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Six months after a brutal attack, Dahlia Pierce still jumps at her own shadow, but the green-eyed stranger holding her at gun-point has her yearning to feel him. His touch, his kiss. He robs her bank and leaves, only to reappear in her bedroom later.

Cruz Doriaye has always been more interested in business than pleasure. The bank job should be no different, but the need radiating off Dahlia gets to him. Calls to his own hungers. He answers, but his line of work stands between them. As does her secrets.

TOUCH

Copyright © 2011 by Avril Ashton

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

http://avrilashton.webs.com

Author Warning: Contains material offensive to some. Y’know, the usual: anal

sex/play, violence, and some dirty talk ;0)

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TOUCH

TOUCH

TOUCH

TOUCH

by

Avril Ashton

Avril Ashton

Avril Ashton

Avril Ashton

.

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Chapter One

“You.” The towering man in charge gestured to Dahlia. “Come with me.”

His words weren’t yelled, voice wasn’t even raised, but she flinched as she kept her eyes on the bar rel of the gun he pointed at her. There went her hope the three bank robbers would take the money and leave. She raised her head and looked at the one who spoke. Forest green eyes locked on her through the cut out in his ski mask, freezing the breath in her lungs and pinning her to the cold floor of her office.

Why did I choose to come back to work today of all days? Her boss told

her to take all the time she needed after the attack, but hiding had never been her thing. Now she cursed herself. For once she should have listened, should have stayed in bed with the covers over her head. Her heart leapt to her throat at any movement she caught in her peripheral. Loud noises had her steady jumping out of her skin, but it was the nearness, touching people that made her stomach cramp and her skin crawl. Made her want to hurl.

“Move it, now!” The leader hauled her to her feet. Dahlia stumbled and fell into him. Strong arms wrapped around her shoulders, kept her upright, held her in place when she would’ve scooted back. At least her mind wanted her to move, but her body refused to budge. She melted into his hardness.

On the floor behind her, Brenda, her assistant whimpered. The new security guard—Dahlia couldn’t remember his name—shushed Brenda.

“Wh—what do you want? Where are you taking me?” Dahlia’s voice trembled as she glanced sideways at the hulking figure. He’d removed his hands from around her, but remained close. Solid and cloaked in black, he smelled like the air after a spring rain. Turned out she liked that smell.

Tears clouded her vision as his sharp gaze held hers. Frustration at being a victim once again, helpless against whatever lay ahead, over rode her fear. She lifted her chin. “Unless you tell me where you’re taking me,

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I’m not moving.” It might be a mistake, she couldn’t not fight back. Not again.

His eyes flashed. Was that a glimmer of respect in their emerald-green depths? Couldn’t be. Long, dark lashes swept downward, hiding his reaction before she named it. Dahlia held her breath. Her heart thudded in her chest and tension rode her spine.

“There’s something very important in the vault, Ms. Pierce. You’re going to get it for me.” That deep voice resonated with a finality that kicked Dahlia’s speeding pulse into overd rive. As manager of Rivers’ Bank and Trust, only she had access to the vault. In her absence, the higher-ups brought someone to oversee, but now she was back. Green Eyes needed her fingerprints and her voice to scan at the entrance to the vault.

“Boss.” One of Green Eyes’ cohorts stood in the doorway and tapped his wrist, indicating time.

The leader nodded and turned to Dahlia. “Come on. The sooner we do this, the sooner you guys get to leave.” He held out a hand to her. “Unharmed.”

Dahlia worried her bottom lip with her teeth, and glanced back at Brenda and the security guard. It was Dahlia’s fault they were in this mess. The three of them stayed late once the bank closed for the evening. She’d been on edge and jittery all day. Her worked suffered, some calculations hadn’t balanced. In the end she’d had to redo everything, and Brenda insisted on helping. The guard wouldn’t leave until they did.

She had to help them get out of this safely. And the best way to do that was to give Green Eyes what he came for. Silent alarms were placed all over the building for this very reason, but the men with guns seemed to know that. They kept Dahlia and the rest out of reach of any of them. With a sigh, she ignored his outstretched hand and walked around him to the door. “Let’s get this over with.”

Green eyes’ mocking chuckle echoed behind Dahlia. “Keep an eye on

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side of the doorway, guns trained on Brenda and the guard.

“Don’t—tell your men not to hurt them.” Dahlia’s voice wobbled as she pleaded with the man in charge.

He paused and looked down at her with surp r isingly soft eyes. “Believe me, I’m not here to hurt anyone. Give me what I want and we leave as quiet as we came.” A gloved hand touched her cheek in a fleeting caress.

A spark of flame heated her tummy and moistened her La Perla’s. Stifling a gasp, she steeled herself from leaning into that dangerous touch. In the blink of an eye she went from hating to be near anyone, to wanting the man holding her at gunpoint. She bit the inside of her cheek, the pain a reminder of where she was. Where she’d been.

“Go on, Ms. Pierce.” He motioned for her to take the lead and she hu r ried past him. The quicker she gave him what he wanted, the quicker he’d be gone.

Dahlia led him down the stairs and into the vault. The sound of her clicking heels echoed in the stillness, but her companion didn’t make a sound. At the vault’s entrance she pressed her palm to the pad then spoke her full name into the invisible microphone. A series of loud clicks, then the heavy steel door swung open.

“You’re in.” She stood to the side and waited for him to step inside, but he remained where he was, staring at her. “Wha-what?” She looked away. The menacing gun in his hand, and knives strapped to his ankles didn’t scare her as much as his eyes. He’d see through her bold act to the truth— where everyone else left her chilled to the core, his tiny caress heated her, made her feel again.

“Take this.”

She turned back as he held a key out to her. Dahlia plucked it from him with trembling fingers. A key to a safe deposit box, number thirteen.

“Get the contents out the box,” he ordered. Her mouth dropped open.

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Her name on his lips sent a jolt through her body. A low sound left her throat. Could’ve been a moan, but when he took a step in her direction, eyes mirroring what she felt, Dahlia turned and ran into the vault.

Escape should be the only thing on her mind. Not what he looked like without the mask or how their skin would look next to each other, naked. Hard muscle against her softness. Would his touch be as hot as she imagined? And how sick am I to be thinking that at a time like this?

Dahlia swallowed as she searched the many boxes until she got to—ah, there it was. Thirteen. She used the key to open it, sweaty palms making the job harder, taking up more of the time she didn’t have. Finally she got the damn thing open. She pulled the long, metal box out of the wall and lifted the lid.

The only thing inside was a little black pouch. Dahlia picked it up and placed the box on the table beside her.

“I’ll take that.” He reached a gloved hand over her shoulder and plucked the pouch from her hands. His chest brushed her back and she stilled, skin prickling with gooseflesh.

“Thank you, Dahlia.” Warm breath tickled her ear. Her lips parted. He brushed her hair aside and nuzzled her where neck met shoulder. Dahlia panted, her nipples pebbled. A rough beard scraped her skin, sending a shudder through her. The mask wasn’t on!

She tried turning around to get a glimpse of his face, but he held her still with a hand at her nape.

“Don’t move.” Firm lips pressed to her skin, teeth nipped her ear, and Dahlia groaned. Her pussy wept in need. It was wrong, so wrong to feel this with someone like him. But her awakened body felt too good after all she’d been through, she didn’t want to pass up the chance to feel something other than fear.

