She didn’t hear Alec walk back into the bedroom. She felt him when he sat down on the bed beside her. “Move over,” he said.
She rolled onto her side to face him just as he tried to yank the sheet down. She held tight. “I thought you were getting dressed.”
“You didn’t notice my clothes are all over the floor?”
“No, I didn’t notice.”
They were involved in a tug-of-war with the sheet. He won. He stretched out beside her and pulled her to him. “I should go.” He began to nuzzle her neck. “Yeah, I should go. How come you smell so good?”
He laughed. Then he pinched her backside, and she yelped.
“How come you’re so soft?”
She kissed his neck before answering. “I’m a girl.”
“Yeah, I noticed.”
She couldn’t stop touching him. She loved the feel of his hard muscles beneath her fingertips. They glided over his shoulders and his chest. His body was warm and hairy and sexy. She wrapped her arms around his waist and decided she was never going to let go. He was going to have to peel her off of him. That image made her smile.
“It was better than my fantasy,” he said.
“You’ve thought about it?”
“Oh, yeah. You did too.”
She didn’t deny it. “Yes.”
“Was it as good as your fantasy?”
Her voice dropped to a whisper. “It was … so-so.”
He laughed. Then he pushed her onto her back and leaned over her. “So-so?” he repeated.
He looked a little worried. She realized then that there was a thread of insecurity hidden under all those layers of arrogance. She was stunned. How could he not know how much pleasure he had given her?
She cupped the side of his face. “It was perfect.”
He leaned down and kissed her. He thought it would be a see-you-later kind of kiss, but as soon as his mouth touched hers, everything changed. His tongue rubbed erotically against hers. He kept telling himself he just wanted a little bit more and he’d be satisfied. How come he couldn’t get enough of her?
She moved restlessly against him. “Alec?” she whispered.
“You want to go again?”
Her eyes widened. She pushed his shoulders. “Go again? What kind of pillow talk is that?”
She honestly didn’t know if she wanted to yell at him or laugh.
Then he grinned and laughter won out. “I can do pillow talk,” he boasted.
He got sidetracked by the devilish way her lips curled up. The dimple was interfering with his thought process too, and so he looked into her eyes. It seemed to hit him all at once, the reality of what had just happened. This beautiful, sweet, perfect creature had taken him to her bed.
She nudged him. “I’m waiting,” she whispered, and then she batted her eyelashes at him.
He laughed again. “Okay. Here’s what I think we ought to do.” And then he explained in the most graphic detail how he wanted to make love to her and what he expected in return.
By the time he’d finished, her cheeks were bright pink. “What kind of women have you been hanging out with?” she asked. She tried to sound shocked.
“Gymnasts, acrobats. Why do you ask?” His hands moved down to her hips.
“Alec, what are you doing?”
“It’s called multitasking. I’m talking and touching at the same time.” He slowly moved down her body, and his mouth and tongue were driving her wild. “We could try something new,” he said. He kissed the valley between her br**sts and then whispered, “But why mess with perfection?’
ALEC WOULDN’T SPEND THE NIGHT. SHE TRIED TO ENTICE HIM, but she couldn’t get him to change his mind. He was far more concerned about protecting her good name than she was. She put on a blue silk robe that didn’t quite reach her knees and sat on the side of the bed while Alec got dressed.
Her legs distracted him from what he was doing. When he realized where his thoughts were taking him, he turned and walked into the living room.
“What’d I do with my phone?”
She followed him. “It’s in your coat pocket.”
He turned around to tell her good night. She stepped closer and buttoned his shirt for him while he clipped on his holster and flipped the leather snap in place over his gun.
She stretched up on tiptoes and kissed him just below the jaw. “Sleep over,” she whispered.
His harsh tone didn’t bother her because he was kissing the side of her neck while he refused her.
“Don’t you want to?”
“Of course I want to,” he said. “And if the circumstances were different, I would.”
