Zach groaned, thrusting a few last times before he slowed down with a sigh. He pressed firm kisses along her shoulder as his arms surrounding her trembled ever so slightly. He murmured tender, soothing words against her skin.
Something inside Sadie died at the thought that she couldn’t have him forever. But as her eyes drifted closed, she did her best to imprint every second to memory.
Then again, how could she ever forget any of these incredible moments? She only hoped she never did.
* * *
There was a lot to be learned about another person when you spent several days in a row alone together, just as Sadie did during their time snowed in at the cabin. Sharing the same bed brought a whole wealth of knowledge.
And not just about sex.
For instance, Zach was a side sleeper. He cuddled in close every night, but her position didn’t seem to matter. She could face out spoon style, or snuggle her cheek against his chest. Either way, he almost never moved more than the barest shift. He wasn’t a tosser and turner, which made sleeping with him a bit like having access to her own human pillow that supported her body and didn’t self-adjust after she’d made herself comfortable.
It might have sounded uptight, but Sadie had learned after many interrupted nights’ sleep with her sister that she could only be awakened so many times before her brain started to short-circuit. Sleep was, quite frankly, important to her.
Tonight, their third here, started the same as both the other nights. Sadie drifted off to sleep wondering how many more nights she would have like this. Would they be going home tomorrow? Were the roads safe up here? She hadn’t had more than the briefest of glimpses out at the road and wasn’t sure that she wanted one.
Frankly, she didn’t want their time together to end.
An adulthood spent in a sickroom had given her the unfortunate ability to instantly wake up at the slightest noise or movement. Only Zach’s movements weren’t slight.
First he flopped onto his back so that his side bumped against her back. She rolled over to face him then snuggled up to a pillow instead. He was probably trying to get comfortable. Then he jerked again, mumbling something under his breath.
A little odd for the man who usually slept like a rock for six hours a night. Reaching out, she laid her palm against his bare chest. His skin was hot, with a light sheen of sweat.
A few seconds later, he jolted again. Then again, and again. It took her a few minutes to realize that the man she thought couldn’t be shaken was having a nightmare. Seconds later he rolled over, this time throwing out an arm that caught her unawares as it struck against her side.
Her gasp sounded loud in the room. Suddenly, Zach sat straight up, his body at attention. Sadie froze, too, not sure whether or not it was safe to reach out again. Who knew what Zach was reacting to—and she had a feeling he wasn’t entirely awake.
So she held still, counting the spaces between his breaths, waiting for him to gain consciousness. As he did, the feel of the room changed. His muscles loosened one by one. Then the sound of a ragged breath met her ears, interrupted by a hard swallow.
When he turned to her, she couldn’t see his expression in the gloom, but she could hear the emotion in his voice. “Sadie? Sadie, are you okay?”
Now she sat up, automatically reaching out a hand to rest against his biceps. “I’m okay, Zach.”
She barely made out the shadow of him shaking his head. “I think—I think I hit you.” His ragged breathing continued. “I’m damn sorry, Sadie.”
“I’m perfectly fine,” she assured him. “It was more like a bump. I was just in the way, Zach. No harm done.”
“I still shouldn’t have...”
That’s when she realized there was a slight tremble beneath her palm. Not a full-blown reaction. Something she suspected he was using all his might to control. But it was there, all the same.
“That must have been a doozy of a nightmare,” she said.
Even Sadie, who kept a lot to herself, would have wanted to talk something like that out. If for no other reason than to rid herself of the haunting images that could linger after a very intense nightmare.
Apparently Zach didn’t, because he was silent. Which was fine. It wasn’t for her to decide what Zach wanted to share. But that didn’t stop her protective instincts from surging to the front.