Night Child(57)

By: Ann Major


"You're light as a feather," he murmured.

She smiled, pleased.

"That wasn't a compliment," he said huskily.

"To me it was. I like being skinny."

His hand moved beneath the silken mass of her dark hair. His palm traced the curve of her breast. "I'm going to change that."

"You can try," she whispered.

The laughter died in his eyes, and for a long moment he was silent. "Are you sure?" Again his tone held anguish. "Can you really give it all up?"

Her breasts rested against his hot, muscled chest. Dawn felt a simple physical happiness that just being near him gave her.

"I missed you so much," she said in answer, knowing that she couldn't live without him, couldn't live without his voice, without his body. Without him. "It means nothing to me... without you."

He took her fingers and kissed them, one by one.

The air was heavy with the smell of cooking. The steak was sizzling and popping.

"Dawn! I forgot the damn steak! I'd better turn the stove off," he cried, taking her by the hand and rushing her into the kitchen, "before I burn the house down."

Swiftly he turned off the oven. He smiled at her, a smile that was so warm and exciting that she dared not look at him for too long. When she kept looking at the floor, he ran his callused finger lightly along her delicate jawbone. "We'll eat later," he said softly.

Outside the screened kitchen windows, the too-early darkness of the range and the afternoon smelled fresh and sweet. Someday soon he would teach her the individual smells of jasmine and climbing roses and huisache and mesquite. And all the wildflowers, too. But not now. Not now, when her presence was like a living thing heating his blood.

His fingers tightened on hers. Inside the house, the air was charged with the jet of their sexual excitement.

He led her into the bedroom and turned off the light, holding her quietly in the darkness. Slowly he pulled her down beneath him on the bed. Laying his face tenderly against her, he kissed her over and over.

She stroked his cheek. Then she traced the hard muscles of his chest and shoulders with her eager hands.

All that dark night, she would have him to herself.

For all the rest of the dark nights in her life, he would be hers.

And she knew that never again would she be afraid of the darkness, because he would be with her, holding her, loving her—forever.

He would be her husband, the father of her children. Her life. Everything.

The future stretched before her like a dazzling light. A warming brilliance—no longer a terrifying one. It was a blazing happiness that would fulfill her completely and last forever.

"Say my name," she whispered.

"Dawn."

"No! My real name!"

"What?"

"Say it," she pleaded. "Call me Julia." Her light, yet urgent, tone drifted away in the darkness.

She felt his hands go still in her hair. For a long time he was silent.

"Julia," he said very slowly, very reverently. "My darling Julia."

Though his mouth closed gently over hers, she could feel his desperate passion, his wild elation, the tornado whirling inside him.

Tenderly, insistently, his hand flowed downward, warm, slow, but sure, touching her everywhere, arousing her, claiming her, making her his.

He lifted his head, looking down into her beautiful face.

"Julia..." His voice was husky, uncertain. "Darling."

Her eyes sparkled with unshed tears. He felt himself drowning in her beauty, flaming against her gentle loving warmth. Then he lost all sense of caution and clutched her tightly in a spasm of uncontrolled desire.

His Julia had come back to him at last.

She felt his cheek, and it was wet with his tears. Softly, gently, she began to kiss them away.

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