Okay, not exactly an answer. And he knew better than most that no one was truly safe. She was highly capable and trained, just like him. “I’m not going to change who I am or what I do to fit some mold.”

“I’m not asking you to. I just want you to give us a chance. If we end up not being able to live with each other, we part ways.” The determined glint in his eyes told her he’d never be satisfied until he’d completely claimed every single part of her heart.

She’d managed to keep some control where he was concerned but the truth was, she was terrified that he would discover she wasn’t what he wanted, and then he’d walk away from her. Leaving her heart in shattered pieces. And there would never be anyone else for her. She realized that on a fundamental level. He knew everything about where she came from. They’d both grown up in the poverty bracket, though at least her mother had always put food on the table and kept a clean house. He’d tried to be her defender from the time they were ten years old—though occasionally she’d punched a few kids for giving him a hard time. He just made her feel safe, like she’d come home. So if he rejected her once he realized she wasn’t going to turn into someone better suited for his lifestyle…she couldn’t even think about what that would do to her. Running from him had been total cowardice, but she’d been the one in the driver’s seat—in control. Now there was no escaping him. Not when he was standing right in front of her. “What exactly do you want?”

“A trial period. We live together and act like we’re fucking married.” His expression dark, his grip tightened again and that possessive look on his face turned her resolve to mush.

Iris swallowed hard and even though she worried she’d live to regret her decision, she nodded slowly. “Okay…but only after this job.” She had no clue how long it would end up being.

He got this triumphant look on his face, but before he could speak she pressed a finger to his lips. “I’m serious. I’ve still got a job to do. That doesn’t change. You’re in danger and I know I should step down as team leader because I’m emotionally invested, but I’m not going to. No one will protect you more than I can and I’m not leaving your side until this threat is eliminated. Whether I’m team leader or not, I’m glued to you.” Wyatt was just as trained as she was and was more than capable of protecting himself, but in a situation like this he needed to be focused on his job. Not worrying about people out to kill him.

She knew Wyatt wanted to argue, could see it in his eyes, but he held back. Okay, that said something all by itself. Internally, she let out a sigh of relief that this wouldn’t turn into an argument.

“Then you’re definitely sleeping in my—our—bed.” The triumphant look was back, all smug and masculine. Pure Wyatt.

Iris didn’t bother fighting her smile. “Is that all you ever think about?”

“Since we were fifteen.”

She blinked at his bold statement, taken completely off guard by the raw honesty of his words. He didn’t give her a chance to speak, just closed the distance between them in seconds. Before she realized what he intended his mouth was on hers, but rather than devour her, his kisses were soft and sweet. She could feel the pent up energy thrumming through him, despite the show of gentleness.

Her fingers curled against his chest as need swept through her like a tidal wave. He tensed, his body going rigid as her fingers tightened, but he kept up those sweet kisses. When they’d fallen into bed the first time over a month ago, things had been intense. Wyatt wasn’t a soft or romantic man. While he was incredibly giving as a lover, he was so rough around the edges. Of course she wouldn’t want him any other way, but right now his tenderness was freaking her out a little.

Hot, sweaty sex she could deal with. Hell, she craved it from him. This slowness…she didn’t know what to do with it. One of his hands slowly slid up her body, skating over her waist, arm and shoulder before he threaded his fingers through her hair. His hold wasn’t tight, but caressing as his tongue danced against hers.

Iris wasn’t sure what was wrong with her, but he had her feeling edgy and impatient. Sliding one hand down his chest and taut stomach, she didn’t stop until she reached the button of his pants. He’d changed out of his typical suit and now wore a comfortable T-shirt and jeans. She started to work the button free, but he pulled back.

His pale eyes appeared darker in the dim lighting of the pantry and his breathing was rough, uneven. He swallowed once as he stared at her. “No.”

She blinked, not sure if she understood. Since she didn’t trust her voice, she slid her hand down until she cupped his erection over his jeans.

He let out a pained sound. “Not…right now. Let me take this slow.”

Still unsure exactly what he meant, she slid her hand back up and linked her fingers together behind his neck. “How slow?” she murmured, loving the feel of her body pressed up against his. No matter what, her attraction to him was potent. It had always been there, lingering between them, but once they’d kissed, things had turned flammable in an instant. There had been no going back.

“I’m going to get you off with just my fingers,” he rasped out before dipping his head until his teeth and stubble rasped against her neck.

