He scrubbed his face with a hand, took a deep breath.
Finn grabbed a spare shirt and a few other goodies. He set off for the flat as the sun sank low and the violet of evening set in. His heavy pack aggravated his shoulder, but it was ful of the required supplies.
Moaning started in the west. Something close answered the cal . He picked up the pace, put his gun in hand. The first star twinkled overhead. Shit. Where the hell was his head at?
He had taken too long. Been careless.
He was sprinting by the time he turned onto the rutted gravel lane leading toward home. The pack bounced about on his back, which the gunshot wound did not appreciate. He hadn’t secured the pack properly, not for this. So careless.
There were noises behind him, back at the corner.
He kicked up dust as he pounded down the dirt driveway, along the side of the house and through a hastily thrown-open doorway.
Someone had been watching for him. What a feeling. Home. Safety.
The door slammed shut and the lock was thrown behind him.
Finn dropped to his knees, eased the pack off slowly. His shoulder throbbed in time with his heart.
“What the fuck were you doing?” He glanced up to find Al towering, hands on hips. Her was a flat, unhappy line. Fury radiated from her. “It’s nearly ful dark. What were you thinking?”
Finn just blinked at her, stunned.
Dan gave him a careless shrug. The big man lounged on the couch, feet crossed at the ankles. And not that Finn wouldn’t do similar should their roles be reversed, but good God, what an asshole.
Actually, what bullshit. Finn would have tried to talk her down and assured her everything was fine, when time and again it clearly wasn’t. That was about when he realized this situation wasn’t working. Not for him.
And it if wasn’t working then it was time to fix it.
“I was worried about you. You were gone for hours. It’s dark outside, Finn. You could have been hurt. Or kil ed. Did you even think of that?” She stood taller than a tower, righteous indignation blazing in her eyes. “What the fuck were you doing that was so important it was worth risking your life for? Well?”
Normally, he would never have stuck around for shit like this, but from her … a large part of him loved it. Her going toe-to-toe with him, taking him on. She did the same with Daniel, and Finn wanted in. The fishwife tone was even worryingly endearing. Al of this, however, did not mean she was getting away with it.
“I was getting supplies, Al, just like I said I would,” he said lightly. “What’s the problem here?”
The woman slammed her lips shut and crossed her arms over her heaving breasts. The same ones he was developing a serious fixation on. He had found her a t-shirt a size too smal , solely for the chance to magnify those babies. He’d feed her some bullshit about the lack of appropriate sizing, not much caring if she believed him. The shirt would be worn because the current one was trashed.
Some things in life were simple. But this was not.
“I thought you’d appreciate some private time with Dan. Did I get that wrong?” he continued, nice and calm, keeping everything off his face. Unlike her. Frustration poured off her in waves. There were red spots high on her cheeks. She was flammable. “What do you want?”
Her gaze fled to Daniel, her safety blanket. Of course. Finn almost groaned in frustration.
But the odds were, the man wasn’t going to interfere, not with this. After a long moment, she reached the same conclusion. Her shoulders sloped and the gray of her eyes brightened as if in disbelief.
“What do you want from me, Al?”
She watched her boot toe at the carpet, rubbing at the gnarled pile. A large part of her bravado appeared to have fled. “Finn …”
“No excuses. What do you want?”
Her gaze lifted at his harsh tone. She looked stricken. “Finn …”
He didn’t know where she was going with pleading his name, but it didn’t matter. He was done with it. “No.”
He took the irrevocable step forward till they really were toe-to-toe, cradled her face in his hands. Ignoring the flinch, the way her mouth snapped shut. “No, Al. We’re not doing this anymore.”
Finn brushed his mouth over hers, the barest whisper of contact. Not sure if she was even breathing, her body so tense. He slid his fingers down her arms, gripped her hands and placed them right where he needed them. She shut her eyes tight, and her fingers fisted in his shirt, dragging at the bandage on his shoulder.
He didn’t mind.
Their mouths were so close he could feel the warmth of her breath on his lips. He wanted to kiss her like he might die sometime soon.
Which was the truth. He might. She might. Some random act could wipe them out any day now.
Finn wasn’t going out without having had her first. Not even if he had to do some pleading himself. “Say it.”
She said nothing. Not a single thing.
Nothing, and then everything.
Finn was like a giant magnet, the pul of him irresistible. Or beyond her control.
Ali clung onto his shirt and her body swayed into his.
