Page 42 of Smoke in Mirrors

There was a soft thud at the back of the house. Loud enough to break the spell. Leonora flinched.

“What was that?” she whispered urgently.

“Wrench,” he muttered, pulling her close again. “Dog door.”

Wrench had opted to discreetly disappear in the face of this display of uncontrollable human lust. Thomas did not blame him. If he hadn’t been personally involved in this wildfire, he would have stepped outside for a while, too.

But he was involved. Completely and totally.

When he slid his hands down the length of Leonora’s spine and up under the silk sweater, she shuddered against him. He felt the tremor go through her from head to toe. Her back was warm and elegantly contoured beneath his palms.

It took him a frustrating minute or two to unfasten the waistband of her trousers, lower the zipper and get his hand inside where he could feel her warm skin against his palm. When he finally succeeded, he stroked the firm, rounded curves of her bu**ocks and moved his fingers lower still. The crotch of her panties dampened at his touch.

He was afraid he might come then and there.

She stirred against him, lifting herself away in an effort to shift her position. He realized she was fumbling with his belt.

“No,” he got out. “Not yet.”

“I only want to touch you.”

“Touch me and I’m doomed.”

She raised her head and looked down at him. “Really?”

“Yeah. Really.”


She went back to work on his belt buckle.

He closed his hand over hers and pulled it away from the vicinity of his groin. He guided it to his shoulder instead. Then he raised one knee and pressed it tightly against her hip, pinning her there where he could savor the soft weight of her against his erection.

She shifted urgently when he caressed her bu**ocks again.


He pressed his fingers into the damp crotch of her panties.


She twisted against him. He moved to maintain contact, rolling toward her. The sudden shift in their positions sent them tumbling over the edge of the sofa. He cushioned the fall with one arm. They landed on the rug, barely missing the coffee table.

She made a husky sound, half laugh, half moan, and wrapped herself tightly around him, burying her face against his shoulder.

He managed to get the green sweater up over her head. Slinging the garment out of the way, he went to work on the lacy, cream-colored bra. Usually he was good with hardware. But it seemed forever before the fastening came undone, releasing her br**sts into his hands.

They were the most beautiful br**sts he had ever seen. Sweetly shaped, the tips taut and tight. He bent his head and drew one nipple gently between his lips, letting her feel the edge of his teeth.

She stiffened beneath him. He heard her sharp intake of breath. She reached down between their bodies, fishing for his zipper. He caught her fingers and dragged them out of the danger zone.

“I told you, do that and it will be all over for me,” he said. “I want to make this last.”

She looked up at him, stark urgency blazing in her eyes. “Maybe you can wait. I can’t.”

“Who said anything about you having to wait?”

She looked bemused. “What?”

“Nothing I like to tackle better than a little home improvement project.”

He stripped off her trousers, slid between her legs and moved slowly down her body until he found her hot little button with his mouth.

“Thomas.” Her hands clenched in his hair.

He parted her with his fingers and kissed her intimately, absorbing the heady scent and taste of her body. When she sucked in her breath, he eased a finger into her, working her gently, searching for the magic spot.

He knew when he found it.

She gave a soft, startled, half-strangled shriek, tightening around him. Her climax flooded through her. He could feel the gentle contractions. He knew a rare sense of wonder and a kind of satisfaction that had nothing to do with a physical release.

She continued to shudder long after the little convulsions had ended.

He raised his head, suddenly uneasy. She had her face buried in a velvet sofa pillow. Her shoulders were shaking.

His unease turned to alarm.


She pressed the pillow more tightly against her face.

“Leonora? Are you okay?” He levered himself up higher and gripped her quivering shoulder. “Damn it, are you crying? What’s wrong? What did I do?”

“I’m . . . I’m not crying.”

He could barely make out the words.

He yanked the pillow away from her face.

She was laughing. Her eyes were brilliant with delight.

“I’ve never been able . . . I’ve always assumed that I had a few things in common with Meredith when it came to sex,” she whispered. “I just found out for the first time that I don’t.”

A long time later she stretched against him, then propped herself on his bare chest. In the shadows she looked quite smug. Very pleased with herself.

“I may nominate you for Handyman of the Year,” she said.

“Thanks. Want me to show you what else I can do with a set of tools?”

“Oh my, yes.” Her hand closed over his erection. “I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do than play with your tools.”

When he got inside her again he confirmed his initial conclusions. Everything fit perfectly.

Like she’d been made for him.

She could hear rain on the roof. She opened her eyes and found herself gazing at the pattern on the rug less than five inches away. Thomas was no longer sprawled alongside but she was warm, even though she was quite naked. She realized that he had put a blanket over her.

He had also stoked the fire. It burned brightly, casting a golden glow over the carpet and sofa. She heard a cupboard door close in the kitchen. It was followed by the sound of the refrigerator being opened. A moment later silverware jangled.

“You awake in there?” Thomas called over the top of the counter that divided the two rooms.




“You’re in luck. I’m prepared to feed you.”

“I’m not sure I can move.”

“I managed it. So can you.”

She sat up cautiously, holding the blanket close around her shoulders, and performed a quick, personal assessment of her various working parts.

There was some tenderness in places and a bit of stiffness here and there. Only to be expected when you made love on the floor, she thought. She’d never tried that before.