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.”He nodded.“I understand.I won’t try to persuade you otherwise.”“Perhaps you should see a psychiatrist.”The sharp sound as Flynn sucked air in through his teeth drew her attention.Darkness closed in, and the warm flicker of firelight enhanced his features, cutting a sharp image to make him appear more evil than usual.The fleeting thought of whether he considered her worth seeing a psychiatrist for was squashed without further consideration.She expected him to sit in silence, but he surprised her by speaking quietly in the dark.“I did once.When this first happened.”She waited.He sighed.“I haven’t seen him in three years.I don’t need to.”She thought otherwise, but unless he made the move himself, it wouldn’t be worth it.“Would you tell me how it happened?”“Sure.It’s not a secret, I’m surprised you haven’t been told already.” At the shake of her head, he continued.“Unlike you, I had a brilliant childhood.I had everything I wanted, no one denied me anything.In fact, I was a spoiled little bastard.Even Carl tells me that now.At the time, I had no idea.I thought I was invincible.”“Most kids do, whatever their background.”“Yeah.But I was worse.I was full of myself.Like you, I was bright, but where people were scared of your intelligence, they encouraged mine.I did really well in college, finished up early, and got recruited into the Special Tactics Squadron.I loved it.It underpinned my whole theory—I became a god in uniform.” He shook his head and let out a bark of self-recriminating laughter.“Jesus.They made me one of the youngest ever Combat Controllers and I was good.” He blew out a breath, stared into the fire, and she couldn’t resist moving closer to rest her hand on his arm.“We went out on a mission.We’d been on loads.It seemed routine, but we were betrayed, by one of our own.He led us into an ambush.They slaughtered three.Two escaped and I was injured.They caught me, tortured me.”She could make out his hand in the orange glow as he smoothed it over his face and skimmed over the details.“They said I was too pretty, they wanted to teach me humility before I died.They suspended me upside down from a meat hook in the ceiling.” A wave of queasiness unexpectedly shot through her.She’d not allowed herself to think too deeply about what had happened.She’d had no idea it had been so violent, so personal.“They slashed my face.They were about to slit open my throat.”Nausea rolled in the pit of her stomach.“How did you get away?”“The one who survived came back and rescued me.”“You said two escaped.”“Yeah.Only one survived.She put a bullet through the other one’s brain for betraying us.”“I see.”“Anyway.She saved me.”“She must have been very tough and brave to come back and rescue you single-handedly.”“Hard as nails.”“Who was she?”“Her name? Barbie.”She snorted, breaking the heavy atmosphere.“You were rescued by a woman named Barbie?”“Sure.” He laughed, this time genuine and free.“You should see her.She’s about your height, blonde—bright white blonde, with breasts…” he held his hands out from his own chest and wiggled his fingers, and then nodded at her chest.“…bigger than yours.”Her laughter choked in her throat as his smile spread wide across his face in genuine affection for the woman called Barbie.“Did you and she…?”“No.” He snorted the word out and looked sideways at her through narrowed eyes, his smile still in place.“We got along really well.Still do, when I hear from her.But she was just as likely to slit my throat as bounce on me.”“Bounce on you?”“Yeah, you know…”“Yes, I do know what you mean.Is that what you were doing with me? Bouncing on me?”He lifted his hand and stroked soft fingers along her jawline.His eyes looked deep into hers, and she could see the amusement twinkling through the shafts of firelight playing across his face.“If I remember right, Liberty, you were the one bouncing on me.Correct me if I’m wrong, but you were—enthusiastic.” She smiled.Their faces were so close she could have leaned in and kissed him, but she sensed the moment he realized and deliberately withdrew, rolling to her feet.“I think I’d better get the sleeping bag, it’s getting a little chilly.”He stared up at her, the warmth of the firelight highlighting his features, and her heart almost stopped.“Sure, I’ll go take a p…a walk.”•●•Every time he brought his face close to hers, he felt a desperate need to kiss her and a wild chill of fear.Fear of failure.He hadn’t been entirely truthful when he’d told Liberty about the psychiatrist.He may not have seen him in years, but they’d remained in contact.They’d spent a long time together in the beginning, and now and again Flynn felt the need to speak to Dominic.But he was resisting the temptation at the moment, trying to decide how important it was.It seemed pretty important now, with the bundle of dips and curves wrapped inside the same sleeping bag as him, her ass snuggled comfortably into his groin, her back pressed into his chest, and her icy feet wedged firmly between his knees.He tucked his nose into her hair and inhaled.It smelled of green apples, clean and fresh, but if he moved his head down a little and sniffed just behind her ear, there was a warm, inviting, womanly aroma.He closed his eyes and absorbed her varying scents.Warm, black velvet enveloped him, soothing his mind and enticing his body to relax.“Flynn?”Shit.It was okay, he told himself, to swear inside his head, but the woman had almost had him leaping out the sleeping bag.He’d thought she was asleep.“Yup.”“Are you asleep?”He cleared his throat.“Not anymore.”“I can’t get to sleep.”“Uh-huh.” He was still floating in languid warmth.“I think your penis is poking into my backside.”His eyes shot open and pitch black greeted him.He tried to find a source of light, but a thin cover of cloud blocked out the stars and the moon.“I think you’ll find it’s my Bowie knife.”Silence greeted him and he closed his eyes again, a small smile touching his lips at her gullibility, and he allowed the comfort to engulf him once more.“Flynn?”He could barely manage a grunt.“It’s a really stupid place to keep a sharp knife.”His eyes shot wide again.“Apart from that, with the heat emanating from it, I would be seriously worried unless it was a penis, it might be about to self-combust…”He had to wonder for a moment if the woman was serious, and then he realized she was holding her breath, and her little body had a gentle tremor going on.“I can’t help it if my dick has a homing device.”Her laughter stopped.He hummed, the sound vibrating from the center of his chest.He huddled himself in, snuggled her soft body up close, and welcomed oblivion.Chapter SevenHe wondered how the hell he’d survived two nights, nestled into the depths of her sleeping bag, her constant closeness driving him insane.By the third day he’d been almost ready to call it quits [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]