"Whose children are they? Not even their mother knows for sure."
eBook ISBN 978-1-60174-070-0
"...a story worth savoring, a multi-layered romance with a message beyond love and passion. It's a story of growth and redeeming love with a feel-good ending that will bring you back again and again—definitely a keeper...and a serious invitation to read more of Glad's stories!"~~Kate Douglas, award-winning author
Her teeth were chattering and shudders shook her frame.
"Help me," he commanded. "We've got to get warm. No telling how soon the helicopter will get here."
She picked up a few twigs, but her hands seemed incapable of grasping. Most of them slipped through icy cold, nerveless fingers. She finally sat on a rotting log, too cold and too defeated to keep trying.
"Get up!" Erik was on his knees, blowing on a pile of tinder in the midst of a pitifully small collection of wood. "Keep moving."
"I-I-I c-c-c-can't-t-t-t." The shudders wracked her with greater force and her teeth clacked together until they hurt.
Wisps of smoke rose from the wood. Erik kept blowing, until at last he was rewarded with a few tongues of flame. When it seemed as if the fire would maintain itself, he came to her and pulled her roughly to her feet.
His arms went around her and his hands moved hard and fast up and down her back. The friction and the pressure seemed to help, but her body still shivered uncontrollably. Finally he pulled her to her knees and held her, back to his chest, close to the fire. Its warmth soothed her icy cheeks, but barely penetrated her sodden sweatshirt and clammy blue jeans. Madeline was beyond caring. She grabbed the bottom of the sweatshirt and pulled--or tried to--it over her head. "Help m-m-me," she whimpered when its wet folds wrapped around her head and shoulders.
Erik did, and Madeline found that her shirt was just as cold, just as clammy. She tried to unbutton it, but her fingers refused to manipulate the tiny buttons. Again Erik helped her, until, with relief, she felt the wind, warm by comparison, on her bare skin. "My jeans," she gasped, warmer now the shirts no longer robbed her upper body of precious heat, but still shivering and fighting an urge to just quit, wrap her arms around herself, and give in to the cold.
Erik wrapped his wool shirt around her, scratchy against her bare shoulders and through the lace of her bra. Then he attacked her boots.
Even her socks were wet. No wonder she'd squished when she walked. With relief she rolled from side to side as Erik peeled her tight jeans down, thinking how much warmer the grass in the clearing felt than she did. Perhaps she could just lie here and....
"Turn your back on the fire," Erik said. Madeline was amazed to see that the twigs and branches were being consumed by leaping flames. "You'll be able to sit closer."
She obeyed and immediately felt wonderful warmth on her back. Gradually the shivers lessened, until they occurred as occasional spasms rather than constantly shaking her body. She pulled her legs up and clasped them, resting her chin on her knees. Eyes closed, she tried to relax as her body slowly regained the heat it had lost.
"Turn around now," Erik said, some long time later. Madeline opened her eyes. He was standing before her, clad in nothing but very scanty, very red briefs.
A new warmth began in her lower belly and flowed through her. She knew that body, knew its pulse points and its erogenous zones. She had buried her face in the springy pelt on his chest and nipped at the dark, almost concealed nipples. She had dipped her tongue into the deep indentation of his navel, tasting his musky, male scent.
Some of her feelings must have showed in her eyes, for he kneeled before her, one hand reaching out to touch her cheek. "Madeline?" His voice was husky, little more than a whisper.
She found no words. All she could do was look at him, still wanting him and still certain that they had made a mistake.
Her certainty could no more resist her body's need than a drifting feather could resist the wind. She fought to keep from leaning into his touch, resisted the urge to find his fingertips with her lips. She told her eyes to close, rather than drowning in his fiery gaze.
When his breath blew hot on her mouth, she silently screamed at her lips to close, her jaw to set. And when his lips brushed hers, with a touch as delicate as a spider's silk, she was still telling herself not to welcome him back into her life.
"Madeline." Her name was almost a prayer on his lips.
Pull back, her mind screamed. Don't let him!
Just this once, her body argued. Just this one time more, for the memory.
His lips found hers and were hot, oh! so hot. Demanding. Pleading. Promising.
His arms were strong around her. Protective. Cherishing. Madeline had forgotten how good being held in a lover's embrace could feel. No one had held her since Jesse....No, since Erik.
"Ah, Madeline. You smell so good, taste so good." His tongue toyed with her lips, begging entrance.
She welcomed him, telling herself that she would allow only this pale imitation of what they both wanted. Soon she would stop him, tell him they'd gone far enough. Soon.
Her heart pounded in her ears, growing louder as Erik explored her mouth, as his hands stroked along her spine and framed her waist, shaped her buttocks, relearned the lines of her thighs.
Louder and louder, until Erik ended the kiss with a soft curse. "It's the helicopter," he said, framing her face with hands that almost seemed to tremble. "It'll be here any minute. Get dressed."