Author: Jill Shalvis

She simply kissed the other corner of his mouth.

So sweet, he thought. So warm. “Ali, I can’t—”

“Be civil. I know.” She straddled him. “So don’t. Be you, Luke. And let me be whatever you need.”

He was staggered. “I won’t use you.”

“I wouldn’t let you,” she said simply, and pulled off her tank top, leaving her in a pink bra and gauzy skirt. She unhooked her bra and let it fall away.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, but it didn’t matter. His body didn’t need to see her, she was already imprinted on his brain. “I’m leaving in a couple of days,” he said. “I have to be back in San Francisco this weekend.”


Beautiful, satiny, smooth skin, sweet curves…His hands came up and cupped her breasts, his thumbs brushing over the tips.

She sighed in pleasure, and he figured it was a good thing he was sitting down, because she knocked the wind from him, every time he was with her. “Be sure, Ali.”

Pulling back, she smiled into his gaze, eyes calm and direct. No sign of the nerves that suddenly lived in his gut.

“Don’t worry.” Her lips were close enough to brush over his with every word. “I know what this is.”

Oh, thank Christ she knew. Because he sure as hell didn’t.

Very gently, she pulled his shirt up and off, humming her approval as her hands slid over his chest. Her hips rocked, the core of her pressing down on his erection. He groaned and leaned in, pressing his face to her heart.

“I also know what this isn’t,” she murmured, her hands sliding into his hair to hold him at her breast.

When the words sank in, he started to pull back, but she tightened her grip. “I’m going to rock your world, Detective Lieutenant Luke Hanover, and you’re going to rock mine.”

He didn’t know how she did it. She took him outside himself and made him feel nothing but in the moment, with her. Turning his head, he ran his tongue over her nipple, loving the way she sighed in pleasure, melting against him.

“And then,” she said huskily, breathing heavy, “we’re going to go back to being just friends.”

They were friends, he realized with some surprise, though he had no real clue as to how or when that had actually happened. But it had, so her words disturbed him because they weren’t just friends.

Not even close.

If they did this again, now that they’d become even more emotionally invested in each other, it’d be far more mind blowing than just rocking each other’s world. He already knew that.

Did she?

She looked into his eyes, her own warm and full of emotion, so much emotion that his throat tightened. Yeah, she knew.

And yet she was once again putting him first, ahead of her own problems.

It was going to be hell to walk away from her while wanting more and knowing he couldn’t have it.

Wouldn’t have it.

But he didn’t have the strength to go yet. He wanted this. For right now, he wanted nothing else. They could have this, he told himself, and they could keep it just what it was. Light. Easy.

But even he recognized the lie.

She kissed his jaw. “Looking pretty serious for a man who’s got a sure thing in his lap, half naked,” she murmured.

She was right. He slid his hands up her slim back, urging her to lean into him so that they were chest to chest. He kissed her shoulder and then nipped the spot.


She was already panting a little, rocking her hips, stroking his ego—among other things. He nipped her again, a little harder, and then made a move for her nipple again, sucking her into his mouth. The hungry sound she made egged him on, and so did the way she tightened her fingers in his hair with every little tug of his mouth.

“Luke. Please, Luke.”

Oh yeah, he was going to please. He pushed the hem of her skirt up to her waist. “Hold this.”

She reached for it reflexively, freeing up his hands. Running the pad of his finger over her tiny, sky blue cotton panties, he caught the material and scraped them aside, giving him a view that made him groan out her name. She was wet and glistening. For him.

She rocked against him again, and he tore open his board shorts, giving himself some desperately needed room.

“Oh,” she whispered, all breathy, staring down at him with flattering raptness.

He reached for her, then stilled, letting out a long string of oaths. “No condom,” he managed.

“I’m on the pill.”

Her trust meant more to him than he could have possibly imagined. But how the hell was he supposed to keep this light when everything about it felt more like…everything?

She was still holding her skirt up like he’d asked, and it was the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. Pulling her in, he wrapped his arms around her, kissing her deeply, wondering why he even bothered to keep his distance. There was no distance with her. None.

She returned his kisses with wild abandon. “It’s crazy…” she whispered against his mouth, “what you do to me.”

“Tell me,” he said. “Tell me what I do to you.”

