Garrett moved back up to Parker's lips and kissed her gently, reverently―so different from the hard, bruising kisses from the night before. Those were perfect for then; this was what was needed now.
His tongue softly pushed past her lips as his knee moved forward between her legs, sliding against her aching center as he shifted her legs apart.
Parker pulled Garrett's tongue into her mouth and slid her hands up the front of his wet, muscled chest, intertwining her fingers behind his neck. He wrapped an arm around her waist and lifted her body until her feet came off of the ground and she could wrap her legs around his hips.
She felt Garrett resting against her, just like the other day in the pool. She shifted her hips to slide against his length and deepened the kiss they shared, water bouncing off of the sides of their bodies.
Parker moaned into Garrett's mouth as he moved his own hips, the tip of his cock sliding down to her opening and just barely pushing inside.
Garrett stilled his movements and pulled away from Parker's lips. She opened her eyes, blinking away the water that had bounced off of his shoulders and into her face. With her body wrapped around him, Parker was eye level with Garrett, and he stared into her eyes as he held himself against her.
Neither one of them could say the words, voice out loud what was running rampant in their hearts and punctuated with every breath they took. But as the water pounded down around them, they both knew something was different.
Garrett pushed Parker's back gently against the cold tile walls, his hand resting flat on the wall next to her head. With his other arm still around her waist, he pulled her tighter against him, closer to him but never close enough, sliding another inch inside of her welcoming body. His chest ached with the need to hold her like this―always.
As they stared into each other's eyes, never breaking contact, Garrett slowly pushed every inch of his length inside Parker. She let out a shuddering breath when he got as deep as he could go and held himself inside. She felt every inch of him but still wanted more. He was deeper than before but still not deep enough.
Garrett's breaths came out in a ragged release against her lips as he forced himself not to pull back and pound into her, slam her against the walls and take her with everything he had in him.
They'd done that last night. It had been amazing and right. But this morning, it had to be different because they were different. Whether they would admit it to themselves or not, something had shifted inside both of them. Last night had been about exorcising demons, years of pent up need and a release of anger and frustration.
Today, under the gentle spray of the shower in the early morning light, it was about so much more: forgiveness, adoration, respect, and every other emotion they couldn't verbalize.
Garrett bent forward and gently sucked Parker's top lip into his mouth as he gradually pulled himself almost completely out of her and then slowly pushed back in.
Parker moaned and wrapped her legs tighter around Garrett's waist as he continued the slow push and pull, in and out, of her body. He took his time drawing the pleasure out of her, letting her orgasm build and build with each long stroke inside her and the swirl of his hips when he was buried deep.
Their lips found their way back together, mouths and tongues moving slowly in tandem with the lower half of their bodies. Tongues swirled and tasted as water dripped down each of their faces and Garrett continued the slow pace of sliding in and out of Parker.
He loved her against the wall of the shower, never thrusting, never taking, just giving. Sliding in and out of Parker at a slow pace was beautiful torture as the heat from her body and the slickness of her arousal enticed him to make her his-to mark her so everyone would know she belonged with him. Garrett couldn't get deep enough, couldn't feel enough of her body. He wanted to drown in her and shout at the top of his lungs that she was his. It was always her, only her.
"Only you," Garrett mumbled against her lips, not even aware that he had spoken out loud.
Garrett's softly spoken words and the unhurried way he claimed her body aroused Parker like nothing else could. Her release crept up through her core and throbbed without any warning, causing her to hold Garrett as tightly as she could while she pushed her hips against him and rode out her orgasm.
The clench of Parker around him and her quiet whimpers of release pulled his orgasm out of him, and he held still, fully sheathed inside her as he came in long, pulsing surges.
With any other two people who had been friends for eight years and suddenly found themselves having sex, it would have been awkward. There would have been blushing, stuttering, embarrassed looks, and strained conversations.
But not for Garrett and Parker.
The fact that they didn't talk about what happened or what it meant could have been the reason why all of that awkwardness was avoided, or it just could have been natural for the both of them.
Nothing that needed a label or an explanation.
At least not for now.
Parker was still surprised Garrett wasn't brooding, and Garrett was surprised Parker hadn't kicked his ass for leaving the bed this morning. They were okay. Their bodies spoke the words their lips could not, and an inner peace they hadn't experienced in a long time, spread through both of them.
They got dressed together after their shower, sneaking glances in each other's direction out of the corner of their eyes.
They stole kisses as they moved around the room and laughed when one of Garrett's buttons fell out of Parker's shoe from the night before.
They joked about the probable shortage of hot water in the entire resort for the rest of the day as they made their way to their breakfast meeting with the team.
They were able to be completely professional as they sat down with the other men and Garrett gave Parker a run-down of the phone call he'd received the night before after she left the room.
He left out the part about Milo. That was not a conversation he wanted to have with her in front of other people. Telling Parker that Milo had been sneaking around for years and most likely engaged in disgusting, illegal activity with minors here in the Dominican while he planned a future with her back home was something that he needed to do with her alone. It made Garrett sick to his stomach just thinking that his friend had been capable of something like that.
Brady understood the silent communication Garrett gave him with just a look as he stopped the story with the end of the phone call from Maria.
Parker looked about as stunned as Garrett had felt when he originally received the phone call the night before.
"Wait," Parker said as she squeezed her eyes closed and tried to figure out the sudden flash of a memory in her mind. "Catalina, you called her Cat."
Garrett nodded. "Yeah, that's what Maria called her."
"Son of a bitch! I can't believe I didn't put that together before," Brady said as he flipped through the file of notes he'd brought with him. "The conversation you overheard when you were walking around the palace."
Brady found the piece of paper he had been looking for with Parker's notes on the conversation.
