Excerpt The lights had been lowered. Malia lay sprawled on the bed, her eyes closed, hair spilling across the pillow. She was fully clothed in the red blouse with its slightly plunging neckline and those heart-stopping black tights. She would be more comfortable without both. The image that came to mind was more artistically pleasing than the world’s most awe-inspiring sculpture.
The real, living, breathing woman was no less moving. He noted the graceful bend of her elbow. He’d bet no other police detective had ever looked so elegant. Hell, neither had any prima ballerina. He studied her face again. Did he see her eyelashes flutter? He watched her for several seconds, looking for further movement. Nothing. Poor kid. Who wouldn’t konk out after what she’d been through?
He ached to kiss her forehead…her eyelids…the shadowed hollow of her neck…and… His arousal throbbed. He was getting into dangerous ground. Damon forced himself to turn away before he did something stupid. He locked the snack tray he carried in the no-slide slot and quietly prepared his daybed.
After a trip to the head to freshen up, he returned to the main cabin to find Malia softly sobbing into the pillow. He sat on the edge of the bed and gathered up her trembling body into his arms. Her hair smelled faintly of shampoo and smoke. He wished he could return things to the way they were before Kiki’s murder. He couldn’t tell Malia everything would be all right. It wouldn’t, but maybe if the police caught the killer she could begin the process of healing. He whispered, “We’ll get through this, Honey.”
Her cries subsided. She wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head on his chest. He kissed the back of her hair. She looked up at him, her eyes all liquid and sad.
Ignoring the danger signals going off in his brain, he lifted her chin and gently lowered his lips to hers. The salty taste of tears sent a pang to his heart. He groaned and pulled her tightly against him. Malia opened her mouth to him as though seeking a physical remedy for her pain. Sorrow and anger were the forces behind her urgency, and he tried to convince himself that after losing a fellow officer and her home, she needed the release, deserved it.
He desperately fought to hang onto his sanity long enough to consider the ramifications of making love to this enticing and attractive woman her in her present state of mind, but her moan triggered something in him. Jagged lust and immeasurable longing raged through him. His erection shot to a full salute and throbbed in readiness.
Then the words Malia had thrown in his face the last time they were caught up in a similar carnal situation hit him. “Whatever this heat is between us, she’d said, “I can’t handle it right now. And maybe I’ll never be able to. And I think I don’t want to.”
Dear God, as much as stopping would tear the guts out of him, he couldn’t take advantage of her grief. Tomorrow she’d hate him, hate herself.