“We don’t have time,” he murmu red, voice husky. “If we did, I’d give you what you want.” He rocked into her.

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their bodies, the thick length of his cock nudged her ass crack. She whimpered and grabbed the edge of the table. Her knees no longer worked.

“You want to touch,” he said softly, “and be touched. Yes?”

Not like she could deny it when she was practically throwing herself at him. “Yes.” Pulled from her dry throat, the one word came out as a breathy sob.

“Another time, Dahlia. Another place.” He kissed her neck then moved away abruptly. “Stay like that and count to one hundred.”

Voice shaking, she did as he instructed, but by the time she got to twenty she felt his absence. The quiet seemed suddenly heavy and oppressive. Dahlia remained in place, counting, needing, tears running down her cheeks until Brenda called her name.

Th ree hours later, tired, hungry, and all talked out, Dahlia stepped into her apartment. The cops were all very understanding and went pretty easy on her since they remembered her from three months ago when her ex almost beat her to death. She was allowed to leave the interrogation only after she agreed to return first thing in the morning to tie up some loose ends.

One thing no one knew was what had been in the safe deposit box. Dead on her feet, Dahlia stripped off her clothes as she made her way to the bath room. She needed to wash it away, this need she had for someone she didn’t know. Couldn’t know. It didn’t matter he was the one who’d awakened her.

In the shower she scrubbed until her arms tired, but her body remembered. Dahlia squeezed her eyes to shut out the memory of his intense gaze. Still, she heard his husky voice. Finally she sank the floor, knees to her chest, and cried. She remained on the shower floor until the water turned cold.

Wrapping a towel around her body, Dahlia used another to dry her hair and made her way to her bedroom. Her feet dragged. She did not look forward to going to bed, the bad dreams always found her.

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She froze with one hand stretched out to turn on the bedside lamp. The room was still shrouded in darkness, but she felt it.

His presence.

Her whole body trembling, she flicked the light on.

Green Eyes sat in her chair next to the window overlooking the street,

arms folded, in a tight black shirt and dark jeans. A lock of thick black hair fell over his right eye. Fear crawled up her spine, mixed with the need that refused to go way. She didn’t want to know how he found her. Didn’t care.

Those gorgeous eyes smiled reassurance, promised he wouldn’t give her what she didn’t want. Dahlia licked her dry lips. The logical thing to do would be to call the police, turn him in. Make him pay for what he did.

Their gazes held as he got to his feet and app roached. Silent, so unlike the urgent thumping of her heart. The towel in her hand dropped to the floor.

“Dahlia.” He brushed his thumb across her lip. “Call me Cruz.” “Another time?”

A grin revealed even white teeth. “Another place.”

She sank her teeth into her bottom lip, nerves taking over. This was insane. I don’t know this man, he can be anyone. He can do anything to me and

no one will ever know.

Rough hands shackled her wrist, yanking it above her head. Her eyes widened as Cruz pushed her into the wall. “You think too much, Dahlia.” His breath whispered on the sensitive skin behind her ear. He nipped her lobe then sucked it into his mouth.

Her nipples grew rigid, the sensation of the scratchy material against them drawing a moan from her. Still, she tried talking herself out of it. “I-I can’t do this. It’s not—”

“Not wise?” Cruz nipped her shoulder and cupped her breast with one hand, flicking a thumb over her nipple through the towel. “Not safe?” He pinched the nub and Dahlia trembled. “Yes. It’s all those things, but it’s also what you need.” He tore away the towel.

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“Oh, God!” She dropped a hand to cover her pussy. Liquid heat slid down her thighs and her chest heaved. Squeezing her eyes shut, Dahlia shook her head, blood rushing in her ears.

“Dahlia. Dahlia, look at me.” His demand brokered no argument and her eyelids flew open as commanded.

He’d shucked his t-shirt. Gloriously smooth, tanned skin and har d muscles filled her eyes. A Celtic knot was tattooed over his heart in vibrant, colored detail. Wide shoulders tapered to slim hips. His sharply defined abs looked rock-hard and her fingers flexed to touch and confirm. A line of dark curls trailed from his navel to dip under the waist of his low-slung jeans. An impressive bulge pressed against his zipper.

Her mouth watered, her clit throbbed. “Someone hurt you.”

Her gaze flew to his and she squirmed under the intense stare. His fucking eyes saw way too much. She opened her mouth, but breath seized when he stepped closer and cupped her cheek.

“I can see the pain. It shadows your eyes.” He slid his hand down her throat, between the valley of her breasts, and past her stomach to cup her pussy aching so sweetly.

Her thighs widened in reflex.

He brushed his lips on her forehead with a chuckle. “Your body needs this even if your head refuses to allow it.” He traced her outer lips then slid a finger into her, slow and torturous.

“Cruz.” She moaned his name, sinking her nails into his forearms. He added another finger, thrusting harder, sinking deeper.

“Argh.” She arched, head banging on the wall.

“You can take what you need from me, Dahlia.” His words fired her blood, speeding up her hips as she rode his fingers. He lifted his head, staring into her soul. “Forget the pain, tonight I’m all about your pleasure.” Dahlia groaned. Her eyes slid shut. She wanted that—the pleasure, but the memories of pain and hurt clouded everything. She lifted a leg, hooking

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it around his waist as his fingers worked her closer and closer to the point of no return. His scent—warm sandalwood and arousal—teased her nose. Dahlia inhaled slowly, pulling him into her lungs.

“Open those eyes, Dahlia.” He paused his movements, breath kissing her cheek. “Watch me watch you.”

God. She raised her eyelids caustically and shuddered when their gazes met. His eyes spoke of frayed control and fierce need.

“Do you want this?” He pressed a thumb to her clit.

Her body bowed as fire zinged through her. A cry gurgled in her throat.

“Answer me, Dahlia.”

“What else do you want?” She tilted her quivering chin in a weak attempt at defiance. “You’re in my house. Your hands are on my body.”

Lips curved, he leaned forward and dragged his tongue down her throat. “But do you want my hands on you? If not, tell me now and I’ll go.” He flicked her clit. “If yes, tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you. Your call.”

Her call? Not really, not when her head and body were on two different wave lengths. What did she want? Send him away and go back to her safe, dysfunctional bubble? Or break away from the fear with a hot man offering mindless pleasure?

Pleasure I want. Need.

Mind made up, she grabbed Cruz and pulled him to her, mashing their lips together. He parted his lips and she slid her tongue inside. She twisted her fingers in his hair, locked her weak knees and explored him as he did her. Tongues thrusting, swirling, he tasted coffee and the promise of carnal delights. Dahlia deepened the kiss. His fingers at her core sank back in, three at once, searching out her juices, sending them spilling down her thighs.

She contracted around him and he groaned into her mouth. He broke the kiss, dipped his head and caught a nipple between his teeth.

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“Ah, God!”

The pinch of pain didn’t last but a second. Cruz soothed her with his tongue then sucked, each pull making her pussy ache. He moved from one nipple to the other expertly then licked his way down her stomach. He sat back on his haunches and looked up at her from below dark lashes. Dahlia stared back.

Removing his digits from her body, he held it up. Slick moisture glistened off the three thick fingers. Gaze on her, he brought them to his mouth, licking off her cream with a groan. She moaned, eyelids fluttering.

