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Bofco was worried about Rory. Since they’d left Murphy’s Cove, she’d been
silent and resisted his attempts at conversation. They’d made the drive from
the resort town to Vance in silence.
they turned onto Rory’s street, she finally spoke. “I wanted to offer
Susannah my hard-earned wisdom. Instead, I made a mess of things. I’ve probably
scarred my daughter for life.”
you tell her everything?”
She probably hates me now.”
sure that’s not true. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Walt reached over and
took her hand, brought it to his lips and kissed her fingertips. “Susannah
is a great girl. She’ll be fine.”
know she’s attracted to Hogan. Probably what she feels for him is deeper than
she suspects. I’m afraid if she does realize how much she cares for him that
she’ll run in the opposite direction.” She looked over. “Should I
call her and try to apologize again? What do you think I should do?”
do what any parent does. Just love her. Be there for her when she needs you.
She’ll figure the rest out for herself.”
wise you are.”
you know where wisdom comes from.”
where is that?”
making stupid-ass mistakes. I’ve made a ton of them in my life. Witness my
completely dysfunctional relationship with my daughter.”
as if you’ve got something on your chest to get off too.”
are as perceptive as you are beautiful.” He sighed. “I don’t even
know where to start, but I guess I’d better start with my daughter.” He
pulled into her driveway and parked next to her minivan. “I haven’t been
completely honest about my little under-achiever. Actually, I haven’t been
honest about a lot of things that you need to know. I think I’d better tell you
about it all now because you might not want to see me again when you know
what’s going on.” He hated to do anything to cause a rift between them,
but Rory had a right to know everything.
frowned. “If that’s the case, I don’t know if I want to know. Ignorance
just may be bliss.”
got out and went around to help Rory out. Silently, he followed her up the
walk. At the door, she handed him her house key. He unlocked it and pushed the
old fasioned door open. He hesitated in the doorway, waiting for her to kiss
him on the cheek and tell him goodbye, the way she had every time they’d been
beckoned him in then she closed and locked the door.
me get this off my chest first, Rory.”
smiled. “The only thing I want off your chest is your shirt.” She
grabbed him by the tie and tugged gently.
didn’t resist. She led him down the short hall and into her bedroom. Lamps on
either side of the old-fashioned double bed glowed in the darkness. Walt looked
at the bed with the covers turned back to reveal pale pink sheets, and the
desire he’d carefully controlled all evening flared to life.
should tell her about his daughter. About Hogan. But everything he should say
vanished when Rory put her arms around him. Her mouth sought his. With a low
guttural cry, he matched her kiss for kiss. When their lips separated, they
were both gasping for air. “I thought you were going to let me court you?”
too old for a long courtship. I want to move straight to the sex,” Rory
whispered, pulling his shirttail out and beginning to unbutton his shirt.
“If that’s all right with you?”
the buttons,” he muttered, jerking on the two halves of the shirt. Buttons
flew while Rory laughed. To his delight, she reached out and grasped him
through his trousers. He groaned. “I think I’ve died and gone to
isn’t heaven. This is Texas.” Rory squeezed him again before sliding her
hands up to his belt buckle. “I guess you’re thinking I’m rather brazen
for an old broad.”
thinking I’m the luckiest man in the world right now.”
wanted to make love to her, but he swore silently that he’d go slow if it
killed him. It had been a long time since Rory had been with a man. That
thought humbled him and made his ego swell with pride. He’d have to take it
slow and do it right. He didn’t want her to have any regrets. He shucked his
shoes then his pants and socks. Last, he removed his briefs. His erection
sprang forward to be captured by Rory’s hands. Walt groaned. “Rory.”
laughed softly. “How very formidable you are.”
get you out of this dress before you drive me crazy.” He turned her around
and briskly unzipped the dress. It fell to her feet. Surprised that she wore
panty hose, he stripped them down. She kicked the pile of clothes away. Walt
looked at her standing there in a plain beige bra and panties. “You’re
beautiful.” He held her gaze while he reached around and unfastened her
I’m middle aged.” Rory held the cups of the bra in place. “I’m
suddenly very nervous.”
middle aged to. And you really are beautiful. For any age. Don’t be scared.
