Saturday, May 2, 2009

Just a Dream by Aliyah Burke

Caden buckled herself in as her savior tossed his coat into the backseat and did the same. The charcoal gray cable knit sweater didn’t mask the rippling muscles of his upper body. The light blue jeans did a wonderful job of outlining his rock-hard quads. Add to that the way he smelled; like a culmination of fresh waterfalls, warm amber, and smoky sandalwood. A scent with no boundaries. Her throat grew dry and she forced her attention back to her side of the warm vehicle.

It doesn’t matter how hot he is. Or seemingly perfect, he’s military. She recognized the DoD stickers on the front windshield and the cut of his hair screamed military to her He could be retired. Marines, if she had to take a guess at which branch. Her heart clenched with remorse as her husband’s image flashed before her. She felt she was doing something wrong by enjoying the way her companion looked. Still, her gaze drifted back over to where his strong hands gripped the steering wheel. Long powerful fingers with clean square nails, even after he checked out her vehicle.

“I’m Liam.” His voice jolted her out of her mesmerized state.

“Excuse me?”

He looked at her as they drove up the road and he smiled. The sight of his green eyes created a knot in the pit of her stomach, a knot of the sexual kind. “My name…it’s Liam. Liam Quinn.”

Caden returned his smile briefly before licking her lips. “Nice to meet you. I’m Caden Bradshaw. Thank you for helping me out.” One foot touched the briefcase between her shoes, making her breathe a bit easier.

She saw a flash of white teeth against bronze skin in the lights from the dash. “I’m sorry I couldn’t fix it for you there on the spot.”

“Stopping to help is more than enough. It isn’t done so much anymore.” She relaxed back against the seat as she followed the near-hypnotic beat of the wipers against the windshield. The snow was still falling. Feeling safe and warm, Caden felt exhaustion pour over her. Stifling a yawn, she did her best to stay awake.

“Caden.” The deep sexy voice broke through her dreams.

She was so warm and cozy the idea of being woken and disturbed didn’t sit well. Refusing to open her eyes, she groaned her frustration and tried to burrow back into the heat.

“Caden.” The single word shattered through the veil and she dragged her eyes open.

A windshield. She was looking out of a windshield. Brows furrowing, she turned her head toward the door and the direction the voice had come from. Liam leaned into the vehicle through the passenger side door and she knew they’d reached their destination. A deep emerald gaze stared back at her, filled with humor and another emotion she wasn’t ready to begin to acknowledge. In a flash, comprehension flooded her and jerked her wide awake.

“Welcome back,” he teased, backing up so she could get out. She noticed her suitcase behind him.

“Oh my gosh, I’m so embarrassed. I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you like that.” She could feel the rush of blood to her neck and face.

“Not a problem. Come on in and I’ll show you where the phone is.”

Liam turned and walked toward a door, stopping to grab her suitcase. For a brief second, Caden watched the swagger in his stride. His ass, although partially hidden by the sweater he wore, was worth dropping to her knees and thanking the Almighty for. Grabbing her briefcase, she hurried after him, barely taking time to look around the garage they were in. He opened a door and stepped through before glancing at her over his shoulder. With only a slight hesitation, Caden stepped into his home.

She remained silent as she followed him through a short hallway and into the main part of the house. A silent gasp escaped her as she took in the stark whiteness of the decor. High ceilings, white carpet everywhere. It was beautiful, with its Native American artifacts and spaciousness, and yet it looked unlived in. Sterile.

“You have a lovely home,” she said as he led her past a kitchen with hardwood floors and through the living area. He stopped before an open door leading to a bedroom done in slate blue. It looked very welcoming. Liam placed her bag in the door and looked at her.

“Thank you. You can get cleaned up if you wish. There is a phone in the living room, feel free to use it and make yourself at home.” With a military spin, he left her alone, disappearing without a look back.



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