Blair Mallory Book 1: To Die For (Chapter Seven)

I could have gone to the Outer Banks, but I figured I'd have a better chance of getting a room along the southern coast. Heck, I could always keep going south until I reached Myrtle Beach, if necessary. I wasn't looking for entertainment, though, just a place where I could relax for a couple of days until things cooled down at home.

I rolled into Wilmington around six P.M., and worked my way through the city toward Wrightsville Beach. As soon as I saw the Atlantic, Tiffany-my inner beach bunny, remember?-sighed in contentment. She is so easy.

I lucked out and found a cozy little beach cottage at the first place I stopped; the family that had rented it had just canceled. Wasn't that great? I'd rather have a cottage than a motel room any day, because of the privacy. It was the most darling place, a little blue clapboard bungalow with a screened porch and fire pit on the left side. It was just three rooms, sort of; the front half of the house was a tiny kitchen and eating area, which was open to the living room. The back half of the house was a nice bedroom and bath, and whoever had decorated the bedroom had me in mind, because the bed was wreathed in mosquito netting. I love little touches like that, froufrou feminine things.

While I was unpacking, my cell phone rang again. It was the third time Wyatt's number had shown up on Caller ID, and once again I let the call go to voice mail. The phone kept beeping at me, to tell me there were messages, but I hadn't retrieved any of them yet. I figured if I didn't know what he was saying, I wasn't technically defying him, right? He might be threatening me with arrest or something, in which case I would only be upset if I knew about it, so I was better off not listening to his messages.

After unpacking, I went to this great seafood restaurant and absolutely pigged out on boiled shrimp, which I love. It was one of those places where the atmosphere is casual and the service is fast, and I got there right ahead of the supper crowd. I was in and out in forty-five minutes. By the time I got back to my little cottage, twilight was creeping across the beach and the heat was fading; what better time to take a walk?

Color me contented. After my walk, I called home and let Mom know where she could reach me. She didn't say anything about Lieutenant Bloodsworth calling, so maybe he hadn't bothered them.

I slept like a rock that night, and was up at dawn for a run on the beach. I hadn't had any exercise the day before, and I get antsy if I go longer than that without working my muscles. I did a brisk three miles in the sand, which is great for the legs, then showered and searched out a store where I could buy cereal, milk, and fruit.

After breakfast, I put on my turquoise bikini and slathered on waterproof sunscreen, then took a book and a beach towel, slipped my sunglasses on my nose, and hit the beach.

I read for a while; then when the sun got hot, I took a cooling dip in the ocean, and after that read a while longer. By eleven, the heat was too much for me, so I put on my flip-flops and a beach cover-up, got my bag, and went shopping. I love that about beach towns; no one turns a hair if you go shopping in your bathing suit.

I found a really cute pair of blue shorts with a blue-and-white matching top, and a straw bag with a fish embroidered on it with metallic thread, so it glittered in the sunlight. The bag was great for holding all of my beach stuff. I ate lunch on an open deck looking out over the ocean, where a good-looking guy tried to pick me up. I was there to rest, though, not to look for love of the transient variety, so he was out of luck.

Finally I wandered back to my cottage. I'd left my cell phone on the charger, and when I checked it, there were no new missed calls, so evidently Wyatt had given up. After renewing my sunscreen, I hit the beach again. Same routine: read, cool off in the ocean, read some more. By three-thirty, I was so drowsy I couldn't keep my eyes open. Putting my book aside, I stretched out on the towel and went to sleep.

The next thing I knew, someone was picking me up. I mean literally. The odd thing was, I wasn't alarmed, at least not that I was being kidnapped by some beach maniac. I blinked my eyes open and stared up at a hard, angry face that I knew very well. But even before I'd opened my eyes I'd known, whether by some weird skin chemistry or subconsciously recognizing the scent of him; my heart did that crazy dance.

