Nathan woke to heat. With a pounding head and groggy eyes, he shifted away from the source only to have the source follow him. Clammy hands on his abdomen and moisture from her skin against his thighs sent his body into early morning alert. Almost twenty years. You'd think he would be immune. He should be immune.
She'd curled into his side during the night and was wrapped around him.
5 a.m. Too fuckin' early, but too late to reclaim any sleep. Geez. He should have slept in the second bedroom. As was his practice lately, he slid out of bed and jumped into a cold shower that hardly relieved his arousal. Twenty-nine days was a long ass time.
But necessary if he wanted to ease back.
Dressed—armed—for the day in his blue and pink floral jams and his muscle t-shirt, he hit the kitchen for a quick meal. He made oatmeal, not because it was his favorite, but because it was supposed to lower cholesterol. He figured he better try to stay one step ahead of the grim reaper. Forty-four had snuck up on him like a damn snake and sunk its venomous teeth into his heart.
“Nate! For the love of God.” Stacy rushed to the stove.
He swung around to her and watched in horror as she reached for the pot of boiling oatmeal. Swift as he could, he snagged her around the waist.
The sticky, thick liquid glooped down the side of the metal and hit the burner where it sizzled and burned. Shit.
“Put me down, you idiot.”
When he dropped her, she stumbled against the table, but he was already grabbing a towel and tossing the pot into the sink. “Did you touch it?” he asked, his heart pounding against his ribcage.
“No.” As she straightened her spine, his awareness that she was going to spew more needs all over him peaked—a result of eighteen years of marriage. “Nathan. I scheduled us to go deep sea diving today.”
She lifted a hand, successfully succumbing his excuses. “Since you have work, I'll be going by myself.”
Stacy was typically a calm woman. Paired against his own temper, they'd made a good match, but it was times like this when he would give anything to see her fight. Sometime since yesterday afternoon, she'd lost her spark.
He bit his tongue on the urge to ask her about it.
Silence between them had never been awkward before. Now, he didn't think he could get out of there fast enough. He couldn't do this right now. Not when he had a team waiting on him in the Philippines, not when every encounter with her weakened the wall he'd built in order to protect her.
“Nothing?” She strode to the sink and turned on the water. “You have nothing to say. Great, just great. You're unbelievable, you know that?”
Nathan froze. There was no winning in answering, but she expected something. “I have to work. I know this vacation is important to you—”
“To us!” She yelled, dropping the pot so that water sloshed from the sink and drenched her sleeves. “Us. I didn't plan this getaway on my own a year ago. You were there too. We decided to come down here while the kids were in Germany.
“But here I am, by myself even after the sun goes down. And alone when I wake up, too. And you! What do you do? Nothing!” She turned to him, sending poisonous darts with her cold blue eyes as her voice rose. “I need more than you are giving.”
Nathan's shock meter shot through the roof as Stacy grabbed her breasts, squeezed them as if offering them to him. “I want sex, damn it, and you can't even find it in you to roll over and wish me goodnight.”
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