...“Home,” she announced, pulling into her driveway.
He squinted through the windshield. “How can you tell? I can’t see a thing out there.”
“I guess you’ll just have to trust me on this one. Come on.”
Melanie heard Derek slam the passenger door shut as she squared her shoulders and turned into the wind. It was like pushing against a river of syrup. She waited until Derek circled the car, his large form vague in the darkness.
“This way,” she shouted, though she doubted he could hear her.
The first few steps went well, but she slipped on the slick cement. Throwing her weight forward, she tried to catch her balance, but she over-corrected. She realized in a distant way that she was going to break her ankle as she put both hands out to catch herself, but before she could hit the icy ground, strong arms went around her waist and pulled her back. Instead of hitting the unforgiving sidewalk, she landed against Derek’s solid chest.
“Are you okay?” Derek asked, his mouth close to her ear.
Melanie could only nod as she tried to catch her breath.
“Are we close to the door?”
She nodded again.
He kept his arm tight around her waist, and they shuffled up the driveway together. Her heart hammered, but she thought that had less to do with her near spill and more to do with the fact that Derek felt like a brick wall behind her, and she didn’t want him to let her go. In fact, she wanted him to push her against the wall and…
She was still clutching them tightly, but she couldn’t see the knob or the deadbolt. She stabbed unsuccessfully several times before finding the keyhole and pushing the door open, and the rush of hot hair from the house stung her cheeks. Derek didn’t release her until they were both inside, the storm securely locked behind them.
Melanie peeled off her gloves and coat and tossed-pushed her wet hair out of her face. “Make yourself at home, please.”
“This is a nice place,” Derek said, emerging from his thick coat.
“Thanks. Go ahead and take a load off.”
The words were barely out of her mouth before Derek grabbed her by the arm and pulled her against him. She parted her lips and his mouth was on hers, firm, his skin cold, but his tongue hot and demanding. Melanie responded to the kiss immediately, winding her arm around his neck and standing on the tips of her toes. He was taller, somehow, than she expected. And he was better than she expected. He tasted of alcohol and salt.
Derek eased away from the kiss, but his breath was still warm against her mouth. He rested his forehead against hers, the act so simply intimate that her stomach dropped. She clutched his shirt with her other hand, holding him close, afraid that if they broke contact he’d leave, disappear somehow.
“I just needed to see,” he murmured.
“If this would work. Do you think it’ll work?”
“It’ll work,” Melanie assured him quickly. “It’ll work.”
Derek walked her back to the couch, pushing her down to the cushions. She pulled him with her, their mouths connecting as she relaxed against the plush couch. He straddled her, his knees sinking to either side of her hips, pressing her down with his weight. His cock was a hard bulge in his pants, the line of his erection pressing against her stomach. Burying his hands in her hair, he held her firmly in place and pushed the kiss beyond anything she had ever shared. Melanie clawed at his shirt, pulling it high over his back. Her fingernails scraped against his ribs, and he froze above her.
“What?” Melanie gasped. “What?”
Derek released her and leaned back, pulling his shirt over his head to expose a rainbow of bruises across his ribs. “That sack in the third…”
“Oh, my God,” Melanie murmured, remembering the way she slammed into his chest outside. “Are you going to be okay?”
Her skin was still flushed, her pulse racing, but a feeling of tenderness eclipsed her hunger. She wrapped her arms around his waist, her fingers interlocking against the small of his back, and leaned forward to brush her lips over his heated skin, outlining one bruise in the partial shape of a shoe. Derek caught his breath, tensing beneath her mouth, but he didn’t pull away. She retraced the same bruise with the tip of her tongue, savoring the faint taste of soap against his salty skin.
Derek fisted her hair, yanking her back to find her mouth again...