He wasn’t alone in this. He knew that for certain, or he’d have mentally shut down his libido and kept far away from her. They were subtle, the hints coming from her, and caught him dead in the chest. They made him want her even more.

As the limo rolled away from the officers’ club, he waved to his sister and looked at Melanie. She was holding the hem of her gown, bending down to pick up a ribbon-tied pouch of birdseed. The officers’ club wouldn’t let them throw rice, and Melanie had convinced them that birdseed was environmentally safe. She only wanted the tradition for Lisa, she’d said. No bride should leave without the wish of prosperity from those who loved her.

And no man should have to stand here, look at a woman like that—and behave. “Melanie?”

She looked up, smiled, then straightened. “Hey, Lieutenant. Did I tell you how very dashing you look in that white uniform?”

“You can start now.”

“A Navy SEAL with an ego,” she teased. “How rare.”

He held out his hand for hers. She dropped the pouch of birdseed into it. He glanced down, then stuffed it into his pocket.


“No, I’ll have the bills to remind me of this.”

She laughed and said, “So, the cynic emerges. I knew you weren’t all patience and knightly duty.”

Around them, the caterers began cleaning up. The band still played one last song, and while the guests departed, Jack pulled Melanie into his arms and onto the dance floor.

“You looked great this morning.”

“As opposed to right now?”

He smiled. She kept him on his toes, he’d give her that, and found himself wanting to give her a hell of a lot more. “The belle of the ball.”

“Thank you, and I won’t tell your sister you said that.”

He pulled her more firmly against him, and the single touch of her hand in his, her body to his, set off fireworks under his skin.

She inhaled a soft breath. “Jack.” She tried to ease back.

“Shh,” he murmured, sweeping her across the dance floor like a duke at a summer ball. “You feel it, don’t you?”

“Oh, yeah,” she breathed, and held on to him, laying her head on his broad shoulder.

He loved it, the feel of her; she fit perfectly in his arms. And he knew they’d be a perfect fit elsewhere. “Good. I was hoping I wasn’t in this torment alone.”

“Not a chance, sailor.” Her arms tightened around him, her hands moving up his back in a heavy caress.

He wished they were on his skin. Wished the two of them were naked and rolling across his bed. “You’ve been driving me crazy, you know,” he whispered close to her ear, and sent gooseflesh cascading over her skin.

“You’d never know it.”

“It wouldn’t be nice to go after the maid of honor while Lisa was falling apart over those flowers, would it?”

“You’re to be commended for your restraint, then, Lieutenant.”

“With what I’ve been thinking about, I should be court-martialed.”

Melanie lifted her head from his shoulder. Her gaze moved over his handsome features and understood the message she saw there. Heat, hunger. Need. She’d been receiving it for more than fourteen days.

Jack Singer had walked into Lisa’s living room amidst yards of tulle and satin, and one look had struck Melanie with the force of charged lightning. It wasn’t so much that he was good-looking, which he was, or that his naval uniform fit like a glove and the sight of him in it would make any woman weak-kneed. It was his eyes, eyes that shouted his emotions, as well as hid them from the world.

She remembered the way he’d looked at Lisa this morning, in her gown, the picture of a fairy princess, and she’d seen those deep-blue eyes gloss with tears. Of love and pride. Who’d have thought such a strong man with a dangerous job could melt at the sight of a bride? But just as easily, she recalled the stare he’d delivered to the florist who was going to ruin his sister’s big day, and the words “If looks could kill” came to mind in an instant.

“What have you been thinking?” she asked suddenly.

“Dangerous territory,” he warned, his blue eyes smoldering as they raked over her.

“I’m up for the adventure.”

“With me, right now?”

She slid her arms to his shoulders, the fingers of one hand sliding up the back of his neck and tipping his head down. It was as if she’d done it a hundred times before, as if she’d known him for a thousand years.

“I was wondering when you’d get busy,” she whispered, and pulled him closer. His mouth covered hers, devoured with savage need as his hands climbed up her satin-covered spine and crushed her to him.

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