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Danny lifted his head. Just as she was about to tell him she had to go, he started moving again, deep inside, slower this time. The thrusts were hell and heaven combined, and there was a challenge to in his eyes, like he knew she was going to downplay the sex.

Something that would have been easier if it didn’t feel so right.

But the sensations were the only thing that made any sense.

Closing her lids, she fell back into the abyss, her body taking over, her brain taking a seat in the waiting room. God knew there was going to be plenty of time to ruminate over the stupids she was rocking. For the moment, she might as well just feel him.

And God knew there was so much of Danny to feel.

He was so big and heavy, and all that mass and weight was part of the appeal. Built as she was, Anne didn’t feel dainty very often—and that little-girl-needing-rescue stuff wasn’t something she was interested in anyway. But there was something erotic about being under something the size and power of Danny—

From out of nowhere, an image of them in the fire together barged in, their eyes meeting through their oxygen masks, the fire roiling across the ceiling, the danger and isolation so real.

I love you.

As the words ricocheted around her head, she pushed at his shoulders, but it was too late. She was orgasming again, the release taking over everything. Tears, unexpected and unwelcomed, pricked her eyes and she blinked to clear them.

Danny’s big body churned above hers, and a panic that he might see her cry took her out of the sex, trapping her inside her head.

The truth was, he mattered too much to her just like she mattered too much to him. And so this collision was a recipe for disaster that was somehow totally inevitable.

When he finally went still, she was breathing hard, but not from exertion. And she decided to count to twenty in hopes she didn’t look as frantic as she was.

She made it to fourteen. “I have to go.”

Danny’s head dropped into her shoulder. “Okay. Yeah. Sure.”

Just as she was about to push at his shoulders, he moved back. And still she scrambled out from underneath him, barely giving him time to stand.

As soon as she was on the vertical, she was reminded that there had been no condom and she moved quickly to the bathroom, shutting herself in. There was a roll of toilet paper on the sink counter and she unraveled some around her fin, wadded it up, and tucked it between her thighs.

Out in the hall, she walked stiffly into the kitchen. She’d worn a thong with her leggings and put that on quick to hold things in place. She felt better when she was fully dressed, and it was only then that she went back to the sitting room.

She would rather have left without saying a word.

Then again, she had expected him to come out. And the fact that he didn’t made her uneasy, although that was part of the long list of things she didn’t want to examine too closely.

Coming back to the archway, she looked at him. He was where she’d left him, sitting on the sofa, his hair a mess. He’d done his jeans back up, thank God.

She remembered walking in on him the other night, those tattoos out on display for an audience he had not anticipated.

“I know,” he said roughly. “You don’t have to repeat it.”


“Just one night. Only once.” He exhaled as if he were smoking, except there was nothing lit in his hand, no haze in the air. “We did that last time we had sex.”

Anne felt like she should apologize, but come on. They were two consenting adults, and he was right. That was exactly what she was going to tell him.

“I’m glad we’re on the same page.”

His laugh was sharp. “Yeah.”

Anne turned away. “Take care of yourself.”

She headed for the door, expecting to be called back at any moment. But he let her go—and as she stepped out into the cold, she told herself that was what she wanted.

“It is, damn it,” she muttered as she got into her Subaru.

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