Authors: Marie Mason
She gave a snort that turned into a strangled gasp when he swiveled his hips to pull out and sink back inside her. “Hurt?” She gave a little growl that made him smile. “The only way you can hurt me is if you stop.”
In spite of Julie’s eagerness, in spite of how wet and seemingly ready she was, she sensed his restraint, his knowledge of just how big he was and how easily he could hurt her. But she knew he wouldn’t. She knew he would control every move he made, protecting her from pain and giving her only pleasure, freeing her mind to relax and her body to let go.
His face still wearing a worried frown, he started to move, watching her for any sign that he was hurting her. He took her with smooth, steady thrusts, which released tiny quivers of excitement inside her. Her pussy seemed to melt as the heat of his cock took her. He moved slowly, building her need incrementally, and she clutched the sheets in her hands. When he pressed her legs forward, still holding her ankles as he bent her knees, opening her so wide, she moaned. He pressed, deeper, faster, until the spark inside her caught fire. Still she felt his muscles clenching with the effort it took to hold himself back.
“More,” she said breathlessly. “More.”
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he growled, his jaw clenched.
“You won’t. Just please… please…”
On the next stroke, she rocked her hips up hard to meet his, and the next one, and the next...
“Easy, baby… take it easy…”
“No!” she said pushing herself against him as hard as she could. “Rafe, please. I want it, I want you.”
That was the moment his control snapped.
He let go of her ankles and collapsed on his elbows, holding himself above her. His cock pulsed with his desire. Slipping his arm beneath her, he buried his face against her neck and fell into a hot intense rhythm as his cock pulsed with need. She was so ready for him that there was no discomfort at all, only pleasure. For a few tense seconds the world seemed to contract around her, spinning tighter and tighter until… her universe imploded around her. Her reality snapped and she was flying into the stars.
Like a molten edge of the sun, a scorching sensation swept through her. She gasped and gripped his shoulders, arching up to meet him.
She felt a jolt of something zip through her. It was more than excitement, more than sexual tension. It almost felt like a bonding of some sort.
“Rafe?” Her voice quivered as she whispered his name.
He groaned her name against her throat. “Julie.”
He fell into her with deeper, more powerful thrusts. His cock hardened as his orgasm claimed him. She could feel his as surely as she felt her own. She wrapped her legs around him as best she could, pulling him to her tightly. Energy and light seemed to flow out of each of them and then rushed back through them, making them gasp.
Rafe lay over her for several moments, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her skin before raising his head. Her face held the same expression of awe. He pushed the hair from her face then kissed her lips, her cheek, her forehead. “You are incredible.”
She gave him a smile that said she thought he was too. It made him grin and his heart ache almost. Pulling her into his arms, he rolled to his side. She curled against him but that wasn’t enough. He took her leg and draped it over his thighs, caressing the soft flesh in long, soothing strokes. In a few moments, she was asleep. Closing his eyes, he did the same, pushing the worries rattling inside his head away. Time enough for that tomorrow.
WHEN JULIE WOKE up the next morning, it was to find herself alone in the giant bed. She allowed herself a small smile. The last two nights had been incredible. They had spent the day in bed, only getting up when food had been delivered to the door. The emptiness in her stomach and the slight nausea she always experienced when first waking up told her she needed to eat something. Sitting up slowly she drew the sheet up with her. If she’d learned anything in the past two months it was to move slowly first thing in the morning. A sudden jolt to her system was usually enough to send her running to the bathroom. Turning her head, she noticed a glass of orange juice and a saucer of crackers by the bed. She smiled as she picked up the glass. It was still cold to the touch. She took a sip before taking a small bite out of one of the white squares.
Leaning back against the upholstered headboard, she gave a sigh of contentment. This was indeed heaven, she thought with a giggle. Finishing the juice and a couple of more crackers, she thought she was ready to face the day. Gathering the sheet around her, she headed to the bathroom, glad to see a stack of clothing had been placed on the bench inside. They weren’t the clothes she had worn when Remington had whisked them away from her house, they were new, still in the package. She quickly showered and dressed in the pair of jeans and the lightweight blouse. They both fit perfectly over her rounded baby bump.
Looking around the still empty bedroom, she frowned. Now what? She’d expected Rafe to be back by now. Remembering the reason they were in heaven, anxiety rushed over her, erasing her happy mood as if it had never been. Opening the bedroom door, she went in search of her demon lover.
A warm breeze that reminded her sharply of summer brushed over her as she walked down the wide hallways. The walls were white, almost translucent. She could hear a low murmur in the distance and followed the sound. As she got closer, she realized it was Rafe and his brother Remington. Smiling, she quickened her step. Just as she was about to knock on the door, she heard Rafe’s voice.
“So what am I supposed to do now? She doesn’t belong here.”
