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She nodded and he was sure he saw relief in her expression as she said, “Okay.”

Well, hell. Looked like they were back to square one.

* * * * *

Charlotte pulled out a bottle of wine from Kell’s pantry. She’d fed Reece before they arrived and she’d pumped enough for the rest of the night that she could savor a little wine. Right now she needed it. After two weeks without Kell she wasn’t sure what her reception from him would be. The last time she’d seen him she’d still been basking in the glow of the orgasm he’d given her.

She almost felt like a teenager right now, worried and nervous being around him. The one night they’d spent together had been amazing, but it had been all about the sex. Now real life was in their faces. They had a baby, were living under the same roof, and man, the way Kell looked at her was enough to short-circuit her brain. She didn’t want a relationship based on lust since that would fade. And she was terrified of the feelings he evoked in her because deep down, she knew it was more than lust.

As she popped the cork, she felt more than heard Kell. When she glanced over her shoulder she saw that he was alone. A thread of panic spooled through her. She’d been hoping he’d have Reece with him so she’d have that barrier. “Where’s Reece?” Oh Lord, did her voice just shake?

“He’s asleep.” Kell leaned against the doorframe of the kitchen entry, watching her with those pale green eyes. He looked huge, imposing and made her feel unsettled.

Unnerved, she turned away and began to pour a glass. When some of the red liquid sloshed onto the counter she cursed her unsteadiness. Before she could grab a rag to clean it up, Kell was behind her, sliding his strong hands down her arms until his fingers covered hers. With his chest against her back she could feel the steady beat of his heart. She’d missed him and wanted nothing more than to lean back in his embrace.

Slowly, gently, he nipped her earlobe with his teeth, making her shiver in awareness. “Why are you acting nervous around me?” he murmured.

She let out a shaky laugh. “I’m not.” Okay, that was lame. She didn’t know why she was denying it.

“Hmmm.” He didn’t say anything more, just began a slow procession of kisses across the back of her neck. Lifting her hair as he moved, he kissed, licked, and gently raked his teeth over her sensitive skin until he reached her other earlobe. He pressed down just a little harder on that one. “Don’t lie to me, Charlotte. What’s going on?”

Her traitorous body flared to life with need as his deep voice rolled over her. When one of his hands slid up the front of her sweater, splaying across her stomach, she shuddered. Her abdomen muscles tightened in anticipation. How did he expect her to think when he was touching her?

“I’ve missed you.” His mouth was right next to her ear, his breath warm against her skin.

“Me too.” Probably too much. That scared the hell out of her. She didn’t want to get used to having him in her life because she was afraid things wouldn’t work out.

“The first time I saw you, you were wearing a bright red summer dress.” His voice was a warm caress around her entire body. “When I saw you at the Garcia party, it reminded me of that first time.”

He remembered what she’d been wearing the first time he’d seen her? She could barely remember her name right now. The sweetness of that totally stripped the rest of her meager defenses against him. He’d been so cool and remote the first time they’d met. “Oh.”

His chuckle against her skin had a dark edge to it. His free hand joined his other one, grasping at the edge of her sweater. She started to turn, but he pressed his back against her, flattening her against the counter. “Don’t move until I say.”

Okay, then. She could definitely do that. The command in his voice sent a thrill through her. As he slowly began lifting her sweater up, she moved her arms when he told her to. Cool air rushed over her skin as he tossed her sweater onto the counter.

“I wanted to lift that summer dress up, bend you over the nearest surface and pound into you until neither of us could walk.” His hands settled on her hips as his lips began a light trail of kisses down her spine.

Her inner walls clenched, needing to be filled by him. Breathing raggedly, she closed her eyes as his mouth moved down her back. It had been too long since she’d been with him and her body was tense with an unfulfilled hunger. The orgasm from a couple weeks ago had been wonderful, but she wanted more.

“When I realized you were taken I kept my distance. But then I found out how fucking sweet you were and couldn’t stay away.” His voice was raspy, unsteady. “I knew being friends with you would kill me, but I wanted you in my life any way I could get you. I felt like scum wanting someone else’s wife, but I couldn’t help it. There was no avoiding what I felt for you.” Though she couldn’t see him, he had to be on his knees now. His lips feathered over the skin right above her covered butt.

