me take care of you. Just for tonight. Tomorrow we can figure out what comes next. For now, let me hold you.”
Not waiting for her answer, he stood and reached for her. There were a million reasons for her to resist him, but none that could stop her from taking the hand he offered. Tugging her to her feet, he pulled her into his arms and held her safe against his chest. They stood for a moment, breathing together, and she let the warmth of his body and the spicy scent of his aftershave surround her. Somewhere along the way, he’d lost his suitcoat and tie and she pressed her cheek against the polished cotton of his dress shirt. She felt his heart beat, and let the rhythm lull her as he held her.
There was no demand in his touch, simply the solid, reassuring presence of his love as immutable as gravity. He tipped her face up to meet his and swiped away her tears with his thumbs.
“You’re exhausted. You’ve been running for days.”
She had. Away from him and toward the future she’d always wanted. Orchestrating the campaign gave her energy in the same way she imagined the crowds fed him. But distancing herself from him—or trying—stole as much as she’d gained.
“So have you.”
He smiled a wry smile, but he didn’t bother trying to dispute her claim. Instead, he slid his hands down to her hips and reached for the clasp at her waist. With a firm, gentle touch, he stripped off her slacks, helping her step free of the puddle of fabric. He made quick work of the buttons on her blouse, leaving her standing in her camisole and panties.
“Then we both need the sleep,” he said, taking her hand and leading her to the bed.
He pulled back the white duvet and nudged her under the covers, tucking her in as if she were the most precious thing in the world to him. For a moment she panicked, afraid he was going to leave her and unsure about trying to stop him. Justin’s words were still too close to the surface for her to want to make love, but she didn’t want to be alone. Sleeping together was a luxury that by necessity she and Walker almost never indulged in, but she needed him. In the face of everything, she needed the reassurance she found in his arms.
“Stay,” she said, distilling the jumble of her thoughts into the single word that meant everything.
He tipped his head to the side and this time when he smiled, it held nothing but warmth and love. “You couldn’t make me leave you.”
The words hung between them, carrying the weight of more than just one night. As she watched, Walker peeled off his shirt and stripped down to his boxer briefs. Her gaze trailed over his broad shoulders and across his flat abs to the V that disappeared under his waistband. She could clearly make out the outline of his semi-erect cock and despite her exhaustion, despite everything that had happened, her body responded as clearly as if he’d called to her.
“You need to stop looking at me like that,” he said, rounding the other side of the bed. “Or neither of us is going to get the sleep we need.”
The mattress dipped under his weight and then he was there, under the covers with her, pulling her against him. Curling around her as he sheltered her with his body. She felt him everywhere, the warmth of him along her back. His cock wedged against the cleft of her ass, and his chin pressed to the top of her head as he surrounded her.
“Go to sleep, beautiful. We have time.”
She took a deep breath, inhaling his scent, feeling the steady beat of his heart. Haven drifted off to sleep in his arms, confident he was strong enough to hold the world away for a few short hours.
W ALKER COULD LIVE to be a hundred, and he would never take for granted the feeling of waking up with Haven in his arms. He drifted awake in the still dark room to feel her body curled against his, soft and warm in sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, she’d gripped his arm, tucking it around her. Her hand clasped his