Cruz grinned. Eyes gleaming, he said, “No turning back now.”

Heart thundering in her chest, Dahlia swallowed and widened her stance. A silent come on. Way past words, she hoped her eyes relayed her acceptance. He got the message, it seems, because his lips curved and he leaned forward, warm mouth closing over her clit.

“Argh!” Her body burned. Words came back with a vengeance, spilling from her lips. “God, yes.” Head tipped to the heavens, she slid her fingers into his thick hair and canted her hips to meet his insistent mouth.

Blunt fingers dug into the flesh of her hips, the pain dulled by the pleasure he administered so well. Breath left Dahlia’s lungs in harsh gasps. So wrong, but still so fucking good—the things he made her feel.

Cruz dipped his tongue into her and she rocked, pulling on his hair, pushing his face into her. More. More. More. She chanted the words in her mind, afraid to voice them out loud.

Cruz hummed around her flesh in his mouth. A sound of pleasure. “Cruz,” she whispered his name. “Cruz, please.”

He looked up with questioning eyes, stiff tongue flicking over her hardened clit.

“More.” Her voice broke. “I want more.”

A dark eyebrow lifted. “Like this?” Two fingers plunged into her, hard and insistent.

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graying her vision. “Yes. Yes. More.”

“Your wish.” Two more fingers joined in, stretching her impossibly wider, bowing her body, setting her insides aflame. Dahlia rode them, gaze on Cruz, orgasm in the periphery.

“God. God,” she chanted. Heat tingled at her nape then flowed down her spine. She reached for the orgasm with a choked sob, toes curling, but Cruz pulled his fingers out. “No! No!” The bastard. How could he—

Cruz lifted her off her feet and dumped her on the bed. Dahlia stared as he crawled up her body, his face a study in dark lust. Hands on her shoulder, he rolled until his back was pressed to the mattress and she lay atop him.

Dahlia’s nipples grazed his chest, the sensation making her body contract, but she could only look on helplessly as he crooked a finger.

“Come up here.”

She frowned. “Up-up where?”

“Come sit on my face, Dahlia.” Those eyes twinkled. “You didn’t think I finished tasting your sugar, did you?”

God. She rose on unsteady legs and moved until her body hovered above his head, feet planted on either side.

“Good girl,” he praised in a rasp. “Now lower yourself, slowly. I want those juices all over my face.”

Her breath hitched and she almost fell over, but still Dahlia managed to lower herself onto his stiffened tongue. She cried out as he speared her, fucking her. Knuckles white against the headboard, she rocked her hips, painting his face with her moisture. The orgasm denied her earlier reared back up violently, shaking her body and tearing hoarse screams from her throat. She let go of the headboard and grabbed Cruz’s hair, pulling, urging him on. His grunts and groans vibrated on her clit and through her body, dragging her deeper into the heated vortex.

“Cruz!” She collapsed onto his chest, eyes sliding close under the sudden lethargy. A hard arm pulled her close, lips pressed kisses to her

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forehead, but when Dahlia opened her eyes some time later, she found herself alone. Only the scent of sex and Cruz remained.

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Chapter Two

Cruz Doriaye sat in his stateroom aboard his yacht, Deception, staring blankly at the tiny black pouch on the table before him. He didn’t know what was inside, but it sure as hell was expensive. The man who hired him to retrieve the thing was filthy fucking rich and not someone to be played with. Not someone to double cross, but Cruz would and had crossed him.

In more ways than one.

He’d been instructed to wait until Friday to conduct the bank break-in. He’d gone in on a Tuesday evening. His client wanted only one specific witness to the heist, the one person who’d take the fall. Cruz made sure others were present. And last, the bastard wanted his scapegoat to know who’d set all the events in motion.

Cruz rejected the idea as soon as he looked into Dahlia’s eyes. No way would he be setting her up for whatever the pompous prick had up his sleeve. And yet he had no idea of the relationship between those two. No clue as to why his client wanted her hurt so badly.

Fuck. No idea too, of the emotions that overwhelmed him when he touched her. Of the feelings she pulled from him. He’d touched, kissed, and tasted her.

Reckless. Amazing. Suicide. But amazing.

And he’d slipped away while she still rode that orgasmic high, when he couldn’t look into her eyes and lose himself. Again.

A knock came on his cabin door. “Sir, we’re ready to move.”

He sighed and rubbed a hand over weary eyes. “Then let’s go, Sammy.” “Yes, sir.” His captain shuffled away.

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sail down to the Bahamas from Florida. Maybe he’d have time to clear his head, figure out the reason for this sudden turn at self-implosion.

Women he’d always had, sex and lust he never tired of. This need to wrap Dahlia Pierce in his arms, wipe the pain and hurt from her eyes, protect her—he didn’t understand it. He couldn’t allow himself to get taken by wide brown eyes, and Freesia-scented skin.

He moved away from his seat at the round table and climbed onto his bed. On his back, he laid his head on his arms and stared at the ceiling. Replaying the day in his mind, relieving the sounds Dahlia made and the triumph he felt when she opened to him.

His cell phone rang and he pulled it from the front pocket of his jeans. Glancing at the caller ID, he smiled. Time for some information and maybe take back the upper hand from his new client. “Talk to me.”

“Hello to you, too.” A chuckle echoed in his ear. “Sorry, I’ve been on edge waiting for your call.”

“Huh, I can tell that.” His caller sniffed delicately. “All right, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer.” Paper shuffled in the background. “Issue one—he routed his calls through half a dozen countries and computers, but I finally found your client. He’s in New York City.”

Cruz’s fingers tightened around the phone. “New York?”

“New York. Issue two—Dahlia Pierce was born and raised in Miami, but has travelled to New York three times in the past two years. She was recently brought into the ER badly beaten. I’m sending you the pictures.” The click-clacking of computer keys reached Cruz’s ears. “Uh-uh. Fucking gruesome stuff, babe. Gruesome.”

Cruz squeezed his eyes shut. “What’s the connection between those two?”

“I have only one surveillance picture I got from airport cam at La Guardia airport. It shows Ms. Pierce getting into his limo.”

“Are they—were they dating?” And why did the thought of that anger him so?

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“That would be my guess, babe. The cops questioned her extensively when she got hurt, but she refused to name anyone.”

Jeezus. Cruz sat up, running a hand through his hair. “Something happened between them that has him looking to destroy her.”

“Yup. And he’s using you to do it.”

“He can think again. I’m not going to be the one who brings her to her knees.” An image of Dahlia in that exact position flashed in his mind’s eye, hardening him. Shit.

“What will you do?”

“I don’t know, Ricki. This is…unexpected.”

His best friend chuckled. “You’ve got a jones for her, huh?”

Cruz opened his mouth to deliver a scathing denial, but Ricki continued. “I’ve seen the pictures of her, remember? She’s not my type, but I’m still creaming in my Vickies.”

“It’s not that simple, Ricki. I shouldn’t even be thinking about this woman.”

“But you are?”

He shook his head. “We both have a lot to lose and there’s the huge elephant in the room.”

“She knows you rob banks, anything else shouldn’t be too much of a surp rise.”

Christ. Cruz scoffed at Ricki’s naïveté. “I robbed her bank under explicit instructions to set her up as the culprit. Most likely from the man who beat the crap out of her.”

