A Steele’s Dream
Remington jolted awake. The low drone of a distant train whistle echoed through the silent room. He stretched his long, stiff legs and rolled to his side, bumping his knees into the warm lump beside him. His eyes flew open, confronting the pitch-black dark of well-beyond midnight. Where the hell am I?
A soft, feminine groan issued from beside him and the warm mass snuggled closer. The scent of expensive perfume and crisp, clean soap tickled his nose. He’d recognize that fragrance anywhere. Laura? He was in bed with Laura?
Propped on one elbow, he rubbed a hand over his face and searched his memory for clues. How could he end up smack in the middle of his most fervent wish, yet have no distinct memory of the event? The situation resembled his dearest dream and most vile nightmare all rolled into one tidy package.
Memories trickled in as the shadows of sleep departed. They were working a case, a cheating husband. Their target had taken his paramour to a secluded inn for a romantic weekend. Ever the intrepid investigator, Laura had insisted they tag along. Remington ruffled a hand through his hair and felt the brush of metal against his forehead. He held his hand in front of him and the Peppler ring glinted in the dim moonlight, triggering more images.
Ah, yes. They were posing as a married couple once more. His lips quirked into a small smile despite the awkward situation and he glanced at the woman snoozing to his side. Playing newlyweds with Laura was his favorite ruse.
Still, things had never progressed to this point in their prior relationship. They’d had their share of entanglements over the rocky span of their acquaintance, but always drew truce when things got too intimate, too heavy.
He peeked under the covers. Both of them were clothed—he in faded jeans and she in his oversized, well-worn Manchester United sweatshirt. He conducted a quick assessment of his person. No telltale soreness from strenuous exertion. He checked his libido. Raging on the brink of terminal frustration, as usual when he was around Laura. Remington sighed in surprised relief. No, they hadn’t made love. Not yet, anyway.
Wine. Yes, there had been an exceptional bottle of Bordeaux involved. And chocolate, dark and sinful like his fantasies of her. Their dinner had all the earmarks of a prelude to lust—until the gunfire erupted.
Remington scowled, his brows knitting together at the memory of dodging bullets and their near-miss escape. They’d fled the inn and left the Rabbit behind, hitchhiking to the next small village. There, they’d used a fake credit card to secure the only available room at the rundown Hide-A-Way Motel and burrowed in for the night. She’d discarded her ruined outfit, accepting his offer of the sweatshirt before hitting the shower.
He’d pick-proofed the locks and booby-trapped the doors and windows against intruders before settling into his side of the lumpy queen-sized bed for some much-needed slumber. Getaways were always exhausting—a lesson he’d learned in his dodgy youth—and even more so with a sidekick. It paid to have a plan and a safe house to retire to when things became… complicated.
Laura turned over to face him, her left arm landing across his hip. His gaze snagged on the ring twinkling from her third finger. A simple, elegant treasure like the woman it adorned. Her fingers twitched, as if seeking his touch. Remington was compelled to obey. He planned to be nothing if not faithful to his vows to love, honor and cherish. Never mind they weren’t legal. Legality was a gray issue in his mind anyway.
Fingers intertwining with hers, he snuggled down and studied her sleeping features. She was lovely. Remington couldn’t resist leaning in and placing a whisper soft kiss on her forehead. His Miss Holt flitted through life, charmingly oblivious to her own allure, her natural, unblemished beauty. It was a quality Remington found refreshing after a past rife with over-primped and under-substance females who only craved his body and his thieving skills, not his mind or his heart.
From day one, Laura had established her interest in his quick intelligence, his talent for personas and his stellar street instincts. The physical attraction was always present, of course, simmering hot beneath the surface of their interactions like a slow-burning fuse. But she was too smart for a purely sexual fling. No, his Laura deserved the whole take.
He reached out and cupped her face, his thumb stroking over the ridge of her cheekbone. She moaned and inched closer. Was it possible she craved his nearness as much as he desired her taste, her embrace?
His body reacted to his thoughts, the increasing bulge in the strict confines of his jeans becoming damned uncomfortable. He adjusted his position and insinuated a thigh between hers, sliding his hand to her lower back and pulling her closer. She moved willing into his arms, still sleeping.
Remington stifled a groan as his now throbbing member brushed against the soft curve of her hip and lower belly. He closed his eyes, savoring the moment. How long had he waited to have her beside him, to feel her softness and strength enfolded him? Too damn long. He dusted feather-light kisses over her upturned face, yearning for her to wake but fearing her rejection once she did. Would this be another night of missed opportunities and failed starts?
