Bracing his hands against the back of her chair, he leaned over her. He smelled of cigars and whiskey and she wanted to eat the air around him he smelled so good.
“Jail,” he said, his voice a purr. “My father is in jail.”
She could barely follow his words, drunk as she was on the heat pouring from his skin.
“Theft.” He leaned in closer, his eyes boring into hers. “He stole jewels seven years ago from a casino in Las Vegas.”
He seemed to want a reaction from her and she couldn’t begin to understand what that was. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
“Are you?” he asked, his eyes narrowed and she blinked, stunned, some of the hazy fog of lust lifting from her brain.
“Of course,” she said. “That’s terrible.”
He stared at her a while longer then smiled, but she didn’t believe it. There was something dark happening in Matt and, like the glasses, it made him that much more attractive to her.
“It is terrible,” he agreed, his eyes roving over her face and hair. The silence stretched out between them until she thought she might snap from the tension.
Kiss me, she thought. Kiss me. Kiss me. Kiss me.
“I should go,” he whispered, pushing himself away from her. She nearly fell over, that’s how far she’d been leaning toward him. Chills, hot and cold, crawled over her flesh.
Embarrassment made her sick to her stomach.
“Right,” she said. “Me, too.” Unable to look at him, fearing that he would see all those things she couldn’t control, she stood and inched her way around him. Tightening the cinch on her robe, she contemplated the long cool hallway in front of her. Her cold and empty bed.
But then—gentle, barely there—he touched her elbow, her hair, his thumb against the corner of her lips.
She gasped with pleasure so acute, so sudden and sharp, she felt it like lightning through her body.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispered.
Then he was gone. Out the door without a sound.
She remained where she was, alone and trying to breathe, trying to calm this sudden storm. But it didn’t work and suddenly that side of her, the side she tried so hard to bury and ignore and pretend was not a part of her DNA, chimed in.
Go to him, the O’Neill in her whispered. Just go to him. See if it’s as good as you think it would be.
She shook her head, as if trying to dislodge the curiosity, but rooted, it grew.
A kiss. Just a kiss. He’s clearly inclined, would have probably done it himself if you weren’t such a nun. A cold fish—
Her feet moved. They took her out of the room, down the hallway, shutting up the voice before it got really mean. Her instincts drove her, compelled her, and she was at the door to the sleeping porch in seconds.
The doors, warped by years of humidity, didn’t shut and she barely had to press on the etched glass to open them.
He stood with his back to her in a shaft of moonlight so dense it was if he stood in water up to his elbows. He ripped off his shirt, the movements violent, barely controlled. He was muttering something, swearing, but she didn’t try to hear, distracted as she was by the dip in his spine, the flare of his back, the upper curve of his ass in loose, low-riding khakis. He was like a statue, strong and perfect, and she wanted to press herself against all that warm living flesh. The smooth skin and hard muscle.
He turned and rifled the shirt into the corner, the muscles in his abdomen shifting, flexing.
He stopped. Stopped moving, swearing, even breathing.
“Savannah?” he whispered, stepping through the moonlight to the darkness on her side. “You okay?”
Okay? she thought. Hardly. She was dying.
Her mouth opened as if to say, just making sure you had enough blankets or some nonsense, but she stopped herself. Her better sense, running the show for way too long, stepped aside and let the O’Neill take over.
She took a step toward him, glanced in his eyes to see if he shared this madness and saw the desire flare in their green depths. But he held up his hand as if to contradict all the heat between them and she didn’t want that. Couldn’t have it.
“Savannah, I’m not wh—”