“But you didn’t. That should count for something,” Ricki insisted. He couldn’t help but smile. “Ah, Ricki. I love you, but you’re kinda biased.”

She laughed. “I am. What’s next?”

“Next I lay low at the hotel. I’ve been ignoring his calls, but I can’t keep doing that. Have the plane meet me in two days. I’ll go straight to New York to surp rise our client.” And what a surp rise that would be. He

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salivated just thinking about it.

“You know, I still don’t get why you do all this,” Ricki said. “You’ve got almost more money than him, yet he’s the one calling the shots?”

“But he doesn’t know that, Ricki.” He smiled. “No one knows who I really am, you’ve made sure of that.”

“Still…”

“He needs to think I need him, his money, his influence. When I drop my bomb I want him totally unprepared and completely decimated by the blow.”

“What’s the plan?”

“I don’t have anything concrete yet, just a few ideas. I’ll let you know what I need from you and when.”

Ricki sighed in his ear. “All this for Dahlia Pierce?”

“No. This is for Ciske.” Voice hard, he said, “Dahlia is an unexpected bonus.”

After a soft command for Cruz to be safe, Ricki hung up. Cruz stared off into space, working out the details of a plan forming. Before he did anything else though, he needed to know what the little black pouch held.

Hopping off the bed, he grabbed the thing and climbed back on. His back to the headboard, legs stretched out in front of him, he pulled the tiny draw string free and emptied the contents onto his lap.

He’d hoped for maybe diamonds, or a piece of jewelry, something extremely rare. What he never expected was the gold flash drive, smaller than his pinky. No question whether or not he’d be looking at the contents. He retrieved his laptop from the bedside table and powered it up.

Whatever was on the drive couldn’t be that important. Why else would Cruz’s client have it in a bank and not with him under heavy guard? Still the vault was pretty secure, the only one who had access was, of course, Dahlia.

Foreboding tingled at his nape as Cruz plugged in the drive and clicked

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volume, but he clearly made out the dark haired woman kneeling with her hands and mouth bound, pale cheeks wet with tears.

Cruz’s eyes blurred.

A large man hovered over the woman, gun pointed at her. She bowed her head, shoulders shaking. Next to the thug with the gun was Cruz’s client, multi-millionaire, Austin Har rington.

Har rington spoke. The thug nodded and then pulled the trigger.

Cruz cried out. The picture jumped as if the gunshot startled the person filming.

“Ciske!” Cruz watched with tears rolling down his face, completely helpless as his sister toppled onto her back. The video shook violently, zooming in to bring the red dot on Ciske’s forehead into focus. She didn’t twitch.

When they’d finally fished her out of the landfill Har rington had his people dump her in, The Medical Examiner determined she’d died from that first shot.

There were two.

Cruz clenched his fists at his sides, chest heaving, as the large man walked over his sister’s body and shot her again.

In the heart.

He scrambled off the bed and raced to the bathroom, emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet. Knees buckling, Cruz slid to the floor. Knowing his sister had been murdered and watching it play out live in front of his own eyes were two entirely different things. In that instant all his military training went out the window.

This was family. Blood.

He failed his sister. It didn’t matter he was out of the country, out of contact with everyone but his handler, Ciske needed him and he wasn’t there.

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Har rington would pay. Big time.

****

The weekend. Time for relaxation, maybe hanging with friends and family, but Dahlia had no plans to do either. She remained in bed, covers pulled up to her chin even as the weather sweltered in eighty degree heat.

Missing a stranger more than she ever missed Austin.

Needing the touch of a man she knew less than nothing about. Twisted.

But so fucking good.

Two weeks since that night and she still felt his touch, still smelled his scent in the air. Ordered by her bosses to ‘take more time off indefinitely’ she had time to think. Time to hate, then give herself permission to indulge.

One time. It’s not like she’d ever see the damn man again. He’s a bank

robber for fuck’s sake, it’s not like he’s hanging around. Probably gone

underground somewhere to hide.

And really, haven’t I learned my lesson with Austin? She’d been painfully

naïve with that one. Flattered he noticed her, until all the violence and murder she shouldn’t have witnessed.

The beating he gave her personally, refusing to allow his thugs the pleasure. He didn’t want her dead though, because he knew she’d be too scared to talk.

Who’d believe me? She handed over the video and he discarded her as

quickly as he’d picked her up. Lesson learned.

Men cannot be trusted. Yet she lusted after a bank robber.

Shaking her head, she flung off the covers and padded on bare feet to the bathroom. A shower was in order then she’d order in—again—and go back to feeling sorry for herself.

Not like I have anything better to do.

Twenty minutes later, she turned off the shower, but she couldn’t get those green eyes out of her head. Shit, you’ve got it bad. Licking drops of

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water off her upper lip—wishing it was Cruz’s tongue on her—she pulled aside the shower curtain.

“No!” She backed away from the two masked men standing in her bathroom, thick arms crossed. Terror shook her words. “Please, no. No!”

They moved toward her as one unit. Dahlia looked around, nothing to throw at them except bath salts and shampoo bottles. A large gloved hand closed over her wrist.

She screamed. Arms flailing, her feet gave out and she crumbled to her knees on the bath room floor. Naked.

“Why are you doing this to me? Please, don’t hurt me. Please.” She cried when she should’ve fought, hung limp in a pair of strong arms when she should be kicking, biting.

“Ma’am, stay calm. We’re not going to hurt you.”

She ignored the words spoken by the man who held her and finally kicked out. Her heel caught the second man across his temple.

He grunted. “Ma’am, stop that or I’ll tie you up.”

She stopped. “I haven’t done anything, why does he want me dead? Why?” Harsh sobs rushed from her heaving chest, tears blinded her. “I didn’t say a word. I promised.”

No one spoke, but the second man tied a piece of cloth over her mouth, silencing her. She shook her head violently, eyes wide, heart in her throat. Austin finally decided she wasn’t worth the trouble.

But why weren’t they killing her right then? He probably wanted to do it by his own hands. Like the beatings.

Renewed self preservation reared up and she kicked out again. Thug two saw it coming and ducked.

Circling both of her ankles with one giant palm, he snarled. “All right, tie you up it is.”

No, no. She screamed into the gag. The man holding her lowered both

of them until she lay on the floor, then he grasped her wrists and secured them with something cold and hard. Dahlia whimpered. Thug two pulled a

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thick, brown leather belt from his waist and wound it around her ankles, buckling way too tight.

Wrists and feet taken care of, they disappeared out the room. Eyes squeezed shut, Dahlia lay on the cold floor trying to wiggle away while biting at the cloth in her mouth. She hadn’t made any real progress when she heard their footsteps approaching. Her eyes flew open. They car ried clothes.

One positioned himself above her, tugging a tight t-shirt over her head and down her shoulders. Surp risingly he took care not to touch her tits as he smoothed the piece of clothing to cover her chest and stomach. The man kneeling before her released the belt long enough to slip on a pair of pink sweats. He lifted her hips with no help and pulled the sweats up over her ass and hips. When he was satisfied, he rebound her ankles.

The thug over her angled her head. Darkness descended over her eyes. “Mmm. Mmm.” She twisted her head away, fresh tears pouring from her. In the end he got his way, quickly tying whatever it was, effectively covering half her face—from forehead to nose.

