“Yes.”


He bit back a growl of approval. “You oughta know I’m beyond demanding when it comes to getting what I need from my lover.”


“Have you been in a relationship like this before?”


Cam debated on how much to tell her. But if he expected honesty from her, he’d better reciprocate. “Yes, I’ve been in several. Not since—” I lost my leg and my nerve, “—my injury.”


Domini regarded him pensively. “So we would fulfill each other’s sexual needs and that’s all? No relationship beyond that?”


Hell no. Little did Domini know now that he’d uncovered this surprising side of her, after he got her in his bed, he’d never let her out. She’d belong to him. But his reassurance he wouldn’t attempt to turn this into a traditional dating relationship seemed important to her. It went against everything Cam was to lie. But because he wanted her with an acute ache, an unfathomable need, a sense of rightness he’d never felt in his life, he lied with a straight face.


“It’s a small town, Domini. If my truck is parked outside your apartment all night people will know something is goin’ on with us. Denial would just increase the speculation. So I ain’t gonna hide the fact we’re seeing each other. What we do when we’re alone together ain’t anybody’s business. I don’t tell locker room stories.”


“That’s why I trust you.”


“Okay, but I’m curious. Why don’t you want a relationship?”


“Because any kind of long-term relationship always falls apart. Always. I watched my parent’s marriage implode before they died. I saw my friends in the Ukraine marry themselves off to the highest bidder and they were no better off than a prostitute or a maid. I witnessed verbal abuse repeatedly in so-called Christian marriages and relationships, actions that were sanctioned by the church. And don’t get me started on the physical abuse issues Nadia suffered before she escaped that awful relationship. So I’ll pass on the trappings of marriage, because from what I’ve seen, it is a trap.”


Cam let her vehemence sink in. It chilled him to the bone.


“I’ll never get married, Cam. That’s not the life for me. Do you understand?”


No. “Completely. And we are on the exact same page, there, princess. I’ve worked hard to turn my house into my sanctuary, and it might make me a bastard, but I’m not eager to share.”


Relief softened the hard set to her mouth. “I’m glad. And I’m good with pretending we’re dating, when we’re really having lots of hot sex.”


“Which brings us back to my next question. What about birth control?”


A stark look briefly flashed in her eyes. “We are covered as far as no accidental pregnancy and I haven’t had a lover in three years, so no STDs.”


It’d been nearly that long on the “no sex” wagon for Cam too, but confessing the truth smacked of desperation. “So, we agree no condoms?”


“Yes.”


“Good.” Cam finished his beer. He set it on the table and stood. “I’m done talkin’. How about if I finish the rest of the tour?”


Domini clasped Cam’s outstretched hand and followed him back into the house.


Chapter Five


A house tour.


Maybe Cam would show her his bedroom. And then demonstrate how wickedly ruthless he can be in bed.


Focus, Domini.


That was nearly impossible when the ragged edge of Cam’s thumb continually stroked the inside of her wrist—an erotic touch she felt tugging between her legs. As they meandered the brightly lit hallway, Domini looked up to see skylights spaced a foot apart. “Those are unusual. I like them.”


“I had Chet and Remy add them. I can’t stand living in darkness.” He gestured to the bathroom. “Pretty much everything from here back is a total remodel.”


“Why not just build a whole new house?”


“I like the location. The house has a solid foundation. It just needed a little cosmetic work and someone to care about it.” He pushed open a door that’d been left ajar. “Spare bedroom.” The plaid denim bedspread hung off one end and pillows spilled onto the carpeted floor. “I see Keely managed to bail without cleaning up after herself again.”


“Do you really hate having people in your house?”


“Not hate. It’s just…I went from living at home to living in barracks and tents. I’ve never lived by myself. I tend to get protective of my space. My family doesn’t get that. So I had to state the rules about them staying away without a specific invitation from the moment I moved back here.” Cam opened another door and hit the lights. “Here’s my bedroom. We combined the two smaller bedrooms into a larger one.”


The bed dwarfed the room. Rising from each corner of the bed frame were thick wooden posts. A plain cotton quilt in a vivid bronze covered the massive space from headboard to footrest.


A pair of crutches were propped between the headboard and the nightstand. Contrary to what he’d said, Domini suspected the real reason Cam preferred to be alone in his house was so he could wander around minus his prosthesis without embarrassment.


