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He crossed the gap between them in two long strides. His shadow fell over her. His hand grasped her shoulders, pulled her to her feet.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

He crushed his mouth to hers. His hands grasped her hips and pulled her body to his, every inch of him hard and lean. There was no bulkiness to his frame. He had the body of an endurance athlete. If the previous kiss had been warm, this one needed to be measured in degrees Kelvin.

One hand circled to her back, stroking up and down her bare skin. “I need you.”

Desire crowded out Hannah’s doubts. She pressed her body against his, skin sliding over skin, heat meeting heat.

He backed her toward the bed. Her legs hit the edge of the mattress. She fell backward, pulling Brody on top of her. They tumbled onto the duvet.

Brody’s mouth cruised over her, his hands covering the skin his lips weren’t touching, as if he couldn’t get enough of her. He kissed her breasts. Heat blasted through her. Her hand closed around him then moved around to cup his balls. A masculine groan rumbled through his chest.

He lifted his head. One arm reached for the nightstand. He opened the drawer and pulled out a small package of condoms. Shock and horror crossed his face.

“What’s wrong?”

“They’re expired.” He sighed. “It’s been a while.”

“Let me check my bag. We might get lucky.” Hannah pushed off the bed. She went into the bathroom, where she’d left her purse. She unzipped the small compartments. Damn. Not there.

“Might?” He called from the bedroom.

“It’s not like I use them by the dozen.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that.”

Purse in hand, she went back into the bedroom and rooted in her handbag for her tiny cosmetic bag. She could feel his eyes on her. She looked back at him. He’d rolled onto his back, one arm over his head on the pillow, his body stretched out like a buffet. A sexy grin full of male appreciation spread across his face.

She paused. “What are you thinking?”

“That you should do everything naked.”

The laugh eased her nerves. Kneeling, she pulled the nylon case out and opened the clasp. Her hand went to the small zippered compartments in the lining. She swept her fingers inside. “Bingo.” Thankfully, her cosmetic case hadn’t fit in the small evening bag that was stolen in Vegas.

Grasping the foil pouch, she moved back to the bed. “But I only have one.”

“Then we’d better make the most of it.” He reached for her.

Condom in hand, she crawled across the bed and straddled him. His hands encircled her waist, caressing the sensitive skin from her hips to her ribs. She opened the condom and sheathed him. Lowering her torso, she pressed their bodies together. Their lips met. His tongue was slick and hot as it slid between her lips. She could imagine it stroking other sensitive parts of her body.

The mad condom search had defused her. The heat built again, slower and steadier this time, marathon versus sprint. His hands were gentle, sure and clever, sliding, caressing.

A fingertip slipped inside her and sent her desire into a free fall. She lifted her head. “Brody . . .”

“Mm.” The finger withdrew and circled.

“Any time now.” She tried to sit up to grind against him, but a hand on her lower back held her in place.

“No way. I’m just getting started. We only have the one, remember?”

“I’ll buy more.” She pressed against his hand.

“Patience.” His teeth grazed her throat.

“Oh.” The exclamations slipped from her lips as control slipped from her grasp. Her hips rocked, the movements guided by pure physical sensation, by instinct. A primal groan vibrated in Hannah’s chest. The sound that poured from her throat felt alien. He took her to the edge and held her there. Sweat broke out over her body. Pleasure built to an almost unbearable level, heat flowing from her core, through her thighs and radiating outward.

Hannah’s breaths quickened. Her spine arched. Her head lifted. A helpless sound escaped. “Brody. Please.”

He rolled her to her back. His gaze locked with hers as he slid inside her. He paused. There was more than sexual pleasure in the warm, brown depths of his eyes. He lowered his head and kissed her. Some unnamed emotions, raw and powerful, poured from him. He filled all the empty spaces inside her.

“More.” She tilted her hips to take all of him. Her legs wrapped around his rib cage. He synced his rhythm to the movements of her body, driving her higher, until the air locked in Hannah’s lungs and the arches of her feet cramped.

“Please.” She didn’t recognize the breathless plea as her own voice.