I’ll stop any time you want me to.” He kissed her and went on kissing her
until she tossed the bra away and clung to him with her beautiful, naked
breasts pressed against his chest and his hard-on burning against her stomach.
moaned and broke away. “I have to do this before I lose my nerve,”
she gasped, whisking the panties down and stepping out of them.
Walt murmured reverently. He reached for her and bent her over his arm and did
what he’d fantasized about doing since he’d first seen her. He took her nipple
into his mouth and sucked hard on it. Rory cried out. Her hand reached up and
clasped his head, holding him to her. Then his mouth moved to the other breast.
When he took the hardened nub into his mouth, he made her cry out again.
began to shake all over. He placed her on the bed and prepared to lie next to
her, but she opened her legs in invitation.
don’t have time to be coy,” she whispered and pointed to the table by the
bed. “Our condoms are in that drawer.”
thrill pierced Walt. “Our condoms,” he repeated with a smile,
retrieving one. He handed it to her. She tore it open and handed it back. As
she watched, with her eyes glazed with need, he sheathed himself. Her eyes
I said, I don’t have time to be coy. I want you inside me. Now.”
eyes locked with hers as he positioned himself between her legs. “I know
it’s been a long time for you.”
pulled him to her for a kiss. While they kissed, he stroked downward and found
soft curls. His fingers probed. She was ready. Her hips lifted, beckoning him.
don’t know if I can control myself. I’ll try to go slow.”
don’t want slow.”
plunged into her. Her arms tightened around him. He’d never felt anything so
good before. Suddenly, he realized Rory was crying. Horrified, he started to
withdraw. “Are you all right? I’m so sorry.”
you dare leave me!” Rory wrapped her legs over his.
Rory. I’ll never leave you.” Walt began to move, and Rory moved with him.
* * *
thought they’d never get away from the lounge. She didn’t miss the speculation in
Allison’s and Luke’s eyes as she and Hogan said goodnight. She was fairly
certain the sexual tension buzzing between her and Hogan was apparent to
the elevator, her emotions simmered. There was no kissing and fondling like
earlier in the evening. For once, they shared the elevator with other people.
But Hogan held her hand. And that was a first. Her hand felt warm and secure.
Their hands fit together as if made for each other. She wondered whether they’d
fit together equally well in bed. Impatience made her heart beat faster.
they arrived at their suite. Silently, Hogan opened the door. He’d left the
think I’ll just turn these off,” she said, quickly turning all of them
off. Moonlight seemed more suitable for what she knew would happen next.
Silently, she walked to the balcony, opened the door, and took a deep breath of
fresh air. Her heart hammered. Every nerve ending in her body seemed in a state
breeze off the Gulf ruffled her curls and caressed her face. Soft footsteps
approached. She smelled Hogan’s unique scent. Then his hands were on her
shoulders. She released the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding and
leaned back, braced against his solid, warm body. Solid and hard. She smiled,
part of him was very hard.
Alone.” Hogan pressed his lower body against her buttocks.
couldn’t help herself. She rotated her hips against him and smiled at the
ragged exhalation she drew from him. Her head fell back.
a tease,” he whispered, accepting the invitation to kiss the soft skin
below her jaw. His lips trailed down. When he bit the sensitive cord at the
base of her neck, Susannah was the one who moaned. She turned. Seeing him in
the moonlight before her made her shiver with some unidentified emotion. She
moistened her lips and watched his eyes follow the movement of her tongue. Then
she sought his mouth.
planned to tease and torment him and make him feel as crazy as she felt. She
traced the shape of his mouth with the tip of her tongue, tasting him. Her lips
skimmed along his jaw and down his neck where she mimicked what he’d done.
