Hank pulled open the bathroom door then sucked in a deep breath when he saw Gwen standing by the window, the morning
sunlight casting a glow across her face. His eyes connected with hers through the glass and his heart literally
stalled out in his chest. The look in her eyes, combined with the heat running through his veins was enough to
make him forget every lecture he'd just told himself a few minutes before opening the door.
Gwen turned around to look at him just as a drop of water fell from his hair and hit him in the chest before traveling
downward to the waistband of his still unbuttoned jeans. He watched her suck in a deep breath then had to suck
in one of his own as her eyes darkened to a deep black pool, a pool he quickly became lost in. Her tongue swept
out across her lips to moisten them and that one action was his undoing. He started toward her, his eyes locked
on hers, his body heat quickly rising.
"Hank..." She whispered in a breathless voice that did nothing to squelch the desire rising within him.
He stopped about an inch in front of her and asked the question with his eyes. She answered him with hers and a
second later, he was pulling her into his arms and covering her soft full lips with his. He heard a moan as passion
met passion, but he couldn't be sure if it was his moan or hers. He only knew he never wanted the kiss to end.
She parted her lips and he thrust his tongue inside, coaxing hers into a duel that quickly set his body on fire.
He sprayed his fingers over the small over her back and pressed her closer to him then had to stifle a groan as
her own hands slid up his bare back, her nails lightly raking across his heated skin.
He slid a hand around her waist toward the ties holding her robe together then found one end and pulled until the
ties loosened enough so that he could part the robe and move his hand inside to touch her soft, heated flesh. She
moaned as his hand smoothed over he silken stomach then sighed into his mouth as his palm covered her swollen breasts.
He began to kneed her soft flesh then when he couldn't stand it anymore he pulled his mouth from hers and leaned
down to take her breast into his mouth, rolling his tongue across her hardened nipple causing her to cry out with
pleasure and him to grow harder than he imagined possible.
"Oh Hank." He heard her whisper as her hands dove into his wet hair and held his head to her breast,
arching her back to bring her more fully into his mouth. He locked an arm around her waist then held her to him
as he continued his assault on her breast. She let out a low sexy moan and he smiled against her then lightly took
her nipple between her teeth, holding her tight against him as she began to tremble. "Hank... please."
He smiled then lowered a hand to the back of her knees and lifted her off the ground. A second later, he lowered
her onto the bed and covered her body with his own, his mouth automatically descending to capture her lips again.
"I love kissing you." He whispered as he moved his lips from her mouth to her neck then up to her ear
and lightly tracing her lobe with his tongue. "I love -"
"We have to stop." She said suddenly pushing him off her and jumping up from the bed, her hands flying
to the ties of her robe and quickly pulling the material together, blocking his few of her delectable body.
Hank threw an arm over his face then let out a loud frustrated groan. He should have known better than to use those
two words with her, they scared her to death and he knew it. Yet they had flown so freely out of his mouth and
he knew exactly how he would have finished the statement had she not interrupted him. He would have said the words...
the three words that terrified her the most... I love you.
Gwen stared at the man lying on her bed, his arm draped across his face, and for the life of her could not think
of a single word to say. What was wrong with her? He whispered two little words into her ear and she... she panicked.
She took a deep breath then walked back toward the bed and lightly touched his arm. "Hank, I'm..."
Her voice trailed off as he removed his arm from his face and his intense brown eyes locked onto hers. "Please
do not say you're sorry."
She swallowed hard. "But -."
"No." He said shaking his head and rolling off the bed until his bare feet hit the floor. "It's
okay. You don't have anything to apologize for. You told me you wanted to slow things down and I said that was
okay... I'm the one that should apologize."
"You?" Gwen asked walking toward him only to have him turn around and walk into the bathroom.
She furrowed her brow then walked to the doorway and watched as he pushed his arms through the sleeves of his almost
buttonless long sleeve shirt. "What are you doing?"
