that before he escaped to his truck.
As they gently swayed, she made a humming noise in her throat.
Around them, people returned to their small groups, chatting and eating. Others found partners, and suddenly, the dance floor was packed.
Adam pressed his face to Liberty’s hair. It smelled faintly of strawberries. He breathed it in. Memorizing it.
The song ended, and Adam dredged up his control. “I have to go.”
“What?” She lifted her head.
“I’ve had a great time. You were right, I needed this just as much as everyone else…but I have work to do—”
She frowned. “Brooding to do, you mean.”
Adam gritted his teeth and gently, but firmly, pushed her away. “I can’t do this, Liberty.”
She thrust her hands on her hips. “Adam, you need to have something to live for, too. You have to balance out the hard with some good.”
“I’m doing fine—”
“Bullshit. Everyone who knows you knows you’re balanced on a very fine edge. Just let yourself feel!”
“I do.” The words snapped out of him. He lowered his tone. “I feel the guilt, the pressure, the remorse, the grief. I fucking drown in it every day.”
Emotions flickered over her face. “That only proves my point.” The heat of anger was gone. “Those emotions will break you in time. You need hope and happiness, as well as pleasure.”
Air sawed in and out of Adam’s chest. He couldn’t form the right words to tell her that he didn’t deserve any of that.
She stared at him, her blue eyes taking him in. Then she reached out and grabbed his hand.
“Come with me,” she said quietly.
He was so torn…between what he should do, and what he wanted so desperately he could barely breathe.
When she pulled him off the dance floor, he followed.
Adam didn’t let himself think.
He just followed Liberty as she led him down a side tunnel.
“No one is allowed to wander into the tunnels—”
She shot him a glance over her shoulder. “Well, looks like you’ll get the chance to be a little naughty, General.” She smiled. “We aren’t going far.”
She turned and Adam saw the glow of light ahead. She turned again and pulled him into a small alcove located off the side of the tunnel.
He sucked in a breath. It had obviously been used to store items when the mine was active. There was still a stack of metal pipes against the back wall, resting on a wooden pallet.
But it was what Liberty had done that took his breath away.
There were candles everywhere. They lined the base of the rock walls, and sat across the top of the pipes. The flames flickered like crazy, giving the small space a warm glow. In the center of the alcove was a nest of blankets and pillows. Off to the side sat a half-full bottle of Scotch, the amber liquid glowing in the light, and two crystal glasses beside it.
“When…how…?” His heart was pumping hard.
Liberty pulled her shirt over her head. Her skin was golden in the candlelight.
“Just stop fighting, Adam.”
His hands curled into fists. The torment was huge. He should be back in his truck, doing…something important. Something to benefit the convoy. Not indulging himself with a woman who was his every desire and sin personified.
She shucked off her jeans and stood there in two tiny scraps of emerald lace. “I want you.”
Those quiet, honest words broke him.
Adam fell to his knees, wrapping his arms around her. He pressed his face to her belly, slipping his hands up her smooth back.
Her hands tangled in his hair.
“Stop thinking,” she murmured. “Just feel.”
He was going to show her just how much he wanted her. How much he admired every part of her. Not just her curvy, gorgeous body, but her love of life, her relentless and quiet need to take care of others, and her confidence to enjoy all the things she loved.
He reached behind her for the clasp of her bra and undid it, the garment falling to the ground.
Adam cupped her breasts, enjoying the breathy sound she