He was carrying me toward the cottage. "Lieutenant Bloodsworth," I said in acknowledgment, as if he needed any.

He scowled down at me. "Jesus. Just shut up, okay?"

I don't like being told to shut up. "How did you find me?" I knew Mom wouldn't tell him, just because she's Mom and would figure if he couldn't keep track of me, that wasn't her problem, and if I'd wanted him to know where I was, I'd have told him.

"You paid by credit card." He reached the cottage, which wasn't locked, since I'd been lying on the beach right in front of it, and turned sideways to get me through the door. The air-conditioning raised goose bumps on my bare, sun-heated flesh.

"You mean you tracked my credit card as if I was a common criminal-"

He released my legs but kept his grip on my upper body, and I grabbed at his shirt for balance. The next thing I knew, he had me lifted off my feet again and his mouth was on mine.

I think I've mentioned that I went into major meltdown whenever he touched me. Two years down the road, that hadn't changed. His mouth felt the same and tasted the same; his body was hard and hot against me, his muscled arms like living steel around me. Every nerve ending in me revved to immediate attention; it was like a mild electrical current running through me, magnetizing me so that I was pulled to him. I actually whimpered as I wound my arms around his neck and my legs around his hips, and kissed him back as hungrily as he was kissing me.

There were a thousand reasons why I should have stopped him right there, and I didn't listen to any of them. The only coherent thought I had was: Thank God I'm on birth control pills, which I had gone on and stayed on after my previous experience with him.

My bikini top came off on the way to the bedroom. Frantic to feel his bare skin against me, I yanked and jerked at his shirt, and he obliged me by raising first one arm and then the other so I could pull it off over his head. His chest was broad and hairy, and hard with muscle. I rubbed against him like a cat as he fought to unbuckle his belt and unfasten his jeans. I guess I didn't help any, but I didn't want to stop.

Then he tossed me on the bed and peeled off my bikini bottom. His eyes were glittering as he stared down at me, stretched naked across the bed. He visually searched every inch of my skin, that hot look lingering on my breasts and hips. He pushed my legs apart and looked at me, making me blush, but then he eased two big fingers into me and I forgot about blushing. My knees came up and my hips lifted as sheer delight fizzed through me.

He said, "Fuck," in a strained voice, and pushed his jeans down, letting them drop to the floor. I don't know how he got rid of his shoes; for all I know, he took them off before walking down on the beach to get me, which would have been the best thing to do. But he stepped out of his jeans and then he was on top of me, and the diabolical fiend bit the side of my neck as he entered me with a hard push that took him all the way in.

I went off like a rocket. If I'd had any self-control left, it was destroyed by that bite.

When I settled, I opened my heavy eyelids to find him looking down at me with a fiercely triumphant expression in his eyes. He stroked my hair out of my face and nuzzled my temple with his lips. "Do I need a condom?"

He was already inside me, so it was a little too late to be asking. I managed to say, "No. I'm on the pill."

"Good," he said, and got started on me all over again.

That was the good part about letting passion override common sense. The bad part was when common sense returned. No matter how many orgasms you have, if you have any common sense to begin with, it always comes back.

Daylight was almost gone when I woke from an exhausted, satiated nap to stare in disconcertion at the naked man beside me. Not that he wasn't great to look at, with that strongly muscled body, but I had not only gone against my own rules, I had also lost a huge amount of tactical ground. Yes, the battle of the sexes is like fighting a war. If everything works out, you both win. If it doesn't work out, you want to be the one who loses the least.

Now what? I'd just made love with a man I wasn't even dating! Used to date, yes-very briefly. Absolutely nothing between us had been settled, and I had given in like a total surrender-monkey. He hadn't even had to ask.

How humiliating that he was right: all he had to do was touch me, and I started shedding clothes. It didn't help that actually making love with him had been just as good-better-as that damn chemistry reaction between us had promised. That shouldn't happen. It should be illegal or something, because how was I supposed to ignore him the way I wanted to when actually knowing how good we were together was so much worse than imagining how it might be? If I'd been tempted before, the feeling would be ten times worse now.

