Target for Love Ch. 16byJazzMatthews©
He was so damned close to accept her proposal. Those sweet words resonated in his mind and tortured his body.
Make love to me.
Grant never thought that Alexa would ever have the courage to even say them, now he was aching with regret. It wounded him to see her tears. To know that they were because of him was even more damning. He hated saying what he did but it was done for the greater good. Maybe one day she'd realize that he'd done it to keep her safe. It would be his pain to have his heart sacrificed upon the altar of love.
As he placed his guns up, the thought of what was about to happen dominated his mind. By this time tomorrow, Alexa Harden would be off his hands forever.
Then why did the prospect of that set him in a foul mood? He enjoyed looking at her every damn second. He loved her smile and the charming conversations they've had. It placed him deeper in love with her. She was just so bright and passionate. Such a woman with her kind of beautiful personality was rare. Grant wanted that rareness. He wanted Alexa so much it hurt.
His guilt slaughtered his emotions and he couldn't help but hear her sobbing in her room. Grant knew he shouldn't do it, but he went to her door, the sound of her crying twisting his breaking heart. He knocked briefly before peeking in. Alexa was sprawled on the bed, her face buried in a pillow.
"Alexa?" he called calmly.
She didn't turn to look at him but answered in a broken voice, "What do you want?"
"Nothin', I...I just wanted to check to see if you're all right."
Alexa released a derisive scoff. "Do I sound all right, you cold-hearted bastard?"
Grant jerked at the high-handed insult, but knew he deserved it. He was a bastard. Cold, callous, and unfeeling. He knew what he did was right but damn if he wasn't suffering for it. Silently, Grant continued to stare at her, on the verge of apologizing and wishing desperately for something that just couldn't be.
Alexa sniffled, a hand passing over her face to wipe away the tears. "Just go away."
He didn't contest how horrible he felt but kept his emotions to himself. He closed the door and shuffled to his room. For the longest time, the only thing he could do was stand in the middle of it, his eyes touching everything that produced a memory. The fireplace, the bathroom, the bearskin rug. The bed. He saw the color of red at those spots. They were places of heat, where he had taken Alexa to heights of ecstasy that now had him rock hard at the thought.
Grant then proceeded to pack what little clothes he wished to bring with him, all the while consumed with thought. It was funny how things worked out. He was in deep misery alone in his room while the woman he loved was stewing in her own painful solitude. It all could have been prevented if only he said yes.
Damn it all to hell, Grant thought viciously as he zipped up his duffel bag. Things were looking ominous. Beyond dropping her off into Gage's protection, Grant saw nothing. The page was blank without any thoughts to what could possibly happen to him. He could run them far from Washington and away from Alexa. If he could get them off her scent, then he would have no problems with them chasing him.
Grant dialed his brother's cell number to notify him of their impending visit the next day. Gage was angry that the time was on short notice but promised that something would be arranged. Then his older brother voiced the idea of Grant staying as well as Alexa, but Grant immediately shot down the suggestion and told his brother he would see him tomorrow before hanging up.
Grant thought about his brother's offer and the reason why he turned it down. It was because he would still see Alexa and being so near to her would only harp upon his weakness for her. The sooner he left and forgot about her, the sooner the wounds would heal. Yet a part of him knew that he would as soon forget his own name before he forgot how much Alexa came to matter to him.
As Grant pondered in the silence at his own unmaking, he was barely conscious of the brief moan from the old wooden floor. He became alert, even though his relaxed body was now propped against the bed's headboard with a leg dangling over the side.
Snapping out of his trance, Grant lifted his dark blue eyes that glimmered in the lamplight. The breath caught in his throat at the sight of Alexa in a creamy peach negligee that left little to the imagination and hugged her curves. It reached mid-thigh with a border of lace. Those beautiful dark legs towered out of that gown like strong pillars. The sight of this splendor made Grant's mouth go dry with desire.
His steady gaze swooped to her ample breasts, witnessing the shadow her cleavage displayed. He wanted to dive in it. Everything about her was pleasantly gorgeous. Grant wanted to take each asset of her and fully enjoy her body. But she was here, tempting him out of his mind. His resolve to resist was rapidly disappearing, but he couldn't allow her to dominate what was left of his will.
