Her head ached.
Her throat felt raw.
And under her cheek, she felt the steady, strong beat of Dev’s heart.
She didn’t remember how she’d gotten here. She barely remembered anything after she’d climbed out of the shower, frustrated with the tangles in her hair and even more frustrated with the itchy feel of her skin, caused by the motel’s cheap soap.
She knew she’d started to cry.
She knew that he’d brushed out the tangles in her hair.
She knew he’d held her.
And now she knew, intimately, how that big, long body of his felt pressed up against hers.
But she had no idea how long she’d cried, why she’d started, when he’d picked her up or lain down on the bed with her. Her brain was just a muzzy mess.
She had no desire to move, either.
His breath was a warm caress on her face and neck.
His body was incredibly strong under hers, and as she pondered that—the heavy, hard strength of him—she became aware of something else that was heavy and hard.
His cock was pressed up against her hip.
He’d tugged the edge of the sheet over them, tucking it around her body so she wasn’t lying there in just a towel that barely covered her.
The sheet was miserable protection.
The towel was miserable protection.
Even his jeans didn’t provide much of a barrier.
She felt him pulse against her and she flexed her hand before tightening it into the material of his shirt. An answering pang echoed out from her core and blood rushed to her face.
Maybe it was the adrenaline thing—she could very well be running for her life—but Nyrene’s mind started to rush and race with images of the two of them stretched out over the bed, his body crushing into hers as he moved back and forth between her thighs.
This man had terrified her.
This man had all but called her a liar.
And he’d rushed into the bathroom when she’d sent everything flying to the floor, his weapon in hand, his eyes fierce.
Instead of telling her to get over all the things she might well have to leave behind, he’d tended to her with gentle hands, drying her hair and combing away the tangles.
Now he held her.
It was insane to want him. Insane…and she knew it.
She’d tried to be careful her entire life.
She had gone to school and become a nurse. Her parents had said it was a nice, secure job.
She had bought a boring car and always drove the speed limit.
She’d dated the right kind of guy—an accountant who drove the speed limit and had regular dental check-ups and tipped exactly seventeen percent, regardless of the service, good or bad.
Her life had been normal and predictable. Then she discovered her boyfriend wasn’t the good, stand-up guy she’d believed, but a married bastard with kids in multiple states.
She’d had somebody slam into her as she drove home. She’d willed herself not to cry until she was inside her house.
Then the headaches, the…visions, and Dev.
She’d tried to be good her whole life and now she was in a motel with a man who made her burn, and in the back of her mind lurked a knowledge. You can’t go home if you end up dead, Nye.
Slowly, she lifted her head. The strong line of his neck was in front of her, not even an inch from her mouth. Opening her hand, she kept her palm flat against his skin while his heart banged harder and faster.
She’d never taken chances. Fear kept her from going after the one thing she’d always wanted and now she was running for her life.
She didn’t even think it through. She just closed the distance between them and pressed her mouth to his neck.
Dev stopped breathing.
At least it felt that way.
His body went to stone as she rubbed her lips over his skin.
She went to kiss him again and he shifted, spilling her onto her back so that she lay in the middle of the bed.
He was off the mattress and pacing, the next second.
His gaze came to hers. Self-conscious, she licked her lips, but she didn’t look away.
His lids drooped and her heart skipped a beat as she realized he was staring at her mouth.
He shook his head like a man coming out of a spell, and then he turned away.
“The card—you saw what it said. Do we need to leave here now or can you get some rest?” he asked, his voice lower, rougher.
“I don’t want to sleep.”
He jerked his head in a nod. “Okay. I need to shower and then—”
She let the towel fall away as she stood.
Dev’s eyes slid down, down, down. It was like a caress and she was torn between grabbing the towel or grabbing him.
“I don’t want to sleep,” she said again. She took one step toward him and when he just continued to stare, she took another. “You want me…don’t you?”