Julie backed away, her heart slowly breaking. He didn’t want her here. Didn’t want her period. She’d known that. Why, oh, why, had she allowed herself to fall into this warped reality? Men who looked like Rafe did not want women who looked like her. At least not long term. She cupped her belly. And certainly they didn’t want to be saddle with her as the mother of their child. She looked around wildly. What was she going to do? Seeing a large plant in the corner at the end of the hallway, she thought about hiding behind the container. Hysteria was almost upon her.
She turned on her heel and headed to the bedroom she had shared with Rafe. As she did, she noticed another hallway. Maybe that was the way out. Almost running now, she saw an open doorway. Hurrying inside, she stopped abruptly when she saw a woman standing in front of a large window, looking at something down below, a pair of snow white wings spread out behind her.
Julie gasped and the wings folded in on themselves and disappeared. As the woman turned, she realized it was Clementine, Rachel Conroy’s assistant. She turned toward Julie, an expression of almost sadness on her face. Not what one would have expected to see. At least not on the face of an angel in heaven.
“Julie, how are you this morning?” A genuine smile spread across the woman’s face and the sadness fled as she walked toward Julie. As she neared, the smile turned into a frown. “Are you alright? Are you feeling ill?”
She touched Julie’s arm and that broke the trance in which Julie had seemed to find herself.
“I, I.” Julie didn’t know what she needed to ask. A ride out of heaven? “I need to leave.”
Her flatly spoken statement took the other woman aback. “Well, I, umm. Let’s sit down, why don’t we?” She gently led Julie to a large leather sofa sitting across the room. It was a dark brown. Almost as dark as Rafe’s eyes when he was aroused, the blue of his eyes masked by those of his demon.
Clementine sat down beside her and took her hands. She rubbed them gently between her own and Julie realized how cold she was. “Can I get you something to drink? To eat? Are you having morning sickness?”
“No. No. I’m fine. I don’t want anything. Except to go home.” Amazingly enough, Julie hadn’t experienced any sickness this morning. She’d have to try the orange juice and cracker trick when she got home. By herself. She closed her eyes against the pain that stabbed through her.
The other woman cleared her throat. “I’m not sure that’s possible at the moment. You and Rafe need to stay here until the trouble passes.”
“I need to leave now, Clementine. Rafe—” Julie broke off and squeezed the other woman’s hands and silently implored her to understand without Julie having to put it into words. She needed to leave because of Rafe.
It took her a moment, but Clementine finally understood. “Oh.”
She continued to stare at Julie for several moments then stood up. “Then come with me.” She took Julie’s hand and led her out the door. When she turned in the opposite direction from the room Rafe and Remington had occupied, Julie breathed a sigh of relief.
Clementine O’Conner knew what she was doing was wrong. Could, in fact, get her kicked out of heaven. Would no doubt get her fired from her job. But she didn’t care. She was tired of playing it safe. If Rafe Conroy’s woman didn’t want to be around him anymore, she would do anything in her power to help. Why? Because the Conroy brothers were an arrogant bunch of dickheads. Especially Remington. Not only was he a demon-ass, he had broken her heart.
Something she feared Rafe had done to this woman as well.
Waving her hand over a silver box beside a door at the end of the hallway, Clementine pulled Julie in behind her. Inside was a way out of heaven. Not all angels could open portals between the realms. She gripped the other woman’s arms. Seeing the emotions floating in her eyes, she hesitated. Should she interfere? She knew there was more at stake than just keeping Julie and Rafe safe. Her eyes lowered, resting on Julie slightly expanded stomach. She probably knew more about what was going on than the Conroys did. But then, everyone had a habit of underestimating her. She was curvy and plain. Totally invisible to those around her at times. She thought she looked like a damn marshmallow some days living in the clouds of heaven.
“Are you sure you want to do this, Julie?”
The other woman laughed. “No, I’m not. But Rafe doesn’t want me here anymore.”
Clementine frowned. “I’m sure you’re wrong. Rafe loves you very much.”
Julie shook her head vehemently but Clementine could see the tears in her eyes. “No, no, he doesn’t. He told Remington I didn’t belong. He only feels some sort of obligation to me. And the baby.”
“Did he know about the baby when he came for you?”
“No. He didn’t find out until Remington told him.”
Clementine huffed. “Just like that man. Spoiling the surprise.”
Julie gave a short bark of laughter at Clementine’s disgruntled expression. “It doesn’t matter. Either way, Rafe—”
“Is right here.” A deep, growly voice sounded at the doorway and both women jumped, startled by the appearance of not one, but two very angry looking men. “What do you think you’re doing, Julie? Running from me?” Rafe stepped inside the room and it suddenly shrank in size.
Julie took a step backwards, aware that Remington had Clementine by the arm and was pulling the protesting woman away. “I’m not running,” Julie said with a toss of her head. “I’m simply going home.”
