As the air turned sultry, he turned her so that he could trace kisses over her back, so that he could mold and cup her breasts. His thumbs scraped her nipples, tortured the hard points while her back arched in pleasure.

When his hands skimmed lower, she reached back, hooking her arms around his neck and holding on to him when he sent her flying.

"Now. " She turned to him. "Fill me now. "

He slid into her, achingly slow. And she felt herself open, and give. She gripped his shoulders while the water sluiced over them, tuned her body to his.

Long, silky strokes so that pleasure was a low, sustained beat. Everything she was focused on the need to prolong, to hold this moment like a jewel. Shining and rich. Her blood pulsed, seemed to sing under her skin until the beauty of it wept inside her.

She crested, an endless, warm wave, and her mouth pressed to his as she rode it. They ended up on the bed again, flat on their backs.

"We never seem to make it here for the first round," Sam managed.

"Be that as it may, round two will have to be postponed on account of working for a living. "

"Yeah. I've got an eleven o'clock meeting. "

She stirred enough to twist for a look at the clock. "You've got some time yet. Why don't you stay, get a little sleep?"

"Huh. "

She rose, raked her fingers through her damp hair. "I'll set the alarm for ten. "

He grunted again, and didn't move a muscle.

Nor had he moved when, thirty minutes later, she was groomed and dressed for the day. Obligingly, she

set the alarm clock, tugged the sheet over him.

Then just stood looking at him.

"How did it happen you've ended up sleeping in my bed again?" she wondered aloud. "Does it make me weak, stupid, or just human?"

With no answer, she left him sleeping.

Nell pounced the minute she walked in the door.

"You're all right? I was worried. "

"I'm fine. "

"Don't look any the worse for wear," Lulu commented after a careful study. All the tension balled in her stomach loosened and smoothed out.

"I told Lu," Nell explained and struggled with the hitch in her conscience. She wasn't being as forthcoming with Mia as she was about her. "I . . . thought I should. "

"Of course. Is the coffee up? I'm desperate for a decent cup. And to economize time and effort, we'll go upstairs and have some while I save the two of you the trouble of poking at me about what happened. "

"You were so pale. " Nell went up the steps first. "Ripley and I were about to pull you back when you came on your own. But you were as white as a sheet. "

Guarding her province, Nell hurried behind the counter to pour the coffee. "You were gone for nearly an hour. "

"An hour?" Mia was surprised. "I didn't realize. It didn't seem like . . . His power's crafty," she said quietly. "He blocked my sense of time. I wasn't prepared to stay so long, which explains why I was so weak when I came back. "

She took the coffee Nell offered, sipped, considered. "It won't do to forget that a second time. You look a little peaked, Lu. Aren't you well?"

"Up late watching a Charles Bronson marathon," Lulu lied glibly, and behind the counter Nell flushed with guilt. "That Logan boy took good care of you?"

"Yes, Lulu. That Logan boy took good care of me. You sound like you're catching a cold. "

The surefire way to distract her girl, Lulu knew, was to poke at her. "I didn't see his fancy car in front of the cottage this morning. "

"Because it's still parked in my driveway. He sat up all night with me, then fixed me a nearly inedible breakfast this morning, after which I seduced him in the shower. As a result I'm feeling very rested, very serene, and just a little hungry. Nell, how about one of those apple muffins?"

"He sold his condo in New York City," Lulu stated, and had the satisfaction of seeing Mia blink.

"Really?"

"I keep my ear to the ground. Signed the papers on it just yesterday. Got a bunch of stuff going into storage. Doesn't sound like he's planning on going back there anytime soon. "

"No, it doesn't. " She couldn't think about that, Mia told herself. Not just now. "And as fascinating as that is, we've more immediate concerns than where Sam stores his living room furniture. "

"Smart money says he sells it. "

"Hmm. In any case," Mia continued, "we have to decide what to do, if anything, about Evan Remington. I don't think the authorities would sanction a coven of witches attempting a casting out on an inmate. "

She nibbled her muffin as she considered. "And to be honest, I don't think it would work, not the way it did with Harding last winter. Harding was a pawn, unaware and largely unwilling. Remington isn't unwilling, and my sense is that he knows. He not only accepts, but revels in what comes into him. He welcomes it. "

"I could get in to see him. " Nell waited for Mia to look back at her. "He would agree to that. I might be able to reach him. "

"You couldn't. " Mia reached out to squeeze Nell's hand. "You're part of his catalyst. More important, Zack would have my head, and rightly so, if I encouraged you to try. Another face-to-face encounter between you and Remington is too dangerous under any circumstances, but it might be harmful for the baby. "

"I wouldn't try to . . . " Nell's eyes went wide. "How did you know about the baby? I took a home pregnancy test at dawn. " She pressed a hand to her belly. "I'm going to the doctor this afternoon to back it up. I haven't even told Zack. I want to be sure first. "

"Be sure. I felt it when I took your hand. " Joy swam into Mia's heart, over her face. "New life. Oh, Nell. "

"I knew, the night . . . when I conceived, I knew. I felt a light inside. " Tears spilled over. "I was afraid to believe it, to get my hopes up. We're having a baby!" She pressed her hands to her cheeks, spun in a circle. "We're having a baby! I have to tell Zack. "

"Go, tell him now. Right now. We can handle things here until you get back, can't we, Lu? Lu?" Mia turned, saw Lulu digging a tissue out of her pocket.


Tags: Nora Roberts Three Sisters Island Romance
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