“This is for your own good, Ms. Pierce,” the man at her head whispered. He lifted her shoulders off the floor, the man at her feet picked it up, and she was carried through her apartment and out the front door as she heard it click behind them.

It wasn’t the middle of the day, but it wasn’t night either. Someone would see them, someone would help her. Humid air kissed the exposed skin of her stomach. They were outside, but how?

Why wasn’t anyone helping?

“Mmm. Mmm.” She tried screaming again, wiggling, but the hold on her body just tightened. Their footsteps quickened though. Help me.

Somebody help! “Mmm. Mmm.”

A low pop sounded then she felt herself descending. She twisted her body, but was placed into a tight place. Car exhaust, oil and dust filled her nose. No. No. A trunk? They put her in a trunk?

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“You’ll be fine, Ms. Pierce. You won’t be in there for long, but in the meantime…” Fingers shifted through the hair at her nape, pressed at something behind her left ear. “..Get some rest.”

Blackness claimed her.

Dahlia came awake slowly. Two things burned brightest in her subconscious. One, the mattress she lay on was the softest, most luxurious thing she’d ever felt, and two, said mattress was freaking rocking back and forth.

Gently, but still rocking, damn it.

She jerked to a sitting position, eyes struggling to adjust to the dim light in the room. Her arms and legs weren’t bound, eyes weren’t covered, so she could only assume Austin meant to kill her this time. Finish the job he’d started.

Fear shuddered in her lungs, but she bit her lip and examined the room. Strange looking room too, its appearance was nothing like your typical bedroom. For one, the caramel-colored interior was almost circular, the ceiling rather low, and let’s not forget the fucking swaying.

Shit. She flung aside the covers. “Dahlia.”

A very unladylike squeak fell from her lips. Placing a trembling hand at her throat, her gaze darted back and forth, scanning the room for the person who spoke. “Who-who’s there?”

“I’ll be with you shortly, pretty lady.” Static then a click. Intercom.

Jesus. Where am I?

She got off the bed and walked to the beige blinds covering the small window over in the corner. Pulling aside the material, she gasped. Night had fallen, but the silvery-blue full moon illuminated the dark water. They were sur rounded by it, miles and miles of ocean as far as the eye could see.

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shoved her fist into her mouth, teeth clamping down on her knuckles. The severe realization of her dilemma settled over her. Oh, my God. I’ve really

been kidnapped!

Dahlia whirled around and smacked into a warm brick wall. “Oomph.” Strong arms circled her waist, pulled her in closer and she got her first whiff of sandalwood. Her heart leaped in her chest, but she backed away from the welcome hold.

“Cruz? What the hell is this?” She pushed her hair out of her eyes and glared at him. The ar r ogant bastard crossed his arms across his chest and met her eyes with a twitch to his lips.

“Welcome aboard the Deception, Dahlia.”

“Are you out of your fucking mind? Your people snatch me from my home, scare the shit out of me, and you’re acting like it’s nothing?”

He shrugged and her body clenched at the sensuous move of those wide shoulders. Crap.

“I didn’t think you’d come along if I asked nicely.” His smile was un repentant, those green eyes mocking. “We have unfinished business, Dahlia.” His gaze slid from her eyes to her chest, and cruised lower still.

Heat singed her skin at the blatant lust in his eyes. She shook her head. “I don’t think so. I want off this time boat. Now!”

He gasped and clutched his heart. “Boat? I’ll have you know—”

“I’ll have you know I will have your fucking head if you don’t stop this boat now.” She stepped closer, fists clenched tightly at her side.

“Sorry, we’re too far out.” He stroked her cheek with a finger. “We’ll be in Nassau in a few hours though.”

She blinked. “Nassau? Like in the Bahamas, Nassau?” What the fuck? He nodded.

Dahlia moved on weak knees and sank down on the edge of the mattress. She stared up at him. “Why am I here, what do you really want?” Can’t be for the sex, they hadn’t even done that.

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lot, but right now they’ll have to wait. I just want to taste you again, feel your skin against mine.” He kissed her, soft, asking permission without words.

She hesitated for only a split second before opening for him, offering her consent. He latched on to her, tongue slipping inside, striking deep. They both groaned. She clutched his head, fingers digging into his scalp. He took control of the kiss, quickly turning it from soft to hard and demanding.

Dahlia tugged at his t-shirt, struggling to pull it off as he dragged her sweats off her hips. She lifted up slightly, helping him as he bared her lower half. She wore no underwear, and he didn’t wait to remove her pants completely before dipping an index into her pussy.

“Unngh.” She broke the kiss, finally removed his t-shirt and dropped it on the floor. Cruz released her and got to his feet, hands fumbling at the waist of his jeans as he stared her down. Dahlia met his gaze under heavy eyelids. Lowering herself onto her back, feet hanging off the mattress, she dipped two fingers between her legs, stroking.

Stoking the fire. Shit, so good.

Cruz’s breath hitched. He palmed his cock, stroking the thick length once before covering himself with a condom. Dahlia licked her lips and widened her legs. Spicy anticipation quivered through her body, lifting her hips and moistening her pussy even more.

“Cruz.”

“Right here, babe.” He grabbed her right leg, hooking it around his waist as he covered her body. He took her lips, tongue sliding over her teeth and flicking the roof of her mouth. His cock pulsed at her center, the round head bumping her clit once. Twice. He inserted a hand between them, guiding him to her clenching core, waiting impatiently.

Finally he filled her in a single thrust, sinking balls deep into her cunt. “Yes.” Dahlia gasped into their kiss. Her lower half rose off the bed, legs widened to take him impossibly deeper. She hooked her ankles over his

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ass crack and moved, hips canting forward as she rode him.

He sank the fingers of both hands into her ass cheeks as he pounded into her, each par ry making electric contact with her spot.

“Cruz. God!” She twisted her fingers in his hair, pulling with each thrust. Hoarse grunts echoed from him, firing her blood even more. Feeling the orgasm creeping up on her, she released his hair and dragged her nails down his back, clamping her pussy walls around his pulsing cock.

He jerked. “Fuck!” His thrusts sped up. She kept pace with him, eyes sliding closed, legs trembling violently.

“Oh, God. Oh, God!” The orgasm slammed into her, almost levitating her body off the bed. Dahlia cried out and lurched forward, sinking her teeth into Cruz’s sweaty shoulder.

“Ah, shit. Shit.” He shuddered in her arms, cock throbbing as he came. They held on to each other, riding out the sensual storm with hungry, open mouthed kisses. And when their bodies gave out and they collapsed onto the mattress, he gathered her in his arms, pulling her to lie across his chest.

Dahlia listened to the hur ried clip of his heart, fingers drawing circles on his chest as the sweat cooled on her skin.

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Chapter Three

Dahlia jerked away from his hold. “What the hell do you know about Austin?” She pulled the covers over her with cold, shaky fingers. Fear once again coiled in her gut. Shit. Who was this man?

Cruz met her gaze with an unblinking stare. “You were involved with Har rington at one time or another. Tell me about it.” Funny how he made her blood rush in her ears, but his voice remained devoid of any emotion, his face a blank slate.

