As Isaac was having his second omelet–and wondering how in the hell he was going to get through the night–Grier went to get his room ready. When they were both finished, she took him up to what was clearly the men's guest bedroom suite: The walls and drapes were done in navy blue and chocolate brown and there were leather chairs and a lot of leather-bound books.
He felt like a total intruder.
"I'm going to change and then clean up the kitchen," she said as she stepped out and pulled the door partially shut. "If you need anything, you know where to find me."
There was a brief pause. Like she was searching for something to say.
"Good night, then," she murmured.
After she closed him in, he listened to her going to her room, her footfalls soft and steady. Overhead, he couldn't hear her walking around, but he imagined her heading into that massive closet and taking off her black dress.
Yeah . . . that zipper inching down, showing him her back. The shoulders of the top part sliding off her arms . . . the material pooling at her waist and then slipping from her hips.
His cock twitched.
Then got fully hard.
Shit. Just what he didn't need.
Going into the bathroom, he stopped and had to shake his head at his host. On the marble counter, she'd left out fresh towels, a collection of toiletries, a tube of Neosporin, and a box of Band-Aids. There was also a fleece that was man-sized and a set of drawstring flannel pajama bottoms that sent a spike of jealousy straight through his chest.
He hoped like hell they really were her brother's. And not some slick-suited lawyer type who slept with her.
Cursing himself, he ducked into the glass shower and turned on the water. It was no business of his who her lovers were–what flavor or how many or when and where. And as for the flannel pj thing? They were clean and going to keep him from flashing his ass.
Didn't matter whose they were.
He took off his sweatshirt and double-checked his guns. Then he pulled his muscle shirt over his head, slid his pants off and got a gander at his reflection in the mirror: lot of black-and-blues on his shoulders and chest interspersed among the network of old scars that had healed up just fine.
Hard not to wonder what Grier would think of him.
Then again, if they hooked up in the dark, he wouldn't have to worry about–
"Fuckin' A." He so needed to cut that crap.
Getting into the shower, he wondered exactly what it was about her that got him thinking like a fifteen-year-old. And decided it had to be the fact that he hadn't had sex in a year and had been in a fight tonight–both of which were the kind of things that juiced a guy up.
They so did.
He couldn't possibly be jonesing for his attorney just because she was five-feet-nine of all woman, wrapped up in a Tiffany-style package.
Unfortunately, whatever the cause, it turned out soap and hot water didn't help his hormone overload. As he washed himself off, his hands on his skin were slippery and warm . . . and the soap ran down between his legs, dripping off his hard cock and tickling over his tight balls.
He was used to his body being full of aches and pains–it was easy to ignore all that crap. What he was feeling toward that woman? It was like trying to pretend someone wasn't screaming in church. . . .
His soapy hand wandered where it shouldn't, going in between his thighs, sweeping up the underside of his erection.
"Fuck," he gritted as he let his palm slide back down, the friction amping him up–
It took all he had in him to derail that damn hand. And he ended up washing his hair three times in an attempt to keep himself busy. Conditioned the hell out of the stuff as well. Of course, the best solution was getting out of the treacherous privacy and seductive warmth of the shower–but he couldn't quite convince his body to head in the bath mat direction.
Before he knew it, his erection was doing the magnet-to-steel thing again and his palm was all about heading home . . . and he gave up the fight.
Dirty. Lecherous. Bastard.
It felt so good, though, that grip that he imagined was hers, the hold, that slide, that twist at the tip.
Besides, what were his options? Try to ignore it? Yeah, right. He threw on those pajama bottoms, he was going to be Barnum & Bailey obscene–a tent and then some. And he had to go see her downstairs before he crashed.
He had a warning to give his lovely attorney.
The last of his internal arguments hung around for . . . oh, maybe two strokes and then he got on the ride. Facing the showerhead, he planted one hand on the marble wall and leaned into his shoulder. His cock was heavy and stiff as his frickin' forearm as he started to work it properly, his hand moving up and down. And the blast of fire that flashed up his spine made him drop his head and open his mouth to breathe.
