"They are now, too."
Rush groaned. "Oh God, Lindy, I’m never going to get enough of you before I leave."
"But not for any lack of trying," she whispered back, threading her fingers through his hair. Tossing back her head, she whimpered softly as he sucked her breast with the hunger of a starving man. Already his hands were at the snap of her jeans, working that open and then tugging at the zipper. Lindy’s fingers were equally busy.
They could hardly make it to the bed fast enough. Wordlessly Rush spread her legs and lowered his body into hers. At his first thrust, Lindy felt an electric charge shoot through her and she cried out.
Their lovemaking was a hungry, wild mating that was both tender and fierce and left them so exhausted they fell into a deep, drained sleep.
A sharp sound broke into Lindy’s consciousness, but she resisted waking, not wanting to tear herself away from the warm, lethargic feeling of being held in Rush’s arms.
"What the hell?"
Lindy’s eyes shot open to discover her brother standing in the doorway of Rush’s bedroom. Before she could move or speak, Steve had tossed his seabag on the floor and stormed into the room. With one sweeping motion, he hauled Rush out of bed and slammed him against the wall.
"Just what the hell are you doing in bed with my sister?" he demanded, his fist poised in front of Rush’s face.
"Steve!" Lindy screamed. "We’re married." She bolted upright and clenched the blankets to her naked breasts with her right hand while holding out her left in proof.
"Married!" Steve exclaimed on a long, slow breath. Gradually he released his grip on Rush’s neck. "What the hell! But you hardly know each other. You can’t possibly…. You wouldn’t."
"It happens that way sometimes," Rush explained, and reached for his pants.
"I don’t believe this." Steve shook his head as though the action would dissolve the image before him, then turned and stalked out of the room. He paused at the doorway and looked back. "We need to talk."
Lindy wasn’t sure which of them Steve wanted to speak with. What was clear was that Lindy hardly recognized her own brother. His solid, sturdy good looks hadn’t changed in the time since she’d last seen him. He was still lean and handsome, the way she’d always remembered him, but his eyes had been so hard, so cruel, as though he would have relished an excuse to fight, even if it was with his best friend.
Rush sat on the edge of the mattress and Lindy moved behind him, looping her arms around his neck. "Are you all right?"
"It’s not exactly the way I cherish being woken."
"Me, either." Her teeth nibbled his earlobe, and she rubbed her bare breasts against his back, loving the tingly feeling the action provoked. She grinned with satisfaction as she felt Rush’s shoulders tighten and knew he’d experienced the same kind of delicious pleasure.
"Lindy, for God’s sake, stop. I’ve got to go out there and talk to your brother."
The regret in his voice was enough to raise her blood pressure and she sighed, wishing her brother had chosen another time and day to make his appearance.
"I’m coming with you," Lindy said when Rush had finished buttoning his shirt.
"Honey, listen," Rush said, his voice low and thoughtful. "I think it might be better if Steve and I had a few minutes alone first."
"I want to tell Steve how things went between us," Rush explained. "If he’s going to be angry, then I’d rather he was upset with me."
"Hey, Rush, come on. We’re in this together." She reached for her clothes and was dressing as quickly as her fingers would allow. "It isn’t as if you seduced me, you know. In fact it was more the other way around.
You’ve been a perfect gentleman from the minute we met.-. Well, other than that first night – but that’s understandable when you think about it…. I think we should both talk to Steve. He is my brother and…"
Rush moved around to her side of the bed and stood in front of her.
Lindy was prepared to argue with her husband if he was determined to be obstinate, but when she glanced up his eyes were filled with such love and tenderness that all her determination to stand at his side and face her brother evaporated.
"Ten minutes," he said, taking her by the shoulders. "That’s all I ask."
Denying Rush anything in that moment would have been impossible, and she nodded.
Her husband-of-a-day rewarded her with a quick but infinitely thorough kiss, his tongue darting into her mouth and shooting ripples of pleasure down the full length of her body. When he released her Lindy sank back onto the corner of the bed, her legs too weak to support her.
Rush left the bedroom and closed the door. Lindy stared at it helplessly, unable to move. Almost immediately the raised, angry voice of her brother followed as he demanded to know what the hell Rush thought he was doing marrying his little sister. Lindy didn’t hear her husband’s reply, but whatever he said apparently didn’t appease Steve, because shortly afterward Steve started in again. Lindy grimaced at some of the language, impatient to speak to her brother herself. She was an adult and certainly capable of choosing her own husband.
