There was no other warning before he yanked her into his arms, holding her tight.
Tony’s body felt good against hers.
Dizzyingly good. Too good.
He was big and strong, for one thing. Warm, with the clean scent of someone who’d showered just before bed. With her cheek pressed against the hard slab of his chest muscles, and her hands sliding up the bare satin of his back, it occurred to her, too late, that while he may have just experienced a moment of weakness, he was still the sexiest and most powerful man she knew.
And his body felt really good against hers.
Now that the immediate crisis had passed, she had time to focus on a few details that had escaped her attention until now. He was nearly nude, for one thing, with only a pair of low-slung boxer briefs covering him and, with their hips pressed fully against each other, she was in a position to note that it wasn’t much cover. He wasn’t aroused, but he was well-endowed, and because she’d been celibate since Paul had ignominiously dumped her a while back, she noticed.
He held her tight, with hot puffs of his breath fanning her neck. There was no room to arch away, or to lock her arms in place so that her braless breasts didn’t have to rub up against him. Their thighs were also pressed together, creating yet more points of electrical contact between them, and she had the insistent urge to hook one of her legs around his waist and thrust—
“Sorry.” Pushing her away, Tony robbed her of that incredible sensory overload, leaving her body cold and her heart leaden. He walked to the window and stared out, running his hands over his head. “I’m okay now.”
That was good, because she wasn’t okay. Not at all. Maybe it was the forced intimacy of being clinched next to him in the middle of the night, or maybe her defenses were at a natural low because she’d been sleeping.
Or maybe those were excuses.
Maybe her need for him was just getting harder to control. The fact that she’d managed her feelings this long was, as far as she was concerned, a feat worthy of some kind of gold medal.
Bottom line? She didn’t want to let him go.
“You sure you’re okay?”
He kept his back to her, probably because he was embarrassed again. “Yeah.”
There it was: her cue to leave and let this man process his demons by himself.
She ignored it.
“Can I get you some water or something?”
Great. Everything was fine, and he didn’t want her help. It stung a little, but so be it. Her own wishes didn’t matter at a moment like this, even if her hands itched to smooth over his back again, offering comfort. Even if she did want to sit on the sofa, take his head in her lap and massage his temples until the tension left his body. Even if her luxurious room did feel like a Siberian gulag compared to being here with him.
She hesitated, torn.
Chesley, who’d been watching the proceedings from a few feet away, trotted over and sat at her feet, waiting for her marching orders.
Talia snapped her fingers and pointed to Tony. Clearly the best dog in the world, Chesley headed straight for Tony and nudged his leg. This pulled Tony out of his dark thoughts long enough to look down at the dog and scratch her ears.
“Hey, pooch,” he murmured. “How’re you doing? How’re you doing?”
Deep inside her chest, Talia felt some of her torment begin to ease. “Tony,” she began.
“Go back to bed. I’m fine. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Again, she ignored him. “Does this happen often? The night terrors?”
Those broad shoulders shrugged.
Okay. So he wasn’t in the mood to talk. Pick up on a clue, why don’t you, Talia?
But…he’d been calling her name.
“What was the dream about?”
“You don’t want to know,” he said, his voice hard now.
Was that a warning? It sure sounded like one.
“Actually,” she said quietly, “I do want to know.”
He wheeled around, facing her. The darkness shadowed his expression and made his eyes glint with something disquieting and equally irresistible.
“Go to bed, Talia.”
He had a way of saying her name sometimes, turning the syllables into a velvety seduction that awakened nerve endings and made her yearn for things that weren’t hers to have. Not in this lifetime. The warning note was there again, and she had to admire his sense of honor. They were heading in a direction tonight where they didn’t need to go. Really, she should turn and walk out.