Her throat went dry as erotic images played through her mind.

His hands covering hers, linking his fingers with hers, wet lips caressing her shoulders, his knees impatiently pushing her legs apart. She remembered all too clearly how it felt when he entered her body, how much she’d ached for him. She licked her lips, felt a familiar yearning deep within and realized how much she wanted him to touch her so intimately again.

Oh. Dear. God.


He was staring at her and sensed his own thoughts were following a similar path.

Heat swept up the back of her neck. Why was it that her emotions were always so raw whenever he was near?

Slowly he rubbed his chin, fingers scraping against his beard-shadowed jaw. As if he were struggling to stay on track, he said, “You know, Cass, this is dangerous business and I—”

“Just shut up and kiss me,” she cut in, unable to stand the tension a second longer. Before he could react, she threw her arms around his neck and pulled his head to hers, kissing him hard. Her lips pressed to his, her heart pumping wildly with a storm of pent-up desire that she couldn’t fight a second longer.

He kissed her back like a drowning man, his mouth open and hungry, his tongue seeking hers. Warm. Wet. Demanding. Strong arms surrounded her and he held her against him as they tumbled together off the arm of the couch and onto the cushions. He breathed her name against her ear and she melted inside. Though at some level she knew she was making a mistake of immense proportions, she just didn’t care. Not in these dark, small hours of the morning, when his hands were rough and warm against her skin, when the taste of him brought back memories of making love for hours, when she could drown in the earthy male scent of him.

Yes, she might be falling over the brink of an emotional ravine, stepping into a calamity of untold personal pain, but right now, at this moment in time, thinking of the erotic images in the hours ahead, she didn’t give one single damn.

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Cassie slept like a rock.

After making love with Trent until dawn, she’d burrowed deep into the covers, felt his arms surround her, then crashed for hours. When she finally awoke it was nearly eleven. He was no longer with her, the bed where he’d lain cold, reality hitting her like a freight train.

Today she had to face Detective Nash and whoever else in the Portland Police Department. Nash was gunning for her, she knew it, and then there was also Detective Hayes in LA. Surely he’d somehow be involved. Their conversations had been too short to satisfy him. He might even have flown up here to interview (translation: interrogate) her, or Skype in, or whatever.

She wasn’t looking forward to any of it, and as she stared at the ceiling, she wondered if there was any way to avoid the inevitable.

Her stomach was in knots at the prospect.

Rolling to the side of the bed she found Hud, his snout resting on the mattress. “Geez, dog. You scared me!” His wet nose was only inches from hers, his brown eyes bright with excitement, his whole body wiggling.

“Yeah, I know. Time to get up and face the bad music.”

She showered and put on the clothes she’d left strewn on the floor, then headed downstairs, the dog leading the way.

In the kitchen, coffee was warming in a carafe on a Mr. Coffee. She poured herself a cup, scrounged around in the near-empty refrigerator. No cream. Black would have to do, she decided as she spied a note tucked under the salt and pepper shakers on the table.

Didn’t want to wake you.

Doing chores and running to town.

Breakfast in the oven.

Back soon.


So much for any sign of affection. No “Love you” or “So glad you stayed over” or even a little “xoxo.”

“Come on, what did you expect?” she asked aloud, and walked to the window over Trent’s ancient sink. Cradling her cup, she stared through the glass to survey the acres that made up this side of Trent’s farm. The rain had finally let up though the day remained gray, dark clouds roiling overhead, the ground sodden, wet grass bent over. Near the pump house, rhododendrons and azaleas shivered in a bit of wind.

Her car was where she’d parked it, but Trent’s truck was missing.

She felt a pang of disappointment and told herself she was being ridiculous. Just a few days ago she’d been set on divorcing him. Now, ending her marriage was the furthest thing from her mind.

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