Tru blue, p.11
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       Tru Blue, p.11

           Melissa Foster
 
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  The emotion in his voice made her heart beat faster, her body grow hotter.

  He released her hand and she realized she was shaking. His face was solemn as he reached for the hem of his shirt.

  He looked at her with a question in his eyes, and she nodded, wanting to see them all. He lifted off his shirt slowly, as if he wasn’t sure she was really ready to see what she’d asked to, revealing the ink she’d seen the other morning but had failed to notice in detail. She focused on the tattoo across the broad expanse of his chest of the angry, vicious dragon he’d drawn, its spine arched high, its neck stretched low, craned forward, breathing fire—blue, like the rest of his tattoos—onto a gnarled, keening tree, bare of all leaves. On the opposite side of the tree was a man, his arrestingly familiar tattooed arms outstretched, his hands pressed against the tree, straining to hold it up. One leg stretched behind him, the other bent at the knee, his feet curved at the toes as he fought against the dragon.

  His pain ran so deep. Tears welled in Gemma’s eyes.

  “Don’t feel sorry for me,” he said roughly.

  She shook her head. “Not sorry for you. Overwhelmed at all you’ve survived. Amazed that you turned out to be the man you are.”

  He held her gaze, breathing harder again. “Do you want to see the rest?”

  She nodded. “Every one of them.”

  His face was solemn as he went for the button on his jeans. She suddenly thought of the pictures Crystal had sent her and added, “Unless you have a tattooed, um…” She glanced at his crotch.

  He let out a raspy laugh that made them both smile. “Sorry, but some things aren’t meant to be near needles.”

  “Thank God.” She let out a relieved sigh.

  He released his hold on his jeans. “Gemma, you know how I react to you. If my pants come off…” He was breathing hard. She was hardly breathing at all. His hand pushed beneath her hair, embracing the nape of her neck. “Gemma,” he said roughly, something primal brimming in his eyes.

  She slid her hand from his chest to his cheek and felt tension pooling there and restraint in his muscles as she tried to pull him closer.

  “Gemma.” The warning in his voice was clear. His gaze smoldered, traveling over her face, searching for what, she wasn’t sure. “If I could change my past, I would,” he said heatedly.

  His nearness was like a drug, luring her in. She wanted to crawl beneath his skin and feel what he felt, to experience his strength and ease his pain.

  “I’m not going to run.” She’d had no idea the promise was coming, but she was driven by a sense of urgency, a carnal need to be closer to him. She leaned in, unable to find any more words.

  He pulled her to him, claiming her in a hot, hard kiss that sent her senses reeling, and then they were kissing wildly, pawing and clutching, unable to get their fill. He took the kiss deeper, held her tighter, and it felt exquisite. During their days apart, she’d dissected his past until there was nothing left, and still it hadn’t touched this avalanche of need bowling her over. She clung to his neck as they kissed and nipped and made maddening sounds of desire. He shifted his weight, and she lowered herself down on her back, bringing him with her. His hips rocked against hers in a greedy, hypnotizing rhythm, and he slowed the kiss, sweetly draining any remaining doubts.

  “Gemma,” he said against her mouth. “I think we’ve been here before.”

  She smiled. “Not where we’re headed, we haven’t.”

  His wolfish grin returned, and his eyes filled with wicked desires. “Stop me now if you’re going to stop me, because I’ve thought about making love to you, I’ve thought about fucking you, and I’ve thought about begging for your forgiveness—and once our clothes are off, you’re getting all of me. I won’t be able to stop.”

  “Don’t stop,” was all she could manage.

  His mouth slanted over hers, hard and hungry. Gemma clawed at his back. His hands moved up and down her sides, over her breasts, down her hips, like he couldn’t believe she was lying beneath him. She was right there with him, stroking his skin, reveling in the feel of his weight bearing down on her. The kiss was soft and rough at once, easing, then flaming, bringing waves of ecstasy with each thrust of his hips and sparking white-hot tremors that burned through her, clawing at her core. He tore her shirt over her head, and her bra followed as his talented mouth claimed her breast. She clutched his head, a stream of noises escaping her lungs. She didn’t care. Her impatience grew with every slick of his tongue, with the feel of his lips soft and then hard, and then his mouth was on hers again. His rough whiskers scratched her cheeks and his hands—Lord, those hands—moved over her body with confidence and control—adeptly melting everything in their wake, and it was all she could do to keep breathing.

  DRIVEN BY TOO many emotions to think about, and one he couldn’t ignore, Truman rose above Gemma, looking down at the gorgeous, trusting woman beneath him. “I want you in my bed.”

  She smiled up at him, a bright flare of desire beaming in her eyes as she pulled him back down to her. “You don’t have a bed anymore.”

  “I’m buying a bed tomorrow.”

  He crashed his mouth to hers again, both of them laughing, but those smiles quickly turned to ravenous pleas of passion. Heat stroked down the length of him. He loved the feel of her bare breasts against his chest, her heart beating fast and furious for him. He wanted to possess every inch of her, to claim her as his own. He was so used to fast, meaningless sex, where he got in, got off, and got out. This desire was new and so fucking real. He didn’t want to just fuck her—he wanted to make love to her, with her, for her. He was powerless to temper his greed as he kissed and sucked his way down her body and yanked open her jeans.

  He glanced up, needing her approval one final time before he took his first taste. She lifted her hips, pushing her jeans down and giving him the green light he sought. Her jeans fell to the floor, and his breath rushed from his lungs in a guttural groan. He forced himself to take a moment to feel her luscious hips fill his palms, to press kisses to her inner thighs as she writhed beneath him, his throbbing cock begging to be set free. He slicked his tongue over the cleft of her sex, and she moaned into the night. Good fucking hell, she tasted divine, and the scent of her arousal beckoned him like metal to magnet. She was so damn sexy he uttered a curse, gritting his teeth. He should go slow, to pleasure her in every way possible, but slow would have to wait. He needed her now. Lifting her legs, he guided them over his shoulders and covered her sex with his mouth. He sucked and licked and thrust his tongue in so deep her inner muscles clenched around it, spurring him to take more. She rocked and moaned and clawed at his shoulders as he took his fill. Bringing his fingers to her center, he thrust them in and sucked her clit between his teeth. Her hips bolted up, her thighs pressed against his face, and she cried out his name in a heated whisper. He knew she was being quiet for the kids, and that made his heart swell even more.

  “Tru—”

  So fucking sexy, so damn real. He stayed with her, fucking her with his fingers, loving her with his mouth, until she began coming down from the peak. Then he flattened his palms on her inner thighs and slicked his tongue over her sensitive flesh in a slow, repetitive motion. Her nails dug into his skin, her breathing shallowed, and her body quivered and shook.

  “More, Tru, please.”

  He continued teasing, loving her slowly, drawing out her pleasure, until she was clutching the cushions, pleading for more. Only then did he seal his mouth over her sex and give her what she wanted, taking her up, up, up, until she shattered in a river of turbulent explosions.

  When the last shudder rolled through her, he kissed a path along her belly, tasting her arousal with each press of his lips, and gathered her in his arms. Her eyes fluttered open, the sated smile of a gratified lover on her lips.

  “More,” she pleaded, and holy hell, did he want more.

  He kissed her again, softer this time, wanting to be even closer. Her taste stayed with him as their ton
gues tangled, and it was so damn hot that she didn’t fight it. He brought his hand between her legs again, taking her right to the peak of another climax, and swallowed her cries of pleasure. Christ, he could do this all night long. Feeling her come was ten times better than he dreamed, but he needed to be inside her more than he needed his next breath. He stripped off his jeans, careful to keep his weight off of her, and stopped cold.

  “Condom,” he ground out. “In the bedroom.”

  He kissed her again, long and slow, not wanting to part for even a few seconds. When he moved to stand, she held on to him.

  “Not yet,” she whispered, and drew him into another kiss.