Domini refocused on the furniture. A tall rough-hewn pine dresser, with wrought-iron accents, matched the nightstands book-ending the bed. An oversized, overstuffed corduroy recliner faced the window rather than into the room.


“What do you think?”


“I think I could crawl right into that puffy bed and take a nap.”


“Princess, when I get you in my bed the last thing we’re gonna be doin’ is sleeping.”


His husky tone dripped of raw sex and sent a shiver of fresh desire rippling through her.


The door she assumed led to a closet was actually a pocket door that revealed a sun-drenched bathroom. An enormous slate-tiled shower, encased in glass blocks, took up one side of the room. A deep Jacuzzi tub the other. A toilet was secreted behind half walls in the corner. Along the back wall was a double sink in a soft gray, sunk into a glossy, black, high countertop and surrounded by mirrors. She checked out the bathtub, looking longingly at the jets and nozzles. Outside around the rim, a conglomeration of silver-colored tubes were imbedded in the tiled floor, curving around the front end and backside of the tub.


Domini started to ask Cam why he needed so many handrails, when she realized climbing in and out of a slippery tub with one leg would be difficult. She’d forgotten about his handicap. A positive sign in her mind, but she knew Cam wouldn’t appreciate her mentioning it so she didn’t.


She faced the mirror and Cam wedged his body right behind hers, nestling his groin into her butt. He gripped her hips. “Bend forward until your palms are flat to the wall.”


Keeping their gazes connected in the mirror, Domini did as he told her.


Cam’s eyes glittered. “Compliant. I like that.” He rocked his pelvis, grinding his cock against the cleft of her ass. “I’m gonna fuck you like this, Domini.”


“Now?” Please. Now.


He shook his head. “Soon.” Cam tugged her upright, keeping her back pressed against his chest as he trailed openmouthed kisses up her throat. “I knew this countertop height would be perfect.”


She was dying to ask if he’d had other women in the bathroom to test the height and strength of the marble. Her gaze flickered over him and she had her answer. A man as sexy, virile and commanding as Cam McKay wouldn’t lack for sex partners. Ever.


“Come on. Let’s get back to the kitchen. I could use another beer. Maybe we could play cards.”


“Cards?” she repeated.


“Yep. The best way to get to know a person is to play cards with them. You learn their tells—” he licked the cord straining in her neck and she moaned, “—like that one. Or figure out when they’re bluffing.” He slid his hand into her hair and pulled.


Domini stiffened with surprise.


“You don’t like that, do you?”


She tried to jerk out of his hold, which only made her scalp sting worse. Then she attempted to relax.


“Answer me.”


“I-I don’t have much experience with aggressive—”


Cam increased his grip and pulled again. Harder.


“Ouch. Let go.”


Immediately his hand dropped. He scattered sweet kisses across her scalp. “You don’t bluff worth a shit, Domini,” he muttered.


“Is that good or bad?”


“Good.”


“Why?”


“I’ll be able to tell if I’ve pushed you too far.” He spun her and sealed his mouth to hers in a hot, wet kiss.


Domini arched her breasts into his chest, rubbing the center of her pelvis over his erection, tempting him to forget all about card games so they could indulge in other games.


His deep groan vibrated in her mouth. He slid his lips across her cheek to whisper, “Soon,” and abruptly dragged them from the bathroom.


An hour later, Domini was ready to climb out of her skin. Talk about extended foreplay. While they played cards, Cam touched her. Constantly. Running his callused palm down her arm. Trailing his fingertips up the ticklish inside of her thigh. Twirling a section of her hair around his fingers. Letting his thumb linger on the pulse points of her throat. Tracing her soft, damp lips after he’d scrambled her mind with a powerfully seductive kiss.


She was holding her cards without really seeing them. His husky command, “Domini, look at me,” completely destroyed what little concentration she’d managed. She raised her gaze to his.


Cam stood, grabbed her hand, and brought her to her feet. Then he swept the cards from the table and lifted her onto it, crushing her lips beneath his.


Domini gave herself over to him, aware he’d already built her to a level of sexual awareness she’d never experienced.


He broke the kiss. “Lie back.”


When her legs dangled off the table, and she stared at the antelope-horn chandelier above her, Cam spoke again.


***

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