Colters' Lady(8)

By: Maya Banks

She gifted him with a beatific smile. It was all he could do not to reach over and touch her. He wanted to pull her into his arms and assure her that nothing bad would ever happen to her again. And then he wanted to taste that mouth that had tempted him from the moment he laid eyes on her at Margie’s Place.

He watched as she retreated to the living room. She curled onto the couch, tucking her bare feet beneath her. When she reached for the blanket that lay over the back, he cursed himself for not having built a fire while she was in the bath.

A few minutes later, he carried two steaming mugs of hot chocolate into the living room and set his on the coffee table. She reached for her mug with both hands, cupping them around the warm surface as if capturing and holding the heat as close to her as possible.

Without a word, he went over to the stone hearth and tossed a few logs from the wood rack into the fireplace. A few moments later, the first flicker of flame licked over the dry wood.

He returned to the couch where he took a seat on the opposite end of her. “Better?”

She smiled. “Perfect.” Then she shook her head. “I’m still baffled by this whole thing, Seth. I shouldn’t be here. This is…crazy.”

Her fingers fluttered against her mug, and she had such a bewildered look on her face that he scooted forward on the couch until his knee rested against hers.


He touched her cheek, letting his fingers graze over her cheekbone and then down to her jaw. She closed her eyes and nuzzled into his palm as if she’d long been denied the pleasures of another’s touch.

“I’m having my own set of what-the-hell-is-going-on thoughts,” he said honestly. “But I’m not going to fight it, whatever it is between us. From the moment I saw you, I knew you were going to be a part of me. A big part of me. I don’t understand it, but I’m not going to fight it. I don’t want to fight it.”

“I don’t either,” she whispered.

Triumph blazed through him with savage intensity. It was primitive and dark, and he wasn’t entirely comfortable with it, but it wasn’t something he could control.

“I’m going to kiss you, Lily,” he murmured.

Her lips parted in a breathless gasp just a moment before he nudged forward and pressed his mouth to hers in the lightest of touches.

He savored that first brush and the electric sensation that slid over him, pricking each nerve ending on the way to his groin. He cupped her jaw and deepened the kiss, plunging his tongue inside to taste the sweet chocolate on hers.

She was his. That fact beat a steady rhythm through his body. His blood pulsed through his veins, whispering to him to take her, to fill the gap that he hadn’t known existed inside him. One that she could fill.

Mine. It was all he could do not to say it. Only the thought of frightening her kept the word from pouring from his throat.

He didn’t want to end the kiss. He wanted to make it endless. He wanted to carry her to bed where he’d kiss her and taste her for the rest of the night.

It’s too soon.

The thought echoed in his mind as surely as if he’d said it aloud.

With a groan, he pulled away. She blinked and stared back at him with hazy, confused eyes. Her lips trembled and were wet from his tongue. She raised a shaking hand to her mouth, and he knew she felt what he did. His lips tingled and felt alive, like he’d die if he didn’t kiss her again.

“Seth, what’s happening here?” she asked.

He touched her face again, sweeping his hand down in tender strokes. “I don’t know, Lily. But I’m sure as hell going to keep finding out.”


Chapter Three

Michael Colter pulled up to his brother Seth’s house and cut the engine on his Jeep Cherokee. It was barely past dawn, but Seth wasn’t one to sleep in. He was probably already up with a cup of coffee.

He stepped out into the chilly morning air and stifled a yawn. Leaving Clyde at three in the morning hadn’t been conducive to a good night’s sleep, but he was up and not likely to fall asleep so he hadn’t waited to make the trip to Denver.

He ambled to the front door, knocked once and then let himself in. It always cracked him up that Seth was a cop and he never locked his door. Too many years of living on a mountain with the Colter clan. Not many people in their right minds would try to break in there.

“Seth?” he called as he shut the door behind him.

As he walked into the living room, Seth left the kitchen, predictably with a cup in his hand. But it didn’t smell like coffee. Michael sniffed the air. Chocolate?

“Giving up the good stuff?” Michael asked with a grin.

“Michael? What the hell are you doing here?” Seth demanded.

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