Jewel soaked in the bathing pool, luxuriating in the sweet scent of the water. Orchid oil had been poured inside, softening her skin. The air around her was cool, but the water was hot, and the two made an intoxicating combination. She scrubbed from head to toe, washing away the trials of the last few days.

Her gaze continued to shift nervously to the side. She'd placed a screen in front of the pool, so Gray wouldn't be able to see her if he entered. Still... she sank deeper into the water, the liquid lapping up to her neck. A part of her was afraid he wouldn't like what he saw, but another part of her, the wildest part, suspected he'd find her sensually beautiful. Irresistible.

Before he'd left, there had been an intense heat blazing in his eyes. He'd looked at her, his gaze lingering on her breasts and between her legs. She'd felt that same ache she always felt whenever he watched her. Where nothing else mattered but Gray, his voice, his touch.

That ache plagued her now. Biting her lower lip, she skimmed a hand down her breasts and her nipples hardened. Her fingers lowered, slipping over her oil-slicked stomach, the same way she'd seen Gray touch other women. Her fingers glided back up and circled her nipples. A shiver raced through her.

Her gaze once again darted to the screen. She'd hear him if he came in; there was no reason to worry.

"Gray," she groaned, closing her eyes and picturing the sensual planes of his face. She'd seen him do other things, as well... things that had always fascinated her. She kneaded her breasts, pretending it was Gray's hands touching her. Her blood heated, and she gasped in a choppy puff of air.

I'll die if I don't touch you, he said inside her mind.

Her hands trailed down her stomach again, stopping at the small triangle of hair between her legs. What would Gray do to her if he were here? Slowly her hands moved lower. He'd touch her... right... there. She gasped as a shaft of pure pleasure struck her. Her teeth bit more sharply into her lip, she moved her fingers again, circling this time, slowly, slowly.

She moaned. In her mind, she saw Gray kissing his way up her body. Kissing her behind her knees. Kissing her inner thighs. And licking his way between her legs, his tongue exactly where her fingers moved.

"Ahh," she cried, arching her hips. The water lapped at the sides of the pool, then changed directions and hit her sides, caressing her skin like waves caressing a beach. While she imagined his mouth devouring her, she also pictured his fingers slipping and sliding up her body, pinching her nipples. His tongue circled faster, licking and sucking at her.

"Oh, gods," she groaned. The pleasure was building, already so intense she verged on insanity. "Gray," she whispered. "Gray."

Gray strode down the hall, headed toward his room, intent on finding Jewel and at last finishing what they'd started. He'd given her time to get used to the idea, given her time to calm and accept.

That time was over.

After he'd left her, he'd found an escape route, then a place to bathe. His hair was still damp, his robe clinging to his moist skin. Soon he would -

An image of him and Jewel flashed through his mind, and he stopped abruptly, boot raised midair. She was naked, splayed out in a bathing pool, and he was on top of her, between her legs, pleasuring her with his mouth, drinking in her sweet essence.

Instantly his body went rock-hard, desire more intense than anything he'd ever experienced rushing through him. He nearly doubled over from the force of it. He could almost taste her in his mouth, and he knew he'd never tasted anything sweeter, hotter. He could almost feel her oil-slick skin beneath his hands, and he knew he'd never felt anything so soft.

In his mind, he glanced up at her. I'll die if I don't touch you. Her head was thrown back, her eyes closed, her teeth biting down on her bottom lip. Inky strands of hair floated around her, and her skin was flushed, a bouquet of strawberries, peaches and cream.

He wanted to eat her up.

One of her hands was gripping the side of the pool, the other was tangled in his hair. He'd never seen anything more erotic.

Alone in the hallway, he leaned against the wall. A sheen of sweat broke over him, dripping from his temples. His lips pulled taut.

"Holy shit," he growled. The vision in his mind was so real, it was like he really was there. He could actually hear her moan his name. She arched her hips, and his erection jerked. He rubbed a hand down the long, hard length of himself, wishing it were her hand. Her mouth.

He had to get inside her. In the vision, in reality, it didn't matter. He had to get inside her. Had to... get inside... her.

Gritting his teeth against the pain of his arousal, he stalked down the hall. His fists clenched as he entered the room and shut the door behind him, his eyes searching for her. She was nowhere to be seen, but he could hear the sound of her breathing, shallow and erratic. There was a screen in front of the bathing pool, and he strode toward it without a word.

