Authors: Cynthia Sax
To my dear, wonderful hubby for being supersupportive; to Max, the neighborhood guard cat, for keeping the block mouse (and sometimes hummingbird) free; and to Gilly, one of my bestest friends in the entire world
which is worseâthe nightmares or not sleeping.
Last night, I was haunted by terrifying dreams, visions of Hawke in increasingly intense levels of pain. My subconscious doesn't allow me to reach this state of slumber tonight. I drift off for an hour or two, wake, reach out and touch my military man, reassuring myself that he's here, he's safe.
Hawke curls his body more and more around mine, wrapping me in muscle, his breath wafting on my skin, his grip comfortingly tight. The time I remain awake shortens until around four o'clock, I crash hard, emotionally exhausted.
As soon as I surrender to sleep, the doorbell rings. “Cyndi will answer the door,” I mumble, dragging a muscular male arm over my eyes. My rough, tough former marine will protect me from the morning.
“Your bubbly best friend is in LA, love.” He chuckles, the man obscenely cheerful after our restless night. “Our visitor might be looking for me.” He pulls his delicious heat and sheltering body away from me.
Hawke left on the overhead lights to ease my fears of the dark. The illumination is blinding. “Too bright.” I squint and scowl.
Hawke laughs again. “I'll be back.” He bends over and presses his lips to my bare shoulder, the stubble on his chin chafing my skin, warming me.
He walks away from our bed, his tread soundless. The bedroom door opens and softly snicks closed behind him. Good. I grab the pillow and ram it over my face. I can go back to sleep.
Moments pass. I shift an inch to the left, squirm, roll over on my back, wrestling with the pillow. Hawke's distinct scentâa combination of leather, engine grease, and manâclings to the cotton. I can't get comfortable, can't relax.
I suspect our early morning visitor is one of Hawke's coworkers from the Organization, the security company he's employed at. A situation has gone FUBAR, to hell in a handbasket, and they're reaching out to him for assistance, expecting him to put his scarred neck on the line for minimum wage.
He'll die, leaving me, as every man has left me. I stare at the ceiling moldings, seeing the shadows and not the light, the heavy weight of fear pressing down, down, down on my chest.
Hawke's deep voice rumbles and my terror eases. He remains in the condo, talking with the newcomer in the main room. I can't decipher any of their words, but I know he's safe. He's alive.
I give up on trying to sleep. Hugging a pillow against my chest, I sit with my back against the unvarnished headboard and stare at the closed bedroom door, willing him to return to me.
I should be doing more. Dawg, his number-one man, enlisted my help in persuading Hawke to delegate the leadership of dangerous assignments to his highly skilled team. I can't complete this mission if I'm in a different room.
Next time, I'll get my sleepy ass out of bed and join Hawke, standing by his side as he's debriefed, giving him my input. We're partners. I should start acting like it.
The door swings open and my shirtless man swaggers into the room. Tattooed wings stretch across his collarbone, his golden skin marked with silver scars and black ink. His lips are pressed together, his square jaw jutting. He's fierce and strong and mine. A heat blossoms in my chest, my nipples tightening.
“Why aren't you sleeping, sweetheart?” His gaze meets mine, his pale blue eyes reflecting his concern.
I shrug and say nothing, not wishing him to become distracted by my issues. A distracted marine is a dead marine, I've been told, and I won't be the cause of his death.
Hawke looks at me, and I hold his searching gaze, meshing his strength with mine. Meaning and emotion zing between us, a connection I've never experienced with any other person. Our link is special, right, real, not needing words or touch.
Hawke sighs, his chest rising and falling. “You were worrying about me, weren't you?” He pops his button fly, revealing his brown curls and hard shaft. “I wouldn't leave without telling you.” The faded denim drops to the hardwood floor.
He's trying to shift my attention from the situation, and damn it, it's working. My gaze lowers and I lick my lips. He tracks the movement, his perusal exciting me. I like that he watches me. I like it very much.
“Are you leaving?” My voice is husky, my pussy wet with a soul-deep yearning.
Regret flickers across his battle-worn face. “I have to go to work soon.” He reaches into the plastic fishbowl set on the makeshift nightstand and pulls out a condom package.
