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Her voice had snagged him from the start. It was like a warm bath. He’d dipped a foot in and discovered the ideal temperature. Now he wanted to sink his entire body into it. He pushed open the door and stepped back. She moved past him, her shoulder brushing his chest. She smelled of candle smoke and outdoors from their time at the vigil. Cold breezes and fresh river.

His kind of scents. Natural, not bottled and sold in a store.

Special Agent McLane ticked a lot of his boxes. Boxes he’d never known existed. And right now, he wanted to see what kind of flames they could create together.

He closed the door behind them and grabbed her hand, leading her to his bedroom. She followed.

Her brain was in the off position.

She liked it that way. It kept her from thinking about Jayne and Henley and let her focus on the man in front of her. Detective Callahan fascinated her. He’d won her respect and slowly worked his way under her skin until she’d wondered what would happen if they touched. It’d been the right move on his part. His hand on her face and his mouth on hers had set her brain ablaze.

She wanted more. She wanted to get lost in this man’s touch and forget every responsibility.

Tomorrow would be here too soon, and she’d return to her badge and standing strong for everyone around her. Tonight, she didn’t want to be strong.

Without a pause, Mason tossed his hat on a table in the hall. His strong grip on her hand spoke of what was to come. He was in charge. His home, his rules.

She was good with that.

They stepped into his bedroom, and he pulled her to him before she could study her surroundings. His hands clasped the sides of her face as his mouth took control of hers. Ava slid her hands under his coat, feeling the heat of his chest through his shirt. He was solid. He had the body of a man who moved, not one who sat behind a desk. His mouth told her he needed a heavy amount of physical touch. Their second kiss was as deep and commanding as their first had been, outside the hospital.

She leaned into his palms, needing the pressure to relieve the ache that had slowly built since his lips first touched hers. Pleasant lights danced on the backs of her eyelids, and she melted at the feel of the heat that curled in her belly. His mouth still on her, Mason pushed her coat off and let it drop to the floor as she copied the movement with his jacket. He kicked them to the side and started unbuttoning her blouse.

Ava came up for air and took over the task as his fingers fumbled on the miniscule buttons. He stepped back and sat on the bed, his gaze holding hers. He kicked off his boots and sat frozen, watching the movement of her fingers. She paused on a lower button, and his gaze flew back to her eyes. Anticipation enlarged his pupils. The light in the room was dim, but she could see his face.

Hungry. Eager. Ready.

“Hurry up,” he whispered.

“In a hurry?” she asked, taking her time with the last button.

“Only for the first round. Then I plan to take my time.”

Fire flashed up her spine. His voice was throaty and full of want. She threw her blouse and bra on top of her coat on the floor and added her pants to the pile two seconds later. He reached for her and pulled her onto his lap facing him so that her legs straddled his thighs. Her inner heat pressed against the bulge in his jeans. She wrapped her arms around his neck and stared into his dark eyes. He smelled good. The hints of fresh air and coffee and male skin drifted into her brain and sparked her happy neurons. He smiled, and she felt the thoughts of the last twenty-four hours melt away.

She and the detective had some energy burning to do together.

Mason couldn’t stop touching the skin of her back as she sat on his lap, her face inches from his. Ava was smooth and silky, her breath warm on his cheeks and lips. She looked ready to meet him all the way. This was no one-sided encounter. This was full-steam-ahead, how-hard-can-we-shake-the-bed sex coming up.

He kissed her again, wondering how he’d held back for the last twenty seconds, and he heard her moan softly in the back of her throat. The sound sent a blast to his groin. What would she sound like later? She scooted closer and ground against him, her lace panties against his denim.

There was too much fabric between them.

She started working on his shirt, apparently having the same thought. She bared his chest, shoving the shirt over his shoulders, and ran the backs of her nails over his skin, softly scratching until he thought he’d die from the sensation.

His groin ached, needing release. Deft fingers worked his belt, snap, and zipper. Her gentle fingers found him, and her touch made him want to explode. Immediately. He traced down her skin until he found her lace panties. He couldn’t remove them with her legs straddling him, but he didn’t want to lose the touch of her heat so close to his need.

He ran two fingers over her lace-covered crotch and she sighed into his mouth.

He pushed the lace aside and explored.




He was still in her hand. She worked her fingers up and down his shaft and around the ridge of his head. Drips of wet made her fingers slide and the sensation quadruple. He still wore his jeans and shirt while her body was nearly bare, covered only with thin wisps of lace. Her thighs tensed and she lifted herself up and closer to his groin. Abruptly, she stopped and pulled back from his mouth.

“Do you have a condom?” she whispered, fear in her voice.

Mason tensed. How had he not considered protection?

“Yes, don’t move.” He fell backward and stretched to reach his nightstand drawer, pulling the two of them further onto the bed. Blindly, he dug around in the drawer until he touched a packet. He ripped it open and covered himself within seconds.