His hands slid inside her robe. He couldn’t get enough of her. Not good, he told himself. He pulled his hands back. “The whole world is watching you, and I don’t want anyone talking …”
“The whole world? Surely not.”
“You’ve got the police department, the security team, the hotel staff, and your brothers watching your every move. Did you forget there’s a policeman standing outside your door? I don’t want anyone speculating about you or gossiping or teasing …” She was kissing his neck and tormenting him with her tongue. “Stop that.”
After giving the order, he put his hands on her shoulders with the intent of making her step back. He pulled her up against him instead. His chin dropped down on her head.
“Am I the only one worried about your reputation?”
He laughed. “Damn, you’re sweet.”
He tilted her chin up and kissed her. If she hadn’t been so hot, he might have been able to give her a quick good-bye kiss. Regan wasn’t just sweet and sexy and hot, though. She was enthusiastic and demanding. She could turn him into Jell-O if she kept kissing without a hint of reservation. The little whimper she made in the back of her throat triggered a primitive response.
When he ended the kiss, she collapsed against him.
What had happened to his self-restraint? His discipline? Regan could turn him on faster than he could snap his fingers. Man oh man, she was getting to him, and he had to somehow put a stop to it. He was leaving, and nothing was going to change his mind.
“Listen, Regan. This can’t happen again.”
He waited for an argument. He expected her to be upset. Their lovemaking had been pretty incredible, and he had the scratches on his shoulders where her nails had dug in to prove that it was perfect for her too. Yeah, of course she would argue.
“Yes, I know.”
“I agree,” she said. “It can’t happen again.”
A pang of disappointment went through him. “I’ve got to get out of here. Lock the door after me.”
His hand cupped the back of her neck and he jerked her close so he could kiss her again.
And then he was gone. Regan flipped the dead bolt in place and fell back against the door. Alec had clearly worn her out. She was still trembling. She dropped her robe on her way back to bed. The sheets were still warm from the heat of their bodies. She wrapped herself in them and closed her eyes.
She was determined not to think about the future, but that was easier said than done. Tears streamed down her face. What an idiot she was. She was falling in love with him. No, she wasn’t falling, she was already in love with him. She would never have been able to let go the way she did tonight if she hadn’t loved him. She knew exactly when she realized it too. She and Henry had been sitting in the hotel bar watching as Kevin poured his heart out to Alec, and the compassion she’d seen in Alec’s eyes had been her undoing. Oh, yes, she’d known it for a while; she’d just been too stupid to admit it.
Besides his compassion, there were so many things she loved about him. He was a man of honor and integrity. She’d figured that out after spending an hour with him. He was also dedicated to his job. He was fiercely loyal to those he cared about, and he had the most wonderful sense of humor.
He did have flaws, but at the moment she could not remember any. She let out a loud groan. Don’t think about the future, she told herself. Don’t think about the day he leaves.
She couldn’t turn her mind off, and the more she told herself not to think about him, the more she did. Regan buried her face in the pillow and cried herself to sleep.
IT WAS A NEW DAY AND REGAN HAD A NEW ATTITUDE. WHILE SHE showered and dressed, she gave herself a lecture. She was a big girl; she could handle a broken heart. Sure she could. She would survive when Alec left, and she vowed he would never know how she felt about him.
Alec wasn’t outside her door. She’d already looked through the peephole. The same young policeman who’d come on duty when she and Alec had left for the country club last night was waiting for her. She hurried because she knew the policeman had to be exhausted. She’d just pulled on her jeans and slipped into her sandals when her phone rang. Spencer was on the line. He told her he was in her office, but she’d already guessed that because she could hear the television blaring in the background.
“Want me to come up there after the game, or do you want to come down here?”
She didn’t ask what game because there was always some game playing. “I’ll be right down,” she promised.
“Is that a warning?”
“Yeah, well, you need to warn him. Time has not softened my attitude, Spencer. I’m still out for blood.”
Spencer laughed. “I can’t wait to see that.”
