She stared into Micah’s eyes, and he looked back, so calm. He hadn’t come yet, and now she realized that had been his intention.
As Cole caressed her hips and belly, Micah carefully withdrew and stepped back. Chris and Rick lifted her arms, helping her free of Cole’s cock. Micah was waiting to pull her against his body, and he wrapped his arms around her, shielding her with his strength.
“You guys are welcome to crash here,” Micah said in a low voice. “I’m going to take Angelina to our room and take care of her.”
Chris touched her shoulder and pulled her carefully away from Micah. When she faced him, he framed her face in his hands and pressed his lips to her forehead.
“You are an amazing woman, Angelina. Thank you for tonight.”
As Chris stepped away, Rick moved forward and slid one finger underneath her chin, tilting her mouth up to accept the soft brush of his lips.
“Rest, sweetheart. You took on four very demanding men. I’ve never seen anything like it. Thank you.”
She smiled through her fatigue and then watched as Cole closed the distance between them. Instead of kissing her as the others had done, he pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly.
“Tonight was very special to me, Angelina,” he said in his quiet, steady voice. “More than you’ll ever know, I think. Micah is very lucky to have you.”
“I hope he thinks so,” she whispered so only he could hear.
Cole pulled away and touched her cheek in a brief, affectionate gesture.
“Get some rest, okay? You’re going to be sore tomorrow.”
Micah pulled her back into his arms, and then he simply lifted her and walked toward the hallway and down to their bedroom.
He took her into the bathroom and set her down just long enough to spread a towel across the counter. Then he lifted her up to sit on the towel so the surface wouldn’t be cold on her skin.
He started bathwater and added sweet-smelling soap. It foamed and formed a cloud of bubbles as the steam rose from the tub.
He stood in front of her, his hands sliding up her arms. He touched her hair, playing with the strands as if he couldn’t resist touching her.
He lifted her again and stepped over the edge of the bathtub, lowering her into the steaming water. Then he settled behind her and pulled her back against his chest.
The water lapped soothingly around them, and she relaxed in his embrace, closing her eyes as exhaustion claimed her.
“Wake up, sleepyhead,” Micah said tenderly in her ear.
She stirred and frowned when water sloshed over her body. Where the hell was she? How long had she slept?
“You’re all clean and hopefully relaxed and limber now. Time to get out and go to bed.”
Bed she could certainly be down with. Parts of her body ached she hadn’t even known she had. She stretched and arched her body. Micah cupped her breasts, and it was then she noticed all the wax was gone. How the hell had she slept through that?
Micah stood and stepped out. She watched in open appreciation as he toweled the water from his lean body. When he was done, he tossed his towel aside and pulled another from the rack.
He reached down to take her hand and pulled her to a standing position. She was quickly enfolded in warmth when he wrapped the towel around her.
“Come to bed, Angel girl. I want to hold you right now.”
Still wrapped in the towel, she padded into the bedroom and looked longingly at the lush covers and plump pillows.
Micah unwrapped the towel and gave an extra rub to her hair before dropping the towel on the floor. She didn’t need any extra urging. She crawled onto the mattress and promptly collapsed in the middle of the bed.
The lights went out, plunging the room into darkness. Then the bed dipped as Micah crawled in next to her. She turned, seeking him and his warmth. He rolled her underneath him, his body pressed flush against hers.
Arousal stirred within in her, and the realization came swift. No matter how tired, how depleted she might be, she’d never get enough of Micah.
He parted her thighs and slipped inside her with one gentle push. There wasn’t an inch of her flesh not covered by his. He hovered protectively over her, a shield between her and the rest of the world.
His muscles rolled and flexed as he moved his hips, up and down. She lay there, content to let him dictate the pace, to make love to her.
Warmth invaded her veins. Sweet, indescribable pleasure flooded her mind, her heart. He rocked against her, his mouth finding her neck, her ear, her shoulder and then her jaw and finally her mouth.
Their tongues tangled and dueled. Warm, wet, incredibly sweet.
He took her slow, his cock sliding back and forth with such tenderness. He cupped her body to his, holding her tightly as his hips met hers.
Her orgasm lapped closer, like calm waves spreading across sun-warmed sand. There was nothing frightening, sharp or overwhelming about the rise of her desire. This wasn’t about kinky sex, crazy lust or a race to completion. It was about her and Micah. Two people making love. Him taking care of her. Him keeping a promise.
She wound her arms around his neck and raised her mouth to his. She tensed in his grasp and kissed him hard, deep, passionate, even as she came apart.
Even in his release, his movements were tender and measured. He let his body cover and surround her and then rolled to the side, taking her with him. He slipped from her pussy, but he gathered her against his chest as he kissed her temple.
“Go to sleep, Angel girl. We were hard on you tonight.”
She rubbed her face along his shoulder and sighed in contentment. Then she let her eyes close, and she surrendered to the velvet clasp of his protection.
Micah got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist before ambling into the bedroom. Angelina was sprawled on her belly, her face buried in one of the pillows. He smiled and shook his head. Morning person she wasn’t. He’d learned that in the time they’d been staying at The House together.
He dressed quietly so as not to awaken her. He had several phone calls to make, and he’d rather not make them in front of Angelina.
The fact that they’d not found a single lead in Angelina’s case frustrated the hell out of him. He couldn’t help but think this asshole was just waiting for them to relax. He was obviously patient. He’d been after her for a year, and he’d followed her through five states. Those weren’t the actions of a man who gave up just because the going got tough.
