“Let’s head back.” He pushed his fingers through his thick fall of hair, breathing out in irritation. “We’re expecting more information in on the Purist group rumored to be gathering. Alexandria and I want to be there when the report comes in. And you and Sherra, neither one look in peak condition. Have you two forgotten how to f**king sleep?”
Kane glanced back at Sherra, his eyes dark, concerned. She barely kept from rolling her eyes.
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“I am tired,” she finally admitted, breaking the contact as she stared back at her brother. “This shit is getting to me, Callan. We have to do something.”
“Agreed,” Callan grunted. “When you find an answer be sure to let me know, because I’ll be damned if I’ve come up with one yet. By the way, they released our friendly neighborhood missile launcher this morning. Some pansy-assed judge dropped the charges slick as you please.”
Sherra closed her eyes, hearing Kane’s vicious curse at this news.
“Joy, joy,” she murmured. “Next one, I’ll just kill and get it over with.” She wasn’t joking.
“I’ll help you hide the body.” The cold smile twisting Kane’s lips was almost scary to see. But what worried her more was the pale cast to his sun-darkened features.
“Come on, stud.” She moved to his side, butting against his arm as she let her own weariness show on her face. Something she abhorred. “I don’t know about you, but a shower is definitely called for, and a nap.”
His arm went around her waist instantly, his hand cupping her hip as he dragged her against his chest, the muscles tight as he held her to him.
“I’m going to paddle your ass for being in that damned cave,” he suddenly snapped, his eyes glittering with barelysuppressed fury.
She did roll her eyes, seeing more than just his anger. She hated seeing the emotions that tore at him, blazing in his eyes, in the tight features of his face. It reminded her forcefully of the ties they shared, the pain he had suffered because of her, for her. And that reminder had the power to weaken her as nothing else did.
The gentle aura of the morning had faded with the danger surrounding them once again, but nothing could extinguish her need for him. She could excuse them on lust all she wanted to, but at her weakest moments, such as now, she knew the truth. Loving him was killing her. Not because she couldn’t have him—she could, she did. But the past was a cruel specter that haunted her, snatching sleep from her, terrifying her with the weaknesses she knew she possessed. Weaknesses she couldn’t let him see, couldn’t let him know.
“Come on, Kane, let’s go home,” she sighed, moving slowly from him, her body dragging, exhaustion pulling at her as she headed for her jeep. She needed to sleep, just once, without arousal destroying her, or memories tormenting her. Just once.
* * * * *
Kane could feel his flesh sensitizing in ways he had never expected. He couldn’t understand it, couldn’t explain it. He paced outside Sherra’s bathroom after their return to the compound, running his hand over his hair as he fought the insane compulsion to storm into her shower and take her where she stood. He needed his c**k buried inside her heat, and he needed it now. He shook his head. Even after that first kiss it hadn’t been like this. This was consuming, an urgent compulsion, a desire unlike anything he had known to this point. He tried to explain the sensation away on the fact that they had nearly died in those damned caves earlier, but there was no logic in that. There was no way to explain the sudden surge of lust that burned brighter, hotter than anything he had ever known before this point.
God help them both if she had any intentions of refusing him, because he didn’t think he could leave her. He knew he couldn’t deny the hunger for her. He could taste her on his tongue, craved the feel of her against his flesh.
He shrugged his broad, bare shoulders, the caress of the air generated against his flesh had him flinching
at the sensation. Dammit, a man shouldn’t be that sensitive.
The shower shut off and he tensed in preparation. He could imagine her—her flesh all slick and wet, creamy and pink and more tempting than anything he knew. He still remembered the feel of her in that cave. Her kiss had tasted more delicate, the spice of the hormone filling his senses as he fought to keep some measure of sanity.
His c**k had still been hard when he pulled from her. Even after spilling himself inside her with a violence he hadn’t known a man was capable of, he still needed more of her. He turned away from the bathroom door, pacing the floor, trying to make sense of his emotions and the strange feelings moving through him. He wanted so much. Things he had never thought of before, never considered.
Damn, he loved her. That was the one thing that had always been a constant in his life, but he was starting to feel as though the mating heat and the sex alone was all that bound them. And that was the crux of the matter.
He winced at the knowledge. He had lived to avenge her all these years, had fought to find justice for the woman he thought he had lost, only to feel his world brighten once again when he found her. He hadn’t allowed his confidence to be dented by her anger or feigned hatred. He hadn’t let her resentment sway him. She belonged to him, heart and soul.
“Damn.” He sat down on the chair in the corner of the room and braced his elbows on his knees as he covered his face with his hands. Why hadn’t he noticed this before? Why hadn’t he seen what was happening?
“I warned you there was little satisfaction to be had, Kane.” Sherra stood in the doorway, a towel covering her lithe body, her long hair damp and framing her somber face. He grimaced at the words, giving his head a quick jerk as he stared back at her and for the first time, he saw her. Her shoulders were tightened defensively, her eyes wary, always watching.
“Is the heat easing for you?” he asked her.
She shrugged negligently. “It’s in its last phases.”
“Have you seen the doc?” He knew she hadn’t.
“Not yet. I’ll go in the morning,” she assured him, faint confusion showing in her expression.
“You told Taber you’d go in tonight,” he reminded her. “I’ll be waiting on you in the doctor’s office in the morning.”
He rose to his feet, suddenly tired. Despite the hard-on making him crazy and the hunger eating away at his soul, he felt old. Shaking his head, he moved to the door and opened it slowly.