One long stride closed the distance between them and he reached up, gripping her shoulders in hard hands. “I don’t think want covers it. But this… You’re not thinking…”
“If you tell me I’m not thinking clearly, I’ll hit you,” she warned. She hadn’t ever hit anybody, but she thought she just might enjoy hitting him if he said those words. Narrowing her eyes, she said, “I’m thinking just fine. I’m thinking about the fact that a couple of days ago, I drove by my boyfriend’s office only to discover it wasn’t his office and when I called, I got his wife on the phone, then I found out he’s got kids in two different states. I’m thinking about how my head feels like it’s going to come apart and I’m thinking about all the shit I’m seeing, the voices that won’t shut up and all the stuff I see happening—something that my head tells me is impossible, but I see it anyway. And…”
She sucked in a breath as her words tumbled to a stop.
His thumb stroked over her skin and she shivered. “I’m thinking that for all I know, I’ll be dead in a week, in two days, in two hours even. And I don’t want the emptiness that’s been my life for the past couple of years to be the only thing I can look back on.”
She waited for him to break away.
She waited for him to say something sensible and logical in his low, harsh voice.
And while she was waiting, he backed her up against the narrow table tucked in next to the wall. “So what do you want?”
His thumb did another slow stroke against the sensitive skin of her upper chest.
“I want you.”
His thigh pushed between hers as he crowded in closer. He lowered his head and pressed a kiss to the spot just below her ear. “If I was any kind of decent—”
“I don’t want decent.”
His kiss stole the breath out of her lungs. She shivered and pressed closer as he skimmed one hand up her back and fisted it in her hair. Then, as he caught her tongue and sucked it into his mouth, he tugged her head back.
She pressed closer, tangling her fingers in his shirt as he started to stab his tongue into her mouth. She felt that rhythmic pang between her thighs again—felt the hot, wet rush as her body prepared for him.
Mindless, she slid a hand down his chest, but then he caught her wrist.
Dev panted as he stared down at her. “I don’t have any condoms.”
“I’m clean.” She blushed as she said it, but she kept her eyes on his. “The son of a bitch I was dating— I…I wasn’t ready to sleep with him and that’s why he was making time with another woman. But I haven’t been with anybody since my senior year in college and I’ve had blood work done.”
“That…none of that matters. We shouldn’t—”
“Are you clean?”
His hand tightened on her hip. “Yeah, but you shouldn’t believe me. You’re a fucking nurse, Nyrene.”
“Yeah. That means I’m aware of how stupid this is…and I still don’t care.” She leaned forward, straining against the hold he had on her hair. He relaxed his grip and she rose onto her toes, sinking her teeth into his lower lip.
He groaned and cupped the back of her head, but she averted her face and pushed against his chest. “I’m on the pill. It’s just…easier. Assuming I live through this, there’s nothing else to worry about—and don’t tell me not to believe you. You wouldn’t even lie to me when I asked if I’d ever be able to go home and that was a much simpler lie than this would be.”
His hand slid up and cupped her breast. She held her breath as he did it, and she tensed, waiting for him to squeeze too hard or pinch too tightly. Instead, he stroked his thumb along the sensitive skin under her areola, slowly working higher until he could circle his way around her nipple.
“Are you sure?” he whispered, pressing his mouth to her ear.
The room whirled as he caught her around the waist with his arm and lifted her.
His mouth took hers again, rough and demanding.
Bed…she thought blearily.
But instead of the bed, she felt the cool, hard surface of the wall and she arched closer, rubbing against the heavy length of him.
A guttural noise escaped Dev as he kissed his way down her neck, pausing to rub his lips along the line where the seat belt had marked her.
She whimpered when he closed his mouth around her nipple. His mouth was a sin—hot and sure, his teeth scraping against her flesh in the sweetest possible way.
One hand smoothed up her thigh, caught her hip and pulled her in closer. She gasped at the contact and then, with a desperation that might have shamed her had she been able to think, she said, “Please… I need to feel you inside me.”
His entire body shuddered.
And in the next moment, he eased back, studying her face.
Her legs wobbled when he relaxed his hold around her waist, and then they all but melted as he reached for the button on his jeans, then the zipper, staring at her the entire time.
Dazed, she watched him free his cock, giving it one careless stroke. His blue eyes burned into hers and the heat of his body left her feeling scorched.
“Um…” her voice cracked. “The bed?”
“Fuck the bed.” He boosted her up and she automatically curled her legs around his hips.
The first brush of his cock against her had her tensing.
Dev would kick his own ass for this.
The hot, wet kiss of her pussy against the head of his cock had rational thought floundering to a halt. He didn’t think about the cramped room, or the hell chasing them, or the bed that he could have her on in five seconds.