I realized I'd been staring at his penis for a good ten minutes, and in that length of time it had changed from soft and relaxed to not so soft. I looked up to find him watching me, his green eyes both sleepy and hungry.

"We can't do this again," I said firmly, before he could reach for me and undermine my resistance. "Once was enough."

"Must not have been," he said lazily, trailing a finger over my nipple.

He had me there. Damn it. Never go back for seconds.

I brushed his finger away. "I mean it. This was a mistake."

"I don't agree. I think it was a great idea." He raised up on his elbow and leaned over me. A little panicked, I turned my head away before he could kiss me, but he wasn't going for my mouth.

Instead he pressed his lips just under my ear and trailed sucking little kisses down the side of my neck, following the ligaments that led straight to the soft little hollow where my neck joined my shoulder. Heat flooded through me, and though I opened my mouth to say "no," or something like it, nothing came out except a moan.

He licked and bit and sucked and kissed, and I shuddered and squirmed and generally went crazy. When he slid on top of me again, I was too far gone to do anything except grab him and hold on for the ride.

"That isn't fair!" I stormed at him as I stomped into the bathroom half an hour later. "How did you know that? Don't do it again!"

Laughing, he followed me into the shower. I couldn't throw him out unless he let me, so I turned my back on him and concentrated on showering off the heady combination of sunscreen, saltwater, and man.

"Did you think I wouldn't notice, or remember?" He put one big warm hand on the back of my neck, and his thumb stroked up and down. I shuddered.

"You were naked in my lap-"

"I had on a skirt. I was not naked."

"Close enough. At any rate, honey, I paid attention. If I touched your breasts, you barely noticed, but when I kissed your neck, you'd almost come. What was so tough about figuring that out?"

I didn't like him knowing so much about me. Most men assume that if they touch or kiss your breasts, they're turning you on and can maybe talk you into doing something you don't really want to do. My breasts are pretty much nothing to me, pleasure-wise. Sometimes I envy women who get pleasure from their breasts, but I'm not one of them, and anyway, I figure keeping a cool head more than offsets the lack.

Kiss my neck, however, and I melt. It's a weakness, because a man can kiss your neck without taking your clothes off, so I don't go around blabbing about it. How had Wyatt noticed so fast?

He was a cop. Noticing details was part of who and what he was. That's fine when he's after a criminal, but he shouldn't be allowed to use that skill in a sexual situation.

"Keep your hands and your mouth off my neck," I said, turning around to glare at him. "We are so not doing this."

"You have a remarkable talent for ignoring the obvious," he said, grinning down at me.

"I'm not ignoring it; I'm making an executive decision. I don't want to have sex with you again. It's not a good thing for me-"


"-in any way other than sexually," I finished, glaring harder. "Just go back to your life and I'll go back to mine, and we'll forget this ever happened."

"That's not going to happen. Why are you so dead set against us getting together again?"

"We were never together. The term implies a relationship, and we never got that far."

"Stop splitting hairs. I couldn't forget about you and you couldn't forget about me. Okay, I give up: not seeing you didn't work."

I turned my back and began shampooing my hair, so angry I couldn't think of anything to say. He wanted to forget about me? I'd be glad to help him. Maybe if I hit him in the head with something hard-

"Don't you want to know why?" he asked, sliding his fingers into my hair and massaging my scalp.

"No," I said stonily.

He moved closer, so close his naked body was pressed against me as he worked the suds through my hair. "Then I won't tell you. One day you'll want to know, and we'll talk about it then."

He was the most exasperating man I'd ever seen. I clamped my teeth together to keep from asking him to tell me.

Frustration and resentment built, and finally I relieved it by saying, "You're such an asshole jerk."

He laughed and pushed my head under the shower.