Micah’s life was on hold. Angelina’s life was on hold, and so were all his friends’. Something had to give and give soon.
But when it’s over, you lose Angelina.
He looked back at Angelina asleep on the bed and then walked out of the bedroom.
He’d told Angelina it was temporary. He didn’t want or need another relationship. And yet they’d settled into this arrangement with ease. They were positively domestic if you didn’t count the sexual kink.
If he was honest, and he was, he’d admit that he wanted to keep Angelina. On his own terms. He wanted to keep her on a shelf, away from his heart but close enough that he could take her out whenever he liked. And that made him the most selfish asshole alive.
The best thing he could do for her would be to let her go so she could have a decent life. A family. Babies. All the things he knew she wanted.
All the things you could have.
He shook his head and continued down the stairs. His cell phone rang as he hit the bottom step, and he pulled it out of his pocket.
“Hudson,” he said without checking to see who it was.
“Micah, we’ve got a problem,” Damon said grimly.
Micah didn’t like the alarm or the anger in Damon’s voice.
“What’s up, man?”
“The bastard threatened Serena.”
“What? How the hell did he get to her? When did this happen?”
“She went into her office early this morning. Sam drove her, walked her into the building. She came out without calling to let Sam know so she was alone for about two minutes. She never saw him coming. He got in behind her, put his hand over her mouth and said, ‘You can’t hide her from me forever.’”
“Son of a bitch,” Micah bit out. “Is she okay? Did he hurt her?”
“She’s shaken up. It scared her to death, and it pissed her off, but she’s fine. Guy ran off as soon as he saw Sam coming.”
“Did Sam get a look at him?”
“No. He was too concerned with Serena’s well-being. By the time she told him what had happened, the guy was long gone.”
“Fuck,” Micah swore.
“We’re at the police station now, but I thought you’d want to know.”
“I’m coming that way,” Micah said. “I’ll see you in a few.”
He switched his phone off then turned around to head back up the stairs. Angelina was still asleep when he entered the bedroom. He hated to wake her. She looked so peaceful and content. He didn’t want to spoil that for her with news of her stalker.
He touched her shoulder and followed the smooth surface of her skin to the curve of her neck.
“Angel girl,” he said in a low voice. “Wake up.”
She scrunched up her nose and frowned. “Go away.”
“Hey, wake up for me. I need to talk to you.”
At that her eyes flew open and she pushed herself up on one elbow. “What’s wrong?”
“He showed himself today.”
He hated the way her eyes went wide with fear. Her hand flew to her throat, and her breathing sped up.
“Did they catch him?”
“Unfortunately not. He threatened Serena outside her office this morning.”
“Oh my God! Is she all right? He didn’t hurt her, did he?”
“Shh, baby. Serena is fine. Scared and shook up, but she’s fine. He didn’t hurt her. I’m going down to the police station now.”
She flung the covers aside. “I’m not staying here by myself.”
“Okay, but take your time. Get dressed and meet me downstairs. It’s going to be fine, Angelina. I need you to believe that.”
Her troubled gaze met his. “I brought him here, Micah. And now innocent people are paying the price. How am I supposed to feel about that?”
“You’re innocent in this too, Angel. You don’t deserve this. We’ll find him.”
He dropped a kiss on her hair and then turned to go. “I’ll wait for you outside.”
“This makes me nuts,” Serena muttered. “Damon is beside himself. I won’t be able to so much as take a piss by myself for the next year.”
No one laughed. Angelina, Julie and Faith sat with Serena in one of the conference rooms at the police station while all the men did God knows what in the next room.
“I’m sorry this happened to you, Serena,” Angelina said. “I never meant for anyone to become involved. I shouldn’t have—”
Julie held her hand up. “Don’t say it. Don’t say you shouldn’t have come and all that bullshit because I’ll have to hurt you if you do.”
Faith smiled then, but she reached over and took Angelina’s hand in hers and squeezed. “She’s right. Don’t say it. It’s completely wrong anyway. I’m glad you came. You’re good for Micah.”
“Oh, come on, girl. It can’t be that bad. You’ve been shacked up with the man for several weeks now. Surely the sex makes up for any cabin fever,” Julie said.
“Sex is good. Great. No complaints.”
“Huge but in there,” Serena said.
“Yeah, huge,” Faith agreed. “What’s going on, Angelina? Is he still being a butthead?”
Angelina shifted forward in her chair and put her hands on her cheeks. “You guys don’t need to hear me whine. We’re here for Serena. Let’s forget about Micah.”
“We’re waiting for the but,” Julie drawled.
“Micah’s great,” Angelina said gloomily. “He’s tender, very loving. Great in bed. Very generous lover. But...”
“Ah, here we go,” Serena said.
“He’s still holding a part of himself back. It’s almost as if he’s pretending to play house with me and loves it in theory but he only loves it because he knows it’s not permanent.”
“Whoa,” Julie said. “My head is spinning after that explanation. Way too deep for my limited brain power.”
“I wish I knew what to say,” Faith said unhappily. “Gray resisted at first. He resisted hard. I just had to keep after him.”
Julie nodded in agreement. “Nathan was a stubborn bastard as well. I sorta did give up on him. Well at first anyway. But I’m glad I didn’t, so you definitely shouldn’t give up on Micah if you love him.”
“I’m afraid I was the difficult one in my relationship with Damon, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that Damon didn’t give up on me,” Serena said softly. “He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I cringe every time I think of the way I tried to drive him away.”