The second she hung up the phone, she started sneezing. Maybe she was allergic to her brothers. The ridiculous thought made her laugh. She went back into the bathroom, took her allergy medicine, then grabbed her keys, stuffed them into her pocket, and opened the door.
The policeman escorted her to her office. She tried to coax him into coming inside and relaxing on the sofa, but he refused. He’d been told to stand guard in the hall, and that’s what he was going to do.
She noticed the stack of mail on Henry’s desk as she walked past, but she didn’t take time to go through it. Henry would get to it tomorrow, and he’d let her know if there was anything that required her attention.
Aiden was standing behind her desk using her phone. He smiled and nodded when he saw her and then picked up a paper from a folder he’d spread open and began to read to whoever was on the line. He was wearing what he considered weekend or casual attire: a pair of khaki pants and a polo knit shirt. Aiden worked out, and he had the muscles in his upper arms to prove it. He looked tired, though, but then he always did. Building an empire apparently required putting in a twenty-four-hour day.
Spencer, on the other hand, didn’t look jet-lagged or tired at all. He was sitting on her sofa and was hunched over another file folder he’d spread on her coffee table.
“Hey, you,” she called out.
Spencer quickly stood and then stretched his arms over his shoulders. His clothing really was casual, an old pair of jeans and a well-worn blue rugby shirt.
She crossed the office and hugged him. “I didn’t get to tell you last night how happy I am that you’re home.”
“Me too,” he said. “Unfortunately, I won’t be here long.”
She stepped back. “How long?”
Aiden distracted her when he came up behind her and put his arm around her shoulder.
“Are you doing okay?” he asked.
“Yes,” she answered. She folded her arms across her chest and asked, “Are you ready to talk?”
“The stress is getting to you, isn’t it?” Spencer said.
Before she could answer, Spencer turned to Aiden and said, “I talked to a man with the police, a guy named Lewis, and he told me the investigation was progressing nicely.”
“Lewis doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Aiden said. “But the detective Lewis put in charge is good. Talk to him,” he suggested. “His name is John Wincott.”
“Don’t pester him,” Regan said. “Let him do his job.”
Her brothers stood side by side facing her, and as she looked from one to the other, she suddenly realized how handsome they were. She’d never really noticed how much they looked alike. They also shared some of the same mannerisms. Like the frowns they were giving her now. Those were definitely identical.
“They don’t have anything yet, do they?” Spencer asked.
Aiden answered. “Talk to Wincott.”
Spencer rubbed the back of his neck. “Okay, I will. Maybe we ought to hire more security, just until we leave.”
Regan shook her head. “I’m tripping over security guards now. I don’t want you to hire more men. I mean it, Aiden. Promise me.”
“I’m going to do what I think is necessary to keep you safe.”
Spencer agreed. “You’re our little sister, and if we don’t look out for you, who will?”
“We know that under normal circumstances you can take care of yourself, but this isn’t a normal circumstance,” added Aiden.
“I think he should hire more guards. For God’s sake, there’s a killer out there just waiting for the opportunity, and that’s why Aiden and I …” Spencer paused.
“We both thought you would be safe in Melbourne.”
They were doing it again, she realized. Ganging up on her. She couldn’t blame them. The tactic had always worked on her. They were used to wearing her down until she agreed to whatever it was they wanted. She wasn’t upset. In the past, she had always caved. But those days were over. Her brothers just didn’t know it yet.
She couldn’t wait to enlighten them.
“You think I’ll be safer in Melbourne?”
“Yes,” Spencer said. “We’ll fly back together, and we’ll find a nice, safe, secluded place for you to stay.”
She smiled. “And it will be safe because killers don’t get on planes. Is that what you think?”
“No need to be sarcastic, Regan,” Spencer said.
“Spence, why don’t you tell it like it is? You’ve already found that nice, safe, secluded place, haven’t you?”
“As a matter of fact, I have.”
“I’m not going.”