I moan, and he answers me with a kiss of his mouth and the press of his cock to my sex. He drives into me, deep, hard, lingering for several seconds, his body arched around mine. I pant with the anticipation of what will come next, and he proves this isn’t about teasing or taunting. This isn’t about lingering or lovemaking. It’s about fucking, and the adrenaline and the rush of pleasure that makes you forget to feel anything else.

He cups my backside and angles me into a fierce thrust, and then another. And still it’s not enough, and he wants more. It’s in the hard lines of his body, in the way his hands go up my back, molding me to him. I cling to him, burying my face in his shoulder and inhaling his deliciously raw, masculine scent, touching him, moving with him. Pumping and sliding and grinding, and still I sense he needs something I’m not giving him. I become wilder, move faster, and he feeds off of me. I feel his energy, his growing hunger, and I know when he’s finally at the place he needs to be, where there is only the raw burn between us. I feel the edge of release coming over me, over him.

“Chris,” I whisper, or maybe his name never makes it from my lips. My sex spasms and I can’t do anything but feel the sensations rocking me. He tightens his hold on me, a low growl escaping him. I fade in and out of awareness then, coming back to the room as he leans me back against the wall.

I loosen my legs from around his hips, sliding down his body. Chris leans over and grabs his shirt, pulling out of me and pressing it between my legs, one arm on the wall over my head.

My fingers go to his jaw, the light stubble teasing my fingers the way it teased my face. “What did Tristan say to you before we left?” I ask, certain that’s what set him off tonight.

“That I killed Amber and I’ll kill you, too.”

My heart clenches. “You know—”

“I know that you saved me—the way I wish I could have saved her.”

“You tried, Chris. You tried.”

“Not hard enough.”

“Is that what Tristan said?”

“It’s what I say.”

“I knew we shouldn’t have gone there tonight.”

“Hiding from it isn’t going to make it go away.” He scoops me up and moves to the elevator door, leaving our clothes behind. I don’t speak. I’m just glad he’s not hiding from me.

Part Two

Hers

Chris and I wake early to rain pattering on the bedroom windows. With both of us feeling the time change, we decide that going back to sleep is the exact right thing to do. It’s noon when we finally, truly wake, and the rain continues to fall, darkness cloaking the room.

“I’ve never lived anywhere it has rained as much as it does here,” I murmur, curling into Chris’s side, as he absently strokes my shoulder.

“It’s only November. Wait until the rainy season, in January.”

Twisting around to look at him, I balance half on my elbow and half on his chest. “That means we’re going to be here for Thanksgiving.”

“Which is an American holiday and not celebrated here, but we can find some way to make it special.”

“What do you normally do?”

“If I’m in the States, Katie and Mike insist I join them. If I’m here, I skip it. And you?”

I feel a little twist in my gut. “Last year Ella and I went out to dinner and to a movie.”

“We’re still searching for her, baby,” Chris assures me, tracing my jaw with a finger, and his tender promise eases a tiny bit of the ache inside me. “But Rey is concerned about Neville’s mob connections. He can’t dig deep enough without risking putting himself and us at risk. He wants to bring in a third party to go deeper.”

“What third party?”

“A group that operates off the grid and does jobs other people won’t. Blake’s using Walker’s FBI and DEA connections to find out more about them. I don’t want us in bed with people we don’t trust.”

“How soon will we know if we can use them?”

“Blake is buried in the hunt for Ava, but he assures me he’s on it.”

“Thank you. I feel like I need to do more for her.” The truth is, I’m afraid that it’s already too late to help Ella—like it was for Rebecca.

His voice softens. “Let’s go out to the chateau for Thanksgiving and get away from all of this. We can make it a new tradition. We’ll get you an office set up out there, too, for the times we’re there and you want to work.”

“I’ve barely gotten started on my business.”

“Now’s the time. We’re here, and we’re not wrapped up in the middle of a police investigation anymore. You can focus on what you love: art.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too, baby. That’s why I want you to make your dreams come true.”

My heart feels squeezed by the bond I have with Chris. “You are so unlike the men in my past. I love how you always give me power over myself.”

His lips quirk. “Except in bed.”

I laugh. “Yes. Except in bed.”

His cell phone rings on the nightstand and he sighs, sitting up and letting the sheets fall to his waist as he glances at the screen. He doesn’t react—Chris never does—but I sense, rather than see, the tension ripple through him. He turns his back, and my mind races with the possible news this phone call could bring. Ava has hurt someone. Ella is . . . dead.

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