"I know." She tilted a look at him. "Quick. Take advantage of me."

He winked. "I will."

Madison didn't think she could be happier. They spent their days with the O'Malleys, pretending to be husband and wife and the night alone, exploring each other, ending a night of lovemaking with milk and cookies.

She tipped her head to look at him, the wind off the lake tearing loose her hair and she brushed it back. "You look pensive."

He smiled down at her. "That's because my butt hurts sitting on these rocks."

She stood, pulling him to his feet and on the deserted stretch of shore, she slipped her hands inside his back jean pockets. She rubbed.

He moaned a little. "Now something else hurts."

"I can fix that, too."

"You're gonna kill me." She was insatiable and he loved it.

"Guess I need a new man, then." She stepped out of his arms and headed up the nearest slope.

He grabbed her, yanking her back and together they tumbled to the sand. "Am I that, Maddy? Your man?" His breath snagged in his chest as he waited.

"Yeah." With both hands, she fingered back his hair. "For as long as you want to be." She couldn't ask for more.

"As long as I can." Alex kissed her, pulling her around him, molding her body as if to bring her into himself. "Why is it always right now that I have to have you? Let's find some privacy." Climbing to their feet, they scrambled up the incline, racing across the avenue and into the inn. Minutes later, Alex's hand shook as he shoved in the key. She was already unbuttoning his shirt. The door opened and they fell inside, fell back against the door, tearing at each other's clothes, toeing off shoes and socks.

The shirts went, then her bra. And he cupped her breasts, sinking to take her nipple into his mouth. He ravished and tugged, and she clutched him closer, harder. He lowered to his knees, taking her panties down with her shorts.

He cupped her buttocks and pulled her under the warmth of his mouth. She shrieked and he chuckled, the sound vibrating through her being like a rumble of sweet thunder. He peeled her wider and laved the bud of her sex until she was begging for him to stop. He straightened but she was on him, pushing him to the floor. She jerked on his belt, opened his jeans and freed him.

"Now, Alex." She rocked against his thickness.

"Slow down." His hands roamed wildly over her skin.

"I can't."

"But we need a— Tell me there's a condom in this thing." He dumped her purse on the floor, scattering the contents. He found one.

It was on and he was inside her in one plunging stroke. "Oh, that's heaven, heaven." He withdrew and shoved. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be. More." She locked her legs around him and met his thrusts, begged for his strength. She whispered in his ear how much she loved this wild impatient side of him. For it matched hers.

"You make me crazy," he said into her mouth as he pushed and pushed, moving her across the floor. "Oh, Maddy."

"Alex!"

"Yeah, honey, I feel it. Show me, show me." He cradled her head in his palms and withdrew and thrust, watching her passion explode over her features, feel it ripple though her lithe body and into his. It was exquisite, heart wrenching and he pushed once more and joined her, bodies straining, grinding to keep the last vestiges of desire within. They trembled, kisses calming to tenderness and together they started breathing hard and laughing.

"Remind me never to drink wine with you."

"Felt different this time, huh?" he said. As if there was nothing between them.

"Yeah." She stroked damp locks from his forehead. "But then it feels incredible every time, you ravish me."

* * *

All morning before the ceremony for Angus and Laura, Madison felt suddenly, coldly, locked out, minutes after a phone call woke him just after dawn. He'd been working nonstop since, talking on the phone to Kyle, Steven Reynolds, even Anna Marsh. That he didn't confide in her wasn't a concern. She knew little of his business and didn't care to know, but that he tipped the computer screen away when she was near, or talked softly enough for her to get the message that the call was confidential, didn't escape her. Stinging a little, she gave him privacy and had waited patiently on the deck till it was time to leave for Angus's home. She didn't want to think about Elizabeth's call, but it plagued her like a disease. Yet even now, Madison recognized the tension in his shoulders, his punishingly straight spine in the upholstered seat of the rented Jaguar. His fingers flexed on the steering wheel as they drove to the O'Malleys' lake house. She knew how much Little People meant to him, and she wished she could help him, do anything to erase the serious look on his handsome face. Yet she wondered if his concern had to do with Elizabeth or his deal with Angus.

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