His raw confession shattered through her like glass, completely flaying her open. She’d had no idea he’d felt this way. Maybe she should have after the intense way he’d made love to her that night. “Kell—”

“Don’t say anything. I just wanted you to know.” His hands moved around to her front again, and in seconds he had her jeans off so that she was standing there in just her bra and panties.

She risked a glance over her shoulder to find him pushing up from his kneeling position. His pale eyes seemed darker, more intense, and his five o’clock shadow gave him a sexy, edgy quality that had her quivering with the need to jump him right there. Not to mention what he’d just admitted to her. She wanted to tell him how she felt, that she’d fallen hard for him. The house was fairly quiet, the only other noise the soft music he had playing trailing in from the living room.

She turned to face him. “Kell, I—”

“No. Talking.” That was when she saw the vulnerability in his eyes. As if he was afraid of what she might say.

Before she could string more than a few words together, his fingers flexed around her hips and he lifted her onto the counter. With practically no clothing on, she felt so damn exposed and a little nervous about his reaction to her body. Before she’d been stretched out on the bed and the lighting had been sexy but they were under the bright lights of the kitchen. Nothing sexy about that. There was no hiding every little flaw she had.

When Kell let out a shudder, his gaze raking over her entire body from head to toe with an almost reverent look, something inside her cracked open. Beneath that worshipful gaze, she felt beautiful, cherished. Kell was everything she’d ever wanted in a man. Hell, more than she’d imagined.

Disobeying his order, she reached out to wrap her hand around the back of his neck and met his mouth in a hungry, frenzied kiss. She couldn’t stop herself. The need to have him inside her, filling her, was too much. She was already so wet it was almost embarrassing and she wanted him to claim her in the way only he’d ever done. She wanted to be completely dominated by him, to watch his cock pumping in and out of her and to see his face as he climaxed inside her.

As their tongues stroked and teased each other, a loud pounding made her freeze. At first she couldn’t figure out what the sound was until reality slowly registered. Someone was pounding on his front door. Kell cursed under his breath, his features murderous. “Someone better be dead,” he muttered as he tore away from her.

Charlotte slid off the counter and started dressing as he continued cursing and practically stomped from the room. She figured it was one of the security guys she knew was still watching the house and she agreed with Kell. Someone better be freaking dead. She was so primed for Kell right now she knew it wouldn’t take much for her to climax. Her nipples tightened pleasurably at the thought.

That feeling disappeared as she heard a loud female voice shouting. After making sure her clothes were on straight, Charlotte hurried out of the room toward the front of the house.

The front door was open and Kell was on the porch, his hands on the shoulders of the same blonde woman she’d seen leaving his house a few weeks ago. She wore a skimpy green dress despite the cooler weather, her mascara was smeared and by her glassy eyes she looked drunk or high on something. And she was shouting in Kell’s face, her words nonsensical, as he tried to hold her away from him.

One of the security guys who’d guarded Charlotte last week was behind the woman, a black streak of paint or dirt across his entire face. What the hell had happened?

Charlotte had no clue what was going on, but turned to find her phone to call the police when the blonde spotted her. Her eyes filled with rage. “I’ve been fucking your boyfriend the past couple weeks whore, where have you been?”

Charlotte froze at the vile words, feeling as if she’d been slapped. When her dead husband’s mistress had confronted her she’d been blindsided. Not because she was surprised by his infidelity but because of the animosity of the strange woman. It was the same now as the blonde continued screaming obscenities. For a brief moment, old insecurities bubbled up inside her, but she knew there was no way in hell that Kell had been with anyone the past couple weeks. Not after the way he’d just laid himself bare. Maybe she was stupid, but she trusted this man more than she ever had another man.

Kell cursed again as he and the other man hauled the woman away from the front door. Charlotte quickly shut it, not wanting that maniac anywhere near her son, then she quickly found her cell. As she was wrapping up her call with the police dispatcher, Kell opened the front door, the collar of his shirt distended and scratches on his neck. Her eyes widened in worry, but he gave a sharp shake of his head.

“I’ll be back in a sec.” He disappeared down the hall, then was back outside again.

Following him only as far as the entryway, Charlotte watched as he slid plastic tie things on her wrists. Whatever they were they must be sturdy because the woman couldn’t seem to break them. Though she was certainly trying.

Kell turned, his gaze locking on hers. “Stay inside.”