When he rounded the screen, he jerked to a halt. Sucked in a breath. Nearly came. There she was, splayed out in the water, just like in his vision, her hand between her legs. Her hips were arching, her face glowing with her pleasure. Her nipples were pink and hard and his mouth watered for them. Steam wafted around her, creating a cloudy haze.

She was on the verge of orgasm. But he didn't want her to come without him, nor did he want to come without her. He moved to the edge of the pool, his every nerve on alert, his every cell heating.

"Jewel," he whispered brokenly.

Her eyes slowly opened. "Gray," she said, and she didn't seem surprised or embarrassed to find him there. Her arousal had reached the point of complete consumption. It was all she could think about, all she could feel. "What's happening to me?"

"You need a man. You need me."

"Yes," she said. "Yes. Please."

He jerked off his robe and tore off his military fatigues, his movements clipped and quick, desperate. He unstrapped the blades from his wrists, waist and ankles and dropped them to the floor with a thump. He should have forgone the arsenal after his bath, but hadn't. Now he cursed himself for the time it took to remove them, time he could be touching Jewel.

Finally he was naked, his erection jutting forward as he stepped into the water, liquid heat swallowing his ankles. He sank until the water hit his waist. Her gaze raked over him, and she moaned, arched her hips, her own fingers still working at her clitoris.

The time had come.

No more thinking about it, no more wondering if it was the right decision. No more worrying about their different worlds. All that mattered was the here and now. All that mattered was being with Jewel, if only for a little while.

He reached her, unable to go another second without her in his arms. He gripped her hand, her pleasure-giving hand, and placed it at the side of the pool. Next he spread her legs and stepped between them. He didn't enter her, though. No, he wanted to savor her first. Wanted to touch and taste her like he had in his vision.

But everything inside him screamed to rush, to take her now and take her hard.

"Were you thinking about me when you touched yourself?" he asked, amazed he could even get the words out. He was that hungry for her.

She nodded.

"What did you see in your mind?"

"Your mouth," she whispered, "tasting me."

"Here?" His fingers circled her clitoris, and she gasped. He raised her pelvis, bent his head and licked her, sliding his thumb down and pressing it against her core. Her sweet, sweet taste tantalized him.

"Yes, right there." The words emerged as little more than a moan.

If he licked her there again, she'd come. And he didn't want her to come yet. He wanted her to come on his cock. Rising up, he slid a finger into her hot, tight sheath. She felt so good, so damn good. He leaned down, and licked his tongue around one of her nipples, then the other, tasting the nectar of whatever flower flavored the water.

Her hands clenched the sides of the tub, helping to hold her up. "Gray," she panted. "I feel so... hot. Make it stop. No, don't stop. I need more. No, no more. I have to taste you. All of you."

Eyes wild, she rose over him and pushed him back against the tub before he could utter a protest. Not that he would. Then little Miss Prudence went down on him, sucking his length up and down, bringing her teeth and tongue into play, her hand cupping his ball sac.

Before his body completed the last spasm, he was hard again. Ready for her. Panting for her, as if he'd never come. As if giving her his semen had only been the appetizer. A sense of urgency built inside of him, beating against his usual need for leisure, about to unfurl completely. He always went slowly with women, always took his time, never allowed himself to be quick and hurried. But his blood was heating, near boiling, about to burst, and he suddenly wasn't sure of his control.

He climbed up her body. Water sloshed. His gaze strayed and lingered on her neck, at the pulse hammering there. His mouth watered. What would it be like to sink his teeth in her vein, to let her blood pour down his throat? He kissed his way between her breasts, lingered on her collarbone, then licked her neck.

She arched against him, writhing. Her hands flew to his back, squeezing him, scratching him. He was going to bite her... had to bite her... and he was going to do it while he filled her with his cock. He was disgusted with himself, but he couldn't stop the need from growing. He wanted to enter her and bite her at the same time, taking all of her, all she had to give. The need was so strong, he couldn't control it.

If he didn't bite her soon, he'd perish. If he didn't enter her soon, he'd perish. If he didn't spill his seed inside her soon, he'd perish. He had to have her, would have her, nothing could stop him.

"Tell me you're ready. Tell me you can take me."

"Yes, yes. Now. Please now. Pleasepleaseplease."

"Jewel. Mine." He was just opening his mouth, just reaching down, gripping his erection, poising himself for entry, when he heard the door burst open.

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