Authors: Opal Carew
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At the end of Part 4:
“I want to be whoever it is that makes you happy.” His thumb stroked the back of her hand and she shivered. “Whether it’s Storm or Rafe, I’ll be happy if you’re by my side.”
Her heart swelled at the warmth and passion in his sky blue eyes.
“That’s why…” He slid from the couch and placed one knee on the floor, then kissed her hand. “I want to ask you something very important.”
She shook her head. This couldn’t be happening. He reached into his pocket and pulled out something. She realized it was a royal blue velvet box, which he opened to reveal a stunning ring with diamonds forming the shape of a butterfly. Or a moth.
“Will you marry me?”
Jessica stared at him. Her heart clenched. A part of her wanted to fall into his arms and tell him yes, yes, yes! But the reasonable,
part of her flared with anger.
“Are you kidding me?” She bolted to her feet, then across the room. “I don’t even know who you are. Do you really expect me to marry a complete stranger?”
He stood up and closed the ring box, looking totally crestfallen. She felt cruel rejecting him like that but … it was crazy of him to put her on the spot like this. He’d dumped her, then waltzed back into her life and two seconds after explaining why he’d left … proposed!
And that ring. It was beautiful and expensive and exactly underscored the difference between Storm and Rafe. Storm could never afford something like that, whereas Rafe wouldn’t even blink at the price tag, no matter how high it was.
Fuming, she turned her back on him and strode to the window, taking solace in the spectacular view of the city below.
Then she felt his hands on her shoulders.
know me, Jess. I’m the same man you fell in love with.”
“I did not fall in love—” she said as she spun around, but as soon as she faced him, he pulled her into his arms and captured her lips. At the gentle pressure of his tongue against her mouth, she opened, almost in a gasp of surprise. The passion of his kiss overwhelmed her and she melted against him. Oh, God, it felt so good to be in his arms. Warm and protected. And loved.
But none of it was true.
She stiffened and pressed against his shoulders. Reluctantly, he eased back.
“Jess, please. I love you.”
“But I don’t love you.”
He stared deep into her eyes, reading all her secrets.
“I don’t believe that.”
She dodged around him, unable to bear his closeness any longer.
“Is this really about me,” he asked, “or are you involved with someone else?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Why do you think I’m involved with someone else?”
His lips compressed. “You keep calling Dane by his first name.”
“I’ve already told you—”
“And I get a certain vibe from the two of you. Is there something going on between you?”
She sucked in a breath, then walked across the room, needing to release some of her pent-up energy. Could she really tell him about Dane? It wasn’t any of his business, but she didn’t want to lie.
Even though telling him would surely cause problems between the brothers.
“There is something between us, but it’s not romantic.”
Anger flared in his sky blue eyes. “What is it then?”
She raised her head and met his harsh gaze. She had no reason to be embarrassed. What she shared with Dane was quite reasonable. They were just two consenting adults in a purely sexual relationship.
“It’s just physical. Nothing more.”
Maybe it would have been better to let him think there was a deeper relationship between her and Dane. Then it would be easier to keep him at a distance.
The problem was, now that he’d opened up to her, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to keep him at a distance forever.
“So the two of you are having sex.” His hands clenched into fists.
“Look, I know you and Dane have had problems over women before, and I don’t want to be the cause of more friction between you.”
The muscle in his jaw ticked, and he said, “Well, it seems you don’t have any control over that.”
She stepped toward him. “Please, don’t let this come between the two of you.”
But his closed expression told her that this had opened a can of worms between the brothers. Damn it, why hadn’t she kept her mouth shut. She didn’t have to lie, but she could have held her silence.
“Rafe, your brother—”
“I don’t want to hear about my brother right now, especially from the woman I just proposed to who is turning me down because of him.”
Anger flared in her again.
“That’s not fair. It’s not because of Dane. I only met him because you left me and broke my heart.”
His eyes narrowed. “If I broke your heart, that means you were in love with me.”
Her chest compressed. She sighed, gazing at this practical stranger in his expensive, tailored suit and designer silk tie. “I was in love with Storm. But he doesn’t exist.”
“Fuck that. I am who I have always been.” He pulled off his suit jacket and tossed it across the room. “Don’t let this suit confuse you.”
Her eyes widened as he loosened his tie, then tugged open the buttons of his shirt, revealing his broad muscular chest. With a rapid jerk, he pulled the shirt over his head, tie and all, and tossed them aside. She couldn’t help but gaze with longing at his perfect pecs and six-pack abs. Tattoos adorned his arms and shoulders. He’d gotten a few new ones on the road.
Then her gaze fell to the leopard moth on his left shoulder, near his heart.
He saw where she was looking and pointed at it. “I meant this, Jess. I got this to tell you I would always be there for you, and it’s true.”
He stepped toward her and she gazed at the warmth and sincerity in his sky blue eyes. In those eyes, she could see the glow of love. Her heart pounded and she felt light headed.
