. “Christ, Monica, don’t scare me again, don’t—”

She pulled back. “I don’t want to talk.” Not now. The beast inside her was alive. Hungry.

For him. For every damn thing she’d always wanted and couldn’t have.

But for now, she’d take—

Pleasure.

She dropped to her knees before him.

“What? No, you don’t—”

She caught the waistband of his open jeans and shoved them down. Took his c*ck in her hands. His length was swollen and heavy, reaching toward her with moisture glistening on the broad head.

Her hands pumped him. Primed him.

His groan filled her ears even as his hands fisted in her hair.

He wanted this. So did she. Time to take what she wanted.

Her lips closed over the rounded tip of his erection. She took that salty drop onto her tongue and swallowed.

“Monica…”

Deeper now. He tried to control her with his hand, but she didn’t want control. Not from him.

Not from anyone.

Her mouth widened, and she took him deeper, faster. Monica used her tongue as she sucked and licked.

And he swelled even more inside her mouth.

Her panties were wet. The fabric rubbed against her, and her h*ps rocked in time with each move of her mouth. Arching forward, wanting his touch, the thrust of his length in her—

“Enough!” He caught her wrists and jerked her up. Luke didn’t touch her wound; he didn’t even come close. Because he wouldn’t forget; he wouldn’t hurt her. Not him.

She raked her nails down his chest, scoring the flesh. “Don’t go easy on me.”

The smile he flashed was one that the devil would wear. “I won’t.” At that rumble, she knew his lust matched hers.

He moved fast and pinned her against the wall as he took her mouth again in a hot, wet, open-mouthed kiss.

Luke ripped her panties away, and he tossed them to the floor. She just wore a t-shirt now, an old, thin FBI Academy t-shirt.

His fingers pushed between her thighs, parting her folds and shoving deep into her sex.

Monica rose onto her tiptoes, choking back a moan. More.

Luke’s head lowered. He laved her ni**les through the shirt, and now she was the one to sink her fingers into his hair, to hold him tighter, to press him closer.

His fingers plunged, in and out, and his thumb pressed over her clit. Her muscles tightened, the wild rush of pleasure tempting her. So close. She could come if—

Her elbows jabbed against the wall behind her. Pain shot through her arm. Not enough pain to stop her, hell no, nothing would stop her now. Noth—

She came, exploded with a burst of pleasure so sharp her body shook.

“Fuck.” Luke slid on a condom and positioned his c*ck at her entrance. The thick head pushed inside, just a bit, lodging at the mouth of her sex. His eyes held hers, his pupils so big and dark, and then he shoved inside.

And the cl**ax continued. Harder. Pleasure lashed her as Luke thrust into her. Over and over. Oh, sweet hell.

His fingers bit into her flesh, and he plunged, so deep. He lifted her—damn the man was strong, she had almost forgotten—and Monica wrapped her legs around his waist. Her heels dug into his hips, and she tightened and held him as her sex rippled around his c*ck and the contractions continued.

So good. Living. Feeling.

He stiffened against her.

Her eyes were still on his. So much heat in that green gaze. Need. Pleasure. The same fire that he would see in her eyes.

His mouth crashed onto hers as his h*ps jerked.

Pleasure.

Monica’s knees trembled when she tried to stand on her own. Good sex would do that to a woman.

Luke wrapped his arm around her waist and braced her against him. Monica was so tempted to lean against him, just for a little bit longer.

But the vicious lust had been satisfied. A lust she knew they’d both felt. They’d been riding adrenaline from the shooting. Both skirting the fine edge of control. That wild rush happened all the time to cops, to firefighters. To FBI agents.

But the need was slaked. Her limbs seemed heavy now from the wild rush of release that had left her hollowed out.

She licked her lips and realized she didn’t know what to say. “Thank you” just seemed awkward. Like he’d done her a favor by screwing her. “More” seemed too needy, and she wasn’t one hundred percent sure she could go another round right then.

Her gaze slid over, drifted down.