reached out and lifted her head, bring her mouth back to his. When his tongue
thrust inside her mouth, she forgot her strategy. His kiss was the kind that
took your breath away. Hard. Deep. Ruthless. He made no pretense of being
gentle. He invaded and conquered. And she gloried in it.
hands plunged into the low neckline of the dress, capturing her breasts. Her
head fell back. His mouth burned kisses down her neck. Pleasure stabbed her
when he took her nipples, rolling them between thumb and forefinger. His hands
abandoned her, but his mouth was on her breast then, kissing, licking, teasing
his way to the aching swollen nipple. She nearly fainted when his mouth closed
over the hard tight nipple.
think I’m going to fall,” she gasped, knees shaking as she held onto his
I’ll fall with you,” he said, his voice low and harsh.
he got her out of her dress. Still in her heels, she stood in front of him,
swaying like a trembling leaf in a storm, clad only in a black lace thong and a
black strapless bra. For a moment, Hogan just stared at her.
reached out and touched his chest. His heart galloped like a stallion in a
beautiful,” he said, bending to graze the mounds of her breast with his
you’re overdressed.” Susannah tugged at his shirt.
jerked it over his head and tossed it. When she reached for his belt, he placed
both hands over hers. “No. Not yet. I don’t think I could control myself
if we were skin to skin.”
mouth came down on hers. One hand cupped her breast and tormented the nipple.
His other hand glided down her body and slipped beneath the black lace of the
thong. His lips pulled away a fraction of an inch. “You’re wet,” he
said. “But not as wet as you’re going to be.”
bolt of heat shot through her. His fingers moved against her. Her pulse pounded
there. She could hardly stand the intense pleasure. His fingers danced away. He
kissed her again, thrusting his tongue into her mouth and withdrawing.
removed the scraps of black lace and swept her into his arms and headed for his
clad only in the black high heels, Susannah didn’t even feel awkward. She
clasped her arms around his neck and kissed him with all the longing and desire
pent up inside her.
dropped her on the bed. Unerringly, her hands reached out and clasped his
rock-hard erection through his pants. She felt him pulse beneath her fingers.
Her mouth went dry at the thought of having him inside her.
kissed her and murmured words about her body that no man had ever said to her.
Susannah knew she’d never forget this night. He touched and stroked and kissed
as if he were staking claim to her body. And she let him.
she was at a fever pitch and thought she would scream if he didn’t give her
more, he pulled her thighs over his shoulders, and spread her legs wide. Then
his hot, hungry mouth was on her. Her cries filled the darkness as her fingers
clawed the gold comforter on the bed. She climaxed violently. After what seemed
an eternity, her legs relaxed and slid weakly from his shoulders. She hadn’t
been aware that Hogan had moved, but he was lying next to her, stroking her
forehead, pushing the perspiration-damp curls away from her face.
I’ve spent the last few weeks slowly going out of my mind with wanting you. I
love everything about you. Your smile. Your eyes. Your hair. The way you smell.
I even like it when you wear that excuse of a swimsuit.”
didn’t speak. She felt a chill descending into her soul.
why I left the suite each day. I had to walk out because I couldn’t control
myself. If I’d stayed another two minutes, you’d have been in my arms, and I’d
have been on my way to this bed. I want you.” He kissed the corner of her
mouth. “I want you all night. Every night.”
wanted her. He hadn’t said he loved her. He wanted. What? A week-long affair?
Her euphoria vanished. She was a fool. Why had she expected more when she was
the one who claimed not to believe in love? Wasn’t she the one who preferred
lust over a deeper emotion?