Under his scrutiny she rolled off the bed, falling on her knees. She straightened with her back to him and pulled on her clothes. “You’re all up in my business.” She faced him fully clothed. “But I know nothing about yours. You rob my bank then show up in my bedroom—”

“Because you wanted me to.” Those insanely soft lips curved. “You needed my touch, Dahlia. Now isn’t the time to scold me for giving you what you wanted so desperately.”

Mother fucker. She clenched her fists at the urge to smack him upside the head. “I wanted your cock, not your fucking interference in my private life. You have some nerve.”

“I do, but you won’t get away with stalling.” Those eyes cut through her like green glass. “Tell me about you and Austin Har rington.”

She sank to the floor, legs folded in, arms crossed over her chest. “I’m kinda pooped from the way your lackeys manhandled me. Back ache and such.” Watching him from below her eyelashes, she grinned. “You understand.”

The mattress dipped as he shifted. He lay on his stomach across the bed, head inches from her. “Look at me, Dahlia.” She ignored him and he tipped up her chin with a finger. “I understand more than you think and if you allow me the chance I can help, but first you have to tell me.”

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with Austin: men are not to be trusted. Especially the pretty, rich ones.” Fine lines appeared on his brow. “You’ll spread your legs for me, but you won’t talk to me?”

“I don’t know if you realize this, Cruz, ole boy, but the fucking and the talking aren’t mutually exclusive.” She met his gaze coolly. “I have no qualms with you playing between my legs, you’re good at it.” A storm brewed behind his darkened eyes. “It’s the stuff that comes after I won’t be doing, so forget whatever plan you’ve got in mind to make me tell you my life story.”

He remained silent, jaw clenching, eyes burning holes through her, and Dahlia knew she’d hit home with her words. She refused to feel bad for someone who’d made her freaking life hell from the time he entered her bank. The couple subsequent orgasms hadn’t erased those memories.

How did he know about Austin? She and the Austin hadn’t been a secret, but they were hardly public. Austin’s high profile status didn’t lend itself to many public outings, at least that was the excuse he gave for why they didn’t venture outside of his Penthouse at Trump Towers.

“You’re different.”

She lifted an eyebrow at Cruz’s words. “Yeah, different how?”

Shaking his head, his green gaze searched hers. “You’re…harder than the last time I saw you.”

Dahlia laughed. “That’s because the last time you saw me I wasn’t myself. You robbed me on my first day back at work, a time when I was vulnerable. That’s the only reason you were able to get under my skin.”

“I know the reason you were off work was because Austin beat you up.” Cupping her cheek, he whispered, “You can trust me, Dahlia. Tell me what happened.”

Scrambling away from his touch, she stood up, rubbing her forearms to warm the sudden chill. “You know everything, right? What else is there to say?”

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She looked away quickly. Damn man shouldn’t look so lickable when she wanted to punch his lights out. Why was he insisting on bringing up memories she tried her best to forget?

“I want to hear it from you,” he said.

“Yeah? Well, you’re shit out of luck ‘cause I have nothing to say to you or anyone else.’

“Fine,” he snapped. “Then let me tell you what I know. I was hired to rob your bank by Harrington. He told me to wait until you were on duty, that way it could be pinned on you.”

“Wha-what?” She couldn’t breathe.

“Yes.” Cruz continued in that hard, unforgiving tone. “He tried to set you up, get you sent away for robbing the place.”

“No. No.” She backed away with a hand at her throat. “I don’t believe you. Why would he—”

“Yes, why would he when he’s had your silence for all this time? Why jinx it?” He leaned toward her, hands flat on his thighs. “Did you know what was in the pouch I stole, hmm? The pouch he wanted me to get.”

Eyes burning, she shook her head. Words failed her.

“It was a thumb drive with a video on it.” He got to his feet. “My guess is someone spooked him, and he wanted it in his hands, under his control. Why he had it there in the first place escapes me and I’ll have to remember to ask him that.”

“Wha-what was on the video?” Dread was an icy fist in her throat, but she closed her eyes and waited.

“You should know, you shot it. The video of Austin and his men killing that woman, you shot it.”

Her knees gave out and she crumbled in a whimpering heap at his feet. Scalding tears rushed down her cheeks.

“Why didn’t you go to the police, Dahlia, why? You turned right around and handed him the tape, burying his crime and leaving a woman’s family with no idea as to what happened to her.” He squatted beside her

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and grabbed a fistful of hair, yanking her head back. “Did you love him that much to cover up murder for him?”

She sobbed brokenly, squeezing her eyes in an attempt to stall the tears but they kept on coming.

“Open your eyes,” he ordered. “Open your eyes, look at me. Do you still love him that much, Dahlia?”

“I hate him!” She opened her eyes, met his murderous glare. “I hated him then, I hate him now, but he threatened me. Threatened people I love. I had to protect them, and he said she—that woman—was a crackhead with no family. No one would miss her.”

“He lied!” Cruz roared. He fumbled in his pants pocket with one hand, pulling out his wallet. “She had a family that loved her. They cared, they searched and searched when she went missing.” He pulled out a photograph and shoved it in her face. “Look. Look. Her name was Ciske. She was my sister.” His voice broke. The hand in her hair trembled.

“Oh God. Oh God.” Bile rose in her mouth. Bitter. Acidic. His sister. “She was my fraternal twin. And you,” his voice dipped to low and deadly,” you’re going to help me avenge her death.”

“What?” She snapped her head up, gaping at him through wet lashes. “What do you want from me?” And how did she get away, for God’s sake? She’d done nothing to help his sister and she didn’t think for a minute he forgave her.

Or forgot.

The wild, dark look in his eyes sought revenge, and after he found Austin he’d be turning his sights on her.

Maybe he wouldn’t wait that long.

She jumped to her feet and ran to the door. “I want out of here. Let me out.” Jesus, how insane was it that the fear lacing through her was way more intense than anything she’d felt around Austin? With Austin she knew his capabilities, witnessed it up close.

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start. He’d been sent to set her up. Get her locked up.

But he hadn’t? She whirled, wrinkling her brow as she watched him watch her. Arms crossed over his naked chest, legs apart, and jeans zipped but unbuttoned he looked so…fierce.

Hard and unforgiving. Yet those hands of his spoke a different language. A softer language, filled with whispers and a knowledge of her body she wasn’t privy to.

“Why didn’t you set me up?”

He blinked, but she knew better than to feel smug that she’d surp rised him.

“I watched you for two days before I came into that bank.” He held her gaze, speaking though his lips barely moved. “You were in pain and I’m not talking physical. I watched you jump out of your skin at every blared horn and slammed door.”

Dahlia looked away, biting her lip. She’d been a mess, reduced to a shell.

“For all that, Dahlia, you went to work. You put on a brave face, smiled, and did your job without a word of complaint.” He shifted. She caught the movement from the corner of her eye and turned just as he reached her side.

She jumped. Damn man moved like a ghost.

Cruz cupped her cheek, the rough pad of his thumb brushing her chin and bottom lip. “I admired your strength and the courage it took to do that. I admired you,” he whispered.

Dahlia stared into his eyes, at the black circle ringing the piercing green and covered his hand with hers. “But that was before you learned of my involvement in your sister’s death. Before you understood the full extent of my cowardice regarding Austin Har rington.” She removed his hand and brought it to his side.

He twisted his wrist, trapped her fingers with his large palm then linked them with his thick digits. Dahlia dropped her gaze to stare at the

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area where they joined.