I should put the condoms in a drawer. That's classier, more sophisticated, but I like being able to see that huge ugly container. It's physical proof that Hawke views our relationship as long-term, that I'm not simply a one-time fuck.
“But I don't have to leave right now.” He rips the package open and rolls the latex over his thick shaft. “Right now, I have a beautiful woman to love.”
My heart does a funny little dance in my chest, hope unfurling inside me.
Does he care for me this much, or is this another flippant phrase such as calling me
? I survey his countenance, seeking the truth. His eyes glimmer with lust and a hint of humor.
This tells me nothing. Laughing and horny is my big man's natural state, and I love this about him.
Shit. There's that word again. I can't love Hawke, not yet, not until he's declared his undying devotion to me first and not until I figure out a way to keep him safe.
I feel friendship and desire for him. That's it. That's careful and cautious, and I'm a cautious woman. I have to be, to protect myself.
Needing to smother my growing agitation with passion, I toss the pillow to the side and spread my thighs in a blatant invitation, my body naked, exposed to his gaze. “Then come here and fuck me,” I challenge Hawke, unwilling to use the word
, afraid of what my highly observant man might hear in my voice.
The mattress dips under his weight and I slide toward him, cotton rubbing against my skin. “You'll sleep well after this, sweetheart.” He pulls me under him, bracing himself upward with his arms, and I bend my knees, cradling his hips between my legs, eager for this, wanting, craving him.
Curling my fingers over his shoulders, I savor his warmth, the power in his physique, the bluntness of his countenance. He has the type of face a woman could study for a lifetime and not fully know, his features too male to be handsome, his nose flattened and his forehead wide. Scars leave an intriguing design in his dark stubble, remnants of his violence-filled past.
This beast of a man lowers over me. His muscles ripple against my curves and his condom-covered cock presses against my pussy lips, his tip nudging my clit.
“Yes,” I murmur my approval, arching my back, caressing his chest with my taut nipples, adding more exquisite sensations to the erotic mix.
“Yes,” Hawke agrees. He strokes along my feminine folds, slicking his shaft with my moisture, my scent, the decadent glide of his hardness against my yielding flesh spiraling my yearning higher.
I tilt my chin upward, silently asking for a kiss, and he obliges, covering my lips with his, pillaging my mouth. Our tongues tangle and twist, dancing to the rhythm of our bodies, and the bond between us tightens, every encounter tying us together, tiny threads of emotion fusing our two souls into one.
It's beautiful and scary as hell. Losing him would devastate me, damaging me more than my dad's abandonment, more than any past betrayal, yet I can't close my heart to Hawke, can't deny him anything. All I can do is give him a reason to live, to be as cautious as I am.
I lick his square chin, tease his scars, trying to ease his past pain. The short brown hairs covering his skin abrade my flesh, the contrast intriguing me. Hawke allows this adoration, fucking me without entry, his movements smooth and slow. I sprinkle kisses along his neck, explore every swell and every indent, outline his tattooed wings with the tip of my tongue, tracing each finely etched feather.
“Hawke?” I position my mouth over the sun inked in the design's center. He meets my gaze, his eyes brilliant blue with passion. “This is to remind you to be careful today.” I bare my teeth, his body stiffens, and I bite down, branding him as mine.
“Fuck.” He jerks. “I need you.” He pulls back, bumps his cock head against my entrance, and pushes into me, stretching me almost painfully.
I cry out and wrap my legs around his hips, linking my ankles over his ass. He sinks deeper and deeper, his girth pressing against my inner walls. I feel every inch of him, the bloom of his tip, the length and width of his shaft, and finally his coarse curls tickling my pussy lips.
“You're my girl,” Hawke declares as though there's doubt. There isn't. I've been his girl since the first moment I saw him, standing defiantly naked on his balcony, the sun's rays shining on his bare skin.
“I'm your girl.” I lave the mark I've left on his chest, soothing the hurt I caused. He tastes of salt and man, a delicious combination.
“You'd never bite anyone else.” Hawke's eyes glimmer. He knows I care for him, too much. “You only lose control with me.”