She arched into him, wanting to tell him to stop simply because they were in a pantry that wasn’t exactly private, but also wanting him to do exactly what he said. A month of using her hand and fantasizing about him was nothing compared to how he could pleasure her. She wouldn’t mind him using his mouth too. Iris’s nipples tingled with anticipation as Wyatt’s hand teased the hem of her button-down black blouse. With impressive speed, he deftly pulled all the buttons free.

Looking down at her chest, he slowly peeled the shirt open. Even though she hadn’t planned on anything, she’d worn one of the few non-utilitarian bras she owned. Black and purple lace covered her breasts, but left little to the imagination. It had been a gift from Wyatt, but he hadn’t seen her in it yet. By the look of pure hunger on his face, he certainly liked what he saw.

“You like the gift?” When he met her gaze there was a trace of uncertainty in his eyes, surprising her.

Maybe it was because he hadn’t seen her wearing it yet. She nodded, wanting to reassure him. Any sort of vulnerability from him shredded her. “I love it.”

He watched her then for a long moment and she forced herself not to squirm under that intense scrutiny.

Finally he spoke, taking her off guard with his raw sensuality. “I want to feel you coming around my fingers, then my tongue.” His words sounded starkly over pronounced in the small enclosure. He couldn’t even tear his gaze away from her breasts and she couldn’t seem to stop her erratic breathing.

Having his laser-like focus on her always made her weak in the knees. As his words penetrated the haze in her mind she wanted to shout that she wanted that too. She’d missed the feel of him teasing and stroking her to orgasm with nothing but his mouth and fingers—and she really missed doing the same to him. In the bedroom they never had any communication problems. He leaned down, his tongue skimming the top lace of the demi cup. “Wyatt—”

Panic slammed into her sharp and steady as she heard the jingle of the door handle. Iris shoved him to the side as the pantry door swung open. The only reason he moved so easily was because she’d taken him off guard and put a lot of force behind her push. He tipped off balance, cursing as he slammed into the shelves and knocked over cans of something. She ignored him and withdrew her weapon. A second later she slightly relaxed to find Ellie, Wyatt’s assistant, standing there. Her dark brown eyes widened as she stared down the barrel of the gun. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish a few times before Iris quickly sheathed her weapon behind her back. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Wyatt putting his own gun up. He might have security but he still protected himself. Something she found incredibly hot.

She inwardly cursed her shaking hands. Beyond embarrassed by her behavior, she wanted to kick her own ass. Yes, she might be ‘technically’ off duty right now, but if they were going to fool around, she should be upstairs behind a closed door with Wyatt. Not here right out in the open.

“I, uh, was just…” Ellie’s cheeks flushed bright pink, the color stark against her ivory skin.

Wyatt growled in annoyance as more things toppled to the floor behind them. “Did you need something from in here?” Iris asked with the little bit of normalcy she could muster.

The color in the woman’s cheeks deepened and she glanced off to the side and took a step back. “No, I need Mr. Christiansen for a call from London and he wasn’t answering his cell. I thought I heard someone in here but didn’t, uh…I can just come back.” She took another step back and Iris realized her top was still undone.

“Yes, why don’t you.” Wyatt bit out.

“No!” Avoiding his gaze, Iris started buttoning her top. “Ellie, if you need him, he’s all yours. We were just…” She had no idea how to finish that sentence without sounding like a jackass so she cleared her throat. “Wyatt, I’ll see you upstairs later.” Still ignoring him, she hurried out of the room. He snapped something at Ellie, making Iris cringe that he was taking his frustration out on his assistant, but she didn’t slow down.

She’d fought long and hard to be treated equally in this field. First, as a Marine she’d had to make it clear to pretty much every man she’d ever worked alongside that she wasn’t free to fuck. She’d had a job to do and sex always complicated everything. During her time in the Marines she’d practically lived like a nun. When she’d started with Red Stone she hadn’t had to fend off any unwanted advances, but she had needed to prove herself harder than any man did simply because of her gender.

One night under the same roof with Wyatt and she was acting like an idiot, threatening to compromise all the years of work it had taken her to gain that hard-won respect. They needed to get back on even footing and she had to make it clear that during the day or while she was working, no kissing and certainly no sex. Once they were in bed, however, was a different story. She had no idea if she wanted to stay married, but her feelings for him certainly hadn’t changed. They likely never would. When she’d been in the Marines they’d stayed in touch via emails, but once she’d gotten out and taken her job with Red Stone, they’d picked up right where they’d left off as teenagers. For the past two years she’d looked forward to those weekly phone calls with Wyatt more than she’d admit.