Jeremy tapped his fingers on his chest. Sleeping would be nice, and maybe even possible if he could get that kiss with CeCe off his mind.
Was she sleeping? What was she wearing? Anything?
He covered his eyes with his hand, listening to the ceiling fan swoosh around in a steady rhythm. She’d changed her mind the minute her brother showed up. That said a lot, almost as much as the fact she’d been clearly unhappy when he introduced himself to her brother.
Then the excuse for bailing out of dinner.
He’d been brushed off before. It just hadn’t cut quite so deeply the other times.
His cell phone vibrated against the nightstand surface. He stretched across the bed, noted the time on his alarm clock was after midnight and answered the phone. “Sunn.”
“Jeremy? Did I wake you?”
He knew that sweet voice, but CeCe sounded distressed. “No. What’s up?”
“I heard a noise in the backyard and…I’m afraid.”
“I’ll be right there.” He shoved the phone between his shoulder and ear on the way up and yanked on his jeans lying across the foot of the bed. “Don’t open the door until you know it’s me.” He hung up and zipped his jeans then grabbed his Walther P99 from the nightstand, heading for the sliding door to his back yard.
Cool air trailed behind him when he stepped into the humidity so thick he could almost carry it. He made a quick scan around his backyard that was still as a crypt. He leaped over the fence separating their yards and walked around until he felt certain nothing alive was nearby.
Before reaching her patio door, he shoved his weapon between the waistband of his jeans and his back then tapped.
The curtain inside moved then the door slid open.
He stepped into the dark kitchen and heard her back up a couple steps. He could just make out her pastel robe-covered shape from a nightlight glowing in the hallway behind where she stood. “Are you okay?”
Jeremy moved forward then paused. “No one is out there.”
“I’m still scared,” she whispered. “Don’t leave me alone.”
The sound of her voice was enough to jack up his pulse, but he turned rock hard at the plea to stay with her. Good thing it was dark in here or she’d see how badly he wanted to take her up on that invitation.
He was worse than a dog.
She wanted comfort and he wanted her.
“Jeremy?” Her voice lowered a notch, husky. Just keep destroying his restraint with every word.
“Would you hold me…for a while?” She took a step closer.
How was he going to do that and not touch every inch of her? His groin throbbed, heavy with desire.
But his conscience kept interfering. “How about if I promise to keep an eye on your house tonight?” In between cold showers.
“I’d really rather you stay here…tonight.”
He could smell her fresh shower and sweet feminine scent. His senses sharpened in the dark, every nerve ending begging to feel her. The fine hairs along his neck lifted, warning him of a threat far more dangerous than a felon with a weapon.
If he held her close right now, she’d know exactly what he had in mind. Back off while he still could.
“Not a good idea,” he warned on a tired sigh.
“What isn’t a good idea?” She stepped close enough their toes should be touching. His eyes had adjusted to see her better. She wore a long silky robe, something pink that shimmered when she moved. Wavy hair fell loose around her shoulders. The tiny heart-shaped face turned up to his with naked longing.
He wasn’t even going to address her last question. “Go to bed, CeCe, before I do something we’ll both regret. If you think I can stay here tonight and keep my hands off you, I’m telling you right now I’m not that damn noble.”
“Fair enough.” She lifted her hands to the front of her robe and let the sheer material slide off her shoulders to pool at her feet. “I’m not that innocent.”
He should be dead, because this was either heaven or hell, depending on what happened next.