Julian stood rooted in place. He couldn’t believe it. Somebody pinch me. “Eve?” he said, caution lining his tone, afraid if he even spoke she might disappear.
She stood in the entrance of the cabin, her eyes meeting his, pleading. After a few moments, she moved her lips, as if to speak, but no sound emerged.
The steward interrupted the silence. “We are cleared for take-off, Mr. Crane.”
Julian nodded. “I’m ready,” he said, his gaze locked on Eve.
Panic washed over her face. “You can’t.”
“Don’t make this any harder for me, Eve. I am leaving Harmony.” A knot formed in his throat. All he wanted to do was pull her into his arms and kiss her till she gave in and went with him.
She stared at him, tears forming in her eyes.
“You better get back to TC. The door…” He looked up as the steward motioned toward the door. “The door is being shut now, so you better go.” He turned away from her, unable to watch her leave him yet again.
Closing his eyes, the warmth of a tear slipped down his cheek. The door swooshed shut. The engines roared as he buckled up for take-off. It’s better this way.
“Julian…” Eve’s voice broke into his thoughts. The jet smoothly began to move.
He whirled around in surprise. Eve was closing the buckle on her seat belt. “Eve, what are you doing?”
As the jet moved into position to take off, he unbuckled and rose from his chair. He approached her and sat down next to her, his heart pounding. “What are you doing?” he repeated, reaching for the seat belt. The buckle clasped shut
“I couldn’t let you go. This town is as much yours as it is mine. I wouldn’t feel right to chase you away.” Her eyes refused to meet his.
He smiled slightly. She wouldn’t admit the truth, even now. “How nice of you; I have always thought of Harmony as my home.”
She raised her gaze to his. “You are mocking me.”
He reached for her hand. “Not at all, my love. I do love Harmony. I love all this town has to offer.”
The jet began to gather speed. Then with effortless ease, it was airborne.
When they leveled off, Eve pulled her hand from his and unbuckled her seatbelt. Getting up, she moved away from Julian. “Tell your pilot to go back.”
“We can’t turn around.” He got up and approached her, placing his hands on her arms. “We barely got clearance to take off. We have to continue till we clear the storm.” He held his breath.
She stepped away from his reach again, seemingly accepting his excuse. Julian swallowed as his hands dropped to his sides. She is getting nervous.
“Well, don’t think you can take advantage of me because I stayed. I only wanted to convince you not to leave Harmony.” She turned to face him.
She loves me. “I wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of you, Eve. I never did anything you didn’t want,” he pointed out with a playful smirk.
Eve’s eyes grew wide. “You are unbelievable! I knew it was a mistake to stay.”
He smiled. “Yes, it was. What did you expect would happen between two people who can’t keep their hands off of each other, in such a small space…hmmm?”
Eve’s face flushed. “You are wrong. I didn’t come to be seduced; I came to tell you that you shouldn’t leave town because of me. I wouldn’t feel right about it. And for your information, I can keep my hands off of you.” She looked annoyed that he even suggested such a thing.
“Shall we put you to the test?” He grinned wickedly, moving closer.
She flashed him a dirty look. “Stop it!” Turning her back to him again, Eve moved to the opposite end of the cabin.
Julian pressed his lips together. Maybe teasing her wasn’t so astute right now. Maybe he should be counting his blessings. She was here with him, on his jet, instead of home with TC. Maybe it wasn’t for the reasons he wanted. But she is here!
Tentatively, he drew near her. Putting his hand on her arm, he turned her to face him. “I’m sorry, Eve. Forgive me for being such a beast.” She stubbornly tried to avert her eyes, but couldn’t deny him for long as he placed a finger under her chin and lifted her face.
Slowly, her eyes, brimming with tears, rose to meet his. She looked so beautiful. “I know you are married to TC. I understand that you chose to be with him, but I feel in my heart that you want to be with me. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”
She opened her mouth to object, but he placed his finger over her lips to silence her. “You love me, I know you do. You need me as much as I need you.” He wanted her. He was desperate to hold her and kiss her…
Her tears escaped and rolled down her cheeks. His heart contracted. Was he finally getting through to her? Was she finally giving in to her true feelings?
Slowly, he pulled her towards him. She didn’t resist. To his surprise, her arms circled his back, and she buried her face in his shirt. Her body trembled as she started to cry.
Julian closed his eyes as he held the woman he loved so dearly. Placing his cheek against the top of her head, he stroked her back. He struggled to control his desire.
“I love you, Eve,” he breathed, raising her tear-stained face to his. “Why do you fight me so? Why can’t you follow your heart? We belong together, you and me. I know that you believe it too.” His lips settled on hers before she could respond.
Gently at first, he pressed his mouth to hers, feeling the warm softness of her lips. When she quivered slightly as his lips moved across hers, he pressed more firmly, more urgently. Your kisses belong to me, only me.
Eve’s head spun as Julian devoured her lips. The hunger and desire in his kisses and hands as they pressed her firmly against him was undeniable. Her body didn’t hesitate in its response to his touch; in fact, it seemed to be way ahead of her heart and mind when it came to him. Only with him.
His tongue pressed against her teeth, seeking to deepen the kiss. Before she could even weigh the consequences of letting this go any further, her mouth opened and his tongue dove in. Soft and silky, it sought hers, coaxing her to return his kiss.
Over and over his mouth and lips seduced hers, till finally, his lungs screaming for air, he tore his lips away. His breathing erratic, he was delighted when Eve whimpered in protest and licked his lips, enticing him to kiss her again. Immediately he claimed her lips once more, catching her tongue before it had a chance to retreat. He suckled gently on it, causing her to groan.
Eve’s heart pounded madly as Julian moved her to sit on the sofa. Gently, he eased her down on it, pushing her back, her head resting on the arm. She slipped her fingers through his hair, her body responding with forbidden longing as he lowered himself down against her, his weight pressing her into the plush leather.
He stared at her. “I can’t bear to be without you, Eve.”
“I can’t deny it any longer, Julian. I need you; I love you. Make love to me.” She reached up and pulled his mouth down onto hers again for another drugging kiss.
The jet lurched and almost threw Julian onto the floor. In a flash, his hand braced against the floor, keeping him from toppling off the sofa. His cheek against the smooth leather of the couch, he blinked. Eve! The blanket covering him slipped onto the floor as he jumped to his feet. Staring down at his disheveled clothes, he panicked. “Eve?”