Chapter Twelve.

Amanda stumbled back until she felt the sharp edge of the counter behind her in her ribcage. Eyes wide, her gaze was fixed on the tub, and her breath was coming to her in short gasps.

“Oh my GOD!” she shrieked, her hand over her heart. “What the hell are you doing in here?!”

AJ fought to supress a smile. “Taking a bath. What are YOU doing in here?”

Try as she might, she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the tub. Or rather, from HIM. Sitting there, lounging lazily among the bubbles, water glistening on his soaked skin, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. That smirk, while it should have made her angry as hell, was stirring something inside her she’d never felt. It made her insides burn, her skin tingle, and her breathing was getting more and more difficult to control.

“I.. I thought..” she stammered, her voice shaky as she continued to stare. “I thought no one was home.”

“I see,” his heart was racing; he knew the effect he’d wanted was the one he’d gotten. “Well, I’m home.”

“I can see that,” she breathed, her voice rasping slightly. When had her throat gone dry?

“So you can,” he nodded slowly. He figured he was just about done there.

Almost, but not quite.

Slowly, he rose out of the tub, surprised Amanda had gone longer than he’d expected before turning away from him. He didn’t dare ask what she saw; he didn’t think he wanted to know, for that matter. What he cared about, however, was this small battle he was, without a doubt, about to win.

“So,” he began softly, wrapping a towel around his waist. “How was your day?”

Amanda took that as her cue to look back, and regretted looking the second she set eyes on his lanky, wet form, headed directly toward her. She stared unabashedly at his chest, and images of drying that body of his off ran freely through her head. What scared her the most, however, was that she’d made no attempt whatsoever in shaking free of those images.

“Manda?” he asked cautiously, careful not to let his smile show.

She lifted her gaze and met his dark eyes then. “Huh?” she asked blankly.

‘Score one for AJ,’ he thought to himself. “I asked how your day was.”

“Oh,” she whispered. “My day? Umm.. I... don’t remember.”

“Hmm,” he murmured thoughtfully as he leaned toward her, past her, and reached for his cologne. “That’s interesting.”

He looked into her eyes, lingering close to her longer than was necessary. Her breath quickened again, and her eyes were glues to his. He distinctly saw a flicker of heat, desire, perhaps, in them. It was all he needed at the moment, he decided.

His hand left the bottle of cologne on the counter top, and travelled slowly up her arm, cupped the back of her neck, and took her lips with his in a tortorously slow kiss.

She tensed briefly, but the instant his other hand snaked around her waist and pulled her closer to him, she melted into his body and responded with the intensity he remembered experiencing the night they married. Her arms went around him, further inspiring him. Hands roamed over bodies as the kisses grew more demanding, more heated. AJ’s heart was soarng; this is what he knew it would be like, this is what they could share, if she’d only let herself feel what he did.

Suddenly, he ended the kiss and stepped away from her. Without so much as a glance back, he’d left the steamy bathroom, and an utterly flabberghasted Amanda, and headed to the safety of his own bedroom, before he changed his mind and raced back to her and finish what he’d started.

“Soon,” he whispered to himself as he dressed, trying to keep his cool as he heard the water running down the hall.

He couldn’t decide if his torment was affecting only her anymore.

[chapter list | chapter thirteen]