They said nothing. But Chase remained inside her, still hard, still wanting the world and their problems to go away. She stroked his hair, fingers sifting, and Tessa felt tears trickle from the corner of her eyes and dampen her hair. A small smile curved her lips.
He lifted his head to look at her.
"I love you, Tessa."
Another tear escaped. She cupped his face in her palms. "I love you, too," she whispered over the rock in her throat. "I do."
He brushed his mouth over her lips, her eyes, then slowly left her body, standing to strip off his clothes. His eyes never left hers. He loved watching her watch him. Then he stripped her naked, taking great pleasure in removing the garterless stockings, nibbling her toes before pulling her into the circle of his arms. They stayed on the floor though a bed was only a room away.
He lit a fire in the hearth, carrying her before it and dragging a quilt from the sofa. He tossed it over them both. Chase pillowed his head on her lap, Tessa toying with his hair. He was too contented to move, he thought. Or talk about what needed to be said. He was drained. Smiling softly, he managed to turn his head to look at her. Her breasts were bare to his gaze, her eyes closed. Her neat chignon was a wild, sexy tangle. He would never have thought Tessa could be so wonderfully demanding. It was clear he still had a lot to learn about this woman.
"I bet I have scratches on my back."
She smiled, almost smug, but didn't open her eyes. "I bet you woke the dead with that yell."
Slowly he dragged the quilt down, exposing her flesh, the dark triangle between her thighs. He ran his finger along the edge of dewy flesh and she flexed beautifully. Chase pushed open her legs and rolled between. His gaze held with hers as he dipped his head. His tongue stroked across her and he chuckled darkly as she flopped back with a moan.
Chase devoured her, and it was Tessa who woke the spirits with her cries of pleasure.
Long before dawn Chase carried her to the bedroom, wrapped in the quilt. She snuggled under the covers, reaching for him, pulling him around her body. Chase had missed this, and his hands couldn't keep still, every touch reveling in the feel of her skin. He rediscovered her figure without his child inside her, the heaviness of her breasts, the flare of her hips, and he made love to her again, slowly, tenderly, telling her without words that it would always be like this, that he would always love her and need her. If she wanted it.
She did, and Tessa lavished him with her love as he made good on a long-ago whispered promise—to love her anyway he could imagine and never stop. They were gentle and slow, then wild and raw with passion, but neither spoke of the custody papers, of the hurt they'd dealt each other over the weeks. With their bodies they sought healing and rebirth and in each other's arms they slept the sleep of contentment, avoiding the inevitable. Avoiding dawn.
Chase smelled coffee and opened his eyes, squinting against the light streaming through the window. He was alone and a cup rested on the nightstand, daring him to take it and face the day.
He didn't want it. He wanted Tessa to come back to bed and make love with him again. God, she was a wild creature, he thought, sitting up and swinging his legs over the side. He noticed their bags on the floor, hers open and riffled. And the sexy lingerie spilling from the leather case. He knew what she was up to, the little witch. Wild loving would soften him, make him palatable. It did, but part of it kept him from giving in to what he needed to say to her. He wanted to hold these moments a little while longer, Chase thought, bringing the coffee cup to his lips, then realized she was standing in the doorway, leaning against the frame.
She let her gaze slide over his bare chest and lower, to where the sheets pooled around his hips. Chase felt himself harden instantly. It had a lot to do with the deep maroon lace bra and skimpy thong panties she wore. He recognized them from the sets she'd been trying to dig out of the box in the storeroom, the first time he'd experienced her passion. The look in her eyes said she remembered, too.
"I thought you said you couldn't get a thigh into that."
"I guess I was wrong." The few words spoke volumes, yet she didn't come to him. "Chase?"
"Yeah?" He dragged his gaze from the lush display of her body to her face.
"Now that I have your complete attention," she said with a smile while reaching for a matching silk robe and slipping it on, "we need to talk."
Chase's heart shot to his throat and he leaned his back against the headboard, drawing up one leg beneath the sheet and resting his coffee cup on his knee. Inside he was suddenly a mass of cut nerves. "It that why you attacked me on the doorstep? To get my attention?"