This man walking toward her, his muscular chest bare, covered with tattoos …
was Storm. This was the man she loved. He had walked out on her and broken her heart, but now he was back. And he still loved her.
Oh, God, all the love she’d felt for him … that she’d kept locked up inside her … came flooding back.
He must have sensed her surrender because he strode to her and pulled her into his arms. His lips meshed with hers and she knew she was lost.
The overwhelming passion of his kiss broke down the last of her defenses. Tears welled in her eyes as she clung to him.
“I was devastated when you left.”
He gazed down at her. “I’m so sorry, baby.” He wiped away her tears with a soft stroke of his thumb. “When I was out on the road, doing what I’d wanted to do all my life, all I could think of was you,”—he brushed her eyelids softly with his lips—“and what an idiot I’d been to leave you. I knew I had to make it up to you. To find you and explain everything. To convince you that we have a future together.”
His lips found hers again for a sweet, tender kiss.
“When I left my life behind a year ago, I knew I was searching for something.” He cupped her face and tipped it up. “I just didn’t realize it was you.”
The glow of warmth in his eyes, paired with intense longing, filled her with joy. Storm was back, and she was in his arms, being loved by him. She stroked his cheek, loving the slightly raspy feel under her fingertips. So masculine. So Storm.
“Oh, God, I’ve missed you,” she murmured.
The world tipped sideways as he swept her into his arms and carried her across the room and into his bedroom. He set her on her feet, stepped back, and unfastened his pants, then pulled down the zipper. She watched, holding her breath, as he dropped his pants to the floor, then his boxers, revealing his long, hard, and oh-so-familiar cock.
He walked toward her, magnificent in his unabashed nakedness, and she reached for his thick shaft, longing to feel it again. To taste it. But he captured her hand and pressed it to his mouth. The delicate brush of his lips against her palm made her insides flutter.
“No, sweetheart. First you.”
He nuzzled her neck, then she felt his fingers on her top button. It released, then he moved to the next. Then the next. He gazed at her chest, a simmering heat in his eyes, as he continued to open her blouse, then he drew it wide and smiled.
She shrugged off her blazer, letting it fall to the floor, then he pushed her blouse from her shoulders. It fluttered to the ground, landing atop her jacket. She reached around behind her and unfastened her skirt. He smiled and drew it down her hips, slowly, then let it drop to the floor.
His smile turned to a broad grin as he stared at her garter belt. “Very sexy.”
Guilt swept through her, since she wore the garter belt because of Dane’s command, but Storm seemed too caught up in their current situation to think about that. Because if he did think about it, he would realize she’d worn it for Dane.
He scooped her up, then set her on the edge of the bed, and knelt in front of her. The feel of his fingertips grazing her feet as he slipped off her pumps sent quivers along her skin.
Then he cupped her head and drew her toward him for a deep, passionate kiss. His lips, so warm and firm on hers, sent her heart racing. She stroked her fingers through his dark hair, shorter than it had been before, as his mouth lingered on hers, then his tongue dipped inside. When he finally released her lips, she drew in a deep breath.
His hands glided down her shoulders. He leaned forward and nuzzled her neck. She drew in a slow breath as his mouth continued downward, then she felt the brush of his lips on the swell of her breast. His hands skimmed along her sides and she longed for him to pull down the cups of her bra to reveal her swelling nipples. As if reading her mind, he reached behind her and found the hooks, then unfastened them. The elastic of her bra released and he peeled the lacy garment from her.
He leaned back, gazing at her naked breasts with deep admiration in his eyes. The nipples hardened, peaking forward as if reaching out to him. Begging him to touch them. And he did. Lightly, he caressed her swollen, aching breasts, then ran his fingertips over her nipples reverently.
“I’ve missed your beautiful breasts.”
She sucked in air as he lightly stroked her hard nubs.
He smiled. “I’ve missed how you react to my touch.”
He leaned forward and his mouth covered one nipple. She grasped his head and held him to her as his tongue laved over her sensitive nub, then he suckled and she thought she’d faint from sheer pleasure.
He continued to suck and she moaned as her whole body quivered.
“Oh, Storm, I’ve missed you.”
He gazed up at her, his eyes aglow with deep emotion. “You don’t know how much it means to me to hear you say that.”
He dipped his head and sucked deeply, sending her blood boiling. He eased her back onto the bed and caressed her breasts, stroking and squeezing as he lapped and suckled her nipples. She arched against him. A deep craving built within her.
She took his hand and glided it down her belly. “Please, Storm. I need you.”
He chuckled and eased back, admiring her. He tucked his fingers under the elastic of her thong and slid it down. His gazed locked on her shaven folds as he stripped off the bit of satin and lace.
She opened her legs as he leaned toward her again, her insides quivering in anticipation. At the first touch of his lips on her sensitive inner thigh, she arched, but he merely teased her flesh, kissing lightly, then circling upward, past her aching, hot flesh, to her navel. He dipped his tongue inside and swirled. Then slowly … torturously slowly … he drifted down, nearing her throbbing sex.