Come lie with me, p.17
Come Lie With Me, page 17
His flat stomach, ridged with muscles that were now writhing under her touch, beckoned her marauding mouth. She traced the arrow of downy hair, played a wet game of sneak attack with his navel, then slithered downward. Her silky hair draped across him as she kissed his legs from thigh to foot, biting the backs of his knees, dancing her tongue across his instep, then working her way back up.
He was shaking in every muscle, his body so taut that only his heels and shoulders were touching the bed. He was gripping the bedposts, his arms corded as he writhed in tormented ecstasy. “Please…please!” he begged hoarsely. “Touch me! Damn it, I can’t take any more!”
“Yes, you can!” she insisted, panting for breath. She touched him, her hand learning him, stroking him, and something close to a howl broke from his throat.
Suddenly she knew. For such vital strength, for such tender power, there was only one resting place, and that was the mysterious depth of her femininity. Male and female, they had been created to join together, the two halves to make a whole. She felt breathless, stunned, as if suddenly the world had shifted and nothing was the same as it had been.
His body was a bow, taut and aching. “Take…me!” he rasped, both in plea and demand, and Dione smiled a radiant, mysterious smile that almost blinded him with the joy of it.
“Yes,” she said, and with aching tenderness moved over him. She accepted him easily. He cried out, but lay still, letting her move as she wished. She looked at him, and golden eyes met blue, communicating wordlessly. She was awed by the rightness of their union, by the heated flares of pleasure that shot through her body. All the barriers were gone now; the fears and nightmares that had prevented her from letting herself enjoy the magic of giving herself to the man she loved had disappeared. She was sensual by nature, but events had taught her to deny that part of herself. No longer. Sweet heaven, no longer. He freed her, not only allowing her to be herself, but glorying in the woman she was. It was evident in the lost, rapt look he wore, the mindless undulating of his body.
She reveled in him. She adored him, she used him, she sank deeply into the whirlpool of the senses and welcomed the drowning. She was burning alive in the heat of her own body as the pleasure intensified and became unbearable, but still she couldn’t stop. The moans and gasping cries that kept forcing themselves from his throat as he fought for control were matched by her own sounds of pleasure, until that pleasure became wildfire and she was consumed by it. She heard a wordless cry lingering in the night air and didn’t recognize it was hers, or realize that it was joined by a deeper cry as Blake finally released himself from his sweet torture. She sank down, a long, long way, and sprawled weakly on him. His arms swept up and held her safely, securely in place.
He was kissing her, his mouth all over her face before finally settling on her lips and drinking deeply. She met his tongue with her own, and they lay together for a long time exchanging tired, leisurely kisses.
“You took me apart,” he murmured.
“I put you together again,” she said sleepily.
“I’m not talking about Humpty Dumpty, lady bird, I’m talking about what you did to me.”
“Didn’t you like it?”
“I loved it.” A deep chuckle rumbled through his chest. “As if you had to ask.” Then he sobered and pushed her hair away from her face so he could read her eyes. “Was it good for you?”
She smiled and ducked her head against him. “As if you had to ask.”
“No bad moments?”
“None,” she said, and yawned.
“Wretch, are you going to sleep on me?” he demanded in mock indignation, but his hands were tender as he stroked her. “You’re tired, aren’t you? Then sleep, darling. I’ll hold you. Just don’t move; I want to stay inside you all night.”
She would have blushed, but she was too tired, too satisfied, and he made a wonderful bed. She was boneless, draped over him, protected by him. She eased into sleep with the steady throb of his heartbeat in her ear.
He woke her at dawn with his slow, tender movements. The room was chilled, but they were warm, heated by the excitement that began to curl inside. There was no urgency, no need to hurry. He talked to her and teased her, told her jokes that made her laugh, and her laughter somehow increased her inner heat. He knew her body as well as she knew his, knew how to touch her and make her writhe with pleasure, knew how to gradually move her up the plane to satisfaction. Her trust was a tangible thing between them, evident in her clear, shining eyes as she allowed him to handle her as he pleased. Even when he rolled her onto her back and pinned her with his weight, no shadow of ancient fear darkened her joy. He had earned her trust the night before when he had offered his own body for her enjoyment. How could she deny him the pleasure of hers?
There was pleasure for her, too, a deep and shining pleasure that took her breath away. It was so intense that she almost cried out her love for him, but she clenched her teeth on the words. The time with him was golden but transient, and there was no need to burden him with an emotion that couldn’t be returned.
“I’d like to stay in bed with you all day,” he whispered against her satiny skin. “But Alberta will be up here soon if we don’t put in an appearance. She was worried about you yesterday, almost as much as I was.”
She buried her hands in his thick, dark hair. “Why were you worried? You knew why I was upset.”
“Because I never meant to upset you. I didn’t want to remind you of anything that had hurt you, but I did. You were so pale and cold.” He kissed the enticing slope of her breast and smiled at the ripple of response that was evident under her skin.
