Authors: Tina Donahue
He could have taken her on the picnic table and he knew she
wouldn’t have protested. Hell, she probably would have encouraged it and more…a
lot more. Anything he wanted, no matter how crazy or lewd.
Like tying her wrists to the bed and playing pirate or
whatever the hell women fantasized about. Having her willingly submit to his
dominance and beg for still more. Playing those games in fun and for mutual
Unlike Meg, Toni hadn’t been sheltered. She seemed to expect
such behavior from a man, practically encouraging it from him. And yet, despite
her gutsy personality and the brave front she kept putting on, she had a world
weariness about her, a forlornness that kept pulling him near. Telling him he
could ease whatever hurt she’d once known. They could comfort each other.
Until she left, and she would. She had Lucky and Belle to
Who in the fuck were they? Where in the hell had she met the
couple? What did it mean that she’d adopted them, rather than they’d done so
At dinner last night, after she’d kept dodging his questions
about her past, Zach had finally surrendered, asking her about Lucky and
Belle’s. Toni’s answer was to tell him about their shop, how excited they were
to have it up and running. It had always been their dream.
While they’d done what exactly? What were their previous
He hadn’t asked. Instead, he’d listened as she’d recounted
how Lucky taught her to repair vehicles. Her love for the man and Belle
transformed and relaxed her, allowing Toni to smile freely, laugh recklessly,
turning her into one of the most interesting and surely most desirable women
Zach had ever known.
And he didn’t know her at all.
Sighing deeply, he pushed up on his elbow and looked at the
Shit. Five more minutes and his day would begin. A day
filled with Toni easing his emptiness over losing Meg, crowding out his
memories of her.
Unsettled, Zach rolled off the bed and yanked on his jeans.
T-shirt in hand, he left his bedroom to go downstairs and start the coffee.
He got as far as the hall bath.
His steps paused and his heart lurched as the door clicked,
then swung inward unexpectedly. Plumes of steam drifted out.
Unaware of him, Toni looked behind herself at something in
the bath. Her skin, more pink now than ivory, glowed from her shower and
smelled of soap rather than lavender cologne. Her stretchy blue camisole and
plaid boxer shorts clung to her damp flesh.
Zach’s heart beat violently. His limbs went limp. The tee
slipped from his hand.
He told himself to pick it up and keep moving before she saw
him, to go downstairs.
His legs refused to move.
A bead of moisture freed itself from her freshly washed
hair, rolling down her temple to her cheek. Her camisole’s thin satin strap
fell over her shoulder.
Ignoring it, Toni lifted a hairbrush to the side of her
head, turned and froze as their eyes met.
Her gaze slipped down his naked chest, pausing at his fly,
lingering on his erection. Desire quickly replaced her surprise. Her lips
parted. A gentle breath spilled out. Her eyes darted back to his.
In a rush of movement, Zach slipped his fingers around the
back of her neck, using his body to push hers into the door.
The wood smacked against the doorstop, then vibrated,
matching the sounds of his sprinting heart.
Toni dropped her brush. It made brief taps as it bounced
across the hardwood floor.
Her skin was so ungodly hot, a pleased groan tore from deep
within Zach’s throat. Head lowered to hers, he captured her mouth and drove his
tongue inside, filling her as much as he could, his kiss savage, uncivilized,
punishing…for making him wait, for making him want.
Unaware of his turbulent emotions, simply obedient to their
desire, she suckled him deeper, her mouth tasting of peppermint toothpaste and
female lust. She ran the heels of her palms up his pecs, then wreathed her arms
over his naked shoulders and dug her nails into his back to pull him even
closer, keeping him there with one leg wrapped around his.
Roused beyond control, Zach ground his stiffened cock into
her mound and angled his mouth for greater penetration.
They made sloppy, lewd, joyous sounds, telling each other
and the world they were alive, they deserved this, necking brazenly for
minutes. When the fury began to ebb, their kiss turned tender, exploring,
stoking even more of Zach’s passion.
Toni melted in his arms, her chest rising with her strangled
breaths, her ribs pushing against his.
