As his lips pressed against her throat, she could feel his bared teeth against her skin. She whispered, “Let go.”
His body stiffened and then he plowed into her deeper and deeper, crying out his release, and she took all of him. She’d always take all of him.
When her cell phone rang, it took her several seconds to recall where she was. Hell, it took her several seconds to recall who she was.
Then the adrenaline pumped through her body. The phone.
Eric growled, his voice muffled between her breasts. “It’s after midnight. Who’s calling you this late?”
“I—I...” His body was still crushing hers and she couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t get to her phone.
He reached it first, and the lighted display illuminated the scowl on his face. “Oh, my God. It’s your mother. And I was ready to go another round with you.”
Christina huffed out choppy breaths. Kendall. It had to be Kendall.
“Give it to me.” Her voice grated against her own ears, and Eric’s eyebrows shot up to the tousled lock of hair hanging across his forehead.
He handed the phone to her, and shifted off her body.
With trembling fingers, she tapped the phone to answer it. “Mom? What is it?”
It must’ve been the quaver in her voice that made Eric’s head jerk up. Now he’d be listening to every word she said, and she couldn’t ask him to leave—not now.
Her mother’s voice soothed on the other end. “I’m sorry to call you so late, but Kendall had a nightmare. You know—one of those nightmares.”
“I-is she okay now?”
“She’s shaky. I got her to stop crying, but only because I promised to call Mommy. She needs to hear your voice, Christina.”
“Of course. Put her on.”
“Hi, girly-girl. It was just a dream.”
“I was scared, Mama. Where are you?”
“I know they’re scary, but they’re just dreams. They can’t hurt you.”
She could feel Eric’s eyes burning a hole in the side of her face.
“Sleep with Mama.”
“You can sleep with G-Ma. I’ll be home soon.” She made kissing noises into the phone. “I’m sending smooches to you.”
Her mom came back on the phone. “She’s okay. She just needed to hear your voice. She’ll probably forget about it tomorrow.”
“Was it the same nightmare?”
“Same thing—people standing around chanting. Oh, she doesn’t call it chanting, but that’s what it sounds like to me.”
Christina shivered. She’d heard enough chanting for one night.
“Let Kendall sleep with you, Mom.”
“I will, just like I did when you had nightmares.”
Christina didn’t want to end the call and face Eric, but she didn’t have a choice. She cupped the dead phone between two hands and stared down at it.
Eric’s low voice sounded a million miles away. “What was that all about? Who’s Kendall?”
“Kendall’s my daughter.” He sucked in a quick breath, and she looked up finally to meet the green flame in his eyes. “And yours.”
The sledgehammer hit him between the eyes and he blinked. The room tilted. He opened his mouth and closed it again.
Christina’s chest rose and fell, her eyes never leaving his, never flinching. Clear and full of truth for the first time since he saw her here.
“How old?” He smacked his forehead with the heel of his hand. “She’s gotta be, what, two? Two and a half?”
He clenched his jaw so hard it ached. “I was right about you in the first place, wasn’t I? You’re a liar, a deceiver.”
Her dark eyes filled with tears, which rapidly rolled down her face. “You have to let me explain.”
“Why?” He dragged a hand through his hair. “Why is it you’re always explaining yourself to me?”
“Just let me...”
“It’s late. I’m tired.” He scooped up his clothes from the floor and stalked to the adjoining door. He slammed it because it gave him something to do and made him feel better. Then he clicked the dead bolt, which made him feel even better.
He dropped his clothes on the floor and fell across the bed. He had a daughter, a two-year-old daughter named Kendall.
And Christina had kept her from him.
The next morning he studied his face in the mirror above the bathroom vanity. He didn’t look any different. He didn’t look like a father.