Rafe advanced until her back was against the wall. His hands slammed down beside her head, making her jump. “I am your home now, Julie.”
Julie snorted. “Really? Who made you king?”
“King of my own castle, babe.”
She pushed at his chest, resisting the urge to slide her hands up and down the hard muscled plane of his chest. “I’m not your queen.”
Rafe stilled beneath her hands, drawing back. A stab of sharp pain traveled through Julie’s heart when she realized he’d gotten the message at last. They were not a couple. They were not husband and wife. They were… they were simply two lovers who had happened to make a child together. Single parenting did not carry the stigma it once head. Heck, she didn’t even know if it had ever carried the stigma in the supernatural world that it had in the human realm.
“Julie, that’s not—”
She blinked, for a second she couldn’t believe what had happened. She lifted a shaky hand just to make sure that… Nope. He was gone. Rafe had disappeared before her very eyes. Not even a puff of smoke, she thought hysterically, right before she opened her mouth and screamed.
Remington dragged the interfering angel away from his brother and his woman. His brother probably needed the privacy. If Julie had been his and she’d been about to run away, he’d have her against the wall in two seconds flat, making sure she knew exactly where she belonged. In his arms.
Looking at the wild-haired woman he was pulling behind him, he thought maybe there was a better punishment—a spanking over his knee.
Jerking open the first door he found, he stormed inside. It was one of several reading rooms that abound in heaven. He could remember coming in here as a child, curling up in his mother’s lap as she’d read him stories about love and happiness.
Huh. Fairy tales. Those had all been fairy tales.
“Get out,” he ordered in a harsh voice. Immediately, everyone rose and quickly exited the room. Some gave Clementine a sympathetic look, others shook their heads in disappointment. He had a feeling it wasn’t the first time they’d seen Clementine on the receiving end a male’s anger.
His inner demon rose at the thought of some other man getting angry at Clementine. She was—
He quickly broke off that train of thought, whirling around on the woman, anger boiling inside him. “Just what the hell did you think you were doing?”
Clementine simply stared at him with those big, brown eyes of hers. He wanted to shake the woman. In fact, that was exactly what he was going to do. Taking a step forward, he grabbed her shoulders, encircled her round flesh with his fingers. Fingers that itched to stroke up and down—
Damn it to hell. He bit back that curse but just barely. He’d learned early in life one really shouldn’t say that word up here. “Well, I’m waiting.”
Since he didn’t have her in a very tight grip, always careful how he touched her for fear of bruising her white, delicate flesh, she shrugged easily out of his hold. “And you can wait until hell freezes over before I answer to you, Remington Conroy.” She tossed the words over her shoulder as she walked toward the big window on the far side of the room.
“Clementine—” He started after her, his anger and lust mixing together for one volatile mixture. Before he could, well do whatever he was going to do, a woman’s scream echoed down the hallway.
Clementine turned around, her eyes wide as they both froze. A scream was not something you heard in heaven. Ever. They both ran to the door, Clementine holding up the skirt of her long white gown.
Half-way down the hall they saw Julie running toward them. “Remington. He’s gone. Rafe is gone.”
Remington caught Julie as she launched herself into his arms. He caught her easily and noted from the corner of his eye the almost sad expression that passed across Clementine’s face. He filed that information away for further thought. “Julie, calm down, sweetheart.”
He brushed her hair away from her face, his heart clenching at the sight of her tears. His brothers, damn it, his whole family might think he was a true hard-ass, but the sight of a woman’s tears could turn him into a marshmallow. Again, his eyes flickered toward Clementine, thinking of the time he’d caught her crying. It had taken everything in him to back out of the room and leave her alone. Not to crush her to him and beg her to tell him what was wrong. Instead, as always when he was around her, he took the coward’s way out, leaving her alone.
“Rafe’s gone. They took him.” Julie hiccupped her answer, but he was glad to see her tears were slowing.
“Take a deep breath and tell me what happened. Who took him?”
She did as he asked and he frowned, thinking the swell of her belly had increased over the last two days if that were possible. For a moment, an image of Clementine, heavy with his child flashed through his mind.
“A portal opened up and these,” she gave another small hiccup, “these arms, just reached out and took him.”
Remington knew immediately what had happened. Luke had summoned Rafe back to hell. Damn it. He gave Julie a quick hug and motioned to Clementine. “Can you take care of her?”
Clementine stepped forward and immediately wrapped an arm around Julie’s shoulders. The women were the same height, Julie being slightly more curvy thanks her pregnancy.
“I’m going to find him, Julie, don’t worry.”
Before he could open a portal, he heard footsteps hurrying down the hallway towards them. No doubt his parents had heard Julie’s scream. He was surprised more angels had converged on their location. “Remington, what’s wrong?” His mother’s glance landed on each one of them, checking to see if any of them were harmed.