“I don’t blame you for Ciske’s death.”

That brought her gaze back to his. His eyes were clear, serious, but honest.

“I’m angry you didn’t go to the police.” His lips firmed. “I’m angry you didn’t feel you had any other choice, but I don’t blame you.”

The weight in her chest eased a bit, allowing her the chance at breathing. No hope at having it all disappear. He didn’t know the full story.

He’d kill her for sure if he did.

So while he didn’t blame her for his sister’s death—now—she still blamed herself. Because I am to blame.

“Say you’ll help me bring Austin down.” He wrapped an arm around her waist, bringing her flush onto his chest.

Dahlia didn’t resist, she couldn’t. She laid her head on his chest, over his heart beat, and inhaled warm sandalwood. Whatever his plan was for Austin, it’s better she be on Cruz’s side. Austin had power, money and prestige, but somehow she knew whatever Cruz had in his arsenal was way more potent.

Way more dangerous.

And if he caught one whiff of the real story, of the true part she played in his sister’s death, he’d turn them all on her. Did she want to be near him when he found out?

“Austin’s not someone to be played with,” she said softly, “but you already knew that. You have the video, why not take it to the cops?” Why was it so important that he go after Austin?

“No.” The word rumbled in her ear. “He’d get off since he didn’t actually pull the trigger. He has enough money to make everyone believe his thug did it without direct orders from him.”

“But the video—”

“Is not enough, Dahlia. He needs to suffer.” His voice grew tight, clipped. “Harrington has to experience the fear and humiliation Ciske

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suffered. He has to feel it all.”

A tremor ran through her at the level of hate in those words. He’d kill Austin, that was a certainty. She had to safe-guard herself. Time to protect

me. With Austin gone, no one would know her secret.

As it stood, only two people knew. She was one. Austin is the other. The only way to keep a secret safe is if one of the two people with knowledge of it died. To make that happen, she had to help Cruz find Austin before he found them.

Lifting her head off his chest, she took a step back and met the inquiry in Cruz’s gaze. “What do you want to know?”

Dahlia lounged against the pillows, eyeing the door Cruz abruptly disappeared through. He questioned her relentlessly for almost an hour, wanting to know everything from what the inside of Austin’s bedroom looked like to how many people he had around him at any given time. She gave him all the answers, holding nothing back until a phone call interrupted the interrogation.

It’s about time she found out about Cruz. Who was he really? What was his sister doing hanging around a man like Austin? I know my reasons

for wasting time with the pompous prick. Austin had a certain charming

façade he hid behind in public. It was only when he hooked his prey he allowed the mask to drop, and even then that only happened behind closed doors.

“Sorry about that.” Cruz shouldered his way into the room carrying a bottle of wine in one hand and two glasses in the other.

Dahlia raised an eyebrow. “Come to ply the hostage with liquor and have your way with her?”

“Are you still referring to yourself as a hostage?” He looked down at her with those mocking eyes. “And last I recall, I didn’t need the excuse of alcohol to slide up inside that tight pussy.” He winked.

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nuts. Blasted man. “Just pour the freaking wine.” Cruz complied with a chuckle, handing her the glass of red. She sniffed then sipped. “Not bad.”

“Hmm.” He sat at the edge of the bed, sipping his. “Yeah, it’s good shit.”

“Do have what you need regarding Austin?”

He eyed her steadily. “For now. But I may have more questions as they come to me.”

She shrugged. “You know where to find me.”

His darkened eyes turned predatory. “We’ll be in Nassau in about an hour.” Inching along the mattress, he drew closer to her and dragged a finger along the inside of her thigh. “How shall we pass the time?”

Goosebumps blanketed her skin at his deliberately low-pitched tone. She licked her lips and watched him through her lashes. “Why don’t you tell me about you? I know absolutely nothing.”

“We can do that,” he whispered, “or I can do all the things I’ve wanted to do to you since we met.” Leaning over her, he tore away the shirt she wore. His shirt. She gasped as buttons popped.

“I, uh-I vote for talking.” Judging by the way her voice shook, talking should be much safer.

He ignored her words, staring at her exposed chest. Dahlia inhaled sharply, breasts rising and falling with the movement, nipples already pebbled from his hot scrutiny. A sound escaped Cruz’s throat—harsh, needy—sending shivers down her spine.

Her body trembled. Cruz lifted his gaze, searching hers. He must’ve found what he sought, because the corners of his mouth lifted in the tiniest smile. Liquid heat pooled in Dahlia’s pussy, scenting the air with her needy musk. Cruz took the wine glass from her unsteady fingers and brushed his lips to hers.

“Lay back, baby.” He climbed fully onto the bed. Clad only in his boxers, the hairs on his naked legs scratched her skin in the most tantalizing way. Dahlia obeyed his command without thought, lying back on

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the bed, head on the pillows, legs spread in wanton invite.

Cruz was right—this was a much better way to pass the time, talking would come later. Way later. She stared up at the man above her as he straddled her thighs. He still held her wine glass and the liquid red swirled with every move he made.

“Rise up on your elbows.” His chest heaved. “Arch your back.” She did. He grabbed her nape, tilted her head back and licked his way down her throat before pulling away. Dahlia’s eyelids fluttered under the sensual heat. She moaned.

“Watch me, baby.”

She opened her eyes as Cruz tipped the wine glass. The first splash of the wine against her skin practically sizzled. She watched as a thin red trail ran from the hollow at her throat down to her navel, pooling there. Cruz bent, his tongue licking at the skin, following the same path and stopping only to suck at the wine in her navel.

“Hmm.” Dahlia sank her fingers in his hair, holding him still, shuddering under his nips and licks. Without looking up from his task, he dripped more wine on her chest and repeated the unique tasting. When he finally lifted his head, he rose up on his elbows, focusing on her nipples.

His wet mouth closed over a hard peak.

“Ah, shit!” She arced into his mouth, nails digging into his shoulders. Cruz tormented her with hard sucks and soft bites. All registering in her bu rning core. “Cruz. Damn.”

He released her nipple, staring her down with wild eyes and flared nostrils. “Spread your legs.” Placing the wine glass on the floor beside the bed, he sat up and kicked off his boxers.

Dahlia swallowed at the sight of his hard cock flushed rose red, and the mushroomed crown tipped with glistening pre-cum. She circled his length, brushing her thumb over the wet slit.

He bucked in her hand. “Fuck!” ****

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Cruz bit his lip in an attempt to stifle the moans crowding his throat. He surged one last time into Dahlia’s hold then shifted away. Dropping to his stomach between her spread legs, he took in a deep breath of heat and aroused musk. His cock throbbed, mouth watered.

Dahlia curled her legs around his shoulders, trapping him as he brushed his nose over her clit.

She jerked. Trembling fingers sifted through his hair and tugged. She lifted her hips closer to his face, the darker folds of her sex glistening with slick juices. Cruz bucked into the mattress, grinding his leaking cock into the sheets, wishing he was already inside Dahlia’s tight pussy. Already his heavy balls ached, screaming for release.

He slid his arms under her ass, sank his fingers into the flesh of her buttocks, and pulled her onto his face. Stiffening his tongue, he speared her center, licking up her tart cream.

Dahlia’s soft cries echoed in the room as she writhed, painting his face with her juices.