They showered together; then he sprawled on the bed and directed her dressing. He wanted her to wear the slinky, seductive shorts she’d worn before, and his eyes glittered as he watched her pull them on. He had to return to his room to dress, as he’d come to her stark naked, and stark naked he walked down the hall, moving slowly but with increasing confidence and grace. Tears of pride stung her eyes as she watched him.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Alberta said with an odd smugness as she served breakfast, and it was so unusual for Alberta to make small talk that Dione glanced at her sharply, but could read nothing in the woman’s stoic face.
“Beautiful,” Blake echoed gravely, and gave Dione a slow smile that started her blood racing.
Their workouts were leisurely and remarkably short; Blake seemed more interested in watching her than in lifting weights or walking on the treadmill. He was relaxed, satisfaction lying on him like a golden glow. Instead of trying to slow him down, Dione scolded him for doing so little. “I’m going to have to cut down on the amount you’re eating if you aren’t going to work any more than this.”
“Whatever you say,” he murmured, his eyes on her legs. “You’re the boss.”
She laughed and gave up. If he weren’t going to work out, he might as well be walking. It was warmer out than it had been recently, so they walked around the grounds; the only support he used was his arm around her waist. She noticed that he was limping less; even his left leg moved without dragging as badly as it had.
“I’ve been thinking,” he announced as they returned to the house. “There’s no use in waiting until the first of the year before I go back to work. I’m going back Monday; I’ll get myself accustomed to the place and what’s going on, before Richard takes off.”
Dione stopped and stared at him, her cheeks paling. He saw her expression and misunderstood it; he laughed as he hugged her to him. “I’m not going to hurt myself,” he assured her. “I’ll just work in the mornings. Half a day, I promise. Then I’ll come home and put myself in your hands again, and you can work me until I drop if that’s what you want.”
She bit her lip. “If you’re capable of returning to work, then there’s no need for me to stay at all,” she said quietly.
He frowned, his hands tightening on her. “There’s all the need in the world. Don’t even think about leaving me, honey, because I won’t
“Nothing’s settled,” she denied. “I have to work, to support myself—”
“By all means, work if you want,” he interrupted. “But you don’t have to. I can support you.”
She jerked back, indignant color staining her face. “I’m not a call girl,” she snapped. “Or a lap dog.”
He put his hands on his hips. “I’ll agree with that, but I’m not talking about either of those,” he said, his own temper rising. “I’m talking about marriage, lady, the ‘till death do us part’ bit.”
She couldn’t have been more startled if he’d turned green before her eyes. She stared at him. “You can’t mean that.”
“Why can’t I mean it?” he demanded irritably. “This is a hell of a reception for the only marriage proposal I’ve ever made.”
She couldn’t help it; she laughed at the anger in his tone, even though she knew inside that he would soon forget her. He was still involved in their intense, isolated therapist-patient relationship, with the added complication of their physical involvement. She’d known that making love with him was a mistake, but she hadn’t suspected that he would carry it as far as considering marriage.
“I can’t marry you,” she said, shaking her head to reinforce her refusal.
“It wouldn’t work.”
“Why wouldn’t it work? We’ve been living together for almost half a year, and you can’t say that we don’t get along. We’ve had some great times. We fight, sure, but that’s half the fun. And you can’t say that you don’t love me, because I know you do,” he finished tightly.
Dione stared at him in silent dismay. She’d tried so hard not to let him know, but he’d seen through her pitiful defenses anyway. He’d demolished every wall that she’d built. She couldn’t stay. She’d have to leave immediately, get away from him while she still could. “There’s no sense in dragging this out,” she said, pulling away from him. “I’ll leave today.”
Once she was free of his grip she knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with her. Her conscience twinged at leaving him alone to make his way back to the house—what if he fell? But needs must when the devil drives, and her devil was driving her mercilessly. She went straight to her room and began pulling out her clothes. She was swift and efficient; she had all the clothes lying on the bed in neat stacks when she realized that the new clothes she’d bought made it impossible for her to fit everything into her two suitcases. She’d either have to leave them there, or buy another suitcase. If she bought another suitcase, she’d have to beg a ride from someone…no, where was her brain? She could always call a taxi. She didn’t have to beg for anything.
“Dee, you’re not leaving,” Blake said gently from the doorway. “Put everything back and calm down.”
“I have to leave. I don’t have any reason to say.” It had been a waste of breath for him to tell her to calm down. She was utterly calm, knowing what she had to do.
“I’m not reason enough to stay? You love me. I’ve known for quite a while. It’s in your eyes when you look at me, your touch, your voice, everything about you. You make me feel ten feet tall, darling. And if I still needed proof, I had it when you let me make love to you. You’re not a woman to give herself to any man without love. You love me, even if you’re too stubborn to tell me the words.”
“I told you,” she said, her voice muffled with pain. “I always fall in love with my patients. It’s practically required.”
“You don’t go to bed with all of your patients, do you?”
He already knew the answer to that. He didn’t need the miserable little shake of her head, or the whispered, “No,” to reassure him.
