“Coming.” TJ cocked his head up at Harley, grinning at the double meaning.

Harley was still leaning against the door, unable to move. TJ righted her clothes for her while she just stood there breathing like a lunatic, shaky as hell. When he’d finished, he leaned into her again, forearms flat on the door on either side of her head, and with his mouth against hers, smiled, eyes warm. “Hi.”

Her lids felt heavy but she managed to look at him. “Hi.”

His hips were pinned to hers, pushing against her so that she could feel every solid inch of what was waiting for her, if they ever got that far. “I can’t believe you-that I-” She closed her eyes again and shook her head, desperately trying to slow her racing heart and put a thought together. “I’ve never been like this, you know. Never have been able to-”

“You’ve never come with a man before?”

Her eyes flew open and she met his steady, patient gaze. “No, I have. Of course I have, I just…not this easily.” She squeezed her eyes shut again. “It’s a problem.”

He frowned as he ran his thumb along her jaw. “Problem?”

“Every time you touch me, I…” She grimaced.

He smiled. “Come?”

“Yes!” She took a drag of air. “You have to stop that.”

“I don’t think I can.”

“You have to! It’s your turn!”

His eyes darkened. “Ever since you told me about that night at Long Lake, I’ve racked my brain trying to remember it, trying to make sure I didn’t hurt you, that your first time was memorable, and I can’t.” He shoved his fingers into his hair, standing there, arms up, taut and strained. “It’s been killing me.”

She gaped at him. “So is that what this has been? You trying to make it up to me?”

He didn’t answer but she saw the truth in his gaze, the soft regret, the heat and desire, and even more devastating, the affection, and it did the unexpected.

It softened her.

For once he seemed unable to read her. He was quietly watching her, and when she didn’t speak, he rubbed his bristly jaw to hers. “Are you okay?”

Funny, but she was. Maybe even better than okay. Sure, this probably was going to end in heartbreak, but that was for the future. She’d always lived for the damn future and she was tired of that. For once she was going to live in the moment.

And enjoy every single second of it.

At least for the next week anyway. Putting her hands to his biceps, she turned them, pressed him to the door, cupping his face to brush her mouth over his jaw. She was trying to find the words to tell him how okay she was, that he had nothing to make up for, but found herself distracted by how his body felt held between the door and hers, how deliciously hard he was.


Her hands slid down his chest and he groaned. She kept moving, over his belly, heading for gold.

“Goddammit, TJ!” came Nick’s voice through the door. “I’ve been out there alone for fifteen minutes. Those girls have grabbed me at least twice, and I think Annie went looking for her gun.”

“Fuck.” TJ let out a long, shuddery breath and straightened, jaw tight. “Ready?” he asked Harley.

“I am.” She glanced down at the huge bulge in front of his cargoes. “But I don’t know about you.”

“Baby, if I was any more ready, I’d bust out of my skin.” He closed his eyes. “Now don’t talk to me for a minute. I’ve got to picture somebody’s grandma naked.”

She heard the laugh burst out of her as his words bathed over her, infusing her with a power she’d never felt before. She’d never been sexually aggressive, so when she found herself reaching out and running a finger over his zipper, and the hot length beneath it, she shocked herself.

A sound of raw desire tore from deep in his throat. “Harley.”

She did it again.

With another one of those sexy growls, he grabbed her wrist and gulped some air in. “Not helping.” He opened the door and gently shoved her out in front of him. “Go.”

She looked at him over her shoulder, and he groaned again, squeezing his eyes shut.

She felt another surge of that power and confidence, and unable to hold it back, she smiled.

He took it in and helplessly matched it. “Killing me here, Harley. Killing me.”


Outside, TJ and Harley helped Nick load up the coeds and all the gear.

“About f**kin’ time,” Nick whispered over the top of the truck as they tied on the kayaks. “Jesus, what the hell were you two doing in there?”

“Do we need to have the birds and bees talk again?”

Nick rolled his eyes. “But the closet? With Harley? Seriously, what is it with you guys?”

“Hey, I seem to remember you and Annie just last week in the snowcat.”

“That’s different.”

“Really? How?”

“Well…” Nick scratched his head. “We’re old married farts.”

“You just turned forty. Not exactly ready for the senior home.”

“Just trying to keep it interesting. Besides, Annie attacked me. It’s the pregnancy hormones or something. I can’t keep up with her. She’s like a cat in heat. She wakes me up in the middle of the night to-”

“Stop!” TJ covered his ears. “Christ. I do not want to hear this.”