  Her hand moved through his hair; the other moved down his side and flattened on his back, holding him tight. When their lips parted, she kept him close, nuzzling against his neck and placing light kisses from his collar to his jaw.

  “I like the way you smell.” Her breath whispered over his skin. “And the way your body fits with mine.” Her fingers moved over his back in feathery touches like she had all night to lay with him. Touching him lovingly, like no other woman ever had, she awakened other needs in him. Needs he hadn’t realized he had. Despite how much he ached to feel her wrapped around him from the inside out, right now, this was what he wanted: her touch, her kisses, hearing her soft sighs of a different type of pleasure.

  “I like how big you are,” she whispered. “And protective. You make me feel safe.”

  “Despite my past?” He couldn’t stop the question before it left his lips.

  She gazed up at him with a smile so sweet all his defenses peeled away. “Maybe because of your past.”

  He kissed the corner of her lips, feeling like he’d been given the biggest gift of his life, and gathered her close again, shifting them onto their sides. He slid one knee between her legs and the other over her hip, so their bodies were completely intertwined.

  “Mm. See? We fit perfectly,” she murmured against his neck, her fingers still trailing along his back in a slow, gentle pattern. “You’re our Tru Blue, the most loyal sentinel of all.”

  “Our?”

  She yawned and rested her hand on his cheek. “Me and the kids.”

  He wondered if she could hear the way his heart tumbled as he fell even harder for this remarkable woman. He kissed her softly, reveling in the feel of her nestled safely in his arms and replaying her words like a rerun he never wanted to end.

  “Gemma.” His throat thickened, stifling his words. Holding you. Feeling you touch me. This is everything I want. He was hard as steel, his cock resting against her damp curls and the warm skin above, but as she snuggled against him and her breathing fell into the easy cadence of sleep, everything inside him settled into place, and finally—God, finally—his life didn’t feel so out of control.

  Chapter Fourteen

  GEMMA AWOKE ALONE on the couch on Truman’s back deck, her naked body covered with a soft, warm blanket. The sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon, and Truman’s voice came through the baby monitor. Wrapping the blanket around herself, she didn’t feel panicked or embarrassed by her lack of clothing. She warmed all over at the sight of him on the video monitor pacing the bedroom with Lincoln on his shoulder. He was shirtless, wearing only a pair of dark briefs. His big hand moved over the baby’s back in slow circles. Gemma couldn’t see the baby’s face, but by the way his hands hung limply by his sides, she assumed he’d already fallen back to sleep.

  She found her clothes folded on the deck, smiling at Truman’s thoughtfulness as she pulled on her shirt and panties and moved to the railing to watch the sun come up. Listening to Truman’s loving voice through the monitor, she knew she’d made the right decision coming to see him last night. He was not a man to be feared.

  And last night…

  She sighed.

  Just thinking about the way he’d held her and the way he’d stripped away his walls and let her in made her feel light and dreamy. The electricity between them was undeniably magnetic and explosive, but their intimate connection went so much deeper. When she was lying in his arms last night, they’d been in perfect sync, and the way he breathed easier when they were close filled her with unexpected happiness. She hadn’t meant to fall asleep, but she couldn’t help it after all those intense orgasms and being held tight and warm and safe in Truman’s arms. As much as she longed to wake up in his arms, waking to him loving up Lincoln was even better. He gave those babies all the love she’d wished for growing up, and she knew better than anyone that nothing could ever replace that. Those kids had found a home in his heart, and they were lucky to have him.

  The magnitude of her feelings engulfed her, like a tangible thing she could feel and taste and see. She gazed over a sea of mangled and forgotten cars in the distance and heard Truman step outside. When his hands circled her waist and his warm lips touched her cheek, she smiled and turned in his arms, smelling the scent of minty toothpaste and soap.

  “Sorry to leave you alone,” he said in a gravelly, sleepy voice.