Cruz growled. His arms trembled. Flicking his tongue over her hard clit, he teased it—circling, sucking until she begged with hoarse cries.

“Cruz, please. Please.” Wrapped around his shoulders, her thighs shook uncontrollably, but she didn’t let up, keeping him caged as she undulated on his mouth.

Dipping an index finger into her pussy, he made sure it was well lubricated with her cream before trailing it down to the tight rosebud of her ass.

Dahlia gasped, her entire body stiffening.

He looked up into the wide wildness of her eyes. Feathering the pad of his finger over her back passage, he whispered, “Let me in. Let me in, babe.”

Her hole relaxed enough for him to breach the tight ring of muscle and he worked his way inside, wiggling his finger until he was in past the first knuckle. Eyes glued to his, Dahlia’s nose flared and her moist lips parted as

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he sank the rest of the way in. Her lashed fluttered.

Tight heat scorched him. “Fuck,” he rasped. “You’re so hot in here, babe.” He dropped an openmouthed kiss on her clit, nipped, then met her gaze as he thrust his finger in and out of her ass. “Burning me up. Burning me.”

“Cruz.” She thrashed her head back and forth on the pillow, sweat glistening on her furr owed brow and upper lip. The muscles in her ass clamped down on his finger in a painful squeeze.

“Shit.” He scrambled to his knees, palmed his throbbing cock and tugged. “Shit.” He was two seconds away from coming, the ache in his heavy ball unbearable. “Rub your clit,” he commanded. The impending orgasm dried his throat and roughened his voice. “Let me see you come.”

She complied with a lick of her lips, legs parting even wider. He jerked himself off, fucking her ass with now two digits, eyes glued to her fingers as they worked her pussy. Tingles heated the base of his spine and nape, darkening his vision. Dahlia’s hips and fingers sped up and her cries reached his ears as if from a distance.

“Cruz. Oh, God. Oh, God.”

Any other time, he’d have grinned at the need her voice, but all he could do right then was shout out his release. Hot seed poured through his fingers and he leaned forward, dripping his cum on the insides of Dahlia’s legs. She arched off the bed with a muffled scream, chest heaving, body trembling as her orgasm tore through her. Her ass contracted around his fingers, almost breaking it.

“Damn.” Cruz watched the sensual writhing of her body, still milking his cock. She was a sight—his cum trickling down her thighs, her fingers on her wet pussy, his in her ass. His chest constricted, his breath shallowed.

Over the thundering of his heart, Cruz realized he’d had no chance from the moment he looked into her wounded eyes at the bank. She’d bu r rowed under his skin.

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Chapter Four

“You gonna stare down at me all night or finish this?” Dahlia looked at him with heavy-lidded eyes, her voice hoarse.

Cruz blinked out of his haze, mentally shaking his head. He’d examine his feelings for Dahlia at another time, a time when she wasn’t giving him that come fuck me look and self-satisfied smile. She lifted a leg, brought her foot to his chest, and dragged her toes down his chest. His cock—semi hard—pulsed.

Damn.

Dahlia’s lips curved as though she heard his inner curse. “You’re staring at me like you don’t know me, Green Eyes.” Her foot continued its journey down his body, toes sliding across his hip before she moved to the front, lightly touching her toe to the wet tip of his cock.

“Shit.” Cruz jerked away, gritting his teeth. “Fuck, woman, are you trying to kill me?”

She chuckled. Stretching a hand over to the stash of condoms on his bedside table, she grabbed one and threw it at him. He caught the black plastic square with one hand.

“I just might kill you if you don’t suit up and give me what I want. Now.”

Fuck. A repeat of that command wasn’t necessary, not when she brought her knees up and trailed a finger down to the slick folds of her pussy. Her body arched and Cruz tore open the condom, spitting out the piece in his mouth and tugging on the lubricated rubber with impatient grunts.

Gaze on Dahlia’s naughty fingers, he almost swallowed his tongue when she plunged three into her core then brought them to her mouth and licked off the glistening juices.

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apart her knees with less than gentle hands and drove into her waiting pussy. He groaned at her heated clasp. Her knees shook, fingers grabbed the sheets, tearing at it as he reared back and thrust in.

Balls deep.

Dahlia’s inner walls spasmed, the sensation like a million tiny massagers wrapped tightly around his dick. Her hips rolled and he sank his fingers into the flesh of her thighs to hold her still less he explode like a twelve year old at his first glimpse of tits.

“Yes, so good.” Dahlia palmed her breasts, squeezing, teasing the nipples. “Harder, fuck me harder. I won’t break, Green Eyes.”

Her eyes were pools of liquid need, trapping him, drowning him. He bit the inside of his cheek, sweat dripping from his hair into his eyes as he pulled all the way out of her.

“No!” Wide gaze promising death, her empty pussy fucked the air. “Cruz!”

He grinned. “Don’t wor ry. I’m not done with you yet.” Dipping two fingers into her dripping pussy, he removed them and pushed into her ass, opening, stretching the muscles.

Dahlia whimpered. “Burns. So fucking good.”

Cruz fucked her, scissoring into her tight channel until her hips sped up then he replaced his fingers with his cock.

Under him, Dahlia stiffened.

The grip of her heated ass brought his balls up as fire and pain zinged through him. Cruz took a steadying breath. “Love the feel of you, baby. So hot. So tight.” He smoothed a palm over her quivering stomach. “Never felt anything like it.”

Her muscles clamped own around him. His cock flexed with the urge to move. He canted his hips forward, heard Dahlia’s sharp intake of breath.

Cruz stilled. “Okay?”

Her eyes drooped close. She plucked at the sheets as her throat worked. “M’good. Move.” She did a tentative roll of her hips, muscles fluttering.

(40)

“Move.” She groaned.

He reared back slowly and slammed in. She cried out. The telltale tingles started at his nape and the base of his spine.

“Let me see those fingers work your pussy,” he rasped, pounding into her. She undulated. “Fuck yourself as I fuck you.”

She did. Her throaty moans mingled with his animalistic grunts as those three fingers went to work plunging in and out as she rode him. The sight of that brought him to the edge.

“Fuck, babe! So sexy like that.”

“Cruz, I’m—I’m…” The proof of her impending climax was present in the trembling of her body, the heaving of her chest. The tightening of her inner muscles.

“Yes, bathe those fingers in your cream.” His vision dimmed.

“Oh, God!” She stiffened, breath raspy as the orgasm overtook her. “Cruz, Cruz!” Her shoulders rose off the bed.

“I’m here. Shit!” The contractions in her ass held him captive, powerless, as the orgasm ripped through him. “Ugh, God!” He held her quivering body still, pounding out his release in the condom, resenting the thin bar rier.

When he could no longer hold himself upright, he collapsed onto her, rolling them. His spent cock slid out of her clenching ass as she lay atop his sweaty chest. Their lips met, teeth clinking, biting, tasting. Tongues twirled around each other, licking, until they came up for air.

Dahlia wrapped her arms around him, buried her face in his neck. Her thumping heart vibrated against him. “Hold me. Don’t let go.”

Now or ever?

****

A hard knock on the cabin door roused Dahlia from a contented sleep. She lifted her head off Cruz’s naked chest as he stretched and called out.

“Yes, Sammy?”

Figure

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