He turned her to face him. “Beautiful,” he repeated in a low tone, in his authoritative voice, the one that could make coeds jump to attention, and women the world over want to please him.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” she said, and smiled to lighten the moment.

He didn’t return the smile.

Suddenly she wanted to see his eyes. She reached up, tugged off his reflective sunglasses, and caught her breath. He was being serious. Dead serious. Lifting her hand, she ran a finger over his unsmiling mouth until he took her hand and kissed her palm.

Her belly quivered, and again, she ran a finger over his lips.

He bit the pad of it, and even as she gasped, he soothed the ache by slowly sucking it into his mouth.

Her knees liquefied.

He sucked again, a strong sip, the muscles of his jaw working, and she felt every single bone melt right out of her body. “TJ.”

He let her finger slowly pull from his mouth with a soft suction sound. “Yeah?” he said, gravel in his voice.

She stared up into his eyes and ended up shaking her head. “I can’t remember.”

With a soft chuckle, he moved away to strip out of everything but his board shorts so it could all dry while he worked to get camp set up. Harley moved to help him with the girls’ tent, but he was so efficient, she ended up just watching him.

She couldn’t help it.

No red-blooded woman could have.

“Problem?” he asked, shoving his damp hair back and glancing over at her.

“No.” Her eyes roamed over his body. The wet board shorts were molded to him, leaving little to the imagination, and her mouth actually watered.

He looked at her curiously, then down at himself. “What?”

Oh good Lord. To be half that utterly clueless and easy in her own skin…“Nothing!” She gathered wood for a fire, thinking she could probably start one off her own body heat alone, but that didn’t happen. It took three Frito chips, but she was feeling quite proud of herself, a feeling that turned into something else entirely when she found TJ watching her.

“Nice job,” he said as the fire flickered and crackled warmly, bathing his face in the soft glow, revealing the intensity of his eyes, his expression one that she’d never seen before.

“Only required three chips,” she told him a little breathlessly, and held up the bag. “More to eat.”

He smiled at her, the kind that tended to melt her bones.

Bad bones.

As the sun set, everyone pulled on dry clothes and cleaned themselves up. TJ stood at the fire, barbequing in a white long-sleeved Henley, faded Levi’s, and bare feet, looking more appetizing than the salmon Nick had dropped for them.

Everyone ate as if they’d never eaten before, then the girls spent a few minutes complaining about sore muscles and how exhausted they were before disappearing into their tent, leaving Harley and TJ alone by the fire.

“You saved my ass today,” he told her. “Thanks for coming.”

“You’d have been fine.”

“I’d have lost my mind.” He slipped an arm around her and pulled her in closer so that their thighs and hips touched. “Although I’ve been losing my mind anyway.”


He just looked at her, eyes hot.

Right. Harley: three orgasms. TJ: zero.


Nighttime in the Sierras was impressive. High mountain peaks cast black shadows over trees, as tall as skyscrapers, that whistled softly in the dark. The moon rose, painting everything in a soft blue glow.

The coeds had long ago quieted down in their tent. All that could be heard was soft snoring. Harley still sat next to TJ, incredibly aware of his heat, his strength. The log beneath them was long and yet they sat so close she couldn’t have fit a piece of paper between them.

TJ leaned forward to poke a long stick into the fire and with minimal effort coaxed the flames back to life. Sitting back, brushing against her as he did, he met her gaze.

And her body hummed. She knew his did, too. It shimmered in the night between them.

No matter what she told herself, there was something between them. Something uncontrolled, which should have scared her.

Instead, it turned her on.

He’d given her his support in Desolation, and when she’d wanted it, also his help. He’d given her a job this weekend. She knew he’d give her anything she wanted. But in that moment, all she wanted was to give him something.

Something of herself.

“Think they’re out for the night?” she whispered.

“Christ, I hope so. Why?”

She just looked at him.

His eyes widened, and she realized she’d managed to do what few ever did-surprise him.

When he spoke, his voice was low and husky, and basically sex on a stick. “Teasing me right now is not a good idea.”

“I’m not teasing.”

He closed his eyes. “Harley.”

She knew watching her come tended to shatter his control. She wondered if watching him come would do the same to her.

She was betting it would, since just thinking about it made her ni**les hard. Without a word, she got up and walked to the tent. “You girls need anything?” she whispered through the zippered door.

No answer.

She walked back to the campfire. TJ hadn’t moved. He was still sitting there, watching her, cast in the flickering light of the fire’s glow. He had a few strands of sun-kissed hair falling over his forehead, curling past his collar. He’d gotten some sun, making his green eyes all the more striking.