Laura cuddled closer, the sweatshirt riding up to expose a swath of skin across her abdomen. Remington shuddered at the intimate contact. Her velvet flesh glided against the mat of hair on his naked torso and his stomach clenched with need. He dropped his head, nuzzling the pulse at the base of her throat, nibbling the spot where neck joins shoulder. She tasted like exotic fruit and sweet sangria. Like green, rolling hills and fresh clover. Like home. He nudged aside the crewneck collar and continued his exploration while his fingers slipped beneath the bottom edge of the sweatshirt.
She moaned, arching into him, her eyes closed and her cheeks flushed. Was Laura dreaming of him?
He made a silent promise to stop before things went too far. He only wanted a moment, something to carry with him into the lonely nights ahead. Then his questing fingers encountered the lace-edged satin of her panties and any coherent thoughts in his head disappeared faster than a pilfered wallet. He bit his lip, powerless to halt the instinctive rotation of his hips against hers. Bloody hell! He needed her awake, active, participating in this hell of an ecstasy he’d created.
“Laura?” His voice cracked in the dusky pre-dawn haze of the room. Remington dropped a kiss on her lips, took her earlobe between his teeth and nipped. “Laura, dearheart, please wake up.”
Muscles tense with resignation, Remington eased away from temptation. He trailed his hand down her ribs, brushing the underside of a downy breast as he removed his hand from her shirt. His fist clenched to keep from cupping the weight in his palm, from brushing his fingertips across the taut, sensitive peak of her nipple.
Remington dropped his forehead to her shoulder and moved his hand to the safer region of her back. His blood pounded in his ears and his nerves zinged like bowstrings, yearning to quench his unrequited passion with the woman he held so dear.
No. Their first joining would be one of mutual consent and love, not some random shag to slack his ever-present need. He wanted every part of Laura attuned to passion when he took her, wanted every part of her burning with need and dying to claim him. Only then would he be satisfied. Only then would he drive into her and mark her, brand her with his possession, as he’d intended since the first day they’d met.
His thigh moved from between hers, and he prepared to scoot as far to his own side of the mattress as possible. He didn’t make it one inch.
Her toned legs cinched around his and locked him in place. His shocked aqua-blue eyes met her smoldering whiskey gaze. Laura flashed him a sleepy, devilish smile and pushed a lock of hair from his damp forehead. Her teasing voice held more than a tinge of husky desire. “Where do you think you’re going, Mr. Peppler?”
He stared at her, his mind struggling to process this unexpected turn of events, his lips failing to form a single response. She leaned forward and kissed him, her fingers tracing errant patterns through the hair on his chest. His body trembled beneath an onslaught self-enforced restraint. “Laura, don’t tease.”
She moved closer, her fingers skimming down his abdomen to tuck inside the waistband of his jeans. His straining manhood twitched in response. The button of his jeans popped free and her hand ghosted inside, past his briefs, to caress the sensitive heat of him. Laura turned serious eyes toward him, her expression a mix of hope and fear. “Please, don’t go.”
Echoes of the past merged with the wondrous present. It was all the encouragement Remington needed. She’d said those words to him once before, on the night of her greatest loss. Honor and chivalry had prevented him from offering her more than comfort during the crisis. Now, she cried out to him again and nothing would keep him from obliterating their mutual desire.
“Christ, Laura. I’ve waited for you so long.” His lips trailed her brow before claiming her mouth in a searing kiss. He broke away to nuzzle her jaw, his hands pushing her sweatshirt higher while he rolled her beneath him. “You have no idea how much I want you.”
Soon, the sweatshirt flew through the air to land in a puddle of fleece by the bed. Remington gazed at the picture she presented, working to absorb the details of her. Her freckle-covered skin was a delight. He promised to dedicate his life to cataloging the exact location of each tiny mark. Supporting his weight on an elbow, he traced hesitant, reverent fingers up her side to encircle one small, plump breast. His thumb glided over a peaked top. He kissed her once more, absorbing her moans of pleasure while stoking the fires of her desire.
Laura clutched his hair, holding him in place while her other hand encircled his length. He broke their kiss and worked his way down her neck to suckle her taut nipple, his nimble fingers lavishing attention to its neglected twin. She bucked beneath him, stroking him harder. Remington fought for control, forcing his rampant lust to the rear of his mind. Otherwise this would all be over too quick. He wanted this to last, needed this to survive the night and beyond.
