running from the past Page 6

Now all Emma had to do was walk into the room and he was ready to go. She didn’t even have to look at him. Although when she turned those guarded eyes his way, that made it worse. And her sweet scent permeated everything. It wasn’t overt or overbearing but subtle enough so when he entered the kitchen or walked down the hallway, she enveloped him.


He rolled over, glanced at the digital clock on his nightstand and groaned.


Midnight. Whiskey was the only thing that might help. He slipped on a pair of boxers and went to his study. Just as he set the decanter down, a crash sounded from the kitchen.


For a millisecond he froze. His heart jumped in his throat but he grabbed one of the pistols from the desk drawer. He had a gun in his room and one in the study for practical reasons. The probability of anyone penetrating his security system was slim but he hadn’t heard Emma stir upstairs so he wasn’t taking any chances.


His feet were silent along the pine hardwood floor in the hallway. His heartbeat slowed the closer he came to the archway leading to the kitchen. Out of instinct, he raised his gun and scanned the kitchen in one quick sweep. Ice chilled his veins at her slight silhouette in the pantry door. He immediately lowered his gun and tried to stop the rapid beat of his heart.


Emma’s eyes widened in horror, she dropped the wine bottle in her hand and let out a scream that pierced his soul. Glass and crimson liquid spewed across the floor. He twisted the dimmer switch so that light flooded the room and stepped into the kitchen but stopped short when Emma flinched and retreated further into the pantry. Away from him and away from the broken glass.


“Are you okay?” he asked, gun still in hand.


“I’m fine. It was dark and I couldn’t find the light switch. I crashed into one of the chairs before I figured out how to turn on the light. Sorry I woke you.” She cringed and glanced down at the glass in front of her.


“Don’t move,” he ordered before disappearing. He didn’t want her getting hurt.


Seconds later, he was back wearing boots. He felt a little foolish wearing boots and boxers but that was the least of his worries. Thankful she still stood where he’d left her, he placed his gun on the small table by the entryway before he walked toward her.


His shoes crunched over the broken pieces but she didn’t fight him as he lifted her up and carried her to the counter, even if her dark eyes were wide and frightened. Shit!


He knew he’d scared her but she wasn’t saying anything and that scared him more than if she would have started yelling at him.


“Let me clean this up and we’ll talk. Okay?”


She nodded in agreement but he didn’t miss her eyes flit to where he’d laid the gun across the room on the table where he kept his mail. After what felt like an eternity, he’d swept up the glass, the wine and run a wet cloth over the floor to pick up any excess shards.


“I woke up and realized what time it was. I came down to clean up but it was already taken care of and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I thought a glass of wine might help.” Words spewed from her like a machine gun as she twisted her hands in front of her lap.


Her voice sounded small in the quiet of the room and he fought the twinge of guilt twisting up his stomach for pointing a gun at her. It’s not as if he’d done it intentionally but he felt it nonetheless. Today was just not his day. First, he hit on her, an employee.


Then, he pointed a gun at her. He wouldn’t blame her if she packed up and left in the middle of the night.


He shook his head and rubbed a hand over his face. “I had the same idea. I’m sorry, I heard the crash and… God, Emma, I’m so sorry for pointing a gun at you.” She let out a shaky laugh and he could see some of her earlier fear ebb away. But not by much. “I’m just sorry you had to do the dishes tonight. Again.”


“Let’s just forget about it. We’re both getting used to sharing the house.”


“Okay.” The word came out breathy and seductive, though he doubted she even realized it. Just as she probably didn’t realize how utterly adorable she looked sitting there in a long john thermal pajama set.


He’d never thought of long johns as sexy in any way but hers were unlike any he’d seen. Pink and yellow kisses on a black background covered the clingy material that molded to her entire body like a second skin. She wasn’t wearing a bra and he could see her nipples perfectly. They were rock hard from the cold, or more probably, from the adrenaline rush at having a gun pointed at her. He’d seen it more times than he could count in battle. Most men he knew were horny after a firefight or a near miss with death. Biology. Plain and simple. Women were built the same way.


He averted his gaze to find her staring at him, eyebrows snapped down. Some unfathomable expression shrouded her pretty face. Desire or fear? Impossible to tell.


Maybe both.


“Come on, I think I’ve got an old bottle of cabernet in my study.” The counter wasn’t that high. She could have gotten down by herself but he wanted to feel her body against his again. If just for a moment.


