He pushed, long deep strokes that brought cries from her, brought pleasure in mounting waves. Their tempo increased, bodies moving in a damp and primal rhythm, his gaze locked on hers and refusing to let go. Flesh throbbed and squeezed; he drove deeper.

Then it came, the hot prickling rush that fought the surface of skin and bone and erupted. Sensations folded in on each other, breaking apart and coming together in a blinding moment that hung for seconds, then minutes before releasing them.

He thrust hard once and final. A claim. He watched her green eyes darken, watched her smile bloom and felt warmth spread through him. She pulled him down onto her, holding him as the rapture faded.

She whispered his name in a throaty purr, then kissed him with a power he’d never felt before.

He knew then and there he’d never stop wanting her. And that the night wasn’t over yet….

The phone rang at 0600 hours and Jack groped for it, knocking it off the cradle and then dragging it to his ear.

“This better be good, Reese.” Otherwise, his good buddy was going to earn himself a black eye.

“Lieutenant Singer? This is Colonel Walsh.”

Jack was instantly awake and sitting up. “Yes, sir.”

“Plans have changed. Report ASAP.”

“Yes, sir.”

“How was the wedding, son?”

Jack’s gaze moved to the slender bare back tucked against his thigh. “Memorable, sir. Perfect.”

“Outstanding. See you in a few hours.” The colonel hung up.

Hours. Damn.

Melanie turned her head and met Jack’s gaze. “You have to go, huh?”

He nodded, sliding down into the bed and pulling her into his arms. She scooted on top of him, resting her folded arms on his chest.

“I knew this would come,” she said, and her eyes teared. She was going to miss him. “I was just hoping for a few days with you.”

He ran his hands over her naked spine. “Me, too.”

She inched up to kiss him. “Don’t ask me to wait for you, Jack. I don’t know if I could stand not knowing when or if you’ll ever come back.”

“I’ll come back and when I do, I want to—”

She shook her head. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep. I’m not.”


“Because I more than like you.” Oh, she was falling for him too fast, she thought. “And I can’t put my hopes on a man.”

Jack frowned softly, and realized he knew very little about this woman’s past. But he could tell she’d been hurt. Badly.

Melanie wasn’t going to cling to Jack, nor to any man. She’d been left alone with only her broken heart to hold more times than a woman should have to suffer. She had to go on with her life as if he’d never touched her heart so deeply, as if they’d never joined so intimately.

It was almost good that he was leaving so soon. Two more weeks of Lt. Jack Singer and she’d find herself hip-deep in love with him. And that was dangerous. And pointless.

He rolled her onto her back. “I’m not one of those guys—”

“Shh,” she said, and spread her thighs, urging him between. “Come to me, Jack,” she whispered, and tried to keep her voice even. “Before you head to parts unknown for who knows how long. Give me all you hide from the world.”

He searched her eyes. “Why?”

“Because I’ll keep it safe.” It was all she could offer.

He pushed inside her, losing himself in her, giving her what she wanted. All that he had.

And little did they both know, leaving a bit of himself behind.


The front door swung open and Jack’s sister glared at him. “Well, that’s not the fine welcome I expected from my only sibling,” he said.

“I’m wondering if I should claim you as my brother.” Lisa made a sour face and spun about, striding into the living room. Jack stepped inside and reached for her.

“Hey, what’s up? Bad day with the baby? Who I’m dying to meet.”


“Hell, yes. Uncle Jack wants to pamper the little lady. My right, you know.” He produced a stuffed koala bear.

Lisa softened a little, but not for long. She gestured to her house. “See any baby things around here?”

He looked. The little house she and her husband, Brian, owned was immaculate, homey and adult. He frowned. “I don’t get it.”

“I didn’t have a baby, Jack.”

He stepped back, scowling. “Then why did you send me that card?”

Lisa glanced to the side, avoiding his gaze, something she never did.

“Hey, darlin’, what’s going on here?” he said in the voice that always got her to share with him.

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