Grant's brow furrowed as he demanded darkly, "What are you doin' here? What the hell are you wearin'?"
Alexa approached his side, watching him wordlessly but her eyes demonstrated the fire. The need. She still wanted him to make love to her. Grant ignored the burning sensations scorching his throbbing veins.
"Whatever stunt you're tryin' to pull ain't worth it," he responded. "Go back to your room. Now."
"Why are you afraid to touch me?" she asked in a soft voice.
The angelic look of her was enough to do him in but Grant held fast to his resolve. "Hell, you know why," he replied. "You know if I touch you, I'd..."
He left the unfinished thought to float in the air as he turned his gaze from her and the enticement to take her. But Alexa finished it for him. "You'd make love to me."
Grant closed his eyes, ignoring how her intimate tone of voice threw kindling on the fire to make it grow. The flame desired more wood to keep itself from perishing. Grant was so attuned to her that he could feel her get closer to him.
"Then do it," he heard before her heat caressed him. Grant opened his eyes to find that she had gripped his hand to draw it to her body. "Touch me."
The silk of the negligee was heated by her mocha-hued skin. He involuntarily tensed and withdrew his hand as if she had scalded him, but she had. She burned him with that passion that could set the wooded area surrounding them aflame.
His eyes stabbed her. How dare she try this now? Not when he was so determined to keep her at a far distance. Now she was here, her flushing flesh demanding to be beneath him. Those beautiful eyes of hers reflected the boldness that made him so much in love with her in the first place.
"Are you scared of me?" she inquired with a hand on her hip.
"No, I'm afraid of the consequences," Grant snapped as he ignored the sensations of watching those precious hips before him. "This is somethin' we can't do again. I shouldn't have forced you before."
"Do you have regrets?"
Grant ran his thick fingers through his unconfined hair, digging his fingernails into the scalp as the pain assured him that this wasn't a dream. Grant shook his head. "There's a difference between havin' regrets and bein' guilty," he explained as his eyes found hers, "but no, I have no regrets. I wanted you and had to have you. I answered the primitive call that all men respond to. It's somethin' that couldn't be helped."
"Can't make the same mistake twice."
Alexa didn't respond directly but her action was what caught Grant totally by surprise. She seductively lowered a strap of her negligee and revealed one of her full breasts. Grant's eyes heatedly zoomed on the chocolate nipple peeking at him from over the top of the fabric. It was just begging to be pinched, to be taken into his mouth.
His loins were on fire as he reluctantly raised his eyes to keep his gaze level with hers, but observing the smoldering desire residing in her hungry glare only inflamed him further. Carefully, he asked, "What the hell are you doin'?"
"I was serious when I said that you'd regret your earlier words," she purred as she edged forward slightly. "I'm doing what I must to make you want me again."
Grant chuckled mordantly. "Hell, you ain't gotta seduce me for that, honey."
"Then why fight now?" Alexa voiced aggressively. "You know you want to make love to me."
"Damn right I do, but I can't," he said with his waning resolve. "We can't, Alexa, so just go."
Alexa stood firmly in place. "No."
Before he could even stop her, Alexa swiftly seized his hand and guided it to the lovely breast that was exposed. He fought like hell to snatch his hand back but his reaction was at the last minute and the damage was done. Grant froze at the feel of his hand cupping that awfully lush flesh he had wanted to forget, but he nearly forgot just how soft her skin was and how the faint scent of vanilla drifted between them.
His thumb shifted upward, faintly stroking the peaking bud of her nipple as it extended to meet his caress. Alexa closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip at the single contact. His thumb touched her again and gained the same response. His reversal was almost instantaneous.
Grant abruptly tugged her body to him to immediately engulf that beautifully engorged nipple into his mouth. He drew on it eagerly, his tongue swirling around it and his teeth nipping. Alexa groaned and arched her breasts to him at the sensations his mouth entailed. Her searching fingers dived into his hair as she panted, twisting fervently at his long, dark tresses.
Grant pulled her down for a kiss that was so savage that it pulled an involuntary gasp of surprise from Alexa at the suddenness of it. Grant thought it was from fear and he shoved her away from him. His eyes strayed away from those freshly bruised lips and the puffy nipple that his tongue had been intimate with not too long ago.
