He drove into her deeper and deeper, while she begged him to stop.... "Matt, please stop!"
While she told him he was dreaming... "Stop it, you're dreaming!"
And threatened to call the doctor... "If you don't wake up, I'm going to call a doctor!"
He didn't want a doctor, he wanted her. He tried to roll on top of her again, but she held him down, and put her hand on his forehead ... And offered him coffee ... "Please wake up! I've brought you coffee."
And whispered gently in his ear ... "Dammit, you are dreaming! You're smiling in your sleep! Now, wake up!"
It was the curse that got through to him. Meredith never swore, therefore something was wrong with his dream. Something was wrong... .
He forced his eyes open and gazed at her beautiful face, struggling to reorient himself. She was bending over him, her hands grasping his shoulders, and she looked worried. "What's wrong?" he asked.
Meredith relaxed her hold and sank down beside him on the bed with a sigh of relief. "You were thrashing around and talking in your sleep so much that I heard you out in the hall. When I couldn't wake you up, I started to panic, but your head felt cool. Here, I brought you some coffee," she added, nodding at the mug on the nightstand.
Matt obediently forced himself to a sitting position. Leaning back against the headboard, he raked his hand through his hair, trying to shake off the lingering vestiges of sleep. "It's those pills," he explained. "Two of them must pack the wallop of a nuclear warhead."
She picked up the bottle and read the label. "This says you're only supposed to take one."
Without replying, Matt reached for the mug and drank most of the coffee, then he leaned his head back and closed his eyes for several minutes, letting the heat and caffeine work their magic, blissfully unaware and unconcerned with the things that had plagued him the night before.
Meredith, who remembered his waking-up ritual and his lack of conversation for the first few minutes after he awakened, stood up and idly straightened the things on the nightstand, then she absently picked up his robe and laid it across the foot of the bed. When she turned back, his eyes were more alert, his face relaxed and almost boyish. And very handsome. "Feel better?" she asked, smiling.
"Much better. You make very good coffee."
"Every woman is supposed to have one major culinary accomplishment to her credit—something she can show off whenever the occasion calls for it."
He caught the gleam of amusement in her eye and grinned lazily. "Who said that?"
"A magazine I read in the dentist's office," she replied, chuckling. "My major culinary achievement is coffee. Now, do you feel like breakfast?"
"That depends on whether or not you plan to serve it from bottles and jars like yesterday," he joked.
"I'd be more careful if I were you about insulting the cook. There's some powdered cleanser under the kitchen sink that would look just like sugar if I were to put it on your cereal."
His shoulders shook with laughter, and he drained the last of his coffee.
"Seriously," she said, smiling back at him from the foot of his bed, a golden goddess in blue jeans; an angel with devilment in her eyes. "What would you like for breakfast?"
You, he thought, and desire began to roar through his entire body. He wanted her for breakfast. He wanted to reach out and drag her into his bed, to shove his hands into the rumpled silk of her hair and join his famished body with hers. He wanted to feel her hands on him, he wanted to bury himself inside her and make her moan for him. "Whatever you fix will be fine," he said tightly, shifting the blankets to hide his arousal. "I'll have it downstairs after I shower."
When she left the room, Matt closed his eyes and clenched his teeth, caught between fury and disbelief. Despite everything that had happened in the past, she could still do this to him! If all he felt for her was lust, he could have forgiven himself, but he couldn't forgive himself for this sudden hopeless yearning to be a part of her again ... to be loved by her.
Eleven years ago he had fallen in love with her almost the moment he laid eyes on her, and for years afterward, his life had been haunted by a laughing, haughty, prim eighteen-year-old.
In the last decade he had gone to bed with dozens of women, all of them more experienced sexually than Meredith had been. With them, the sexual act was an act of mutual gratification. With Meredith, it had been an act of profound beauty. Exquisite. Tormenting. Magic ... At least, that's how he'd felt at the time—very probably, he decided now, because he'd been so insane about her he didn't know the difference between imagination and reality. She had captivated him at eighteen, but at twenty-nine she was far more dangerous to his peace of mind because she had changed, and the changes intrigued and beckoned to him. Her youthful sophistication had acquired the added gloss of elegance, yet that same soft vulnerability still glowed in her eyes, and her smile still changed from provocative to sunny, according to her moods. At eighteen she possessed an unaffected candor that had charmed and surprised him; at twenty-nine she was a successful businesswoman, and yet she seemed as natural and unaffected as she had before. Equally surprising, she seemed completely indifferent to, or unaware of, her own beauty. Not once yesterday had she stopped to primp at the mirror in the dining room, nor had she glanced at it in passing. Unlike other beautiful women he'd known, she didn't pose or posture or run her fingers through that gorgeous hair of hers to draw attention to it. Her beauty had matured and her figure had acquired a lush ripeness that enabled her to look as alluring in jeans and a sweater as she did in the mink coat and black dress she'd worn to lunch the other day.
Matt's blood stirred hotly, and his hands itched to explore and caress those new curves she'd acquired. Suddenly his treacherous mind presented him with a tantalizing solution: Perhaps if he had her just one more time, he could quench this thirst for her and get her completely out of his system.. .. Swearing under his breath, Matt got out of bed and pulled on his robe. He was insane to even consider being intimate with her again.
Again? He stopped cold. For the first time since she'd arrived, he was able to think without being weakened by the after effects of illness or those damned pills. Why in the hell had she come to the farm in the first place?
She'd answered that question herself: I want a truce...
Fine, he'd agreed to her truce. So why was she still there? Meredith hadn't come to play house with him, that was for damned sure—so why was she hanging around, bringing him coffee in bed, and doing her very effective utmost to charm and disarm him?