When his bedroom door cracked open slowly, he couldn’t have been more surprised.
“Come in, Tess,” he called out.
“It’s not Tess.” To his shock, Faith, dressed as she’d been earlier, which he for some reason found sexier than a string bikini, stepped inside. “Rosalita let me in on her way out.”
His heart staggered inside his chest. Putting up emotional distance was hard but necessary. “Why bother?” he asked coldly.
Faith shut the door to his bedroom and turned the lock, leaning against the closed door. “I was worried about you.”
He admired her courage. At his darkest, he wasn’t someone to mess with. “Well don’t be. I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine. Your eyes are flat. Dead.” She stepped closer, slowly making her way across the room. Towards him. “There’s no life, no twinkle,” she went on.
And she obviously thought she could put it back. A few hours ago, maybe she could have. Right now, he was back where he’d been ten years ago. Nobody could save him. Not even Uncle Sam.
“Your brothers aren’t being fair. People change. I’ve seen how you talk about wanting a relationship with them. You’re here. They’ll come to realize that.”
“Don’t psychoanalyze me or my family. You don’t know anything about us.”
“True. And you knew nothing about me and my father but that didn’t stop you from giving me advice.” She stood toe to toe with him.
He smelled her fresh scent, teasing him, tempting him, making him want to lose himself inside her until he couldn’t think about who he was.
But he felt the anger at Nash and Dare simmering inside him and he knew he wouldn’t be gentle with her. He couldn’t. Didn’t have it in him to think about her when it was all he could do to put one foot in front of the other and get through the night to face Tess tomorrow. And his brothers the day after that.
So if Faith pushed him now, yeah he’d take her up on what she was offering – but it would be sex. And she wouldn’t like him much afterwards. He wouldn’t like himself either, but that was pretty much a given.
She reached out and stroked his cheek with her delicate fingers.
Fire licked across his skin.
“Someone has to look out for you,” she said.
He cocked his head to one side. “And you want that someone to be you? For the last three weeks you didn’t want anything to do with me.”
Something deeper flickered in her golden gaze. “There’s no way you want to have this conversation now.”
“You’re right. I don’t.”
Her fingers still touched his face and she cupped his jaw. “Talking’s overrated anyway.” She leaned in, pressed her lips against his, soft and willing. Giving him the escape he desperately needed.
He deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue inside her mouth. She moaned, her hands coming to his shoulders, her nails digging into his skin as she kissed him back, easing her body closer until her breasts crushed against his chest. Her thin tee-shirt might as well have been nonexistent. He felt the rasp of her nipples and his body hardened. She sighed and climbed on top of him, bracketing him with her thighs, straddling him in heat.
Thrusting his hand into the back of her hair, he pulled her head back till he looked into her eyes. “Be sure, Faith.” Because this was going to be no gentle lovemaking.
“You need me,” she said simply.
He didn’t argue.
She pulled her shirt over her head, baring her bra-less breasts. With a groan, he cupped them in his hands, dipped his head, and curved his lips around one distended nipple. Nipping, laving, losing himself in tormenting her. Her cries of pleasure aroused him beyond reason and he switched breasts and repeated the process, drinking in her taste and scent.
She slipped her hands to the waistband of his jeans and impatiently tugged at the zipper. “Help me,” she said, frustrated.
He gripped her around the waist and lifted her off him so he could yank her sweats down, gratified when her underwear went with them. Faith kicked the clothes into a heap while he rid himself of his jeans. With an eager smile, she wrapped her arms around his neck, clearly ready to climb back on top of him.
Instead he turned her around and sealed his body against hers. His front against her back, he soaked in her heat from behind, his erection a hard ridge between them and he thrust his hips forward, immediately feeling her body tense.
“Relax for me, Princess.” He slid his arm around her waist, letting his hand trail down her smooth flat stomach to her slippery heat. He eased one finger into her dampness, finding her pulsing center.
She whimpered and tried to turn in his arms.
“Uh uh.” He brushed her hair off to one side, kissing her neck, dampening her skin, grazing her flesh lightly with his teeth.
Ethan couldn’t take it anymore. He needed to be inside her.
“Bend over,” he said gruffly. Intentionally rough.
He wanted to shock her and he was sure he had, certain her ex-husband and past high society lovers had never pushed her for anything that made her uncomfortable. He hoped like hell she’d comply because as much as he wanted her, he refused to give himself the pleasure of looking into her beautiful face while he lost himself inside her. He wanted release but refused to accept anything more.
She’d always been his shining star, the ultimate representation of all that was good. He didn’t deserve her and had been deluding himself in thinking it didn’t matter. Tonight with his brothers had proven otherwise, putting him back in his place. So here he was with Faith, pushing her boundaries, hoping she would run and prove to him he was the bastard he thought he was.
To his surprise, she suddenly bent over, holding onto the bed with both hands – taking his breath and humbling him at the same time.
With everything inside him, he knew he should run far and fast because even without seeing her face, he knew he was in trouble. She was offering herself to him, giving him what he needed.
A better man would call a stop. He’d never been that man, he thought, gripping her hips and thrusting into her feminine heat.
Buried inside her, he knew he was in trouble. From this angle, he was tighter, deeper than he’d been before. He felt everything she was, everything she was giving him.
Unable not to move, he slid out, then pushed back into her, out and in, only to find her immediately picking up his rhythm, her gasps and moans telling him she was building to a fast and furious climax. She wasn’t alone. He pumped into her, doing as he wanted, as he needed, losing himself and the painful memories as he found heaven inside her willing body.
She clenched her inner walls tighter around him, milking him for all he was worth as came in one last, powerful thrust. And though she followed him over, she continued to shudder in his arms and he kept up the tempo of their joining until he was certain he’d wrung every last contraction out of her body.
When it was over, he didn’t allow himself to remain inside her or find pleasure or comfort after. He separated them, his earlier gut-wrenching pain returning, multiplied tenfold, eating a whole in his chest.
She’d come to him, but he’d accepted, planning only to use her body to find meaningless release. Instead he’d discovered that with Faith, there was no such thing.