Obsessive need sliced through Zach. Tearing his mouth free,
heaving air, he stepped back, forcing her leg from around his. With a look of
disapproval, Toni glanced at their separated bodies. Her gaze shifted to his hands
on her forearms, pulling them from his shoulders.
She protested, “What are you—”
Her words halted as he imprisoned her wrists in one hand,
lifting her arms above her head, holding them to the door. The wood shimmied
again. On a strained growl, Zach pushed her camisole up with his free hand,
exposing her right breast.
A faint mewling noise rose from Toni’s throat, sounding like
His legs went rubbery. A wave of dizziness hit so hard Zach
had to lower his head to stop it. He stared at her nipple, a paler pink than he
would have guessed, tight and puckered, waiting for his mouth.
He made his first lick unhurried, the tip of his tongue
skimming the hard bud. His next was hungered, his laps exploring the bumpy
surface of her areola, the creamy skin beyond it.
A rush of air whooshed from Toni. She sagged against the
Tightening his hand on her wrists, Zach’s free hand went to
her breast, cupping its weight and warmth in his palm. He drew her nipple
inside his mouth, suckling hard, soft, hard again, incapable of settling on
either. He wanted to fuck her raw on the bathroom floor, then take her to the
guest bedroom, tie her to the bed and do things with her that he’d done with no
Releasing her nipple, he slanted his mouth over hers,
accepting her tongue, sucking it deep. His free hand slipped to her boxer
shorts and over her mound. Desire shuddered through him. He could feel the heat
of her skin through the thin cotton fabric.
Toni moaned indecently, encouraging him to do more.
Zach’s fingers crept up her thigh, beneath the hem of the
shorts, to her damp curls.
She spread her legs.
The alarm went off. She flinched at its sound and so did he.
Forgotten until now, its piercing wail assaulted the quiet, demanding his
Pulling his mouth free, Zach panted, his head swinging to
his bedroom, then back to Toni. He stared at how he’d trapped her wrists, not
quite remembering it. Forcing himself to release her, he stepped back, gulping
Toni’s arms fell at her sides. The edge of her camisole hung
limply over her bared breast. With what seemed to be great effort, she opened
her lids, her eyes glazed with desire.
When he said nothing, when he didn’t head for the alarm to
shut it off or move back into her, Toni reached out and touched his hand, her
expression saying she desired more.
Zach’s breath hitched. He looked at her slender fingers,
wanting to suck them into his mouth, needing them on his balls and cock.
In a month from now,
she’d said last night,
return to the circuit.
Away from here. Gone.
What then? Would he still desire her, would he miss her? Or
would her time here prove to be nothing more than a pleasant memory of how he’d
allowed himself a few moments of joy?
His body tensed with yearning so painful he could scarcely
breathe. His battered heart resisted, shaking him back to good sense, warning
him of what he’d been about to do.
Grabbing her upper arm, Zach pulled her into the hall, then
went into the bath and closed the door, locking it.
Hands on the edge of the stove, Toni lowered her head and
steeled herself for the inevitable…Zach finally coming downstairs to the
She’d been in here for the last fifteen minutes, dressed to
go to the shop, ready to make him breakfast…if either her job or food were
still on the menu.
Swallowing hard, she shook her head, refusing to regret his
kiss. Every inch of her ached for him, wanting his weight and warmth back on
her, inside of her. A pulse beat in her pussy, it creamed again at her memory
of his strong body, muscular pecs and masculine scent.
Damn. What was going through his mind right now? How to get
her out of his house and shop? Probably.
Toni dragged in a breath, ordering herself to calm down.
Worrying wasn’t going to make things better, though this endless wait might
just kill her.
He’d stopped showering five minutes ago. She’d heard his
footfalls moving down the hall, the uneven sounds telling her his leg must be
hurting again. When he’d reached his bedroom, he shut off the alarm finally,
cutting it off in mid-screech.
Since then, he’d been in his bedroom, slowly pacing from one
end to the other. As he perfected his I’m-firing-you speech?
Chewing her lower lip, Toni pushed away from the stove and
went to the coffeemaker, anxious to do something—anything—rather than remain
frozen like a helpless victim. Maybe if Zach smelled breakfast cooking, he’d
pretend their kiss and his foreplay hadn’t happened. Maybe he’d behave as he
had last night after she’d wiped the sour cream from his mouth.
