Authors: Melinda Hunter
"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.
Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.
James A. Baldwin
November 2006- Sentinel Headquarters Chicago IL
Sana had finished work for the day and everyone else had gone home, but she stood beating the crap out of the punching bag when a man walked into the gym at the Sentinel Headquarters. She caught a glimpse of him from across the room and couldn’t ignore his presence. The team had been informed that there would be someone new joining the Sentinel’s and he had recently been medically discharged from the Marines. Sana had expected someone to fit her depiction of the jarhead stereotype, but she was very much mistaken. Even at a distance she could see how handsome the six-foot five man with floppy brown hair was. When she realized that she had actually stopped her workout to stare at him, she instantly became pissed at him.
hadn’t even met him yet and she already wanted to punch him, but as he sauntered to the treadmill she felt a burn deep inside her that she hadn’t felt in a long time. The tingling sensation spread throughout her body and she imagined him naked. The visualization made her body sizzle even more with need and made her even angrier.
a returned her focus to the music of
My Chemical Romance
blaring from her ear buds and turned back toward the punching bag. She growled as she started her next round of hits on the defenseless black bag.
After several more minutes, she decided that she was done for the day. Letting out a deep sigh, she pulled off her training gloves and scooped up her towel to dry her face. As she stood trying to ignore her own hormones, she helplessl
y lost herself in her desires and imagined what it might be like to have a man like him touch her.
firm hand grasped her shoulder and without thinking she grabbed that hand, twisted it as she turned her own body and had her
on their knees.
Reality hit her
hard as she looked into his green eyes.
couldn’t think of anything else as she blurted out the expletive. Looking down into his eyes, she felt heat radiating from her thighs. All within no more than two seconds, she had attacked and disabled her new co-worker. And wanted nothing more than to have him fuck her.
Instantly, she released him.
“Sorry,” she whispered. Sana stared at the speechless man for only another second before running from the room.
She stopped in the locker room only lo
ng enough to grab her phone and left as quickly as she could. Feeling completely embarrassed that she had attacked him, she knew that she would have to face him at some point and she worried that he would hate her. But that wasn’t like her to care if someone, let alone a man, didn’t like her.
Sana spent that night tossing and turning in her sleep.
His handsome face haunted her dreams, she could stare into his green eyes for hours, she thought. Recalling his hands and how large they were made her ache to be touched by them. His fingers skimming her skin and caressing her in places that hadn’t been touched set her body abuzz. She also remembered the words tattooed around his bicep.
. It was Latin and meant
. The Marine motto.
She started work the next morning, puffy-eyed and cranky.
The entire day passed without seeing the man and it really began to irritate her. One moment she wanted to beg for forgiveness and the next she could only think of punching him for sneaking up on her. Feeling frustrated, she went to the gym and there she had found him, alone.
He wore a sleeveless black shirt and shorts while he ran on the treadmill. Sana
couldn’t help but notice the muscles in his arms flex as he ran and imagined again what his arms would feel like wrapped around her.
, she started to turn away, but he slowed the treadmill. Sana tried to get her gloves on and start her workout before he spoke to her, but she didn’t make it that far. She didn’t understand why she felt this nervous about an encounter with the new man, she met unfamiliar people daily and didn’t feel this way.
ello.” The deep resounding voice that came from that body made her sizzle. She felt every chord echo through her bones and her knees almost buckled.
i.” Sana’s voice wasn’t her normal tone. It was weak and
wasn’t weak. What was it about this man?
“I’m Arrigo Kane.” He held out one large hand. She glanced down at his hand and froze. She actually felt so distracted by hi
s presence that she didn’t know what to do.
Arrigo cleared his throat.
Quickly, she slid her hand into his and when he closed his grip around it, she stopped breathing.
,” she squeaked out.
Before Sana knew what had happened, she found herself lying flat on her back with the massive Arrigo on top of her. It took her a moment, but her mind had caught up. Arrigo had pulled her into a spin, swept her legs out from under her, and managed to pin her arms behind her back.
All without hurting her. She hadn’t even hit her head on the floor.
“I think we’re even now,” Arrigo stated.
Sana didn’t want to move and she certainly didn’t know what to say. Arrigo had one hand cradling her head, and the other wrapped around her waist. Her breathing became shallow and she wondered what he would taste like.
The weight of his body pressed harder against hers and she wanted him inside of her.
