Page 41

Author: Jill Shalvis

She let out a startled scream and was immediately gathered against a warm, hard form that her body knew better than her own. “Ty,” she gasped.

He pressed her back against the bedroom door. “You expecting anyone else?”

“I wasn’t expecting anyone at all. Help me, I’m caught.”

Instead he slid a thigh between hers.

“Ty.” She struggled with the sweater some more and succeeded in catching her hair on a sweater button. “Ouch! I can’t get loose.”

“Hmm.” His hands molded her body, everywhere. “I like you a little helpless.”

She fought anew. “That’s sexist.”

“Sexy,” he corrected, untangling her, tossing the offending sweater over his head while still holding her captive against the door. “What were you trying to do?”

“Strip.” Crash. Forget. “I went looking for you.”

“You found me.” He tugged, and then her scrub pants were gone.

She gasped. “What are you doing?”

“Helping you strip.” He slid a hand into her panties, his eyes dark and heavy lidded with desire. “Tell me why you went looking for me.”

There was something in his voice, something edgy, dark. “I wanted to see you.” It was God’s utter truth. She knew in her heart that he wouldn’t have taken those meds. He wouldn’t do anything to hurt her, ever. She knew that, just as she knew that her time with him was limited. Too limited.

She was going to be brave about that, later. “I want you,” she whispered.

In the dark hallway, his eyes gleamed with heat and intent, and then his mouth was on hers, hard. She sucked his tongue into her mouth, swallowing his rough groan, savoring the taste of him. “My bed,” she said. “I need you in my bed.”

They staggered farther into the room and fell onto the mattress. “Hurry, Ty.”

“Take everything off then,” he demanded in that quiet voice that made her leap to obey. She pulled off her top and unhooked her bra. She was wriggling out of her panties when she got distracted by watching him strip. He tugged his shirt over his head, and then his hands went to his button fly, his movements quick and economical as he bared his gorgeous body. In two seconds he was naked, one hundred percent of his attention completely fixed on her. And apparently she was moving too slowly because he took over, wrapping his fingers around each of her ankles, giving a hard tug so that she fell flat on her back.

He was on her in a heartbeat. “I was working on a car, but all I could see was you, running your fingers over the brake line, holding onto the wrench. It made me hard.”

She slid her hands down his sinewy, cut torso, planning on licking that same path as soon as she got a chance. “Me touching your tools makes you hard?”

“Yeah,” he said silkily. “Your hands on my tool makes me very hard.”

She laughed, and he nipped at her shoulder. “Your scent was there, too,” he said almost accusingly. “In the garage, lingering like you were right there, pestering me with all your questions.”

“Well—” She frowned. “Hey.”

His lips claimed hers in a hungry, demanding kiss. “I kept hearing your voice,” he said between strokes of his tongue. “Pretending to be all sweet and warm, when really you had me pinned to the wall and were drilling me.”

“Return the favor,” she said breathlessly. “Pin me down and drill me, Ty.”

He looked torn between laughter and determination to do just that. “You’ve had me in a fucking state all day, Mallory Quinn.”

“How bad is this state?”

“Bad,” he said, grinding his hips to hers to prove it. “So bad I couldn’t function.”

“Mmm,” she moaned at the feel of him so hard for her. “So what did you do?”

“Jacked off.”

She choked out a laugh. “You did not.”


The air crackled with electricity, and he kissed her again. His hands were just as demanding as his mouth, finding her breasts, teasing her nipples, sliding a hand between her legs. Finding her already hot and wet, he groaned.

“Please, Ty. I need you. I need you so much.”

“Show me,” he said.

“Show you?”

“Show me.”

Knowing what he meant, she bit her lower lip. He’d just admitted to touching himself while thinking about her; surely she could return the favor. In the end, he helped her, entwining their fingers and dragging their joined hands up her body, positioning them on her breasts, urging her to caress her own nipples. When she did, he pulled his fingers free and watched with a low groan. Then, apparently convinced she would continue on, he slid down her body, kissing his way between her thighs. Slowly, purposefully, he sucked her into his mouth, making her writhe so much that he had to hold her down. Her toes curled, her eyes closed, her fingers abandoned her breasts and slid into his hair to hold him to that spot because God, just one more stroke of that tongue—

But he stopped. Just pulled his mouth away until she looked at him.