“It’s not one-sided,” he murmured, coming up behind her to wrap his arms around her middle. “I love you, so much I hurt. You love me, and I love you; it’s only natural that we get married.”
“But you don’t love me!” she shouted, driven beyond control at hearing those precious words. It was unfair that she should be punished so much for loving him, but everything had to be paid for in coin. For daring to transgress, she would pay with her heart. She began to struggle against the bonds of flesh that held her, but he merely tightened his hold, not enough to hurt her, but she was securely restrained. After a moment of futile effort she let her head drop back against his shoulder. “You only think you love me,” she wept, her voice thick with the tears lodged in her throat. “I’ve been through it before; a patient becomes so dependent on me, so fixated on me, that he confuses his feelings of need with love. It won’t last, Blake, believe me. You don’t really love me; it’s just that I’m the only toy in your playground right now. When you go back to work you’ll be seeing other women and everything will fall back into proportion. It would be awful if I married you and then you found out it had all been a mistake.”
“I’m a man,” he said slowly. “There have been other women who I wanted, other women who caught my interest, but give me credit for being intelligent enough to know the difference between the way I felt with them and the way I feel about you. I want to be with you, talk with you, fight with you, watch you laugh, make love with you. If that’s not love, honey, no one will ever know the difference.”
“I’ll know the difference, and so will you.”
He sighed impatiently. “You still won’t listen to reason, will you? Then let’s compromise. Are you willing to compromise?”
She eyed him warily. “It depends.”
He smiled even as he shook his head. “You’d think I’m a mass murderer, the way you’re looking at me. It’s just a simple deal. You say that when I get out more and see other women to compare you to, I’ll realize that I’ve just been infatuated with you. On the other hand, I say that I love you and I’ll keep on loving you, regardless of how many other women I see. To settle the issue, all you have to do is stay until I’ve had a chance to make that comparison. Simple?”
She shrugged. “I see what’s in the deal for you; you win, either way. I know that you’re planning to sleep with me, and I’m honest enough to know that if I stay, that’s exactly how things will work out. If you decide that it was just a passing fancy after all, then you’ve lost nothing and had a bed partner while you thought about it.”
“There’s something in it for you, too,” he said, grinning.
The wicked gleam in his eyes gave him away. She could have kicked him, but it seemed that he could always make her laugh no matter how upset she was. “I know, I know,” she said, beginning to giggle. “I get to sleep with you.”
“That’s not such a bad deal,” he said with blatant immodesty.
“You talk a good game, Mr. Remington,” she said, still laughing despite all she could do to stifle it.
“That’s not all I do well,” he said, reaching for her and folding her against him. His lips found the slope of her throat and she shivered, her lashes falling to veil her eyes. “Think of it as therapy,” he encouraged. “A sort of repayment for your own therapeutic knowledge. You gave me a reason to live, and I’ll show you how to live.”
“I can’t do it.”
He shook her, then pulled her back to him and began to lay tender seige to her mouth, storming the barrier of her teeth and taking the treasure that lay beyond. “You will do it,” he insisted softly. “Because you love me. Because I need you.”
“Past tense: You needed me. That’s in the past. You’re on your own, and you’re doing fine.”
“I won’t be doing fine if you leave me. I swear I’ll put myself back in the wheelchair and not get out again. I won’t go to work; I won’t eat; I won’t sleep. I need you to take care of me.”
“Blackmail won’t work,” she warned him, trying not to laugh again.
“Then I’ll have to try another tactic. Please. Stay for me. I love you, and you love me. What if yo
The pain that seared her heart told her that at last he’d hit on the real reason why she wanted to leave. She was afraid to believe in love, because no one had ever loved her. She stared at him intently, aware inside of herself that she had reached a personal milestone. She could play it safe and run but people who played it safe never knew the intoxication of going for it all, of putting their hearts on the line. They never risked anything, so they never won anything. Everything had to be paid for; she reminded herself of that once again. All she could do was try. If she won, if by some miracle she gained the golden apple, her life would be complete. If she lost, would she really be any worse off than she was now? She already loved him. Would leaving him now make the pain any less than leaving him later?
“All right,” she said huskily, aware of the bridges burning behind her. She could feel the heat at her back. “I’ll stay with you. Don’t ask me to marry you, not yet. Let’s see how it works out. An affair is a lot easier to recover from when it goes sour than a marriage is.”
He quirked a dark eyebrow at her. “You’re not overconfident, are you?”
“I’m…cautious,” she admitted. “Marriage was traumatic for me. Let me take one hurdle at a time. If…if everything works out, I’ll marry you whenever you want.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” he murmured. “I’d like to marry you now. I’d like to make you pregnant right now, if I could. I was looking forward to our devoting a lot of time to that project, but now I’ll have to take precautions. Our children will all come after we’ve been married for at least nine months. No one’s going to count their fingers and smirk at our babies.”
by Linda Howard / Romance / Mystery & Thrillers have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes