I had everything a woman could want...
My husband, James. The house on the lake. Our perfect life. And then Alex came to visit. The first time I saw my husband's best friend, I didn't like him. Didn't like how James changed when he was around, didn't like how his penetrating eyes followed me everywhere. But that didn't stop me from wanting him. And, surprisingly, James didn't seem to mind.
It was meant to be fun. Something the three of us shared for those hot summer weeks Alex stayed with us. Nobody was supposed to fall in or out of love. I didn't need another man, not even one who oozed sex like honey and knew all the secrets I didn't know, the secrets my husband hadn't shared. After all, we had a perfect life. And I loved my husband.
But I wasn't the only one.
Light and shadow painted him. On little cat feet, like the fog, I crept toward the bed. Tug-tugging, I slid the covers off to reveal his body.
I liked to watch him sleep, despite the way it sometimes made me want to pinch myself to prove I wasn't dreaming. That this was my husband, my house, my life. Our perfect life. That there were good things to be had in the world, and I had them.
James stirred without waking. I crept closer to stand over him. The sight of him, all long, muscled limbs and smooth, sun-burnished skin, curled my fingers in anticipation of touching him. I held off, not wanting to wake him. I wanted to watch him for a while.
Awake, James was rarely still. Only dreaming did he loosen, soften, melt. If it was harder to believe he belonged to me when he was sleeping, it was also easier to remember how much I loved him.
Oh, I played a good game of confidence. I wore the ring and answered to the name Mrs. James Kinney. I even had the driver's license and credit cards to prove I had the right to the name. Most of the time, our marriage was so matter-of-fact I couldn't have disbelieved it if I'd wanted to, not when it came time to do the laundry and buy groceries, or clean the toilets, when I packed his lunches or folded his socks before putting them away. Then our marriage was solid and substantial. Granite. But sometimes, like when I watched him sleeping, the rock turned out to be limestone, easily dissolved by the slow-dripping water of my doubts.
Sunshine filtered through the tree outside our window and dappled him in all the spots I wanted to kiss. The twin dark circles of his nipples, the ridges of his ribs made sharper as he flung a hand over his head, the soft patch of hair furring his belly and meshing with the thatch between his legs. Everything about him was long and lean. Hidden strength. James looked thin, sometimes even breakable, but underneath he was all muscle. He had large, callus-fingered hands, used to working but perfectly suited for playing, too.
I was more interested in the playing as I bent over him to blow a puff of breath across his lips. Fast as sin, he grabbed me. He could pin both my wrists with one hand, and he did, pulling me onto the bed and rolling on top of me. James settled between my thighs, the only thing between us the thin fabric of my summer-weight nightgown. He was already getting hard.
"What were you doing?"
"Watching you sleep."
James pushed my hands above my head, stretching me.
It hurt a little, but then that's what makes the pleasure so much sweeter. His free hand inched up the hem of my nightgown and found my bare thigh.
His fingertips grazed the curls between my legs as he spoke. "Why were you watching me sleep?"
"Because I like to," I told him just before his questing fingers made me inhale sharply.
"Do I want to know why you like to watch me sleep?" His grin tipped the corners of his mouth. Smug. His fingertip settled against me, but he didn't move it yet.
I laughed. "No. Probably not."
"I didn't think so."
He lowered his mouth to mine but didn't kiss me. I craned my neck, seeking to meet his lips, but James kept them a breath apart. His finger began the slow circling he knew well would drive me crazy. I felt heat and hardness on my hip, but with my hands still held fast in his grip, I could only wiggle in protest.
"Tell me what you want me to do to you."
James had eyes of summer-sky blue, ringed with deep navy. The contrast could be startling. The dark fringe of his lashes swept down as his eyes narrowed. He licked his...