Hogan? Why me?” She closed her eyes and tried not to think. She didn’t
want to think. She only wanted to feel the hot desire again, not this painful
need for something she claimed not to believe in.
don’t know. Fate?” He laughed softly. “All I know is I’ve never
wanted a woman more than I want you. Even if you’re too infuriating for
words.” He kissed her softly. “Even when you argue, it turns me
infuriating too,” she said trying to smile and pretend that everything was
you’re also intriguing and interesting. And I want you in ways I can’t begin to
stop talking and show me. Show me now.” Susannah ruthlessly forced her
pain aside and blocked out all but the way he made her feel. That’s all she
wanted right now – to feel.
wish is my command,” Hogan said as he stroked her breasts.
heart started beating in the now familiar rhythm. His hand slid down to the
apex of her thighs. His fingertips lightly brushed the soft, damp curls. She
did want him. She needed him in ways she didn’t want to acknowledge. His touch
felt wonderful. His hands reached hers. He laced his fingers with hers then
placed her hands on his chest.
phone rang. Susannah jumped. It rang again. She placed her hands over her ears
and waited for the ringing to stop, but it went on and on until she thought
she’d scream. “Maybe we should answer?”
cursed softly and grabbed the phone. “What?” he barked. “Oh, uh,
yes, ma’am,” he said, his tone altered to apologetic. “Just a minute
held the phone out to her.
the dim light, she could see his wry grin.
completed the free fall back to reality. She felt very naked and suddenly
realized she still wore the black stilettos. She sat up and swung her legs over
the edge of the bed. There was nothing she could cover herself with except her
old standby – pride. “I’ll get it in my room.” She pressed the hold
button and all but ran.
burned her fair skin like the hot Texas sun as she awkwardly gathered her
clothes and hurried to her room. Inside, she closed the door and turned the
lock. She leaned against the door for a moment to gather her thoughts. Then she
dropped her clothes and went to the bathroom for one of the oversized white
in the it, she sat on the edge of the bed, lifted the receiver, and released
the hold button. “Hi, Mom, I didn’t expect to hear from you so soon. You
must have gone straight home.”
We did. I was so upset that I forgot to tell you Paula called this afternoon.
She said it was important that you call her right away. Your cell phone goes
straight to voice mail, and for some reason, she didn’t want to call you at the
hotel in case Hogan answered.”
forgot to add minutes to my phone so it’s turned off. Thanks. I’ll do it right
you. . . all right, sweetheart?”
assured her she was fine.
love you, dear. If you need me, I’m just a phone call away.”
fine.”Susannah replaced the receiver. Fine? That was debatable. She’d had
the most mind-blowing sexual experience, and she wanted to feel Hogan inside
her. Just the thought made her toes curl. She wanted him with a desire that
left her frightened. That was far from fine.
should be grateful she’d been interrupted before she’d shared that final
intimacy with him. She’d been about to add folly on top of folly. She should be
grateful. But she wasn’t. Instead, she felt like crying.
clenched her fists and willed the heat inside her, a heat that had nothing to
do with embarrassment and everything to do with the man in the next room, to
just go away.
a sigh, she picked up the phone again and called Paula.
Thank God you finally called. I’ve been trying your cell, but I kept getting
I’m nearly out of minutes so I turned it off. Did you find out anything
I ever. You won’t believe what I found out about your Mr. Hogan.”
heart hitched. “I’m not going to like this am I?” Susannah kicked her
shoes off and sat cross-legged on the bed.
that depends. I know you’ve dreamed about being an FBI agent so how do you feel
about being undercover with one?”
Hogan’s FBI?” Susannah bounced off the bed. Surely she hadn’t heard Paula
right. Your D. E. Hogan is a special agent of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. He lives in Virginia and is currently on vacation. Not due back
for another two weeks.”
got to be kidding.” Susannah’s world wobbled on its axis. “Paula,
that’s crazy. Why would he pose as some kind of police consultant? Why not just
say he’s with the FBI?”
probably has something to do with his stepmother.”
could his step mother possibly have to do with this?”
for it. This is seriously weird. The esteemed mayor is exactly what he seems to
be, retired Army colonel, independently wealthy, so on and so on. Hogan and
Bofco are old acquaintances, as in relatives. You see, Bofco’s sister Yvonne
was married to Hogan’s father.”