He felt as if he had walked through hell's furnace. Grant was so hot with longing. God, he wanted her so damned much! He almost gave in to it all if she hadn't cried out from his bestial passion.
Grant gripped his hands on his thighs to have something to hold. He was shaking, wanting like hell to bring her warmth back to his bitter world. "Go while I still have the strength to resist," he muttered in a panting voice. "Go to your room and lock the door. Don't come out 'til I get you in the mornin'."
Alexa shook her head out of the corner of his eyes. "Goddamnit, Alexa, don't argue. I'm tellin' you, don't do this."
She came closer. "But I want this." An awkward pause. "I love you."
Grant felt as if he was mowed over by a train. The heart within his chest grew until it came in contact with his ribcage. Those words couldn't have been real. Not from her.
"Didn't you hear me?" Alexa replied, this time getting into his personal space. She took his hands and placed them on her waist. "I love you."
That time sounded as real as his beckoning desire to have her. His hands rasped against the curves of her hot body, molding them into his hands. "Alexa..."
"I love you, Grant," she repeated once again.
It was more than he could stand. They were said three times and they broke down the rest of his resistance. He was hers.
Grant crushed her into his arms and bore her down upon the bed. He released a hoarse groan as he buried his face into her neck. The words came out on their own with slight strain but full of affection.
"I love you, Alexa," he responded, his arms curling tightly around her waist. "God, I love you so much, I ache inside and out."
"Prove that you love me," she cooed as she lifted his face to stare deep into his eyes. "I swear I will die if you don't touch me again."
Grant's hands took control as they reached down to her mocha-hued thighs and slowly caressed their way up her body. His fingers pulled at the hem of her nightie and he lifted it slowly as it revealed inch after creamy inch of her beautiful skin. He lowered himself to level his lips to her navel and kissed around it. He smiled at the matching silk panties that were beginning to grow shades darker from the desire moistening them.
Grant shifted the teddy over her breasts, the elegant abundance of them making his mouth water with the desire to taste them until his jaw hurt. But he wanted her completely naked and at his whim.
It felt as if it had almost been an eternity since he had nothing but her skin compressed to his in a dance as old as time.
With the arch of her back, the soft gown was whisked over her head and tossed to the floor. Grant reached down to claim her lips with his, viciously swirling his hot tongue around hers. Alexa freed a throaty groan, flinging her arms around his neck to bear him closer.
Grant fought her entrapment and scrambled quickly off the bed. Alexa's surprised cat-eyes widened with apprehension of him leaving her so aroused. However, Grant didn't run, but maintained eye contact as he quickly stripped out of his clothes.
Those readable hazel eyes of hers traced the hardened outline of his toned muscles as he nearly ripped his shirt in his haste. Feral, eager and hungry, devouring him on sight. Grant couldn't get out of his pants fast enough before he pounced on top of her when he was finished. Alexa released a thrilled giggle as he drew her into his ready arms, extinguishing her laughs with his mouth.
His lips traveled to feast upon her appealing throat, his tongue lavishing the graceful column. Then taking little nips of her skin, Grant's mouth left arousal in its wake as it made its way to the splendid mountains of her breasts.
Grant cupped each copious handful, the coarseness of his palms grating hard against her dark buds. Alexa cooed as he massaged them, reveling in the beautiful way she moaned. He pressed them together before burying his face in them. He groaned at the soft feel of them against his face. "God, you're so damned beautiful."
The way his scruffy facial hair rasped across her throbbing nipples made Alexa squirm beneath him. As she arched her back, Grant stuffed as much of her breast into his watering mouth. She gasped as the pleasure consumed her and hearing those feminine growls sent heat spiraling within him in steady pulses.
It was enough to send a man over the edge and Grant had a slight moment of weakness and urgency. In his haste to get Alexa completely nude, he ripped the silk panties from her body. Since she didn't complain, Grant assumed he had the green light.
His fingers searched and found her hot and yearning, still as tight as the night he first entered her. Alexa bucked her hips as his thumb stroked her swelling blossom while his fingers slipped in deep. They carefully maneuvered in and out of her, preparing her for the event to come.