"They talked about a cat and how we'd never figure it out," Parker said
. "I thought maybe I had misinterpreted it wrong. But they weren't talking about a cat. They were talking about Cat, as in, Catalina."
"Fucking hell," Austin muttered.
Parker watched Brady and Garrett stare at each other, and she felt like there was something they weren't telling her. But Brady pulled more papers out of his file before she could question either of them.
"I had Vargas get me a list of every local missing teenage girl between the ages of thirteen and eighteen over the past few years. There were one hundred and seventy-five," Brady explained, "and over half of them were listed as being employed by The Target Agency."
Parker felt the quickening of her pulse and excitement in her stomach that she always got when it felt like they were on the right track during an assignment. Things were slowly starting to fall into place with regard to nailing Fernandez, but it still didn't explain what had been going on with Milo. She said as much out loud, more to herself than anyone else. Once again, she watched the silent communication between Brady and Garrett and knew without a doubt they hadn't told her everything.
Parker suddenly realized that Garrett never mentioned the name of the hotel where Maria said Catalina had gone.
"The hotel," Parker said, turning towards Garrett. "You never mentioned the name of the hotel Catalina met the American man at."
Garrett looked away from her as soon as she said the words out loud, a cold feeling of dread washing over her as the puzzle clicked into place. She started shaking her head no before she could get the words out.
Garrett watched Parker make the connection and it made his chest ache for her.
"No. It wasn't him," Parker insisted as she watched Brady start to pack up his file.
"Can you guys give us a minute?" Garrett asked the rest of the men.
They didn't mask the curious looks on their faces, but they did as they were told. Brady led them away from the table to fill them in on what Garrett would be telling Parker.
Parker stared at Garrett and Garrett stared at the retreating forms of his men, wishing he didn't have to break the spell of last night and this morning.
"Tell me it's not as bad as I'm thinking," Parker demanded.
Garrett took a deep breath and turned to face her.
She saw it all: the pain, the betrayal, and his knowledge of the truth she didn't want to accept. It was right there, written all over his face.
"Brady and I went to Occidental El Embajador last night. One of the maids identified Milo. She saw him leave one of the rooms with Catalina a few months before she was killed," Garrett said softly.
Parker saw his lips move, heard the words he spoke, but couldn't feel anything else. She was numb.
Like she was floating in a dream, the edges of her vision just starting to blur, making it hard to focus on what was real and what wasn't. Garrett was still talking, telling her he was sorry and that he was just as shocked as she was, but she barely heard him.
She stared at a spot just over his shoulder, wondering what the hell was wrong with her.
What kind of woman could be trained by the best government agency in the world, know how to force even the most hardened criminal to admit truths and crimes he'd never told anyone yet fail to see the man she befriended, loved, and was going to build a life with was doing something so vile right under her nose?
She'd never fully trusted Milo from day one, but she'd always chalked that up to her broken family and her refusal to allow anyone to get that close.
Now she wondered if maybe it was something deeper, maybe some sixth sense told her he wasn't who she thought he was, and she kept him at arm's length for that reason alone.
"Take me there," Parker stated firmly. "I want to talk to the maid myself."
Garrett tried to pretend like he hadn't heard her, but he knew it was useless. He knew she'd want tangible proof this was real. She'd want to confirm for herself what he already knew to be true. Even though she'd tried to tell him the night before that Milo had secrets, Garrett knew Parker never expected them to be this bad. No matter what he said to her, she wouldn't trust the information until she saw it with her own eyes. All he wanted to do was go back to this morning, go back to the moment when they stood together in the room after the shower, drying each other off. Go back and pretend like nothing else existed but the two of them, crawl under the covers and pretend like they didn't have to meet the team for breakfast and this assignment wasn't top priority. They could go back to the moment when Parker looked at him like he was the only thing that mattered instead of like her whole world was crashing down around her.
Garrett was fighting a battle with his mind and heart. He burned with jealousy. Parker was upset about Milo betraying her, and he wanted her to forget all about any other man that had ever touched her, including his best friend. But at the same time, he understood that something like this would hurt her no matter what the two of them had done in the past twenty-four hours.
Parker stood up when Garrett didn't make a move to leave and he grabbed her arm.
"You don't have to do this," he told her sadly.
Parker didn't want to hurt Garrett. She didn't want him to think that she was still in love with Milo and that was the reason why she was heartbroken. The more she learned about Milo, the more she questioned her actions and her heart where he was concerned and wondered if she'd ever really loved him.
She felt betrayed by Milo. No matter what she did or didn't feel for him, he was still her best friend. If he had stopped loving her and had changed his mind about the wedding she would have understood probably more than any other woman. But this? She just couldn't wrap her mind around it. These were not the actions of the man she'd known for the past eight years. These were the actions of a stranger.
She was upset Milo had made a fool of her and that she'd spent so much time wishing she had loved him more and feeling guilty for everything she felt towards Garrett.
All that wasted time.
Time she'd never get back.
Her heart broke for Garrett. His friend of more than twenty years had turned out to be a liar and a criminal. Garrett trusted him, loved him, and thought of him as a brother. She could see the sadness in his eyes and hear the betrayal in his voice even though he tried his hardest to mask it. His friend, his brother, his confidant; the man he trusted with his family and his life – he was a stranger to Garrett now. The pain he felt was staggering. But he was concerned for Parker.
Always for her.
She thought back over the years and all the times he had put her first, supported her, and been there for her. All the times he'd helped her without a second thought. She remembered how she always had to convince herself that Milo did the same things. But he didn't. Milo always put himself first, but that was his personality, and during their time together, it suited her independent nature. But maybe he was like that with her because she'd always kept that little bit of space between them, that tiny bit of expanse that he just couldn't cross. That she wouldn't allow him to cross.