Brody surged, his thrusts shifting from controlled and deliberate to instinctive. Harder. Faster.

Watching him lose control pushed her higher. Hannah bowed back, her hips fusing to his as the tension inside her broke. She pulsed around him, still hard and thick inside her, drawing out her orgasm.

His body went rigid. He seated himself deep inside her and shuddered. He lowered his chest and buried his face in the side of her neck.

Hannah concentrated on breathing. Her lungs craved oxygen. The wave of emotions building in her chest tightened her breaths, a potent and heady mixture of fear and elation.

This was happening too fast, and yet there didn’t seem to be any way to stop it. She needed time to process the day. The week. The year.

She poked him in the ribs. “I can’t breathe.”

“Sorry.” He rolled to his side, his chest still heaving.

Sweat coated Hannah’s skin. “I need another shower.”

He grinned down at her. “We only had the one. I wanted to make it count.”

Her heart swelled.

Brody threw his head back and laughed. “I’ll buy a case tomorrow.”

“Good idea.” Happiness bloomed inside Hannah. The emotions felt strange, as if it had been a very long time since she’d experienced it. So long she barely recognized it. She held it close. In her life, joy was rare and elusive. Not that she was an inherently unhappy person, but Fate had a way of snatching happiness just before she had it in her grasp. She was more familiar with suffering, determination, and fortitude than joy. Barretts barreled over obstacles, and they didn’t stop to appreciate their triumphs. Another impediment always lingered on the horizon, waiting to be overcome.

“How can you be so calm after all that happened today?”

“Maybe today made me realize I need to appreciate every moment of happiness. Life is uncertain. Bad things will happen, and that makes the good times all the more precious.” And with that he kissed her, as if she were the most precious thing of all.

“I’ll be right back.” Brody got up and strode into the bathroom. Watching him, she drank in the sight of his naked body.

Hannah settled back on the pillows, determined to savor every second with Brody. It was only a matter of time before she would be back at work. The thought of leaving Scarlet Falls disturbed her instead of filling her with relief. The feelings that Brody elicited from her were simultaneously terrifying and beautiful. Most of the time, she didn’t think about her personal life. Professional ambition directed her decisions. Like all things rare and precious, personal happiness was fleeting.

He sat down on the bed, and she curled against him. “I don’t have much time.”

He’d barely gotten the words out when his phone vibrated.

He picked up his phone. “Excuse me.” He got up and walked toward the window. “Yes, sir. I was just getting cleaned up. I’ll be right there.”

“I’m sorry.” He went back to the bathroom and picked up his toothbrush. “That was the chief. I have to go back to work.”

“Right now?”

“Ten minutes ago.” Brody sighed.

“It’s all right.” Hannah stood. “I have to meet with the prosecutor about Lee’s case early in the morning. I should go home.”

“I wish I could stay.”

“Me, too.” She glanced at the pile of wet clothes in the hallway. “Do you mind if I wear your clothes home?”

“Not at all.” He went to the closet and started dressing while Hannah went downstairs and found the dog’s leash on the kitchen table. AnnaBelle and Danno were curled up together on Brody’s overstuffed sofa.

“Time to go, girl.”

AnnaBelle looked disappointed. Hannah knew how the dog felt. For once, she was the one who was being left. She didn’t like it. Not one bit.

Brody hunched against the cold. The door of the mobile home outside the kennel opened, and a crime scene tech entered, his hands full with a box of small envelopes and a roll of evidence labels. Outside, rain beat against the windows, and the temperature had dropped since Brody had been at the crime scene earlier. The front yard was filled with emergency vehicles and news vans. What he wouldn’t give to be in a warm bed with Hannah right now.

“Our suspect is a cocaine addict.” Officer Carl Ripton pointed at a laminate table littered with small packets of white powder. A crime scene photographer snapped a close-up of the drugs next to a yellow evidence marker.

With a gloved hand, Ripton lifted a driver’s license. A pretty young brunette smiled at the camera. “The homeowner’s name is Joleen Walken. Joleen leases the property. The kennel business was hers.”

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