But, men didn’t want Sana. She was usually too bossy or just one of the guys and no one ever wanted her. Never once, in her years as a Sentinel had a man come on to her. Occasionally the guys would go to a bar together, but she had never been invited and didn’t want to presume otherwise. She’d been in fights with Berk and Sinjin to the point that Adam had stepped in to physically separate them and she assumed that had impacted her solitary existence. She had never forgotten how Sinjin had called her a bitch and she went ape shit on him. She was an outcast and had grown to accept it.
Fearing the inevitable rejection, Sana’s defenses kicked in. Without thinking, she thrust herself forward and head-butted Arrigo.
Arrigo rolled off her and she started to her feet, but he grabbed her calf and pulled her back down.
“I’m not sure that was fair.” Arrigo groaned and held a hand to his forehead.
Sana turned and threw an arm against his stomach
as hard as she could. Arrigo let out another moan. Darting up, she ran for the locker room before he could grab her again. While the spat had gotten her adrenaline pumping, it had also left her hormones raging. She didn’t know how to respond and for Sana not to know what to do was unheard of.
Quickly, she grabbed her things from her locker and readied herself to leave. She had to get out of there. As she turned toward the door, there stood Arrigo in all his masculine beauty leaning against it
and blocking her path. He stared at her without saying a word and she knew she was done for. She wanted him in a way that she could never have, but strangely Arrigo looked at her as if to say,
bring it on
Deep inside her, she felt something snap. It
wasn’t anger, though. It was a need to be held and wanted. And with her need, came tears with the realization that no one wanted her. This was completely unlike her normal tenaciousness and it angered her and more so, confused her.
Sana slumped to the floor as the tears slid down her face. Silently, she sobbed. She
hadn’t cried since her father had died and like then, it was silent.
“What the—” Arrigo’s voice trailed off. Before she could protest, he had darted to her side and lifted her chin.
Reluctantly, she looked up at him. Waiting for his rejection, she glanced away, but Arrigo turned her head to force her to look at him.
“They were wrong about you, weren’t they?” he whispered. Arrigo dipped his head down to touch his lips to he
rs. They were soft and warm and the taste of him woke every nerve ending in her body. She’d never been kissed like
Sana felt a
desire spread throughout her with a fierceness that left her breathless. She wanted to taste every inch of him and yet at the same time she waited for him to push her away. So when Arrigo pulled back, she wasn’t surprised.
“I’m sorry.” Sana scooted away from him. She wanted to leave.
“I’m not,” he stated matter-of-factly.
It took her brain three seconds to process the fact that Arrigo had kissed her and that he
wasn’t sorry about it. She blinked repeatedly as the last of the tears rolled away. Biting her lower lip, it hit her. He wanted her.
Sana lunged toward him, kneeling between his legs. She leaned in until
their mouths entangled together again.
Then, in a manner of speaking, all hell broke loose.
Arrigo growled as she kissed him and Sana frantically moved her hands over his chest to feel every rippling muscle. The firmness of his body set her fire ablaze and she couldn’t wait any longer. Reaching down, Sana tugged at his shirt. Arrigo gently grabbed hold of her wrist.
“Not like this,” he whispered.
Sana felt her desires start to deflate. She wanted him now, but still expecting his rejection, she quietly stood up and straightened her clothes.
Arrigo rose and walked over to her locker. Pick
ing up her phone and keys, he turned back to her.
“I’d really like it if you came with me.” Arrigo held her personal items in one hand and offered his other for her to take.
Sana slowly nodded and reached out to take his hand. Pulling her along, he walked toward the hallway exit of the locker room.
“I’m staying here temporarily in one of the studio rooms. Do you live far?” Arrigo managed to break the awkward silence with small talk.
“I live here,” Sana replied.
Arrigo kept walking down the long hallway.
She knew the fact that she lived where she worked on
ly showed how alone she was. Sana had made the arrangement with Williams strictly out of convenience because she couldn’t bear to live in her father’s house after he had passed away.
Sana had lived there the entire time that she had been a Sentinel and it had never bothered her, but right now, she felt pathetic about it.
Before she could dwell on it much, they arrived at Arrigo’s room.
Slowly, Arrigo opened the door to his room and pulled Sana in behind him. He
hadn’t let go of her hand all this time and that fact left her curious as to his intentions. Sana’s thoughts were complex and she knew it. She had a nasty habit of over analyzing everything and right now was no exception. Would he fuck her and ignore her? She worried that she would do something that he didn’t like as she was fairly inexperienced with sex. She had been with three men in her life and none of those relationships had lasted more than a few weeks. Hell, two of the three had only lasted hours so they weren’t really relationships.