I cover my vulnerability with a scowl. “Are we chatting or are we fucking?” I kick my heels against his clenched ass.
The idiot chuckles, his joy vibrating his form against mine, exciting me. He withdraws and rocks forward, withdraws and rocks forward, his tempo leisurely as though he has all day to come.
Hawke has more patience than I do. Need already coils tight around my body, unleashing a wildness inside me. I lift frantically into each advance, smacking my breasts against his pecs, my hips against his, a titillating heat flowing from the points of contact. My military man is as unyielding as the mountain he resembles, maintaining his relaxed pace, his assault on my senses reserved.
The hell with that. I surge forward and nip his chin.
“Behave,” Hawke growls, driving me backward into the mattress, pinning my ass against the bed.
“I'll never behave.” I laugh, relishing his display of dominance. “Not with you.” Because he's right. I lose control around him, every damn time he touches me.
Hawke glowers, his thick eyebrows lowered, his lips pressed into a severe white line. He appears so very serious and devastatingly sexy that I can't resist pushing him further. I clench my inner muscles around his shaft.
This strips the last of his restraint, unleashing his darkest desires. Hawke ravishes me with rapid deep thrusts, pounding his massive cock into my appreciative pussy. I hold on to him, gleefully riding his storm as he fucks me harder, faster.
He grunts with effort, beads of sweat pearling on his forehead. This savagery is what I want, what I need, and my body constricts around his, increasing the delightful friction.
“Watching,” he huffs. He knows how to drive me crazy.
I glance toward the window. In the building across the park, a light flicks on. Is the owner of that condo gazing at us, watching Hawke drive his rigid length into my softness, recognizing that my military man owns me, realizing that I couldn't escape him even if I wanted to, his form imprinted on mine?
I pump my hips, my breasts, mons, thighs aching. Every thrust pushes me closer to sexual satisfaction, and when I break, Hawke will also, his balls hugging his shaft, his skin glistening with moisture. I see the desperate need in his eyes. This need is for me, Belinda Carter, the daughter of one of the strongest ladies I've ever met and an unworthy biker who didn't appreciate the gifts he'd been given, choosing instead to leave us.
Hawke would never willingly abandon me. I dig my fingernails into his shoulders, fighting my release, knowing he'll go to work as soon as I come, risking his life, our forever, for uncaring clients.
He thrusts deep and grinds into my pussy, pressing against my oversensitive clit and shredding my control. God. I grit my teeth. This is so damn difficult, my soul screaming for relief, but I can do this, can give us a little longer, a few more minutes of togetherness. The metallic taste of blood fills my mouth.
“Belinda,” Hawke pleads, his massive body shaking, rivulets of sweat dripping down his cheeks. He can't last and I'm punishing us both by delaying.
“Take me hard,” I command.
An animalistic sound comes from deep in his throat and he drives into me with everything he has. I push my hips upward, meeting him halfway. Our bodies collide, the impact shattering me.
I scream and clench down on his shaft, holding on to him, my reaction pulling a bellow from his lips. He thrusts three more times erratically, his rhythm all over the place. The room spins around me faster and faster, a tunnel of black restricting my vision, bone-shaking tremors cascading down my form.
As I splinter into a thousand pieces, Hawke collapses on top of me, his weight securing me to the bed, keeping me whole. My fingers flutter against his back, fueled by spasms of bliss. I can't move, my muscles liquefied.
Lights flash, brightness followed by darkness, the combination making me queasy. I close my eyes. This is a mistake, my eyelids growing too heavy to lift.
“Hawke?” I hold on to him with the little strength I have left.
“Love,” he says softly, his voice drowsy.
“Stay with me.” I don't want him to leave, to put himself in danger. “Let someone else take this assignment.”
“There's no one else.” He nuzzles against my neck, his stubble teasing my skin. “I'm the only person qualified to make these decisions, Belinda.”
“But I thought you were more valuable out of the field.” I look up at him, relaying what Dawg told me.
“Who said I was more valuable out of the field?” Hawke raises his head.
“Is it true?” I counter, not willing to betray a confidence.