Then she saw it. A cove, the river spilling to the tidal basin in a soft rush. Water trickled over rocks and into the marshy pool.
"It's beautiful. Can you swim in it?"
"Yes, but I wouldn't right now."
She glanced back at him questioningly.
"Snakes. Water moccasins. Can't see them in the dark," Nash said.
He chuckled when she lifted her legs, afraid. Then he pulled her warmly against him. He rested his chin on the top of her head, the feel of her in his arms like a dream he'd wished on too many times.
"I used to come here alone."
He didn't have to say while he was married to Michelle. She heard it in his tone.
"I'd sit over there—" he pointed to a cluster of rocks and fallen trees "—and just think and wonder."
"About you. About where you were. About what I'd done."
She bowed her head. "Don't."
"Shh. I'd think about some other man touching you, and I'd drive myself mad. I had to remind myself that I'd made my bed and had to lie in it without you. But still, I'd remember what it was like to make love to you, the smell of your skin, the taste of it."
"Nash." She twisted in his arms, gazing into his tortured eyes.
"I have a very good memory. But it wasn't perfect."
Hers was, with a clarity that bit into her soul. This fight in her, the internal battle she'd waged between longing, the true feelings in her heart and what she should do to survive came to a crushing end at his next words.
"Hayley, I want you. I have for more years than I care to count." His lips brushed hers, his entire body locking tight with a fierce need to have her, to be inside her and hear all those passion-laced cries that haunted his dreams.
"So much for being friends, I see," she said, the words whispering over his lips.
Something inside him broke free and soared. "We were always more than friends."
He inhaled her scent, wanting it spread all over him. "Uh-uh?"
"If you're going to kiss me, then you ought to get to it."
Instantly his mouth covered hers in a lush kiss that fired his already seething blood. Hayley shifted sideways on his lap and arched into him, her skin throbbing for his touch, her breasts filling the space between them. He crushed her to his chest and made love to her mouth with a ferocity that made her want him more.
Denial never entered her mind. There wasn't room. His touch created a warm haze and sent hot sensations, overflowing, crowding her thinking and making her body answer. Suddenly she couldn't get close enough.
A kiss wasn't enough. She shifted her legs and wrapped them around his hips.
Nash groaned darkly. "You're driving me crazy," he whispered into her mouth.
She couldn't help it. Like before when Nash touched her, she didn't have much control.
And right now she didn't care.
* * *
The horse sensed their passion, sidestepping, and the motion pushed them apart.
He held her gaze, his breathing rushed. "This isn't the place for this."
"Depends on your point of view," she said breathlessly, and tightened her legs around him. It ground her softness to the hard length of him straining against his jeans.
"Oh, honey." His hands mapped a wild ride over her bare thighs straddling his and he kissed her again. Before he got carried away and could do nothing about it, he drew back, nipping at her jaw, then the slender line of her throat. "Let's go home."
She smiled, settled her arms around his neck and said, "Fine, go."
He looked down, then met her gaze. "That's not going to be as comfortable a ride as you think."
"Again, I believe that depends on your point of view."
Smiling and shaking his head, he reined the horse around. They both saw the danger in this game. The slow rock of the animal was maddening, grinding their aroused bodies in a familiar dance and drawing up more sensation. Of slick skin, the touch of his mouth where no other had tasted. Of his hardness pushing into her, the delicious friction that drove her mad and made her aware of her insatiable need for more of him. Hayley wanted to taste and touch him. She felt truly a woman in his arms, desired and adored, and the years alone fell away to the moments in the darkness, the scent of this man swirling around her.
Her hand slipped between them, her fingertips shaping him.
Nash couldn't stand it and stopped halfway across the field and kissed her hard, his hands sliding up her back and around to cup her breasts. She moaned, a harsh greedy sound, and she arched into his touch, then pulled at his shirt, freeing it from his waistband. She drove her palms over his warm skin. Nash trembled and threw his head back.
She flicked open the shirt buttons and then her mouth was on him. "Hayley, oh, you're walking a dangerous line."