“Keep your eyes open,” he said, and when he lowered his mouth again, she did as he’d told her, watching as he took her right to the edge again. It was the hardest thing she’d done so far with him. But nothing about Ty was in her comfort zone, not his life’s experiences, not the way he made her feel, and certainly not how he got her to behave in the bedroom. It felt so absolutely wicked to keep looking at him, to be a voyeur in her own bed, but try as she might to hold on, her vision faded when he pushed her over the edge with shocking ease.

When she could open her eyes again, he easily held himself just above her, making room for himself between her thighs as he cupped her face, his own now struggling with control.

She knew he’d never intended for things to go this far. She hadn’t either. But as she tugged him close and kissed him, she felt their co-mingled best intentions go right out the window.

Taking control, he slid his big hands to her bottom and pushed inside her with one hard thrust. “Oh, fuck,” he said. “You feel amazing.”

It was just the passion of the moment, she tried to tell herself, but she felt him to the depths of her soul. And in her heart of hearts, she knew he felt far more for her than he let on. It was in his actions, and she wrapped her arms around his broad shoulders and melted into the hard planes of his body. Emotion welled up within her, and she had to clamp her mouth closed to hold in the words that wanted to escape.


Opening her eyes, she stared up into his, her heart clenching hard. His hands slid up to her hips, positioning her exactly as he wanted, and when he thrust again, she gasped as pleasure swamped her. Wrapping her legs around his waist, she whispered his name, needing him to move.

Instead, he lowered his head and traced her nipple with his tongue, causing her to arch her back and shamelessly roll her hips into his. “Ty.”

His fingers skimmed roughly up her spine, leaving a trail of heat that she felt all the way to her toes, until his hands gripped hers on either side of her head. “I’m right here,” he promised, taking her exactly where she needed to go without words. And that was it, the beginning of the point of no return for her. He was exactly what she’d wanted, what she’d never had the nerve to reach out and grasp for herself before. Ironic, really. He didn’t want her to depend on him, and yet he was the one who’d given her the security to be who she was. If only he’d keep looking at her the way he was right now.

For always.

It wasn’t going to happen, she knew that. She had to settle for this, for the right now. Telling herself she was stronger than she knew, that she could do it, she cupped his face and let herself go, moving with him in the age-old dance of lovers. And her release, when it came, shattered her apart and yet somehow made her whole at the same time.

At some point in the night, Ty woke up wrapped in warm woman. And it wasn’t her clinging to him. Nope, that was all him. He had one hand entangled in her crazy hair, the other on her bare ass, holding her possessively and protectively to him.


The night of the orchestra had been a mistake, and everyone was allowed one mistake. But if he slept with her tonight, it would be mistake number two.

He didn’t make mistakes, much less the same one twice. It took some doing, but he managed to get out of the bed without waking her. He gathered his things and walked out of her bedroom, quietly shutting the door behind him. Dumping everything at his feet to sort, he hesitated. In his real life, hesitating was a good way to get dead. And yet he did just that, turning back to her bedroom door, his hands up on the frame above his head. He wanted to go back in there.


Don’t do it, man. He looked down at his shit. No shirt. One sock. From his pants pocket, his phone was blinking. Frances, he knew. Because she and Josh had finally connected. The gig was up; she knew he was cleared. His last message from her had been something along the lines of get your sorry ass back to work. This had been accompanied by a text with a confirmation number for a one-way, first-class airplane ticket back to D.C.

He stubbed his toe on his own shoes. Swearing softly, he kicked one down the hallway, then went still when the bedroom door opened and the light came on.

Mallory stood there blinking sleepily, tousled and rumpled and wearing nothing but his shirt. “Hey,” she murmured. “You okay?”

“Yeah. Sorry. Didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Are you leaving?”

“Yeah, I…Yeah, I’m leaving.” He needed to. Now. Because he was starting to wonder how he was going to leave Lucky Harbor at all.

Mallory made a soft noise in the back of her throat. She was looking at his jeans still on the floor, and the two things that had spilled out of his pockets. His keys.

And the empty Vicodin bottle.

She bent and picked up the bottle, staring at it for a long time. He saw her taking in the two-month-old date of the prescription, the fact that there were refills available to him which he clearly hadn’t used. Finally she handed the bottle back to him with a gentle smile. “Stay, Ty. Stay with me for tonight. Just tonight.”