In the gathering maelstrom, he refused to think of Grier. She might have been the cause of the arousal, but he was not going to fantasize about her while he jacked off in her shower. Just not going to happen. It was too skeevy and disrespectful–she deserved so much more even if she never found out what he'd done.
That was the last conscious thought he had before he was all about the orgasm: The head of his sex was so sensitive each swipe over the thing was a sweet sting that shot through his erection and dove into his balls. Spreading his legs farther apart, he got good and braced as he found his rhythm, the hot spray hitting his hair and running down his face as he began to pant–
From out of nowhere, and against management's memo to the contrary, the memory of having Grier up close and personal grabbed hold of his brain and went bulldog. No matter how much he tried to forget or focus on something else, there was no detaching what it felt like to have been that near to her.
God, her lips had been an inch from his own. All it would have taken was an incline of the head and he would have kissed–
The release came on fast and powerful, ramming into him so hard, he had to turn into his biceps and bite down to keep from barking her name out loud.
And damn him to hell, he rode it to the last jerking spasm, milking himself until his knees went loose and he tasted blood from the biting.
In the aftermath, he sagged and felt like a wasteland on the inside, as if coming had drained him of not just the sexual impulse, but everything else.
He was so tired.
So very, very tired.
With a curse, he reached out the hand that had done the work and made sure there were no traces of anything on the marble or the glass. Then he rinsed off one last time, cut the water, and stepped from the misty confines that had gotten him into trouble.
He was still hard. In spite of the exhaustion. And the exercise.
Clearly, his cock hadn't bought the bribe.
And yup, he was right: Flannel did absolutely nothing to conceal the hey-could-we-do-some-more-of-that. If anything, that pole thing made him look twice the size he was–which, considering he was hung to begin with, was not the direction he wanted to go in.
Folding up his erection and nailing it flat against his belly with the waistband of the pj's, he reached for the fleece and prayed it came down on him far enough to hide that flushed head of his.
Which was still just full of bright ideas–
Okay, total no-go on the conceal. The pullover might have been long enough if his chest hadn't been so big. As it stood? He was more naked than naked as he flashed his goods.
Isaac ditched the fleece and threw on his sweatshirt; the muscle shirt was just too nasty after the fight. Damn thing should be burned, not cleaned.
And before he made the return trip downstairs, he hit the first-aid supplies, although not because he cared: Sure as shit, if he didn't use them, she was going to insist on coming up here and playing Florence Nightingale.
So not a good plan, considering what he'd just done.
The butterfly bandage he'd gotten from the med-tech guys in jail hadn't stood a chance in the ring and God only knew where it had ended up. Whatever, though, the cut was nothing special, just a split in the skin that was deep enough to give a blood show, but nothing to get hysterical about. He was going to have a scar–like that mattered?
He slapped a Band-Aid on the thing, and didn't bother with the antibiotic stuff. He was far more likely to die from Smith & Wesson-related lead poisoning than any skin infection.
Out of the guest room. Down the stairs. By the time he got to the front hall, things had begun to ease off slightly at the hip level.
Until he came around the corner of the kitchen and saw Grier.
If she was gorgeous in a little black dress, she was totally beddable in what was evidently her version of pajamas: men's flannel boxers and an old green sweatshirt that read, CAMP DARTMOUTH. With white socks and a pair of schleppy slippers on her feet, she looked closer to college age than any kind of thirty . . . and the absence of makeup and fancy hair was actually a plus. Her skin was satin smooth and her pale eyes popped rather than got lost behind her horn-rimmed glasses.
Guess she wore contacts.
And her hair . . . it was so long, much longer than he'd thought, and vaguely wavy. He bet it smelled good and felt even better. . . .
She glanced over from the red bowl she was drying at the sink. "Find what you need upstairs?"
Not. Even. Close.
For good measure, he yanked at the bottom of the sweatshirt to make sure Mr. Happy was covered. And then he just watched her. Like he was some kind of idiot.
"Have you ever been married," he asked quietly.
As her eyes flipped up to his, he knew how she felt: He couldn't believe he'd thrown that out there, either.
