She swallowed hard. “Because those kidnappers…”
He shook his head. “I could put an army of men on you and Noelle to keep you safe. I could hire a dozen bodyguards while I go out there and find Tripp and Holly myself. It’s what I do,” he added gently. “I like action, not baby-sitting.”
“You can go…”
“I can’t,” he interrupted. “I can’t go. Do you want to know why?”
Yes. More than anything. Tell me. “No.” After all, it was safer that way, and Vic Lowell was nothing if not safe.
Her response did not deter him. He kissed her. He stirred her up, with a gentle kiss and a tender hand at her back and a silent invitation she ignored.
Somehow she ended up with her back against the wall of the rough cabin, her legs slightly spread, Del resting between them as he kissed her. And she kissed him back.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. They weren’t kids anymore. Hormones could be controlled. Desire could be tamed. Squashed down. Dismissed as what it really was—physical attraction.
So why couldn’t she dismiss this?
Del backed away. A trickle of sweat ran down his face, down his neck. She felt a drop of perspiration tickle her spine.
“You always did drive me crazy,” he said, giving her a crooked smile before turning his back on her and walking away.
Del lay on the torturous sofa bed, wide-awake even though it was almost two in the morning. He had to get out of here, the sooner the better. Like he’d told Vic this afternoon, anyone could keep an eye on her and Noelle until Tripp and Holly were caught. Anybody. Well, he wouldn’t trust them to just anyone, but there were a large number of qualified bodyguards out there, available at a snap of the fingers.
So why was he still here?
After the kiss, things had turned awkward. Even after all this time, he knew Vic too well. She wanted him, but she didn’t like the fact, and she was doing her best to deny it. In a way he knew how she felt. He hadn’t been this confused in sixteen years, since Vic had stood there on the front porch of her big house and told him it was over. He hadn’t seen it coming, and the blow had blindsided him. Nothing blindsided him anymore. His life was black and white, good guys and bad guys, right and wrong.
Physically, he wanted Vic. Emotionally, he was still drawn to her in a way he could not explain. Nothing good could come of a relationship that went beyond bodyguard and woman in trouble. If they slept together, this was bound to end ugly.
And still he wanted her.
The reason for his confusion walked into the room, dressed in blue and moving without making a sound, like a tantalizing vision out of a dream.
“You can’t sleep, either?” Vic asked as she came near the bed.
Didn’t she know better? She knew he wanted her. Needed her. She had to know that the reason he was here when he could be hunting Tripp and Holly…was because he didn’t trust anyone else in the world to watch over her.
“No,” he said simply. “Can’t sleep.”
She started to sit down in the chair at the opposite wall, but with the crook of a single finger, Del invited her to sit on the side of his bed. After a moment’s hesitation, she headed over his way, blue robe dancing as she walked, curling hair wild and inviting. He wanted to bury his hands in her hair, and that would just be the beginning.
Vic hesitated a moment, standing beside him, and then she sat. The thin, crooked mattress gave under her weight, and Del let himself roll toward her.
“What you said about getting someone else to watch us,” she whispered, her eyes on a moonlit window and the darkness beyond. “I think maybe that would be a good idea.”
“You don’t want to be here, Del,” she argued. “You’d rather be…”
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