“You look at me like I’m the best thing you’ve seen all day. You make me feel…I don’t know. Pretty. Sexy. And important to you. You make me feel, Luke.”

She was all those things to him. And she made him feel too. She made him feel so fucking much that his heart was going to burst through his ribs. “Ali,” he breathed, and then slanted his mouth across hers. He’d meant to just make a quick connection, but she moved with him, taking the kiss hotter, deeper, pressing her body to his.

It turned him inside out and upside down and sideways. She was all he’d thought about, dreamed about since he’d returned home, her hot, curvy bod, warm, soft skin, her wild hair flowing over his shoulders and arms. She murmured his name like he was the best thing that had happened to her all day, and he gave himself up to her, sucking on her lower lip, sliding his tongue to hers, ravishing her until they were both trembling. “Raise up,” he said, voice hoarse.

She eagerly scrambled up, giving him the room he needed to slide into her. The sensation of filling her rocked his world. Hers too, if her wild breathing meant anything. Holding still, giving her a moment to adjust, was the hardest thing he’d ever done.

“I love that too,” she whispered.

He kissed the frantically beating pulse at the base of her neck. “What?”

“The feel of you.” She arched against him wordlessly, demanding more. “Your mouth on me.”

He made his way along her jaw to just beneath her ear. “What else?”

With a shiver, she tightened her grip on his hair. He didn’t care if she made him bald, as long as she didn’t let go. “That you know my sweet spots.”

“You’re one big, sweet spot.”

She bit his lower lip, and when he sucked in a breath, she laughed at him softly.

He laughed too. Laughed, while so close to her that he could feel her heart beating. It was the most amazing thing he’d ever experienced. Cupping her sweet ass in his palms, he thrust into her.

She stopped laughing and moaned his name again as her own movements brought her closer to the edge.

“God, Ali,” he said, voice low and thick. He couldn’t help it, watching her take her pleasure on him was turning him on so much he could hardly draw a breath. “You’re so beautiful. Every time I see you, I just want to drag you down and have my way with you.” Her hips were driving him insane, and he tightened his grip, trying to slow her down so he didn’t lose it in a spectacularly embarrassing fashion.

But she obviously thought his control was of the superhuman variety, because she cupped his face and leaned in, letting her breasts lightly brush his chest again. She smiled at him, the hot little minx.

He smiled back.

And then they were kissing, devouring each other, lost in the moment. He knew she was close, straining for it. Wanting to watch her, wanting to push her over the edge, he stroked a thumb over the sweetest of all her sweet spots.

She tore her mouth free to pant for air, gripping his wrist to hold him there.

Stroking her both inside and out, he watched as she began to tremble.


“I know.”

“Don’t stop.”

“I won’t.”

She came, flying over the edge with his name on her lips. He tried to hold on, tried to hold back, but it was too late. He was lost. Lost, and yet somehow found. It was as simple and terrifying as that.

Chapter 18

Luke concentrated on dragging air back into his lungs. He was still in the kitchen chair, with Ali’s dead weight on his chest. Maybe one day they’d actually make it to his bed.

Except they weren’t going to have a “one day.”

Ali hadn’t moved at all. Luke stroked a hand down her back, relieved to feel her breathing. “I didn’t kill you then.”

“Death by orgasm,” she murmured, still not moving. “Not a bad way to go.” But after another long moment, she sighed, rose, and began to put herself back together, covering up that amazing body.

A damn shame.

Luke managed to find his legs and took their plates to the sink. When he turned back, he caught her staring at his ass.

She blushed. “You have some dirt on it, that’s all.”

“I was sitting on the dock.”

“Talking to your grandfather.”

“Eavesdropping again?” he asked.

“No, since I couldn’t hear the words.” She paused. “But the body language said plenty. Are you close to him? It’s hard to tell.”

“Used to be.” He paused. “I thought he blamed me for my grandma’s death.”

“Oh Luke,” she murmured. “No.”

He shrugged. The truth was the truth.

“And now?” she asked.

“He says he was mad at me for leaving Lucky Harbor.”

She came close, invading his space, running her hands up his chest to cup his face. He wasn’t buried deep inside her body, but the gesture was just as powerful. “Her death wasn’t your fault,” she said.