rough sounds as he felt her tighten around him. She wanted to feel the way his muscles bunched as the ecstacy grew. She wanted to know the taste of his mouth as he thrust into her time after time with a passionate violence.
He showed her no mercy, but he also showed her no control.
The sun, the wind, the surging ocean, and Nico— unyielding elements that couldn’t be fought, not now at any rate. No matter how she might wish it were different, she loved him.
He thrust again, and red-hot pleasure flooded through her. She cried out and arched up to him, taking him deeper into her.
The ocean sent its waves spilling to the shore, its lacy foam curling around their feet. He wrapped her legs around his waist, binding her to him in a wild primitive rhythm, and they crested together, hard and intense, their cries mingling and filling the deserted cove.
Time passed, waves rolled into the shore, a bird glided out to sea on a current of air. Finally, Nico rolled to her side but kept his arm around her.
Only then did she close her eyes and lay motionless, willing her body and mind back to normal. It took awhile, but her breathing evened and her senses steadied. Passion died; anger and hurt returned.
She could call herself stupid all day long, she told herself wearily, and it wouldn’t change the fact that they had made love. Besides it had been inevitable. But now their storm of desire had passed, and she had to deal with its aftermath.
With the warmth of his body against her, she was tempted to turn her head, bury her face against his chest, and spill her heart and soul to him. She resisted.
Nico might be holding her to him at this moment, but at any minute, he would push her away. It was his pattern. And if his rejection had hurt before, what kind of pain would she have now after experiencing his lovemaking that had left no part of her untouched?
She drew free of his arm, got to her feet, retrieved her swimsuit, and quickly slipped on both pieces.
“Caitlin?” He raised up on his elbow and frowned. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t see what difference it makes,” she said, bending to scoop up her robe and shrug into it, “but if you must know. I’m going back to the house.”
He wasn’t sure what he’d expected, but it was definitely not this cold. Indifferent attitude. “I don’t understand. ”
“Then let me explain. In spite of your attempts ever since you’ve been here not to get too intimate with me, we’ve just made love—if you’ll excuse the euphemism. I’m sure you’re embarrassed and sorry about the whole thing, but don’t be.” She picked up her towel and neatly folded it. “You were already planning to leave in the morning. To my way of thinking, you couldn't ask for a neater, less complicated ending than that.”
“I’ve got to go now. I’m sure we’ll see each other again before you leave, perhaps at dinner.”
Nico sat up and braced his arms on his upraised knees. He stared out at the sea, not trusting himself to watch Caitlin as she climbed the steps to the top of the bluff. He wanted with everything that was in him to run after her, stop her, and bring her back. His body throbbed mercilessly to have her again. And his heart felt as if it were breaking apart.
To stop himself from going after her, he made himself think of Rettig and a long-buried secret— two things that could hurt her if he stayed.
Two six-branched silver candelabra sat at either end of the walnut kitchen table, their candles sending a white-gold pool of light over Caitlin, Nico, and Ramona. Six other candelabra stood on the sideboard behind them, their candles ready to be lit. Caitlin stared at her empty plate, trying to recall what she’d just eaten. She supposed it was possible that for once in her life, Ramona had slipped up and given her an empty plate for dinner. Possible, but not likely.
I am not going to lose it, she thought fiercely. She put down her fork and reached for her