  She felt feminine and petite against his enormous frame. My gentle giant. My Tru Blue. She had no doubt that her gentle giant would turn into a hulklike creature if the situation called for it. Her heart squeezed at the sight of the ink on his chest, seeing it clearly for only the second time. She traced the angry dragon’s neck with her finger and pressed her lips to the flames. She couldn’t change his past, and as terrible as his past was, it made him the man he was, just as her parents’ lack of attention and love, and her father’s suicide, made her who she was. When she met his gaze, she was surprised to see a look of wariness staring back at her.

  “You look worried. Is Lincoln’s fever back?”

  “No,” he said seriously. “Just trying to read you. Any regrets with the dawn of the new day?”

  She shook her head and smiled up at him. “Only that you’ve bared your soul to me and I haven’t shared nearly as much with you.”

  Relief washed over his face. “You’ve shared more than you know.” He leaned down and kissed her, and she kept her lips tightly closed. He laughed, cradling her face in his hands. “I would like you to share a better kiss with me, though.”

  She covered her mouth to spare him her morning breath. “I haven’t brushed my teeth.”

  He laughed and lowered her hand. “I had my mouth buried between your legs last night. Do you really think I care if you’ve brushed your teeth?”

  Something was different. Maybe everything was different; she couldn’t be sure. His words came easier, his smiles came more naturally, and that rumbly laugh she really, really liked tumbled out without hesitation. He was letting her in even more, trusting her with more than just his confession. She saw it in his eyes. Relief and something much more powerful. Something that told her he had needed to hear her say that she had no regrets in order to believe it.

  When his mouth came down over hers, she felt the difference in his kiss, too. He kissed her more intimately, cradling her jaw in one hand, his other holding her around her waist, bringing their bodies together. It was an intoxicating and territorial kiss. A kiss that said, You are mine and I am yours.

  It was the kiss she hadn’t realized she’d been waiting for her whole life.

  When their lips parted, his fingers slid over her cheek, brushing lightly over her lower lip, and he kissed her again, soft and tender. Oh, how she liked soft and tender!

  “You taste perfect in the morning,” he said with a haughty grin.

  She wrinkled her nose.

  As if to prove his point, he kissed her again and licked his lips.

  She laughed, loving this new Truman. “Sorry I fell asleep on you last night.”

  “I’m not.”

  “But you…” Made me come several times. “And I didn’t reciprocate.”

  “I’ve gone my whole life not being touched the way you touched me last night.” His words were laced with deep emotions. “I want to make love to you, but what I want more than that is to be close
to you and to feel everything that’s brewing between us. To see your sleepy smile as you touch me and hear all those things you said to me last night. I never thought…I never imagined…”

  He embraced her, his cheek resting against the side of her head. “I never thought I needed anyone, but I’m starting to think I was just waiting for you.”

  TRUMAN WHISTLED AS he stood in the back of his pickup truck, maneuvering the mattress he’d just bought to the tailgate, where Bear was waiting to help him carry it upstairs. It was seven o’clock in the evening and Dixie was watching the kids. He’d been in the best mood all day. He’d been peed on twice while changing Lincoln’s diaper, and even that hadn’t put a damper on his mood.

  “Someone got laid last night.” Bear gripped the mattress.

  “Nope.” Truman jumped from the tailgate and shifted the mattress so he could get a grip on it.

  They carried the mattress around the shop to the steps leading up to the deck. Gemma had a late birthday party at the boutique, and she wouldn’t be off work until nine, which gave Truman just enough time to get things ready and put the kids to sleep.

  “Then why are you in such a good mood?” Bear asked as they hefted the mattress up the stairs.

  “Because she came back, man. And she makes everything better.”

  “Gemma? She came back?”

  Truman couldn’t suppress his grin. “Yup.”

  “And she’s cool with your past and the kids and Quincy?” At the top of the stairs Bear rested the mattress on the railing. “Get the door. I’ve got this.”

  Truman pulled open the door and they carried the mattress inside. “I think she’s okay with it, maybe not totally cool with it, but I wouldn’t expect her to be.” He nodded to the couch. “Let’s lean it against the back of the couch.”

 
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