mean Yvonne, the one whose jewelry was ripped off, is really Hogan’s
Everything you were told about her is true. I checked even though you didn’t
ask me to. Anyway, Hogan and Yvonne seem to have a close mother and son
relationship. I found several pieces of property they own together as well as
stock and other things. Weird huh?”
so strange when you know all the facts.” Susannah’s temper began to
simmer. “I think I’ve been set up. Hogan isn’t here to get the goods on
Thomas McConnell. I bet you anything he’s here to steal the jewelry back for his
It all makes sense. Bofco didn’t want a scandal. He wants the jewelry. Yvonne
wanted the jewelry too so she got Hogan to retrieve it for her. No arrest. No
scandal. So the Mayor figured Hogan had the talent to do it. I even know why
they wanted me along.”
I look like McConnell’s dead daughter. They used me as bait. I guess what they
wanted was for me to get him out of his rooms so Hogan could break in and find
giggled. “Tell me, is it illegal to steal something that’s already
serious, Paula.” Susannah ran her fingers through her hair, tugging at the
curls as if that would ease the pressure building inside her head. “And
guess who’s in this same hotel?”
the stepmom. I guess she wants to personally pick up her jewelry once Hogan
they used you?”
I wonder if Hogan’s already been in Thomas’s place looking for it?”
definitely against the law even if stealing stolen goods isn’t.”
know what really bothers me about this whole situation? I don’t know if Thomas
really stole Yvonne’s jewelry.”
think they’re after the wrong man?” Paula whistled. “Wouldn’t that be
what I’ve got to find out. In the meantime, see what you can find on Thomas
do. Watch your step with Hogan,” Paula warned. “He might be charming
enough to fool my mom, but don’t let him get to you. He’s definitely not
shooting straight. Maybe his real motive in luring you down to the Cove was so
he could have his wicked way with you.”
Susannah didn’t laugh, Paula asked, “Hey, are you all right? I didn’t mean
anything by that. I was just joking.”
wondering now if his seeming objections to having me as a partner were just a
sham. Maybe some kind of reverse psychology to make me fight to come
think?” Paula asked.
don’t know.” Susannah brushed her hair back. “I do know that damned
Luke Orland is in on this.” She groaned. “By now, I don’t know what to believe. Hogan could have decided to
take advantage of the situation. You know, seduce the hick deputy? Or maybe he
wanted to seduce me to keep me from learning the truth about who he is and what
he really plans on doing. As you said, breaking and entering itself is against
the law. Take your pick. Neither of the choices is very flattering.”
happened. Tell me. Tell me. You might as well because I’ll worm it out of
a sigh, Susannah filled her in on the big picture without giving any details.
You finally fall for a guy, and he’s scamming you.”
didn’t fall for him,” Susannah protested.
this is me, your best friend Paula. Remember? I know you too well so save the disclaimer
for someone else.” Paula’s voice softened. “Seriously, I’m sorry he
turned out to be such a jerk. What are you going to do?”
don’t know. He’s in the other bedroom right now.” Her voice hardened.
“Waiting for me to fall back into his arms. At the moment, all I feel like
doing is tossing his lies back in his face, but that probably isn’t the wise
thing to do.”
chuckled. “Are you sure that’s all you want to do?”
frowned unhappily. “Unfortunately, it’s not. But I won’t get involved with
him any more than I already am.”
Why not? Especially since you know the score. Forewarned is forearmed. Love him
and leave him. Men do it all the time.”
can’t be serious.”
not? Give me one good reason why a woman shouldn’t take her pleasure with a
good-looking man and then dump him. Strike a blow for all the women who’ve had
that happen to them.” Paula laughed but there was no amusement in the
like I’m not the only one with a man problem,” Susannah said gently.
talking about your problem, not mine. Let’s just say, I wish I’d used the good
professor instead of the other way around, but I’ve learned my lesson. Go get
him, girl. Give him what he deserves.”
tempt me. I just may do that.”