Such a small space to cross. Miniscule, unimportant and momentous all rolled up into one.
His lips covered hers, and she opened her mouth to him. The only thing she could do.
She wanted him.
Finn kissed her til her head spun. He plundered her mouth and his hands slid through her hair, pulling lightly. He pressed his mouth against her jaw, down into the crook of her neck, breathing deep before dragging his tongue over sensitive skin, raising goose pimples.
Everything he did turned her into a weak-willed mess of a woman. A woman who had no compunction about being involved with two men at once.
“Open your eyes,” he murmured in her ear, teeth sinking into the lobe in a sweet sting of a bite. He made it all so good. Her body was buzzing, heat taking her over. This was actually going to happen. The knowledge made her giddy. “Say it. Tell me what you want.”
With complete honesty, she told him. “I want you.”
“You want him too,” said Finn. He looked at Dan. The hands threaded into her hair, cupping her head, prevented her from following suit. “No. Answer me.”
She wasn’t going to lie to him now, but her response took a while. Some things were hard to own up to, suburban middle-class background notwithstanding. “Yes.”
“He’s right. You are greedy.” Finn tucked her in against his neck, the scent of him perfect. Warm and heady and al male, her fingers pawed at him, wanting in. And yet, there was something going on behind her back, some communication passing between Dan and Finn. The hands fisted in her hair weren’t permitting her to see.
“Finn.” She pushed against the wall of his chest, and the fingers in her hair tightened as he rubbed his cheek against hers like a big cat.
The tenderness in direct contrast to the hold he had on her hair. The whole thing working far too well. “Finn, what’s going on?”
“I think our boy has a point to prove,” Daniel provided when it became obvious Finn wasn’t going to. “He shouldn’t worry so much.
There will be times when I’m not in the mood for sharing either.”
Finn’s sighed. “Tell me this isn’t just a one off, Al.”
“No.” Hard to tel if it was a question or statement but Ali shook her head, as far as his grip allowed. Her body wanted him, but so did her heart. “It’s not.”
Finn’s grip on her eased at those words and his fingers rubbed at her scalp, soothing instead of inciting. He winced as his shoulders rose on some great intake of air, like he had been deep underwater and had surfaced. He eased back. She could only stare at him, the light green of his eyes much darker now than normal. There was an edge of desperation, a sense of being lost. Two emotions she knew intimately. Her heart ached for him.
“Good,” he said.
But then Finn returned his attention to Dan. The pissing contest going on behind her back needed to stop. The air was getting thin.
She was nervous enough already.
Daniel had made his decision. Finn had made his. Last, if not least, she had made hers. No going back now.
Ali reached up to press her lips to Finn’s, snagging his attention. She opened her lips, sliding her tongue into his mouth, slipping past teeth, taking it slow. Seducing him.
Finn coaxed her mouth open wider and took over. He didn’t ease into it. Daniel had warned her. Finn enjoyed being in control.
His hands held her, keeping her where he wanted her. Giving and taking. Where Daniel played, Finn took. Both ways apparently worked for her.
The low ache in her belly escalated, flooding her pussy and curling her toes. She could feel him hard and ready against her, making her al the more excited. She wanted to climb him like a tree, wrap her body around him and not let go. Her legs trembled and every nerve in her seemed set alight.
He kissed her long and deep, teasing her mouth with his own. He drugged her more effectively than any chemical. It was a little scary to react to him this strong and fast, the same way she did to Daniel.
It proved all the worst things she had imagined about herself. Someone needed to run her out of town, pin a nice big red “A” on her chest. Pity the only two people around to see it seemed to be encouraging the behavior.
Ali couldn’t get close enough, fast enough. Her hands roamed far and wide over smooth hot skin. It was hard to remember to be wary of his shoulder. His mouth slid over her jaw line, nipped at her ear. The pinch of his teeth sent a shudder down her spine and a gasp from her mouth. Her cunt ached.
There hadn’t been any conscious thought about climbing him bodily, but she obviously had been. And he came to her aid.
“Come here.” His hands cupped her ass and lifted, and her legs wrapped around his hips. Finn pushed off from the door, staggering toward the small bedroom with her wrapped around him, strangler-vine style. She looked over his shoulder, holding on tight.
On the couch, Daniel watched with his hands behind his head. Her boyfriend. Her man. Holy shit. He gave a small self-satisfied smile right before Finn kicked the bedroom door closed behind them.