She gave Rush the ten minutes she’d promised, but it was difficult. As the endless seconds ticked past, Lindy tried to remember the last time she’d seen Steve. Before he’d divorced Carol, Lindy realized. That was what? – one and a half years ago now. Steve had been happy then, excited, full of life. Could it really have been only eighteen months ago? She hardly recognized Steve as the same man. He looked so much older than his thirty-three years, and she wondered if the divorce was responsible for the changes in him. From what her parents had told her, Steve and Carol had broken up shortly after their visit to Minneapolis, and the divorce had been final for over a year. No one knew any of the details. Steve hadn’t explained a thing, and Lindy hadn’t asked. What went on between her brother and Carol was their business, not hers.
When Lindy couldn’t stand it any longer, she stood and walked out of the bedroom. Both men stopped and turned around to face her. Anger flashed from their eyes, and it looked as if they were about to resort to physical violence. Lindy knew she’d timed her entrance perfectly.
"It’s good to see you again, Steve," she said with a soft smile, walking to her husband’s side and slipping her arm around his waist.
Her brother grumbled something in reply.
"Aren’t you going to congratulate Rush and me?"
Steve’s eyes hardened as they clashed with Rush’s. "I’m not sure."
"Why not?" Lindy feigned a calmness she was far from feeling and smiled up at Rush, letting her warm gaze speak for her.
"Lindy, just what in the hell do you think you’re doing?" Steve demanded, looking more upset by the minute. "You’ve been in Seattle how long? Three, four weeks?"
"Are you saying Rush will make me a terrible husband and that I’ve made a dreadful mistake? Obviously you know something about him that I don’t."
"That’s not what I mean and you know it," Steve shouted. He paused long enough to rake his fingers through his hair, mussing the well-groomed effect. "What about Paul Abrams?"
Lindy met her brother’s gaze without emotion. "What about him?"
"You loved him…or so you said. Hell, the last time I heard from you, your heart was broken and you didn’t know if you wanted to go on living. Remember?"
"Of course I remember."
"And that’s all changed?" His voice carried a harsh sound of reprimand. "It didn’t take you very long to forget him, did it? So much for undying love and devotion. Well, little sister, did you ever stop to think what could follow next? If your affections can change overnight, what’s going to happen when Rush has sea duty? Are you going to divorce him once he’s out of sight because you find yourself attracted to another man?"
Lindy felt her husband tense at her side. She wasn’t pleased with Steve’s insinuation, either, but she was willing to let it pass. "As you recall, Paul was the one who conveniently forgot about me. Thank God he did, otherwise I would never have met Rush."
"You’re saying that now. God, what a mess." Steve abruptly turned away and marched to the other side of the room. Just as sharply, he turned back to face them. "Of all the people in the world, I thought you were the one I could trust the most."
His comment was directed at Rush.
"She’s just a kid." The look Steve tossed his friend suggested Rush had resorted to robbing a day-care center.
"I’m twenty-two," Lindy cried, piqued.
"Damn it, Lindy. You don’t know a thing about marriage."
"She knows enough about being a wife to satisfy me," Rush answered calmly.
"She’s too young for you," Steve shouted, and started in again with hardly a breath. "Any fool could see she married you on the rebound. I thought you were smarter than this, Callaghan. You took advantage of her."
"If he’d taken advantage of me," Lindy cut in, growing more impatient with her sibling by the moment, "he wouldn’t have married me."
"Of course he married you. He knew I’d beat the hell out of him if he didn’t."
From the tight expression her brother wore, Lindy could see that he’d relish the opportunity to fight with Rush.
"Steve, stop it," she pleaded, holding out her hands. "I’m married, and although you seem to think it’s some great tragedy, I don’t. I plan on being a good wife to Rush. This isn’t an overnight fling. We’re committed to each other."
"I don’t give this so-called marriage three months."
Rush’s hands knotted into tight fists, but when he went to step forward, Lindy stopped him. Her husband had done an admirable job of keeping his cool, but Steve’s accusations were beginning to wear on them both, and Lindy could tell Rush wouldn’t put up with much more.
"Have you told Mom and Dad?"
"Of course. I’m not ashamed of what we’ve done." But she’d waited until after the ceremony to announce she was married for fear her mother would try to talk her out of it. When she did phone her parents, Grace Kyle hadn’t been able to disguise her shock and had started to weep. When her father had come on the line, he’d been equally stunned, almost embarrassed, stumbling over his words, clearly not knowing what to say. It wasn’t until Rush had talked to both her parents that Lindy’s family had made an effort to offer their congratulations.
Steve’s eyes narrowed. "I should kick your teeth down your throat for this, Callaghan."
Rush’s mouth quirked into a half smile. "I’d like to see you try."
"Stop it, both of you!" Lindy cried, shocked at both men. "I don’t know what’s the matter with you, Steve, but this is my honeymoon. I have only one night left to spend with my husband, and I don’t intend to waste it arguing with you."