He moved his lips to her other breast and trailed his fingers down her stomach, halting at the barrier of her panties. He had to be sure, no regrets. Remington raised his head and cupped her face between his palms, “Laura… Laura, look at me.”
Her eyes fluttered open, her expression confused and dazed. She tried to draw him in for another kiss, but he held his ground. Her chest heaved beneath his torso, creating a delightful friction of skin against skin. “Laura, tell me this is what you want. If you don’t stop me now, it will be too late.”
“I…” She looked away. He steeled himself for the coming sting of rejection. Dammit. Why could they never consummate this relationship? He pushed away only to be stayed by her hand on his nape. “No. Don’t leave. I want this—want you—more than I can say. Please.”
The pleading note in her voice was more than he could stand. A slow, shy smile graced her lips and the last vestiges of his resolve died. Laura would become his lover tonight. Buggar all the cases and fake marriages, this was the woman he loved and he would have her.
His fingertips slipped past the waistband of her panties. Remington lowered his head to within millimeters of hers and hovered. Their breath mingled as he dipped inside the moisture pooled between her thighs, stroking and delving deeper. She pressed against the pillows, arching her neck. He dusted hot, open-mouthed kisses along its length, slipping a finger inside her tight sheath. Laura ground against his hand, her nails digging into his scalp.
Remington pinned her to the bed with one long leg sprawled over hers and continued his explorations, returning to her breasts before moving lower. She reached for him, attempting to pull him away, but he refused to be denied. He’d waited too long not to taste every inch of her.
He slipped her panties off and poised above the mass of dark curls covering her core, breathing in the intoxicating scent of her. If he died the next moment, all his wishes had been fulfilled. The spicy scent of her arousal made his head spin, his desire percolating past full boil. After brushing a few errant kisses on the silk of her inner thighs he claimed his prize.
With the first brush of his tongue against her molten core, her thighs clamped tight around his head. He placed a gentle hand on each leg and positioned them to his liking while continuing his ministrations. The next suckle earned him a low growl of pleasure. When a second digit joined the first within her tight walls, her cries grew more frequent, more heated as she approached release. Laura cried out, convulsing against him as she climaxed. Her gentle sobs were a symphony to his ears.
After nuzzling her thighs and raining kisses about her quivering torso, Remington poised above her, pushing the hair from her eyes. “You’re so beautiful, Laura.”
She fumbled with the zipper of his jeans, her brow furrowed and her words disjointed with passion. “Need you. Now. Please.”
Yes. Now. His caged libido screamed for release. He kissed her deep before rising to discard his jeans and briefs. Her eyes widened, zeroing in on the full extent of his desire. He couldn’t squelch the flare of masculine pride at her gasp. He didn’t try to hide his smug grin as he rejoined her in bed. “Dearheart, I’m yours for the taking.”
Remington covered her body with his and eased between her thighs, the sensitive tip of his shaft nestling between her damp folds. Laura thrust her hips toward him, but he remained motionless. This time he would take charge. Later she could tempt him to her heart’s content. But now… now was all he ever wished for and more than he’d hoped. Now was everything to him.
He inched forward, entering her depths. His breath hissed between his clenched teeth, his arms trembling with tension. Must make this last. Her hips rotated and he slipped in further. So hot, so tight, so incredibly wet.
Laura propped up on her elbows and pressed a kiss to the pulse at the base of his throat and all bets were void. With one thrust, he buried himself hilt-deep within her. She writhed beneath him, her moans of pleasure filling his head. Mine. Laura is mine.
The rhythm of his lovemaking began slow and erotic, but soon became more frantic, fiercer as they neared the precipice. He reached between them to caress her, determined to drive her over the brink before taking his own release. Laura met him thrust for thrust, his partner in every sense. Legs locked tight around his waist, she encouraged him with sighs and moans into giving her what she liked best.
Soon, a familiar tightness in his groin signaled his impending release. His caresses grew bolder, more demanding. Laura tightened around him, milking his shaft as her orgasm shattered around them. Screaming her name, he followed her down, wave after exquisite wave of pleasure engulfing him in a warm blanket of peaceful sensation.
Long moments later, sated and beyond happy, Remington tucked Laura close by his side and placed a kiss atop her head, his hands tracing lazy, absent patterns over her back. “Laura, that was incredible. You’re incredible.”
She tilted her head up, flashing him small, tired smile filled with affection. Her finger tapped his bottom lip before coming to rest in the cleft of his chin. “Some things are worth waiting for, Mr. Steele.”