And so was the stab of pure lust she felt at the sight of him so close by.
Was she coming in? She thought of Gladys safe and sound for the rest of her shaggy life. She thought of sharing a cramped bedroom in the bunkhouse with Mia and Fila for a month.
She thought of fourteen nights with Jake.
Hell, yes. She was coming in.
When Jake held the front door open and let Hannah pass through it he felt a shiver of anticipation run the length of his spine. When she stopped inside the doorway to take in the small living room, dining room and kitchen that formed the main floor, her proximity made his groin tighten.
She wanted him. So badly she’d jumped at the chance to move right in. They were hours—or maybe minutes—from their first sexual encounter and his blood was running hot. He’d waited a hell of a long time for this moment. Hannah was lithe and pretty and smart to boot. She shared his love for animals and she worked hard. She’d be a hell of a lover and would make one heck of a wife. The thought of carrying her in her wedding dress over this threshold one day soon filled him with anticipation and a sense of rightness. This was the woman he was meant to share his life with.
“The kitchen is straight ahead,” he said, coming into the living room behind her. “The bedrooms are upstairs.” He pointed to the flight of stairs that led to a balcony. “There’s a bathroom down that hall. Let me show you around.”
The tour of the main floor took a matter of moments. He saw her take in the rough kitchen, the sparsely stocked shelves and lack of a dishwasher. He closed the bathroom door almost as soon as he opened it. He’d forgotten he’d left it a mess this morning.
“Your room is up here,” he said, leading her up the stairs a few moments later, hoping the condition of the place so far hadn’t put her off. At least the spare room was in decent shape. He’d had the presence of mind to check that. It contained a queen-sized bed, a plain wooden dresser and a desk under the single window.
Hannah stood in the doorway, as if reluctant to come any farther inside. “It’s nice, I guess.”
Uh oh. Was she having second thoughts? Time to turn on the Matheson charm. “Come on in, take a better look.” He entered the room fully and held out his hand.
To his surprise, she took it. Hers was warm and small in his, and he squashed an urge to caress it.
Instead, he showed her the closet and opened a drawer in the dresser. “There’s a desk here for you, too.”
Her voice was small and thin. Glancing down at her, he caught her glancing up, and suddenly he knew she was feeling the same way he was. Nervous. Interested. A little excited.
He tried to dampen that excited feeling, or at least get it under control, but he was all too aware of her standing next to him in this private place. There was a bed right there, after all—a comfortable, beckoning bed.
“Hannah, look,” he began.
They stopped. Laughed a little.
“You first.” Jake thought she’d protest, but she took a breath and began to speak.
“Ever since that night… when the men came for Fila—I haven’t been able to sleep very well.”
He nodded slowly. It wasn’t what he’d expected her to say. He’d expected her to mention Bella and Evan’s wedding—what happened in the break room. They still hadn’t spoken of it despite the many conversations they’d had since. He thought about it all the time. He figured she must have thought about it, too. Instead of asking him why he’d done what he’d done, however, she was talking about the night they’d reconnected. The night terrorists had come to Chance Creek hunting for Fila. The night he’d been part of a shootout—his first and hopefully last—and Hannah had been there, too. In harm’s way. It made sense she had trouble sleeping since then. Less understandable was the blush creeping over her milky skin. He’d been around Hannah long enough to know that she blushed easily, but what had set her off now? Worry that he’d find her nightmares childish? Or something else?
“Sometimes I’m up for hours,” she went on. “I usually end up in Autumn’s kitchen, drinking warm milk. I read or turn on the television.”
She looked at him expectantly but he wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell him. “That won’t bother me,” he hazarded.
Hannah bit her lip. “I guess what I’m saying… what I’m asking,” she corrected herself, “is—could I sleep with you tonight?” Her words came out in a rush and her flush deepened.
Well, he’d be damned. She really did want him. A certain part of his anatomy stirred to life and a quick series of images flashed through his mind. Hannah undressed, reaching for him. Ready for him. “Uh… sure. You bet. No problem.” Hell. He sounded as eager as a schoolboy. Time to get a grip.
Time to act like a man. If Hannah was woman enough to ask that favor, he wasn’t going to leave her in any doubt of his willingness to comply. He tightened his hold on her fingers, tugged her closer, slid a hand under her hair to cup her head, bent down and kissed her.
Her mouth was as soft and sweet as it had been at the Mortimer wedding, and he thought he could spend hours just like this—kissing her like he had that night in the break room. She hesitated only a second before sighing and melting against him. He wrapped his other arm around her waist and pulled her in closer, his whole body set alight when her breasts touched his chest, her thighs pressed against his. He nibbled her lips, then searched with his tongue until she parted them with a sigh and allowed him in. The taste of her turned him on until he thought his blood would boil with wanting her.
He waited for her to pull back, but she didn’t. In fact, she answered his kiss with a hunger of her own. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and stood on tiptoes to lean into him. Jake didn’t realize that he’d been edging them toward the bed until his shins grazed the mattress, and then laying her down seemed like a brilliant idea.
He worried for a moment Hannah might not agree with him, but when she sighed again, all rational thought flew out of his head. Sliding his hands down to cup her bottom, he squeezed gently and she moaned in answer. On fire with wanting her, Jake lifted her up and set her onto the bed, quickly joining her. He laid her back against the pillows, and still kissing her, began to unbutton his shirt. Her fingers joined his in a race to get it off. Soon it was loose, and Jake chucked it over his shoulder, then turned to the business of unbuttoning her blouse.