Cisco awoke with a start when he couldn’t move his arms or legs. Somehow his limbs were restricted. Had he been drugged and tied up?
Before he could pry open his eyes, the tangy scent of woman reached his nostrils and he relaxed. Sunnie’s fresh smell had already been burned into his memory. He would recognize it always.
A sure sense of her small, feminine body wrapped around his, brought him wide awake. But he didn’t move a muscle, just lay there listening to her even breathing.
Light was seeping into the room around the edges of ancient curtains that covered the lone window. Scouring a hand over his eyes to wipe away the cobwebs, he recognized the glow as sunlight and was amazed to find he’d been asleep so long.
His attention returned to the bed and his sleeping companion. Their legs were intertwined, and one of Sunnie’s arms was flung across his chest. She had snuggled up close to him during the night and ended up with her nose buried in the crease of his neck.
The intimate position heated his blood and stirred awake an animal component to his personality that he needed to conquer. The urge to touch her, taste her, was strong. But he didn’t do mornings. No soft rehashes of regrets and dreams for him. Especially not with a woman he had never even kissed.
Despite his many questions of trust, he’d come to the conclusion last night that he needed her. Sunnie knew her way around the reservation, understood the customs and was acquainted with many of the people. She was knowledgeable about whatever strange occurrences were going one and would be the perfect guide, a great person to use to his own ends.
Easing out from under her, Cisco decided to admire her and those useful assets from a distance. It would be safer.
Once he was standing upright, he realized his head didn’t ache anymore. Lightly touching the bandage covering his sutures and feeling no pain, he smiled to himself. He was back. Strong. Ready for anything the reservation and Sunnie Begay had to throw at him.
Almost whistling at the idea of his good health, he caught himself and slipped into the bathroom instead. After he’d splashed some water on his face, there would be time enough to wake the sleeping Navajo beauty.
Wake her and talk her into accepting him as her newest best friend.
Sunnie jerked awake with heart pounding and blood boiling. Ready to defend and attack, she raised her fists, only to find Cisco bending over and shaking her by the shoulder with a big grin on his face.
“Come on, sugar. Rise and shine. Time to blow this dump and get moving.”
“What?” She struggled to shake herself awake and leave the dream world behind. “Where are we going?”
He grinned again and had the nerve to sit down at the edge of the bed beside her. “Your apartment. I need to use your computer to go online. But I thought first we could find someplace closer to get a cup of coffee. You’re the guide here. What do you think?”
She sat up and frowned. “I guess you’re feeling better.” He was too vivid. Too bigger than life. Too close.
“Yeah. Not a thing wrong with me.”
“Hmm. You’re not quite perfect. But I guess you’re well enough.” She’d wanted for him to be a partner, to stand beside her on her quest. Now all she wanted was more space. “It’ll be a long trip around the outskirts of the rez to my place. Maybe I should drop you off at a nicer motel here in Farmington, or down in Gallup, where it’ll be safer for you to wait until Junior fixes your car. We’ll find one with Internet access along with all the comforts of home.”
His expression changed in an instant as he leaned in closer. “I told you once—you’re not getting rid of me that easily.”
She didn’t flinch, but it was all she could do not to back away. Her insides tensed and adrenaline pumped.
His eyes flared, and he seemed to recognize her discomfort for what it was.
Raising a hand to her cheek, he grazed his knuckles along her jawline. “You don’t want to get rid of me, do you? You want me as much as I want you. You’re lying to both of us.”
Blinking back her shock at his blatant touch and finding herself incapable of speech, Sunnie tried to swallow. She was bound by the spell of his gaze. Hypnotized, she froze while his fingers trailed down her throat. He narrowed the small gap between their lips. Still a millimeter away, she could feel his intensity simmering, stewing, ready to explode.
Their warm breaths mingled, became one. Two sets of electric impulses zapped across the narrow divide while neither faded nor faltered. They both just continued staring deeply into each other’s eyes, never glancing away for an instant. Time hovered just this side of fulfillment.
Finally, his hand cupped the back of her neck and he lasered the inevitable kiss across her lips. Sensations of heat, fast and furious, flamed and combusted, swamping her with needs she’d never known before.
Sunnie surprised herself and moaned. He took the sound as a sign and deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue inside to duel with hers. Pressing. Demanding. She felt his other hand closing over her breast. Growing tension curled inside her, exploding in her belly.
It was suddenly too much. She couldn’t breathe. The panic hit hard, right smack in the middle of her chest, as her racing heart jumped wildly.
She brought her elbow up and caught him hard in the windpipe. “No! Stop it,” she demanded in a hoarse voice.
He reared back, eyes full of questions and shock as he raised his hands to defend himself. She used the opportunity, pulled away enough to put some momentum behind it, and shoved at his shoulders. Overbalancing, he slipped right off the bed and hit the floor.
It took him a full two minutes of gasping for breath to get a word out. During that time, Sunnie came to her senses and started feeling guilty.
“What the hell did you do that for?” he finally croaked.
She shook her head. “I don’t know.” But she did.
She’d let him kiss her. Touch her. Stir her needs and rob her, however momentarily, of the will and determination to finish her mission.
The lust had been there all along of course. But she needed to be able to control it. With her own moves. Her own choices. Not his.
Cisco’s wary glance drilled through her. “Well, don’t do it again.”
Sunnie got up and strode toward the bathroom. “Not a chance.” She turned back but tried not to look directly at him. “Give me a few minutes to get myself together. Then we’ll go find that coffee and head to my apartment.”
From the book: SHADOW WHISPERS
by Linda Conrad
Silhouette Romantic Suspense
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher