ūH geocities.com /jaghavenarchives/CLK_SecondDeg5.html geocities.com/jaghavenarchives/CLK_SecondDeg5.html delayed x @r‘J ˇˇˇˇ ˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇˇ» źęö ≥ OK text/html `öŐ†" ≥ ˇˇˇˇ bČ.H Sun, 12 Mar 2006 02:06:54 GMT Mozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98) en, * >r‘J ≥
Second Degree Part 5
Relaxing back onto the sofa, Mac slowly began to unwind after another physical therapy session. She was scheduled for three sessions a week and had been given an exercise band to do daily strengthening at home. After only three days she could already feel the difference. Still a little sore, she was rearranging the ice pack on her shoulder when the phone rang.
ďHow was PT?Ē Harmís low, sexy voice was hot enough to melt the ice on her shoulder, and probably all the ice in Alaska if she really thought about it.
ďGood, but itís almost two oíclock in the morning for you. What are you doing up?Ē
ďBenson hasnít regained consciousness yet?Ē
ďNo. If thereís no improvement by Friday, theyíre shipping him home.Ē
Mac could hear the disappointment in his voice. ďDoes the doctor have any idea why he hasnít woken up yet?Ē
ďNone, he said there was no indication of serious head trauma. Some people just take longer to wake up, but I can tell heís starting to worry too.Ē
ďHave they at least let you fly one of the babies?Ē Mac practically cooed over the phone, teasing him.
ďI thought so,Ē she chuckled.
ďCaptain Johnson took pity on me. I think he got tired of watching me pace theÖ.Ē Harm noticed a corpsman from sickbay stop suddenly beside him and clear his throat. ďMay I help you?Ē Harm asked, a tad annoyed at the intrusion.
ďSorry, sir, Iíve been looking everywhere for you. The Doc says Lt. Benson is stirring, he thought youíd want to be there when he comes to.Ē
Harmís face sprang to life. ďIím on my way!Ē he told the young man, and then returned to his phone call. ďDid you hear that, Mac?Ē
ďSure did. Let me know how it turns out.Ē
ďSure will! Gotta run. Love you.Ē Harm hung up the phone and bolted down the passageway, suddenly stopping dead in his tracks. Raising his hands to his face, what had he just done? He hadnít meant to spit out he loved her so casually over the phone, an ocean away, and then not even stick around long enough to hear what she might say back. ďDamn.Ē He couldnít worry about it now. He had a job to do.
Mac sat staring at the phone in her hands. Well, if sheíd had any doubt about how he felt, she shouldnít now. Hanging up the receiver, she continued to stare at it. Could things really, finally be going her way? She knew she wanted to talk to Harm about making some changes in their relationship, maybe this would make that conversation a little easier. Oh, she prayed heíd meant that the way it had sounded.
Harm came barreling down the hall and turned into sickbay. He stopped short at the sight of Lt. Benson sitting up in bed, wide-awake and flirting with one of the nurses. This couldnít possibly be the same man who had been completely unconscious for the last five days. Harm shook his head and laughed softly to himself. Was there no limit to the ego of a Naval aviator?
The doctor grabbed Harm by the arm before he could approach Benson. ďHeís been talking with Lt. Kraus since he opened his eyes. He doesnít know about Gatling yet.Ē
Harmís face turned instantly somber. ďUnderstood.Ē
Benson stiffened noticeably when Harm approached his bed.
ďAt ease Lieutenant,Ē Harm swallowed a smirk.
Bensonís eyes scanned Harmís uniform, lingering on the wings.
ďI suspect itís probably in your best interest to put yours away for a while, at least until youíre out of sickbay.Ē Harm glanced over at Lt. Kraus, remembering all too clearly what it was like to be young with a Ďgold wings and dress whitesí attitude.
ďIím Commander Rabb, from JAG. Are you up to a few questions?Ē
ďYes, sir.Ē It may have been after two in the morning but Benson was wide-awake and full of energy. Hungry, too.
ďI need you to tell me everything about your last flight.Ē
ďHave you already spoken to Hooker, sir?Ē
Harm shook his head, no. ďIím sorry.Ē
ďDamn,Ē Benson mumbled under his breath. ďHis oldest daughter just graduated from Annapolis. Katieís got this new guy she wanted Hooker to meet.Ē Then Benson started to chuckle. ďApparently, heís not military. Hooker wondered how heíd react to an M16.Ē Taking a deep breath, he looked at Harm. ďHe was looking forward to going home, sir. Said it was time to hang up the helmet. Wanted to be around before the grandchildren started coming.Ē
ďWould you like to continue this tomorrow instead?Ē
ďNo, sir. You said everything?Ē
ďFrom the moment you took off.Ē
ďAye, sir.Ē Benson began recounting the flight. Everything had been pretty much a typical run until they began taking fire. As Harm had suspected, the plane was in worse shape than either had initially calculated. The wingmanís plane hadnít been hit, so his plane landed first to avoid fouling the deck.
ďWe could see the ship, Hooker insisted he was okay. I couldnít tell where heíd been hit. I didnít realize how bad it was until I noticed him starting to slur. Hell, I didnít even realize *Iíd* been hit until I saw the blood.Ē
Harm listened carefully. Without Bensonís story, there would have been no way for him to know for sure if Gatling had been injured as well.
ďWeíd been struggling to stay in the air. By the time we reached the ship we knew there had to be more damage than our wingman could see. Everything was flashing, the boards were practically useless, but Hooker seemed to have her under control. Heís the best damn pilot Iíve ever flown backseat with.Ē Benson looked up at Harm, wanting to make sure that much was understood. He wouldnít allow them to make any of this out as Hookerís fault.
ďWe had no way of confirming if the hook was even down, let alone locked. The plan was to call in for a visual but as we got close enough to call it in, the radio fried out permanently. It was hard enough with the radio cutting on and off. Once we lost the radio completely, everything went black. I have no idea why we could still talk with each other. The communication system between us seemed to be the only thing in that cockpit that DID work. By that point I could hardly understand him, so I knew he was hurt bad. He said he was going to fly around and flash a mayday. By the time weíd gone over the deck, he was shouting at me to eject. The bird was shaking badly.Ē Benson could still hear Gatlingís voice as clearly as if he were standing next to him.
ĎI canít keep her in the air. We canít do another go-around. Youíve got to punch out. Now! Eject, eject!í
ďHe veered left away from the ship, the next thing I know, Iím hitting the water and waking up here.Ē Benson let out a heavy sigh and dropped his head back against his pillow.
ďThatís pretty much what Iíd thought.Ē Harm sighed. ďI just wasnít sure if Gatling had been hit too. Thank you for your time, Lieutenant. I know this wasnít easy.Ē
Getting up from his chair, Harm signaled for the nurse. He was fairly sure that Benson would be needing a friendly ear right about now. Before heading back to his room, he stopped to make another phone call.
ďItís me.Ē Harm sounded terribly drained.
ďEverything go okay?Ē
ďYeah, itís pretty much what I had thought. Turns out the pilot had been shot too. The plane had lost most of its instrumentation. There was probably no way a healthy pilot could have done anything else but ditch her in the water. If he hadnít been hurt, maybe he could have ejected too. I guess thatís one weíll never know. At least his family will have the knowledge he probably saved the lives of half the men on the deck by not trying for a landing.Ē
ďIím sure that will be some consolation.Ē
ďI hope so, Mac. I really do.Ē
ďSo does this mean your job is finished there?Ē she redirected.
ďYes, maíam. Iím going back to my quarters to work on the final report and will be catching the morning COD out of here.Ē
ďNot flying home yourself?Ē Mac thought Harm sounded like he needed a little cheering up.
ďNope, but I shouldnít be home too late. Do you want me to Ö uhÖ call? That isÖcall you when I get home?Ē
ďOh, uhÖĒ All right, Mackenzie, donít chicken out now, she thought to herself. Donít repeat past mistakes. Open mouthÖ you can do it. ďDo you think youíll be too tired to come over?Ē
Harmís heart stuttered, skipping several beats. ďNo, I think that would beÖnice.Ē
ďOkay.Ē Mac tried not to squeal with delight. ďI guess Iíll see you tomorrow night sometime.Ē
ďYeah, see you then.Ē Harm hung the phone up slowly. Neither had mentioned his brisk closing comment at the end of their previous conversation. Next time he saw her, he was going to tell her what she deserved to hear, and he planned to do it properly.
As she had suspected would happen after hanging up with Harm, Mac hadnít gotten much sleep. She found herself tossing and turning. Different scenarios of how tonight might turn out ran over and over in her dreams. Her worst fear was that Harm would take one look at her, scars and all, tell her he couldnít do this, and walk away forever.
It was all nonsense, she knew it was nonsense. Heíd seen her at her worst and still wanted her. He hadnít lied about that, she was sure of that much.
ďColonel.Ē General Cresswell knocked on Macís doorframe.
ďYes, sir.Ē Mac stood quickly.
Cresswell closed the door behind him and took a seat in front of her desk.
Mac paused for a moment. This was probably the first time the General had actually sat down in her office and she had no idea what to make of it.
ďI suggest you sit down, too. Youíll probably be more comfortable.Ē Heíd chosen to have this conversation in her office instead of his, hoping sheíd be more at ease on her own turf.
ďYes, sir.Ē Mac sat, thankful she was moving with much more agility these days.
ďHow are you feeling?Ē
ďMuch better, sir, thank you.Ē Macís shoulders visibly relaxed. This visit was about her health.
ďI understand your doctor thinks you can return to a full time schedule earlier than originally expected.Ē
ďYes, sir. I saw him this morning and he sees no reason I canít return to full duty starting Monday.Ē Although she still had several weeks of therapy ahead of her, Mac was especially proud of how far sheíd progressed in a short time. It was nice not needing to report to the office until 1300, leaving her mornings free, but she was ready for a real dayís work again.
ďYou realize the release is only for courtroom duty? You wonít be allowed on outside investigations, yet.Ē
ďYes, sir. I understand.Ē There was still some concern about her ability to maneuver if she were placed in an unexpectedly dangerous situation. In the past sheíd certainly had enough seemingly benign investigations turn into complicated situations. After all, how many people start out investigating three retired SEALs and wind up wrestling with Colombian drug lords?
ďYour doctor must think youíre ready to handle Ďnormalí day-to-day activities again.Ē The General placed especially careful emphasis on the word Ďnormal.í
ďIt would seem so, sir.Ē What the heck was he trying to get at?
ďI understand Commander Rabb is returning this evening?Ē Cresswell was immediately thankful for the self-control heíd learned through his years with the Marines. Otherwise, he would have burst out laughing at the look on Macís face. Although her Marine Corps training was probably the only thing that stopped her from passing out, it couldnít prevent all the color from draining out of her face, or her eyebrows from scratching her hairline.
Oh, God! This was the Ďnot in those exact words,í not having Ďslept together in the biblical sense,í conversation that Harm had told her about. She and the General were about to have a non-conversation about her relationship with Harm, or worse, sex life. Oh, God! This was exactly what sheíd been dreading all week.
ďYes, sir.Ē This would be a great time to be as brief as possible and plead the fifth whenever necessary.
ďYou most likely will not be needing the Commanderís assistance anymore?Ē
ďNo, sir. Iím perfectly capable of taking care of myself.Ē Maybe this conversation wasnít going to be as bad as she thought. Then again, watching the General purse his lips in thought, his chin bobbing slightly as he watched Mac try not to squirm, she accepted she had probably been right in her initial assessment: Oh, God.
ďColonel, have you ever given any thought to why squids donít storm the beaches?Ē
ďExcuse me, sir?Ē Now, Mac was really confused.
ďSquids provide the transport, but itís the marines who take the ground. Weíre the ones who take the risks of hand-to-hand combat. Advance the troops.Ē He could tell by the expression on her face, this wasnít going the way he wanted.
ďIím afraid Iím not following you, sir.Ē
ďColonel, if you really want to advance your position and experience new territory, the marine in you is going to have to storm that beach.Ē The General gave her a pointed look, glancing casually in the direction of Rabbís office and back to her again. Judging by the way her eyebrows were practically kissing the ceiling, he was fairly sure sheíd gotten the message this time.
ďYes, sir.Ē There was no way she was going to inquire further to see if he meant what she thought he meant.
ďVery well. Itís a long flight, and an exhausting time difference. Tell Rabb not to report until after lunch tomorrow.Ē Cresswell pressed his lips together in a partial smile, and returned to his office. If her shocked expression was any indication, he doubted anyone had ever dared approach MacKenzie about her relationship with Rabb. He had every confidence the marines could get the job done.
Mac wasnít completely sure what had just happened, but it certainly looked like the General had just told her to storm Harmís beach, and then given him the morning off to recover. Oh, God.
Macís apartment building
Harm had spent the entire plane ride thinking about what he was going to do and say, and now heíd spent another twenty minutes sitting in front of Macís building still unsure of the perfect words.
Leaving his cover on the seat beside him, he grabbed the flowers heíd picked up for the occasion, and forced himself to open the car door. One foot at a time, he made his way to Macís apartment. Taking a deep breath for courage, he reached up with his free hand and knocked loudly on the door.
The sound of Harm knocking startled Mac out of her thoughts. Sheíd been expecting him to let himself in. Springing up from the sofa, much more adeptly than she could the week before, Mac tightened her robe, took a deep breath for courage, and opened the front door.
ďWhy didnít you use your key?Ē she asked casually.
ďIÖ I didnít think I should.Ē Harm was momentarily lost in that beautiful smile. It took him a few seconds to realize that beautiful smile was wearing a satin bathrobe. ďIs it too late? Maybe I should have waited until tomorrow to stop by?Ē
ďNo, not at all. Iím glad you came. Are those for me?Ē Mac looked down at the flowers, feeling a little uncomfortable with the way Harm was watching her. She wasnít sure what he was thinking, and she was starting to lose her nerve. Maybe the robe was overkill.
ďYes.Ē Snapped back from his curiosity about her robe, Harm handed her the flowers and smiled.
ďThank you. Make yourself comfortable. Would you like something to drink? Have you eaten?Ē Mac turned into the kitchen to put the flowers in water.
ďSomething to drink would be nice. Itís the middle of the night for me, Iím not really hungry.Ē Harm placed his coat on the chair and followed Mac into the kitchen. ďYouíre moving much better. I guess PTís been good for you.Ē
ďThat and time.Ē Mac handed Harm the flower vase. ďWould you put those on the table for me please?Ē
ďWhat can I get you to drink?Ē
ďOne glass of water coming up.Ē Mac pulled a glass from the cabinet, filled it with water and ice, and headed for her beach. ďHere you go.Ē
ďThanks,Ē Harm took a long gulp, then sat down on the sofa. Setting the glass on the table, he looked up at Mac. ďWhy donít you come sit down? Iíd like to talk to you about something.Ē
Debating just how close to Harm she should sit, Mac hesitated before sitting about a foot away from him.
ďBefore I had to leave town, we were planning on having a conversation,Ē Harm started.
ďWhy donít you take your jacket off? You must be exhausted.Ē Mac reached forward to help him. ďYou should probably take your tie off, too,Ē she added hastily.
ďHuh? Oh, sure.Ē Not really wanting to be distracted, Harm did as Mac asked, and placed his jacket and tie neatly on the chair by his overcoat. ďAs I was sayingÖĒ
ďYou should take your shoes off, too,Ē Mac interrupted again.
Harm didnít bother answering, he just kicked his shoes off quickly.
ďMac, are you trying to tell me you donít want to have this discussion?Ē Harm took her hesitation to sit next to him and her continued interruptions over his clothing, as a signal she was stalling.
ďNot exactly.Ē Mac bit her lip. She was a full-grown, adult woman. Why did she feel like an inexperienced teenager who was about to make a fool of herself with the captain of the football team?
ďIíve been doing a lot of thinking since you left for the Seahawk and Iíve got a few things I need to tell you.Ē Mac bit her lower lip. She hadnít expected to be this nervous.
ďIs this about what we agreed to talk about before I left, or something else?Ē Harmís stomach was turning negative Gs. He had no idea what was coming, but if the expression on Macís face was any indication, it wasnít anything good.
ďThe same thing. I thinkÖ I hope.Ē Mac was starting to stutter awkwardly.
ďMac, what is it?Ē Harm reached for her hand. It was as cold as ice. He thought she seemed uncomfortable, nervous, even edgy, but now he was worried about her. What was so difficult for her to tell him? She had to know there wasnít anything in this world she couldnít confide in him. ďTalk to me, hon.Ē His other hand gently reached for the side of her face.
Macís heart melted to her toes at his loving tone and tender gesture. When his fingers gently stroked her cheek, she thought for sure she was going to melt into one large puddle. This was the right thing to do. She should have done this years ago, she scolded herself.
ďHave I done something?Ē Harm tried to hide the fear in his voice. He wasnít sure what had her so nervous, but he didnít like it. He couldnít imagine what could be so serious to have her so unsettled. This was definitely not the way he had envisioned the evening playing out.
ďNo. Itís me. As I started to say, Iíve been doing some thinking.Ē The minute her words left her mouth she could see Harm stiffen fearfully. She knew he must be thinking of the old clichť, ĎItís not you, itís me,í and that was NOT what she was trying to say. None of this was going the way she wanted. She was making such a mess of this. ďDid you mean what you said that morning before you left? About liking it here?Ē she quickly added.
Harm could see the nervousness in her eyes growing exponentially as she waited with bated breath for his response. Suddenly he was filled with a ray of hope. Maybe this wasnít going to be bad news for him after all. Maybe they were both wanting the same thing and too scared to find out.
ďVery much so.Ē The hand that had caressed her cheek now rested on her lap, his fingers drawing lazy swirling motions on her robe. Anxiously, he waited to hear what else she wanted to say, to hear if his life and dreams were about to begin or end.
ďWell, I liked having you here, too.Ē Mac paused taking a deep breath. She couldnít remember ever being as nervous as she was right now. ďI alsoÖ I missed you. A lot.Ē She found the courage to look up into the eyes she had been avoiding. ďI was hoping you would considerÖstaying.Ē
Harm couldnít help letting his jaw drop before finding his tongue. ďIím sorry, what did you say?Ē
ďStay?Ē Her voice was barely above a whisper, a very sexy whisper. It was time to storm the beach.
Harm swallowed hard. The low raspy tone of her voice just sent most of the blood in his brain flowing south. He wasnít completely sure what had just happened, and he had no idea if there was enough blood left in his brain to form a coherent thought. ďI hate to sound like a total nitwit, but exactly what are you suggesting?Ē Harmís palms were beginning to sweat as Mac moved closer still. With her knee peeking out from under the robe, he was slowly coming to the realization that she didnít appear to have much on underneath.
ďIím asking you to please come and share my life. You did say you wanted to be a part of my life.Ē Closing the short distance between them, Mac leaned in and nibbled gently on the side of Harmís chin. Her tongue delicately blazed a moist trail to the edge of his lips. ďThat you wanted me.Ē She practically breathed the words into his mouth, teasing his lower lip playfully with her own. She was a marine. She could do this, she reminded herself.
Lord help him, he really wanted to discuss this with her. Did she just ask him stay for the night, or to live with her? Was this about commitment? She couldnít be talking about just sex. Though, at this moment, if all she wanted was one night, he doubted he could say no even if for some insane reason heíd want to. His brain was fighting to process her words, but the rest of him was fighting to control the fire her teasing tongue had ignited deep in his soul.
When her lips descended fully on his, all thoughts were lost. His arms instinctively wrapped around her, his hands gliding over the soft fabric of the shiny robe. Their mouths began a desperate dance of tangled tongues and caressing lips. One by one, Mac undid the tiny white buttons of his shirt, her fingers dipping inside and lightly twirling the short hair, then scratching his hard chest before continuing onto the next button.
Her touch was sending shooting flames to every region of his body. When he pushed the robe off one shoulder and felt nothing but bare skin, Harm was done. Pulling his mouth away frantically, he struggled to catch his breath.
ďOh, God, MacÖare you okay?Ē He suddenly wasnít sure if she was physically up to what he had in mind.
ďUh huh,Ē she mumbled, shoving his now unbuttoned shirt away from his strong muscular chest.
ďNo, Mac, really?Ē Harm pulled back far enough to look into her eyes. Her dark, steamy eyes. Eyes so filled with desire and longing, he could feel them caressing his senses, igniting a fire he couldnít possibly control. Yet, he had to. He had to be sure. ďYou have to know what youíre doing to me. I donít want you hurting. Are you sure?Ē Even though the things she was doing to him were driving him absolutely crazy with desire, he would be mortified if his hormones won out over common sense and he did anything to somehow reverse her recovery.
Running her fingers delicately across his cheek, her hand slid slowly past his chin to his shoulder and down his arm, grabbing his hand snugly in hers. She stood up from the sofa, and tugged lightly, her eyes smoldering with a heat of their own. ďIím really fine, and this is really what I want.Ē Without waiting for him to respond, Mac turned and walked to her room, her robe still hanging loosely off one shoulder.
Harm followed her blindly. His heart was beating frantically, not just from the physical arousal, but from the depth of passion and love he thought he could read in her eyes. He wasnít sure what had just happened. When heíd left the carrier, he had every intention of telling her how much he wanted to share her life, how much he had treasured being able to wake up with her every morning the previous week. He wanted to somehow find the perfect words to ask her to make that living situation more permanent, but nowhere in his plans had he expected anything like this.
Chapter 30. 5
When Mac stopped at the foot of her bed with that come-hither look, Harm felt every drop of blood in his body settle in one place. He was on fire, his desire overpowering him, and all she had done was barely kiss him.
You can do this. Youíre a Marine, Mac repeated silently to herself. Reaching forward, she let her fingers twirl through the hairs on his chest and slowly glide down his front until they wrapped nervously around his buckle. Undoing his belt, she lowered the zipper and hooked her fingers into the edge of his boxers. Her lips blazed a trail of soft kisses down his chest as she tugged his boxers down with his pants in a single move, her tongue playfully teasing his navel.
Harm had to steady himself on her shoulders. Her tongue was doing amazing things to him. He lifted his legs out of his trousers and kicked them across the room, pulling Mac up into his arms with the same force with which heíd sent his pants flying. ďOh, Mac...Sarah,Ē he managed to gasp out before their mouths fused in a loverís dance. She tasted so good. Gliding past her lips, his tongue teased and caressed hers, mimicking all the moist maneuvers he planned for the rest of her body.
With a gentle brush of his hands, her robe fell softly to the ground. A surge of passion rushed through his veins as her soft skin pressed hungrily against his. He wanted this woman badly.
Mac felt the full force of his erection between them. Her heart soared at the knowledge it was all for her, fighting the nagging thought in the back of her mind that he hadnít really Ďseení all of her yet. When his hand slid down the length of her back and came to rest on her six, pulling her more tightly against him, she hadnít expected the jolt of electricity that shot through her with the intensity of a lightning bolt.
Gently turning her towards the bed, Harm dipped to one side, his arms reaching under her legs and scooping her fully into his arms. The burning in his soul was spreading like wildfire as his eyes locked on her steady, passionate gaze. Laying her gently on the bed, he pulled back slightly to take in the beauty that was Sarah MacKenzie when he was suddenly startled by the sheer panic that had replaced the passion in her eyes, and the feel of her finger nails digging frantically into his arms.
ďDonít,Ē she managed to barely whisper. ďStay close to me.Ē
So overwhelmed by the sheer terror in her eyes, Harm froze in place. What had he done? What was she so afraid of? Though he didnít think it possible, when his hand accidentally brushed against her stomach as he tried to pull himself up slightly, the fear in her eyes grew. That was it! The scar, she didnít want him to really look at her.
ďSarah,Ē Harm brushed his hand across her cheek. Doing as she asked, Harm positioned himself closely over her. His lips began a slow, deliberate trail down her face, her chin, and her neck, to the swell of her breasts. Intentionally toying around the soft mounds, he let one hand tease the taut nipple in distraction as he proceeded on his downward quest.
Despite her obvious pleasure at his touch, Harm felt her stiffen markedly when his lips descended on the edge of her scar. ďRelax,Ē Harm urged into her tummy. Kissing his way down her scar, he let his other hand doodle past her hip and dip into her curls. ďLet me love you, Sarah. All of you.Ē His lips continued to orally caress the scar she was so fearfully ashamed of.
With one hand on her breast, his mouth and tongue caressing her bare skin, and his other hand swirling in her curls, teasing around her throbbing nub, Mac thought she would come out of her skin. Her breathing was heavy and ragged, her body was writhing under his touch. If he didnít care about her damaged flesh, why in Godís name should she?
She felt herself spiraling out of control as Harmís lips moved down her body, leaving moist trails of fiery kisses on every inch of skin. Her body was torn with diverse sensations as part of her flesh mourned the loss of his lips licking and sucking, in order for another part of her body to rejoice in the arrival of his masterful ministrations.
When his hand abandoned his place at her breast, she felt herself cry out loud at the cold chill that replaced his warm touch, only to discover that hand joining the other. Separating her moist folds with his fingers, Harmís tongue dipped carefully around her sensitive nub.
Macís armís flailed mindlessly about her. ďOh, God. No, please...Harm...Oh, God...Ē Mac was trying desperately to find some coherent words, to form a sentence. Somehow this entire situation had gotten away from her. What was supposed to be the Marine in her taking on her sailor had turned completely around, leaving her putty in her sailorís hands. Very excited, overwhelmed putty, but putty nonetheless.
Harm had every intention of ignoring her pleas and indulging in his every fantasy of making Mac scream his name, when he felt her fingers pulling none too gently on his hair and shoulder.
ďNo, you donít,Ē she announced, gathering her wits about her.
Before he was quite sure what had happened, Mac had managed to urge Harm up beside her and flip him over on his back as her breasts dangled heavily in his face.
ďThis was supposed to be my beach, sailor.Ē Capturing his lips forcefully in hers, Mac let one hand swirl, soft, lazy circles in his chest hair around his nipples as her other hand dropped, cupping his balls firmly, but gently in her eager hand.
ďMac,Ē came gushing out with all the air in his lungs. She proceeded to mount an assault on his senses that had his already rock hard arousal growing further with hot, raw, desire.
His fingers drew mindless circles on whatever patch of Macís skin was within reach. Her hands and mouth were skillfully turning him inside-out with want. When her breasts dragged across his chest as she slid up his body before her tongue licked around the base of his ear, Harmís hips bucked in an unconsciously frantic attempt to feel her heated core.
At the sound of her voice, ďI want to come down on you so badly,Ē breathing heavily into his ear, Harmís hips bucked at her more forcefully.
Almost giggling in his ear at his nonverbal response, Mac captured his lips in a searing kiss, her tongue plunging into his mouth at the very moment her moist heat descended around him. Rising and sinking, over and over, unable to maintain the hold of their lips, Macís breasts bounced freely in Harmís face as her own body began to wildly coil like an over-wound spring.
Thrusting upward with everything in him, Harm matched every movement, every pounce. Her tight walls, gripping his hardness, were sending him places heíd never been. He didnít think he could hold out much longer when Macís fingers began digging more strongly into his shoulders.
ďYes!Ē Harm cried as her hips lost their rhythm, convulsing haphazardly around him. ďGod, yes!Ē he repeated, exploding inside her, his body wracked with the same torturous pleasures she felt.
Collapsing heavily across Harmís chest, Mac licked the sweat from his shoulder. ďYou taste too good.Ē she smiled into the crook of his neck.
ďYou taste rather delicious, if I do say so myself.Ē Harm smiled back, lightly kissing the top of her head, his hands wrapped around her, gently stroking her back. ďAre you okay? Do you need to shift?Ē
ďNo, I just want to feel you inside me.Ē Mac turned her head so he could hear her better.
ďIf your fingers donít stop that, youíre going to get more of me inside you than you bargained for.Ē Harm could already feel himself twitching with the beginnings of desire again as Macís fingers swirled aimlessly around his navel. He couldnít imagine wanting her again so soon at his age, but he did.
ďWorks for me.Ē Mac grinned, as she reached for his lips. She had a lot of lost time to make up for.
It took tremendous effort for Harm to open his eyes. He was definitely going to have to take more vitamins if he was going to keep this up. Why hadnít he and Mac gotten together ten years ago? He found himself barely able to open his eyes, and already his body was reacting to the realization that Mac was unceremoniously draped across his chest, her one hand leaning against his face, her other handÖ wellÖ someplace else.
Brushing her hair away from her face, Harm couldnít resist smiling at the memory of last night. He didnít know what had gotten into her, but he would be forever grateful that it had, whatever it was. Gently shifting Macís weight to one side so he could see her face, he was delighted when he was rewarded with a bright smile.
ďGood morning,Ē Mac grinned more brightly.
ďBack at you, beautiful.Ē Harm leaned forward and kissed the top of her head.
ďDo you want help packing?Ē Mac shifted further into the crook of his arm.
ďPacking?Ē Harm wasnít completely awake yet. Well, at least not all of him.
ďTo stay.Ē Mac pulled away and sat up to look Harm in the face more completely. When he didnít say a word, she unconsciously reached down and pulled the sheet up against her chest.
ďYou want me to stay?Ē Harm repeated softly.
ďI thought we already covered this last night,Ē Mac shrugged.
ďNo, last night you mentioned you wanted me in your life. Then you proceeded to seduce me with such military precision that if I were Napoleon, youíd be running my empire this morning.Ē Harm picked up her hand and kissed it loudly.
ďHarm, this is serious. I thought you understood. You said last week you didnít want to leave. I said last night I didnít want you to leave either. I thought it was settled.Ē Mac was getting a little worried. Not that she would change anything about last night, but she had built up this whole new little world in her mind, and in it Harm was most definitely NOT merely an occasional bedmate.
ďYouíre saying you want me to move in here? With you?Ē The magnitude of this conversation was suddenly becoming clear to him.
Biting her lower lip again, all Mac could do was nod her head yes.
Harm reached out and pulled Mac into his arms with such force he almost knocked the wind out of her. Before she could gasp for air, his lips had crashed down on hers, another tangle of emotions erupting in the morning light.
Her arms dropped the sheet sheíd been holding between them and snaked around his neck, giving fully into this wonderful embrace. No longer craving air, but every inch of his body on hers, she slid her leg over his hips and straddled him. Pulling away from his lips, she began nibbling a fiery trail along his neck, somehow managing to mumble between kisses, ďDoes this mean yes?Ē
Pushing her away from his neck, Harm flipped Mac over onto her back. Leaning over her soft body, his face only inches away from hers, ďNo.Ē
Macís heart slammed to her stomach. ďNo?Ē
ďNo, itís not settled.Ē Recognizing the fear in her eyes, Harm quickly continued. ďWhat I mean is: will you marry me?Ē The words said, he held his breath. This wasnít the romantic setting in which he had always envisioned someday asking a woman, especially this woman, to marry him, but he was tired of being afraid to push. He didnít want to just live with Mac. He wanted her to be his wife, and to be her husband. He wanted it all, the entire package, with or without kids.
Mac stared at him incredulously. She had felt confident that she had read his signals correctly and he would want to move in, but she had never allowed herself to dream that all these years of dancing around their feelings would come to a head so quickly.
Nodding her head frantically, Mac struggled to make sound come out of her mouth. Batting away the tears of joy, a small voice whispered, ďYes.Ē
She was unable to say anything more before he took her into his arms again, and as he had done so well the night before, showed her slowly and gently just how much he loved her. All of her: the scars, the burnsÖ all of her.
When they were finally forced out of bed by an appetite for something more than each other, Harm found it almost impossible to keep his hands off of her.
Standing by the edge of the bed in nothing but his birthday suit, Harm helped Mac into her robe. Spinning her around, he kissed her nose. ďI love you,Ē he whispered as he dragged one finger from her chin down her throat, past the swell between her breasts and stopping along the edge of her scar. Spreading his hand flat across the expanse of the markedly pink flesh, he rubbed lightly and whispered again, ďI love you.Ē
Blushing from head to toe, Mac pulled back and tied her robe. ďIf you donít get some food in me soon, thereís going to be a lot less of me to love,Ē she teased. In reality she was incredibly relieved that all her scars hadnít mattered. She had pushed her fears to the back of her mind as she followed her battle plan, but still, the inevitable doubts had nibbled away, threatening to dissolve her resolve. His gentle attention to every inch of her body had convinced her completely of the veracity of his proclamations to her weeks ago. He really had wanted her in Ďthatí way.
Pulling on his boxers, Harm looked around. ďWe probably will want to consider getting a bigger place. Iím not sure much of my stuff will fit here.Ē
ďSure it will!Ē Mac stepped around him and began opening empty drawers, then turned to her closet and flung the doors open. Half the closet was completely empty. ďI made room for you,Ē she grinned proudly.
ďPretty sure of yourself, werenít you?Ē Harm stepped up behind her and wrapped his arms around her stomach, nibbling at the base of her neck.
ďIíd hoped,Ē she admitted, her head dropping back against him.
Kissing her cheek soundly, ďIím glad,Ē he smiled.
Anxious to start moving him in, Harm and Mac hurried through breakfast.
Later that morning
ďI think youíre right. Thereís no way I can get enough of this stuff into my place for you to feel at home.Ē Mac sighed, tossing some of Harmís photos into a box.
ďAs long as weíre together, I donít care about things.Ē Harm had put down the clothes he was packing and walked over to Mac. ďI love you, soon-to-be Mrs. Rabb. I donít care where we live, or what we have, so long as I have you.Ē
Mac stared blankly at this man before her. ďI canít believe we wasted so many years.Ē With a heavy sigh, she dropped her head on his shoulder.
ďI pretty much came to that same conclusion on the carrier. I had intended to bring up what I wanted for the rest of our lives, but I wasnít exactly planning for things to turn out quite the way they did.Ē Placing a short kiss on Macís head, Harm grinned impishly at the memory of last night. ďIím not sure what came over you, but Iím very glad it did.Ē
Mac lifted her head and stepped back. ďYou mean who.Ē
ďExcuse me?Ē Harm wasnít too sure he was going to like the sound of this.
ďWho got into me,Ē Mac chuckled, ďYou owe last night to the General.Ē
Harmís eyes opened wider than the moon. ďAt the risk of repeating myselfÖ excuse me?Ē
Mac chuckled again, amused by the borderline horrified look on Harmís face. ďIn a nutshell, he told me if I wanted to get anywhere in our relationship, I was going to have to behave like a marine and Ďstorm the beachí. Your beach. Thatís why he gave you this morning off.Ē Mac closed the lid on the box sheíd been packing and reached for the tape.
ďThe General actually told you to storm my beach?Ē
ďYeah, that pretty much covers it.Ē Mac smiled at him. ďYouíd better put this in the car. Weíve got to report to the office in less than two hours.Ē
ďHe really said Ďstorm my beach?íĒ Harm was still somewhat dumbfounded.
ďYes.Ē Mac was starting to lose patience. ďIs something wrong?Ē
ďWell, other than Iím not so sure how I feel about my CO being involved in the strategical planning of my seduction, I really do have to remember to thank that man.Ē Harm pushed the box aside and pulled Mac into his arms. ďHow much time did you say we have before we need to report?Ē he whispered into her lips.
With that, the two new lovers christened Harmís apartment for the first, and last, time before moving into their own new world.
Part 4 Home Authors Titles