Before he could backpedal, she pushed her glasses up higher on her nose, and said, "Ah, no. No, I haven't. You?"
He shook his head and left it at that, because God knew he shouldn't have opened the door in the first place.
"A girlfriend?" she asked, picking up the pan to dry it off.
"Never had one." As her eyes shot back to his, he shrugged. "Not saying I haven't had . . . er, been with . . ."
Holy. Hell. Was he blushing?
Okay, he so had to get away from her and out of town–and not just because Matthias was after his ass. This woman was turning him into someone he didn't know.
"You just haven't met the right person, I guess?" She bent down and put the bowl away, then came over with the pan to tuck it into the cabinets under the island. "That's always the thing, isn't it."
"I just keep thinking it'll happen for me," she murmured. "But it hasn't. Although I do like my life."
"No boyfriend?" he heard himself say.
"No." She shrugged. "And I'm not a one-night-stand kind of girl."
That didn't surprise him. She was much too classy.
As a curiously gentle silence bloomed between them, he didn't have a clue how long he stood there, staring across the island at her.
"Thank you," he said eventually.
"For what? I haven't really helped you."
The hell she hadn't. She'd given him something warm to think about when he was alone in the cold night: He was going to remember this moment with her now for the rest of his days.
However few of those he might have left.
Moving around so that he was closer to her, he reached out and touched her cheek. As she inhaled sharply and went still, he said, "I'm sorry about . . . earlier."
Yeah, not sure which "earlier" that would be: the twenty-five grand he'd cost her, the running from the law, the attempt to scare some sense into her . . . or The Shower.
He was surprised when she didn't pull away. "I still don't want you to go."
Isaac gave that one a pass. "I like your hair down," he said instead, running his fingers through it to her shoulder. As she flushed, he stepped back. "I'm going to bed. If you need me, knock first, okay? Knock first and wait for me to answer the door."
She blinked quick, like a fog was lifting from her inner riverbank. "Why?"
"Just promise me."
"Isaac . . ." When he shook his head, she crossed her arms over her chest. "Okay. I promise."
He turned and left her in the kitchen by herself, taking the hall and the stairs fast, because his self-control was threadbare, and in spite of the two omelets, he was starved.
Not for food, though.
Like a total nancy, he ducked into the guest room and waited behind the closed door just so he could listen to the sound of her going up the softly creaking old stairs. When he heard her shut herself in, he pivoted around . . . and wondered what in the hell he was going to do for the next eight hours.
His cock twitched like it was raising a hand to be called on by the teacher, the erection all oh-oh-oh-oh-I-got-an-answer-for-that.
"So not going to happen, big guy," Isaac snapped at himself.
Rubbing his eyes, he couldn't believe he'd fallen so low as to be talking to his dumb handle. Or trying to reason with it.
And on top of that, he also couldn't believe he'd agreed to stay–especially given who had stepped into the ring with him. But he couldn't argue with what he'd seen in the back of Grier's closet–and although Matthias didn't mind collateral damage, he sure as shit wouldn't seek it out. Especially if her dad was military: Matthias knew everyone–and was fully aware of any complications that could arise if he killed the daughter of somebody important.
With yet another curse, Isaac went into the bathroom and brushed his teeth; then he stretched out on top of the duvet and turned off the light. As he focused on the ceiling, he imagined her in that cozy bed up above him, with the television on and something from the Magnum P.I. era playing in front of her closed lids.
He wanted to be up there with her.
He wanted to be up there . . . and all over her.
Which meant he had to leave at the crack of dawn before she even woke. Otherwise he might not be able to go without trying to take something he had no right to . . . much less deserved.
Closing his eyes, he made it about fifteen minutes before his tossing and turning rode those pj bottoms so far up his crotch he felt like he could cough flannel.
If he was doing the mattress and pillow thing, he usually slept naked and now he knew why. This was f'in' ridiculous.
Half an hour later he couldn't stand it anymore and stripped down completely. The only thing he kept near were the pair of guns tucked just inside the blankets. After all, he might be flashing his ass, but there was no reason to be vulnerable.