Good. Because I’m going to make you come again with these.
She closed her eyes tightly. A strange, trembling sensation began to vibrate in her chest. It took her a moment to recognize it as the first stages of panic.
What was she going to do if she couldn’t get Vic back?
“Niall, are you okay?” Meg asked, her grin wavering.
“We were only kidding,” Tim assured her quickly. “You’d put us hicks to shame if you were wearing a burlap sack.”
Niall opened her eyes slowly and realized that they’d paused on the gravel driveway. “Of course I’m all right,” she said a little too quickly. “Come on, I’ll drive,” she offered, knowing she needed something to focus on besides Vic Savian or his glaring absence from her life.
After dinner she caught a glimpse of why Vic hadn’t immediately returned to the farm that night.
It was knowledge she could, quite frankly, have done without.
The three of them strolled to the car following their dinner, all of them seemingly content and relaxed, coming from the air-conditioned restaurant with good meals in their bellies.
What Niall saw when they approached her car was enough to practically force the pasta that had been resting so peacefully in her stomach onto the pavement. Tim paused when he saw how still and pale she’d gone when she reached the driver’s door. He looked at the parking lot adjacent to the restaurant, where Niall stared fixedly.
“Come on, Niall. I’ll drive,” Tim said softly as he took the car keys from her suddenly numb fingers.
She startled from the trance that held her while she watched Vic kissing a redheaded woman in the parking lot of a place called the El Paso Lounge. The woman’s arms snaked up around his neck. She gripped his too-long hair in a greedy gesture before she ran her fingers through its length. The manner in which Vic leaned over the woman and held their bodies so close made the act look like one of consumption as much as an embrace.
Right before Tim opened the back door, Vic lifted his head from his feeding frenzy on the redhead’s mouth. The next thing Niall knew, Tim was pushing her into the backseat. Niall stared unseeingly at the driver’s headrest in front of her as Tim yanked her seat belt over her and fastened it. After they were on the road for thirty seconds, Meg twisted around to look at her from the front seat.
“Hmmm? Oh, yeah, fine . . .” She trailed off dazedly.
Meg cast a doubtful glance at Tim, but then an irritated expression came over her handsome features. Niall was in a state of shock at that moment, but that was nothing to what she experienced when Meg next spoke.
“I thought you came down here to get Vic back!”
“Well, when are you going to start doing it?” Meg asked with obvious frustration.
“Honey . . .” Tim began in a conciliatory manner, only to stop when his wife gave him a blazing look that reminded Niall of Vic.
“She’s been here a month, Tim. And she folds up into defensive mode whenever Vic is around.” Meg transferred her attention to a stunned Niall in the backseat. “Vic is a virile man, Niall. He has needs—”
“Oh, and I don’t?” Niall challenged, her anger breaking through her shock.
Meg gave an exaggerated shrug. “I don’t know. Do you? I haven’t seen any evidence of it.”
“Well, they’re not the kind of needs I discuss in an open forum,” Niall defended herself hotly. She blinked as she realized that was exactly what she was doing.
Meg sank back into her seat and sighed regretfully. Niall wondered if she was thinking it had been a big mistake to invite Niall to the farm.
“I’m sorry, Niall,” she muttered after a moment. “I just can’t stand to sit by and watch while you two make such a mess of things.”
Niall felt her eyes begin to sting. It was like salt being poured on a wound to hear a good friend say such a thing right after she’d seen the man she loved in the act of practically having sex with another woman if it weren’t for the flimsy barrier of their clothing. Now Meg was telling her it was all her fault that Vic Savian was mauling some strange woman in a sleazy bar’s parking lot because she wasn’t seeing to his sexual needs!
As if she could when he wouldn’t come within ten feet of her.
“Let me out, Tim,” Niall demanded abruptly. “I’ll walk the rest of the way home.”
“No, you won’t,” both Tim and Meg said at once.
“Yes, I will. It’s my car.” She clicked off her seat belt, forcing Tim to slow and finally stop at the side of the rural road.
“Niall, I’m sorry,” Meg apologized rapidly as Niall clambered to open the door. “It’s just that—”
“It’s okay,” Niall said. “I just need to get out right now.”
She averted her eyes from Meg’s distressed expression and Tim’s concerned one before she slammed the door and started walking down the blacktop road. What she’d said was true. She felt like she was going to have a panic attack if she remained in the confined space of her car. Images of Vic pressed so tightly against that woman played in graphic, haunting detail in her mind’s eye. Volatile emotions bubbled like a wicked brew in her chest—fury, jealousy, anguish . . . desire.
It made her nauseous to realize it, but sexual arousal had simmered in her lower belly, hot and tingling, when she’d seen Vic in such a blatantly erotic tableau. Memories and sensations of what it had felt like to have him make love to her with his characteristic intensity and passion had smacked into her awareness with the equivalent of a physical blow.