I said, men do it. Why shouldn’t we?”
that provocative question, Susannah said, “I’ll think about it. Call you
replaced the phone just as Hogan tapped on her door. A storm of mixed emotions
flooded her. She stared at the door.
listening to his voice made her nipples harden. What was worse was his low,
tender voice made her ache to feel his arms around her. She squeezed her thighs
together and tried to ignore the pulse pounding low in her belly.
the heck had her hormones been when she’d been in high school or college? Had
they been hibernating during her previous relationships, just waiting to booby
trap her life? She’d never felt this way before, and she didn’t particularly
like it. Why did her darned body pick now to make its needs known? And why with
you hiding from me?”
Maybe Paula was right. Why shouldn’t she give in to her desire for him? She
moved toward the door and laid her palms flat against it as if she could feel
his heat through the wooden panel. Play with him for a while like Paula said.
She suspected that’s what Hogan was doing. Just toying with her.
if she used him for her pleasure instead of the other way around? Men did it
all the time. Why shouldn’t she? She ached
to be with him. To join her body to his.
you all right?” When she didn’t answer, he tapped softly again.
jumped back. She forced herself to reply. “Yes. I’m fine.” Her heart
pounded so hard she thought it would leap from her chest. She covered her eyes
with her hands. Think. Think. What should she do?
couldn’t take Paula’s bold suggestion. That way lay insanity not reason.
“I find that I have a really bad headache.” She cringed at voicing
the oldest excuse in the world.
heard the humor in his voice and in her mind’s eye, she saw his face and the
sexy, crooked grin that usually accompanied his teasing voice.
think I could cure what ails you if you’ll open the door,” he suggested.
“In fact, I know I can.”
resented the effort of will it took to resist the temptation he offered.
“It’s not becoming for a grown man to beg,” she said, testily.
Silently, she added, Take that, you lousy FBI agent.
things are worth begging for.” After a moment, he said, “If you
change your mind, I’ll be in the other bedroom. It’s just down the hall from
here. Remember? I’ll leave a trail for you to follow so you won’t get
bother. I won’t be changing my mind. Not ever.”
ever? Never’s an awful long time. My dad always taught me to never say
dad taught me something important too.”
I’m aware of that. But you’re not a hurt little girl any more, Susannah”
When she didn’t say anything, he finally said, “Goodnight.”
Susannah replied, relieved that he’d given up.
tension drained out of her body, leaving her limp and exhausted. Feeling older
than her years, she returned to the bathroom and scrubbed the makeup from her
face and slipped into a sensible night shirt. She left the pile of clothing
where she’d dropped it, too tired to be neat. Then she turned the covers back
and crawled into bed. Alone. Incredibly alone.
Susannah found she was too tired, maybe too emotionally upset, to sleep. Her
thoughts circled, always coming back to one subject. Hogan. Exhausted, she
forced herself to think about the theft of Yvonne’s jewelry. Had Thomas really
taken it? If so, where was it?
more Susannah stewed the worse she felt. She’d been so naive from the
beginning. Surely Uncle Barney hadn’t known all the details or he wouldn’t have
let them make a fool of her. Just wait until she told him how his good friend
Walter had played them for suckers.
And D. E.– trust me – Hogan? What had
he planned? A little bonus roll in the hay with the local deputy to top off his
larcenous vacation? How funny he must have found her ambition. She punched her
pillow into submission. She knew what had to be done.
and with a decision made, she fell asleep. Even in her dreams, she couldn’t
escape him. She found herself taking Paula’s advice, seducing Hogan, again and
again. Each time before they joined their bodies together, she awoke, heart
pounding and body trembling in frustrated desire. Despite everything, she still
wanted him. Finally, in the early hours of morning, Susannah asked herself the
she in love with Hogan?
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