One dark eyebrow quirked up. “Trying to knock me out?”
“Yes. I plan on taking advantage of you later. Now take it.”
His chest rose and fell in a hypnotic rhythm, and then he tossed back the pill. They’d made her a bit loopy, but since he weighed quite a bit more, they probably wouldn’t affect him as strongly. Hopefully they’d take away the pain he was pretending not to be feeling.
Cassie spread the medical supplies on the southwestern motif bedspread. “I hope you like it rough, because this is probably going to hurt.”
Vince reached up and wrapped his hands around her hips, his fingers digging in and setting the skin underneath ablaze, despite the layers of fabric. “Keep talking like that and we’ll never get to the bandaging part.”
With a hand to his chest, Cassie pushed him back until he was flat on the bed. “How deep did it go?”
“I didn’t measure it,” he said, and the smartass remark made her feel a little less bad about pouring hydrogen peroxide over the gash; she figured it’d at least sting less than alcohol. He let out a harsh exhale. “I think it went more up instead of deep, so it’s just a shallow cut. I keep telling you to stop worrying about it.”
She scowled, ready to argue that it was a freaking knife wound, for goodness sake, but then he sat halfway up and cupped her cheek. “But I like that you do.”
Allowing herself a quick moment, she closed her eyes and soaked in the comforting warmth of his hand. Then she eased him back down. Once the bubbling from the peroxide subsided, she leaned closer to study the cut. It was a couple of inches wide and gaping a bit, but it wasn’t bleeding anymore, so she took that as a good sign. She used two butterfly bandages to close it together, put gauze over the whole thing, and taped it in place.
“Good as new,” he said, sitting up and propping himself on his palms. Their eyes met and held. Then, one slow inch at a time, Vince leaned in and pressed his mouth to hers. The kiss was more reserved than the ones they usually shared, more like a tentative kiss to check where they stood.
In answer, she parted her lips and deepened the kiss. He slid his tongue in to meet hers, every stroke sending another wave of heat crashing through her. He tugged her down so that she straddled him, her ripped skirt bunching around her hips and exposing most of her legs. She sank farther onto him, letting loose a moan when his hardness met her center, the thin material of their underwear hardly a barrier, and yet it still felt like too much of one.
Vince slid his hands up her thighs. “I wanted you from day one. I told myself even if I couldn’t tell you everything, until I had the balls to tell you who I really was, I couldn’t have sex with you. I’d resigned myself to the fact that it was never going to happen. That I’d have to let you go.”
Cassie reached up and gripped the handle of the zipper that ran down the side of her dress. “Well, now I know everything…” She tugged down the zipper, and Vince’s eyes tracked the movement, darkening even more. “Including who you are.”
“And you still want to be with me?”
She peered into his eyes, and desire flooded her system. It was an urgent physical need, but it was deeper than that, too. This wasn’t fake intimacy or just the need to not be alone. Despite everything, she loved him. And the way he looked back at her said he truly loved her, too.
She ran her hand down his chest, rested it over his rapidly beating heart, and nodded. Just as she was about to push him back on the bed so she could have her way with him, she remembered his injury. “But if you’re too hurt to have sex tonight, then we can wa—”
In one fluid movement, he rolled her to her back and kissed her long and hard. “No more waiting. I’m sorry I never said anything about your dress before, either, because damn.” He skimmed his hand across the top of it, the drag of his rough fingertips sending goose bumps across her skin. “I feel like I’m unwrapping a present.”
He tugged the zipper the last few inches and peeled the pink fabric down around her waist, exposing her black strapless bra and most of her torso.
The soft touch of his lips on her neck made her breath catch in her throat. He kissed his way down, across her collarbone, to the swell of her breast.
Dizzying sensations raced up and down her body, each one screaming for more attention. Vince’s warm mouth came down on the lace covering her nipple, the sensation of the rough fabric and his circling tongue leaving her panting.
With a quick flick of his wrist, her bra slid free. Then he moved to the other breast. A jolt shot down her core, and she closed her eyes, soaking in every exquisite sensation. She arched against him, rolling her hips against his erection, and he hissed out a sharp breath.
“I’ve been thinking about this for so long,” he said, his voice husky. “You, me. Just like this.” He ran his hands over her as if he was memorizing every inch, and then he slid her dress down her legs and tossed it aside.
He hooked a finger in the string of her underwear, tracing all the way around to the back, and gripped her butt. “Damn, baby, if I’d known you were going around wearing thongs, I never would’ve lasted this long.”
“Well, I planned on seducing you tonight.”
He grinned and then his lips hit her skin again, right below her bellybutton, a hot exhale of breath followed by the soft press of his lips and delicious scrape of his whiskers.
Vince DaMarco always liked Cassie, the shy waitress who works at the restaurant that serves as a front for his mob boss uncle. Unfortunately, she witnesses a back alley hit, and while fleeing, she’s struck by a truck. Now she’s at the top of the hit list. Desperate to stop anyone who’d draw out Cassie’s death, Vince volunteers to take care of it.
Cassie Dalton has no recollection of her accident, but she’s told she’s lucky to be alive. A few years are missing from her memory, and the unsettling feeling that something isn’t right—along with the creepy sensation that she’s being watched—won’t go away.
Vince shows up right when Cassie needs him most. In a world of confusion, the rugged stranger is the one thing that makes sense. But little does she know, she’s found refuge in the arms of the very man who’s been sent to kill her.