Before she could move, he was in front of her. He hooked his hands under her arms and picked her up again. “In case there are any little pieces of glass I missed, I don’t want you getting cut,” he murmured in her ear. Too close. Way too close but he couldn’t help himself. Vanilla and some other exotic scent tickled his nose.


The walk across the kitchen to the entryway was a short one and she couldn’t weigh more than one hundred ten pounds, though he doubted even that. He set her down on the wooden floor but didn’t take a step back as he knew he should. Instead, his hands drifted down to her slim waist. He didn’t pull her closer. He didn’t make a move at all. Just kept his hands there, watching her. Waiting for a reaction. Any reaction.


She was running from something or someone and he didn’t want to scare her.


She didn’t move either but her face was unreadable. No repulsion. No desire.


Nothing. She didn’t pull back or step forward. Just stared at him, searching his face for something. The tick of the clock from the kitchen and their shallow breathing was the only sound penetrating the quiet night air. It was as if a quiet blanket had settled around the house, enveloping them. Moonbeams illuminated the hallway and other rooms through random slivers and window openings throughout the house.


Before he could change his mind, he pulled her against him and slanted his mouth over hers. He needed to taste her like he needed his next breath. He explored gently with his tongue and when she didn’t protest, he deepened his probing. She moaned into his mouth and wrapped her hands around his neck, gripping him as if she was afraid he’d leave her. Something he couldn’t do now, not if someone held a gun to his head.


Her hair cascaded down her back, around her face and he wondered what it would feel like to have that hair surround him as she rode him. He jerked at the image in his head and his cock surged up against her. With one hand, he cupped the back of her head, fisting her thick hair through his fingers. If he didn’t stop soon, he was likely to take her on the floor and she deserved better.


Somehow, he managed to extricate his mouth from hers. He pulled his head back.


Her lips were swollen and moist and her eyes were heavy with desire. Good. He wanted her ready because foreplay wasn’t going to be long.


“Do you want to take this to the bedroom?” It might have sounded like a cheesy line if his voice hadn’t been so strangled and hoarse.


In jerky motions, she nodded. They needed to get to his bedroom. Fast. Without asking her, he picked her up, carried her as if she was a weightless doll and didn’t stop until they were at the foot of his bed.


There were too many reasons to count why he shouldn’t be doing this and one very good reason he should. He didn’t know much about her except that she was scared and on the run.


They stood toe to toe and in her bare feet, she came to the middle of his chest. He stared down at her, gauging her expression and watching the rapid rise and fall of her breasts. “Is this what you want Emma?”


She smiled. Not a full one but her perfect pink lips curled up invitingly and her dark eyes flashed to life. “Yes.”


One word. That’s all he needed to hear. Despite her answer, she still looked a little nervous. Hell, so was he. Take it slowly. That had become his new mantra. Slow and easy. Something told him she didn’t fuck hard and fast. Even though that’s all he could think of doing, he knew it wouldn’t be right for her. At least not their first time. She would need to trust him.


With one hand, he cupped the back of her head and picked up where he’d left off.


She tasted just as good as she smelled. Sweet, inviting and utterly feminine.


Emma was trembling. Maybe not on the outside but her insides felt like Jell-O. If Caleb hadn’t been holding her steady, she’d have collapsed at the knees by now. At least she had a bed behind her. She was surprised he hadn’t already started stripping her clothes off. He hadn’t seemed like the kind of man really into foreplay but apparently she was wrong because he was taking his time with her. Making sure she was comfortable.


He held the back of her head gently with one hand and with his other, he pulled her tight against him. His erection strained against his boxers and was pushing against her stomach. Too many emotions swirled inside for her to make a move. She felt as if she was clutching on to him for dear life. In a way she was.


Only a few days had passed since she’d left but she felt like she’d been running from her past and who she was her entire existence. She’d never opened herself up to anyone because of fear. Fear of the consequences.


Not now. Now, nothing could stop her. She deserved a little bliss right? And being with Caleb was absolutely right. His large hands rested on her body but he didn’t make a move to take it the next step.


She wasn’t waiting for him any longer. This was happening. Without giving him any warning, she backed out of his embrace and pulled her thermal top off. Though they were inside, the cool night air rushed over her exposed body and she involuntarily shivered.