With the coffee finished, Toni draped the last bacon strip
across the skillet. Her head jerked up at the sounds of Zach’s footfalls in the
upstairs hall, heading for the stairs.
At what was surely coming, a wave of longing mixed with
nausea steamrolled over her.
His footfalls drew nearer. His pace slowed. When his boots
stopped tapping the hardwood floor, she looked over.
Zach stood framed in the doorway, his powerful body
straining against his tee and jeans, utterly masculine, sensuous beyond belief.
Unable to resist, her gaze roamed over him. He’d finger combed his damp hair.
His face was freshly shaved, his eyes veiled.
Behind her, the bacon sizzled and popped.
Zach’s gaze darted to the skillet and the carton of eggs on
the counter. His lips parted as though he intended to speak. In the end, he did
not. He looked back at her, taking in her naked feet, blue-jean cutoffs and
aqua tank top.
Toni’s nipples constricted with his scrutiny.
He took in a shallow breath, and finally spoke on a ragged
sigh, “That shouldn’t have happened.”
Expecting him to say as much, Toni faced him. “Why not?”
His eyes jumped to hers. Obviously surprised, he parroted
her words, “Why not?”
“Exactly.” She reached over and turned off the bacon so they
could talk uninterrupted. Hooking her thumbs in her front pockets, she turned
back to him. “I enjoyed what happened upstairs and so did you. We’re both
adults. We both know what we want. We’ve known it from the moment I stepped
into your garage.”
His gaze shifted to the side, then returned to her.
“We have a month,” she said, her voice throaty with arousal.
“Why not have some fun? Why not enjoy it while it lasts?”
He shook his head. “No.”
Toni refused to back down. Even though he could never give
her love, she still craved his warmth and strength. “Why?” She took a step toward
him. “You have a girlfriend, a fiancée, an ex-wife you still think about?”
Shoving his fingers through his hair, he muttered, “I told
you last night, I’m not divorced.”
“You told me you weren’t married.”
His hand dropped to his side. He heaved in a deep breath.
“Or involved. With anyone.”
Toni didn’t understand his resistance to her and was
reluctant to question. Had he loved someone who’d dumped him? What woman would
be crazy enough to do such a thing? Even if some woman had, his actions
upstairs hadn’t been feigned or hesitant. He’d wanted her as much as Toni
Anxious to settle this, she spoke quickly, “Are you worried
I’ll want something more than just sex? Do you think I’ll hold your garage or
this place hostage?” She put up her hand, stopping him from answering. “I told
you last night at the shop, I’m not a thief. And I’m certainly not going to
call in a team of lawyers to slap you with a sexual harassment suit. I’m the
one who just spent a few days in jail, remember? You’re the upstanding citizen.
They’d believe you in a heartbeat.”
He sighed. “Good god, I never thought any of that, all
She advanced another step. “Then you’re concerned there’s
something wrong with me or I’ll get pregnant?” Before he could answer, she
spoke softly, sincerely, “I’m clean, free of disease, Zach, and as far as
having a child, it won’t happen. I’m fully protected. I know what it’s like to
be alone, to be without a father to protect and love me. I’d never force a baby
on a guy who didn’t want it. I’d never do that to any child, especially my
Zach’s face flushed. For a moment, he looked lost, exactly
as she’d felt for too many years. “Why are you so alone? What happened to—”
She cut him off. “No. Don’t go there…please.” She forced all
emotion away, refusing to cry, to let him know how vulnerable she was. “This
isn’t about my past. It’s about here and now. You and me. Having some fun. Then
I take off. No harm done. You go back to your life. I go back to mine.”
Shoulders slumping, he lifted his face to the ceiling as
though he couldn’t bear to hear another word.
Despite it, desire radiated from him, charging and
thickening the air.
Desperate to be back in his arms if only for a little while,
Toni murmured, “I know you want me, Zach. You’ve had a hard-on since we met. A
few minutes ago, up in the hall, you proved it.” Her gaze dropped to the solid
ridge of male flesh behind his fly. “You’re hard now.”