He only thought about her.
She was tight and he pulled back before surging inside her again, her husky moan tripping down his spine like a caress. Her hands gripped the back of his head, nails biting into his skin, and it wasn’t enough.
With every stroke, she gripped him tighter, straining against him, her eyes dark and wide, locked on his. He caught one hip, lifted her.
Then, watching her, he stroked. The need to take her harder, ride her until they both lost themselves, was brutal, but he had a stronger need.
The need to chase away the darkness in her eyes. A darkness he had brought into her life.
A need to make this last, because it was the sweetest pleasure he’d felt in ages…maybe ever.
A broken sob trembled in the air and he dipped his head, brushed his mouth across her lips, once. Twice.
“I want to feel you come,” he whispered against her lips.
Her breath caught and hitched and her eyes gazed into his with hunger…and hesitation.
It was that look, that feminine look of nerves and need, that let him wrap the reins around the vicious cut of his desire. Shoving away from the wall, he took the few short steps to the bed and then went to his back. Her lush curves, her solid weight, had every nerve in his body singing, but he didn’t flip her to her back and drive into her.
Urging her upright, he said, “Ride me, Nyrene.”
A blush pinkened her cheeks. Then, with her teeth sinking into her lower lip, she braced her hands against his chest and started to move.
It was a slow, awkward rhythm at first, but after a few seconds that had his eyes crossing, she found her pace. The sensation of her hips rolling on his, the snug clasp of her pussy around his cock, had Dev groaning.
As he arched up to meet her, he gazed at her, imprinting the sight of her, the feel of her, on his memory. Her breasts, those large, soft breasts, were pushed forward by the position of her arms, and the sight of her tight nipples—a warm, delicious brown—had him tangling one hand in her hair, tugging her down.
Nyrene whimpered and then she cried out as he licked her right nipple in a slow, lazy circle before drawing it into his mouth.
He scraped his teeth lightly over the sensitive skin. An excited gasp escaped her lips.
She fell forward. Her nipple popped out of his mouth and he tipped his head back, staring into her eyes—dark and dazed.
With her elbows braced by his shoulders, she started to move. He drove up, matching her rhythm.
The sound of flesh slapping against flesh filled the room, her ragged sighs mingling with his low groan.
He felt it start, her climax, and he lashed down the need to come. Her muscles went tight, her body barely moving now. Gripping her hip in one hand, he held her tightly against him and thrust.
She keened, a low, desperate sound—his name.
She said his name as she came and it was too much. Dev caught her mouth with his as he orgasmed, the bliss of it, of her, ripping all threads of control from him.
She had never felt that…replete.
Not once in her life.
She’d come close, maybe, or something that resembled close, but it required the use of the showerhead and lots of dirty little fantasies for her to come.
Nyrene suspected Dev had all but ruined her for the showerhead.
“I want to do that again.”
She didn’t even realize she’d spoken until Dev brushed his lips over her neck. “Give me a few minutes and we can definitely do that again.”
Blushing, she tucked her face against him. Embarrassment twisted inside her, but it paled in comparison to that anticipation that had her shivering against him.
One strong, rough hand stroked down her back.
She sighed, feeling more relaxed than she had felt in days.
Since before the wreck, even.
That wreck had tripped off everything, but she’d been uneasy for days. She’d worried about her boyfriend for days, and that nagging sensation in her gut was what had her driving by the day she saw him tangling tongues with his new hire.
Now, though, all of that was gone. Her head didn’t hurt. Her thoughts were clear.
Have to hurry. They’ll leave before dawn and I don’t want to try to chase them down again.
She sucked in a breath and twisted away from Dev, drawing her knees to her chest.
Eyes closed, she felt it pressing against her head—thoughts that weren’t her own, emotions she couldn’t understand.
This is a lot of money, boys. Our objective is to grab her and if we can keep from scaring her, even better. It’s going to be hard, but if she freaks out and shuts down, it makes the boss’s job harder. Let’s keep the boss happy.
Grab her. They mean me.
There were no faces in her mind this time, no scenes of death and blood playing out.
Just those cool, calculating thoughts.
The urgency in Dev’s voice was as effective as a bucket of cold water.
Lifting her lashes, she stared at him.
“We have to leave. Now.”