"Putting on my shirt." He said as he pinched the cuffs of the sleeve together and buttoned them then
buttoned the three remaining buttons left on the front of his shirt. "I have some stuff I have to do today
and I need to run back to the B & B and change first."
She nodded absently then watched as he knelt down and grabbed his socks and shoes off the floor and walked toward
her. She met his eyes and knew he wanted her to move so he could leave, but someone her feet wouldn't get the message
her brain was sending. "I don't want you to go."
"Yes you do." He said raising his free hand to lightly touch her cheek. "Gwen, you said you needed
time and my staying here any longer is not going to give you that time. You know it as well as I do."
She did, but she still didn't want him to leave. "I know but -"
"No buts." He said leaning his forehead against hers and staring into her eyes. "You need time and
I need to go so you can have that time. I don't want to rush you into a relationship you aren't ready for and clearly
right now you aren't ready for what's happening between us."
"So you're just going to leave?" She asked raising her hand to the back of his head and lightly running
her fingers through his still wet hair. "Without us talking about what just happened?"
"What's there to say?" Hank asked lifting his head and gently running his knuckles across her cheek.
"You stopped things because you weren't ready. " He gave her a ghost of a smile then rolled his fingers
out until his palm rested flat against her cheek. "Ethan hurt you badly and I understand your need for things
to go slow because of that. I can't promise you it will be easy keeping my hands off you, but I can promise that
it won't go any further than a kiss or two... unless you initiate it of course. And in that case all bets are off."
"So what you're saying is the next move is mine?" She asked raising her brow and giving him a smile.
"Something like that." He said his smile widening while the look in his eyes captivated her. "I
have to go right now because if you keep looking at me the way you are right now I will not be able to keep my
promise to you."
"Oh no?" She asked her smile growing even wider. "So what you're saying is..."
"What I'm saying is you are far too tempting for your own good..." He stopped then leaned in to place
a chaste kiss on her cheek. "And for mine."
She closed her eyes as his lips pressed against her cheek and when she finally opened them again... he was gone.
Hank pulled his car into the parking lot of the Bennett B & B and shut off his engine, but made no move to
get out of the car. He sighed as an image of Gwen's face appeared before him then leaned his head against the steering
wheel column. All his life he had wanted to find someone as wonderful and as special as Gwen and now that he had
found her, she was scared to death of hearing him say he was in love with her.
He raised his head from the steering wheel then moved his hand to the ignition and pulled the keys out, opening
the car door with his other hand in the process. The moment his feet touched the concrete of the driveway, he wished
like hell he was still in the car.
"Hey little brother." Sam said walking toward him with a smile that quickly turned into a frown when
he took in his disheveled appearance. "You look like hell. What happened to you?"
"I, um..." Hank's mind went blank as he glanced down at his wrinkled shirt and realized there was only
three buttons on it, the lower three buttons which left his chest almost bare. He shook his head then raised a
hand and ran it through his still damp hair. "Nothing and everything happened to me."
"What does that mean?" Sam asked raising his brow. "You look like you -"
"Like I what?" Hank asked his voice a little sharper than he intended.
"Like you slept in those clothes." His brother finished his blue eyes questioning. "But then again
you also look like you slept out of them too."
Sam pointed to a spot where the material of his shirt had been ripped from Gwen's impatience to get it off and
Hank couldn't stop himself from smiling in remembrance. Bu then he remembered that he wasn't alone and sobered
instantly. "I don't know what you're talking about, Sam."
"Sure you don't." Sam said his voice clearly showing his humor. "Don't worry I won't ask you who
"Thanks." Hank said releasing a breath he hadn't even been aware he was holding. He was definitely not
ready to talk about him and Gwen yet. Not when things were so new and so fragile between them.
"Don't thank me." Sam said turning to walk toward the house. He stopped when he reached the porch and
turned back, allowing him to see the laughter in his eyes. "I won't ask who she was because I know Grace will
find out for me."
Ah, hell. "You wouldn't."
Sam just smiled then turned around and walked inside the house. Hank closed his eyes then pointed his face toward
the sky and prayed for once his big brother would not tell all to his wife.