Her fingernails dug into his shoulders. Grant knew there would be little red half-moons etched into his skin but he didn't mind. He hardly felt it as pain but pleasure. Her sensual response rocked him and it made him want to give her everything that his body was capable of.
He felt the legs bracing him twitch, her moans of explicit pleasure ringing about the room. She twisted her fingers into his hair and brought her to him in a kiss that made an unsteady pant tumble past his lips.
"Grant, I need you inside me. Now."
Her breathless, authoritative order made Grant slyly smile. But his fingers kept up in their job in bringing her close to climax before relaxing and then resuming the same skill again. He chuckled huskily at the way she grunted and groaned at his playful manner.
"Then you gotta tell me, baby. How deep do you want me inside you?" Two of his longest fingers took charge and slowly slid into her just an inch. "This deep?"
She groaned. "No."
He edged his exploring fingers a little deeper. "This deep?"
Alexa arched her hips to try and get Grant's fingers as deep within her as she could manage. "No," she grated between her gnashed teeth.
Another aching inch. "Then this?"
"Damn you, don't tease me like this!" she implored passionately. "I need you."
Grant braced himself upon his elbows and cradled her head into his hands. He witnessed the sincere look of love radiating from her. The shock that he was the foundation of that love was still evident in his loving her, but this was something they both needed before their bodies exploded in more than one way.
As he stared into those exquisite eyes that he adored, Grant planted his manhood deep within the woman of his heart. They shivered at the sexual tremors that paralyzed their bodies for a few enduring seconds. She felt so warm and inviting that Grant wanted to howl. Hell, just gliding inside her alone was enough to almost make him shoot it off, but he became concerned when Alexa didn't move.
"Alexa? Baby, you all right?"
Those hazel eyes of hers gleamed with her desire. "I won't be if you don't finish."
Grant couldn't control the rush of excitement that flooded his body and his mind settled on Alexa. Slowly, Grant urged himself to a measured pace that would assure him that he wouldn't explode before her satisfaction could be sought. Her legs wrapped him in a solid embrace as his hips rocked to meet hers.
He kissed her turbulently as white hot passion smoldered inside him, taking a crash course at the place where they were united in the flesh. The inner, damp tissues of her clutched around him as he rode her harder and faster. It felt as if it was her own hand wrapped around him and squeezing tight. Grant was so close to his climax that he was beginning to see the starry universe behind his briefly closed eyelids.
Alexa writhed and bowed, screaming as her culmination took her, followed by another. Her reaction was intriguing, the way she called on his name each time and how her eyes closed virtually melted him into a puddle, but he was so violently in heat that he could turn to vapor.
He felt it scald the very core of him and the glory of the sensations took him. Grant shook with intensity as a tirade of potent assertions of love flowed from his lips. The heights he soared to were heavenly, pleasant, feeling as if he had died in her arms. The force of his climax startled him as he settled back into his body. He shook in her arms as they wrapped around him and she buried her face in his clammy neck.
Grant kissed her temple with a long, measured kiss, the salty taste of her on his lips. He stroked her bedraggled hair as his face nuzzled it. That damnable pleasant smell of vanilla lulled him as his body relaxed against her. His lungs were still trying to calm down as he cradled her face between his hands.
"You lil' fool," he breathed as he lifted her face to look at him. Those long dark lashes elevated to stare at him in an affectionate gaze. Grant's heart flipped. "Don't you realize what you've done? You've placed everythang into jeopardy by comin' to me."
Her hands also came to cradle his own face, her eyes searching as warmth enveloped them. "Whatever I've done I did it out of love. I love you, Grant. God help me, I do."
Grant pushed a strand of auburn hair from her lovely face. "I know you do, darlin', but this only makes thangs complicated. It's gonna be hard as hell now to let you go."
Alexa nearly pushed him off at hearing that, her face dim with hurt. "Let me go?"
"Honey, I still gotta drop you off in Washington." Grant faltered slightly at seeing her countenance eclipse into an array of emotions, disbelief and resentment most of all. He sighed. "You gotta understand where I'm comin' from on this."
"And where will you go?"
He clinched his jaw. "I don't know."
Alexa frowned as her eyes turned piercingly into gold. "That's not enough, Grant."
"I know," he said sadly. "It never will be enough of a reason, Alexa, but I just won't be able to move on if we stay here."