He might be able to go again, though.

“Get in bed.” The gruff order surprised her and had her head whipping back up.

Since when did Luke—

Forget it. Monica cleared her throat. “I-I’ll see you in the morning.” Because in the past, she’d always left after sex, or she’d sent him away. She’d stayed at the cabin, but that had been a one-time deal. The wrong place, too much need.

Monica had sex with her lovers. She didn’t sleep with them. In sleep, her walls came down. She didn’t want them to see her when she was weak.

Because sometimes, the monsters crept up on her in the darkness. That’s why she had to stay on guard. Always.

Her gaze darted to the broken door. Ah… explaining that could be a bit tricky, but she’d get Hyde to toss in some cash to smooth things over with the owner.

“I’m not going anyplace tonight.”

Her gaze snapped right back to him. Luke watched her, his jaw clenched. “Kicking me out isn’t gonna work now, baby.”

He headed into the bathroom.

Her brows shot up. Kicking him out had been the plan and now…

Now he came back, closing the distance between them quickly, minus the condom. Yeah, he was aroused again. Or still aroused, and she knew he’d cl**axed. No way to miss that hard jerk of his c*ck inside her.

“I’m sleeping with you tonight.” He caught her chin. “We’re breaking the rules.”

Of course he knew about her rules.

“Lay with me.” A whisper now. Not an order but a soft entreaty from a lover. “Let me hold you.” His jaw tightened. “And let me forget that you could have died today.”

Let him. The whisper from her own mind.

Luke Dante. Her temptation.

Because she’d always wanted to be held in the darkness. To know she wasn’t alone.

But what if the nightmares came again?

His fingers drifted down her throat. Goose bumps rose on her flesh.

If I wake up screaming, I can say the dreams are from the Jones shooting. Just a flashback. That’s all. He’d believe the lie. He’d believed the others she’d told him.

“Come to bed with me.”

What would it hurt? One night. The door was broken anyway. Might as well be in the same room because the door would be open all night.

She didn’t realize that Luke had been maneuvering her to the bed until her knees bumped against the mattress.

“Let me have tonight,” he said, and his eyes never wavered from hers.

She nodded. Hesitant, a bit afraid, but…

Too tempted.

A man died right in front of me today. His blood coated my skin. I’m taking this. Taking him. Holding on, for as long as I can.

She crawled under the covers, pausing only long enough to toss away her shirt. He was na**d. She’d sleep that way, too.

Luke bent toward the bed.

“Ah, wait—”

He froze, and she saw the tightening near his eyes. The flash of—what was that? Pain? Anger?

She reached under the pillow near him and felt the hard butt of her weapon. Grimacing, she pulled out her gun. “Maybe we should move this.” Tonight, she’d be safe.

He took the gun and stared at it. At her. Then asked, “Should I leave the light on?”

And he nearly broke her heart.

Because he knew.

She wasn’t controlled. She wasn’t Ice. She was weak. Afraid. She needed a light when she slept, like a damn child. The big, bad agent, needing a shield against the night.

But that light had let her survive through the darkest hours.

“I’ll leave it on,” he said as his knee pushed onto the top of the mattress.

“No.” Dammit, she could do this. “Turn it off. There’s no need for the light tonight.” She had him. The demons could go screw off.

Luke left her. He turned off the light and plunged them into darkness. The covers rustled when he climbed into bed beside her, then she felt the hot brush of his flesh against her. His muscled, hair-covered legs. His steely arms.

He pulled her close. Held her against his heart.

Beating so fast.

“You scared me.” The words drifted in the dark room. A stark admission from him. “I wanted to shoot the bastard. I was so afraid he’d kill you—”

He broke off and his arms tightened. His heart thudded against her. “Don’t do that to me again, baby. Just don’t.”

Emotion there. Real and painful. Once again, she didn’t know what to say, but she turned her head and kissed him. Not on his mouth but right on that strong jaw. “I’m here.” It was all she could think to tell him. “I’m safe.” Until the next time.

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