I tilted my head up to watch the hushed fall of the feathery white flakes blanketing the earth. Delicate snowy crystals seemed to dance around the air in front of me; moving to music that only they could hear.
Snowcapped windowsills and fluffy snow covered branches made the city look picturesque and hopeful.
Shane brushed off the snow that had collected on the front and back windshields. I was amazed at how much had already fallen and the news said that the storm wasn’t even near us yet. There had to be about a foot of snow on the ground already. Before we left the apartment, we watched as warnings scrolled along the bottom of the television screen to stay indoors and to drive only in cases of emergency.
I didn’t know by whose standards we would call this an emergency, but I would have sprouted wings myself and flew to see those ancient blue eyes if I couldn’t drive.
Shane opened the passenger side door and knocked his boots on the side of the well, spraying snow all over.
“Hurry up, just get in, I want to get out on the road ahead of this storm if we can.”
Shane gave me an exasperated look. “We could just stay here, Grace. We don’t have to go to Tucker. I promise, I’ll keep you safe.”
“Shane. I’m going. If you want to stay. Stay.”
The inside of the Jeep was still cold, and mist drifted from our lips each time we spoke. I shivered and turned on the heat and defrost, and tried to blow some warmth into my hands. When the air seemed warm enough not to cause my fingers to shake, I plugged in my GPS system and keyed in our destination. Outside the snow fell faster.
I pulled over the snowdrifts with my four-wheel drive; the wind howled against the car. “Looks like the angels are having one hell of a pillow fight!” I laughed.
“Pillow fight?” Shane whispered.
“Yeah, it’s an old saying, but Conner said it when it started to snow the other night.” I glanced at his expression, his head hung low and his arms were folded tight across his chest. “What’s wrong? You don’t believe in that stuff or just not in old wives tales.”
I stopped at a red light and waited for his answer.
He shrugged and looked out the snowy window. “I don’t give much thought to angels,” he said and shivered.
I took the Lincoln Tunnel and emerged into a wintery wonderland worse than what we came from, nothing that side of the tunnel seemed to have been plowed. Shane buckled himself in his seatbelt, but still sat at the edge of the passenger seat; knuckles white clutching my dashboard.
Shane’s phone went off. When he answered it, I could hear Conner’s voice on the other side. The howling winds hitting against the Jeep made the rest of the conversation hard to hear.
After a brief conversation, Shane clicked off his phone. “They made it there okay. Conner says the roads are getting worse. They are talking about white out conditions on I-80.”
Thick chunks of snow collided with the windshield; the wipers could barely stand against the attack. “We can’t go back now. It’s fine. Look,” I pointed through an almost opaque windshield. “The roads aren’t so bad.” Whom was I kidding? I was insane driving in this! I gripped the wheel as tightly as I could.
Shane glared at me openmouthed.
I pressed harder on the gas pedal to stop him from looking at me and it worked. He snapped his head forward and crossed his arms glowering out the window. “Lea is right, you really do have some sort of a death wish,” he whispered.
I let the statement go. Fighting with him right then would cause me not to concentrate on the road that I could no longer see. All I needed to do was stand in front of those ancient blue eyes. I needed to know if Blake was who I’d been looking for.
“Do you want to explain to me why you are driving in this insane blizzard to get to someone you don’t want to be with? Or am I wrong about you and Tucker?”
He would never understand. “I don’t want to be with Tucker. Let me just concentrate on driving.”
He kicked the floorboards with his foot. “Whatever.”
We continued the drive in hours of eerie silence; nothing but the muted sounds of the snow closing down and suffocating the earth. Would this be what death would be like for me when my eternity was done? Silent, cold and empty; no heaven at all?
We both jumped, startled, when the voice from my GPS called out for me to take the next exit.
The Jeep skidded onto the off ramp and almost into a snow embankment, but I somehow managed to straighten out. Shane cursed under his breath.
“We’re almost there,” I said. “The GPS says we’ll be there in three minutes.”
I drove slowly, my blood pumping fiercely through my veins. The GPS announced to the world that we had reached our destination. Outside the windshield, it was pure white.
“Tucker’s driveway is right off this main road, so we are probably at the entrance.”
I turned in, only to hit what seemed like a four-foot wall of snow.
“Looks like the drive is plowed in,” he said. “Try to pull up to the right more so you’re off the main road in case another plow comes by and doesn’t see us.”
I pulled up more, hands shaking. “Should we get out and walk from here?”
Shane grimaced. “Tucker’s driveway is at least three miles long. it’s got its own name, so there’s no way we can walk in this. I’ll call them and see if he can get to us with the snow mobiles.”
He tried calling, so did I, but he got no reception at all and mine went right to voice mail so I left a message.
“What should we do?” I asked anxiously.
“We should stay in here until we can get them on the phone. That way, Grace, we won’t die out in the pretty white stuff,” he teased. “Kill the ignition, don’t waste the gas.”
A tremendous gust of wind tilted the Jeep, so I frantically tried my cell phone again. No service. Craptabulous!
Shane started shifting around in his seat, “My ass is asleep from sitting so long. Is that even possible? Wanna rub it for me?” he laughed.
“Shut up,” I laughed back.
As he tried to make himself comfortable, he skimmed his hand lightly across my knee, sending shivers throughout my body. Of course, he noticed.
Bending forward he sprang the handle on the seat and pushed it all the way back. “You’re cold already, climb over here.”
I looked at him as if he had just grown another head. “That’s not necessary.” I mean seriously, if a brush from his freaking hand sent shivers all over my body what would his whole body on me...I refused to finish the thought. To keep me from jumping on top of him I thought about my Jeep being mauled by a bear looking for food in the blizzard.
Outside, the wind screamed louder, and inside, the temperature was dropping faster. “What’s in your glove box?”
“My glove what?”
He pointed to the dashboard in front of him.
“Oh, you mean my glove compartment. Trust me, there’s nothing in there you’ll want to see,” I explained.
“Glove BOX. And is that supposed to make me not want to know what’s inside it?” Shane laughed. “Because, trust ME, it doesn’t.”
We both reached for the glove COMPARTMENT/box at the same time, but he was quicker. About half a dozen tampons flew out at him.
I laughed uncontrollably. “I told you it’s nothing you’d want to see, why do you always have to try to get your way?”
He reached his hand in and felt around, throwing the last tampon at me. “Because I was hoping you had one of these,” he said smiling, holding up a flash light. His eyes studied mine as he dropped the flashlight back into the glove whatever. He tucked a loose piece of my hair behind my ear. Another shiver rocked my body. A small flicker of sadness passed over his eyes.
He unzipped his jacket and peeled it off. “Come here, Grace, you’re freezing.” He gathered me into his arms and easily pulled me onto his lap. Of course, it would be an easy task, my mutinous body helped him right along. He held me in his arms and draped the coat over us.
Not having any control over my body, I nuzzled into his chest under his jacket. It was as if I floated on warm tropical waters. Somewhere in the back of mind, I thought about those ancient blue eyes, just three miles away. The image blurred and faded in and out. I clung to Shane, not wanting to move a muscle, for fear the friction and heat between us would spark a fire. I laughed at the thought.
Shane moaned and held me tighter, “What are you giggling at under there?”
I poked my head out from under his jacket, our faces so close to each other I could barely breathe. Our lips so close.
“I’m losing it,” I muttered. “I’m desperate for some hot cocoa; you know the thick and creamy kind with those sweet sugary little marshmallows. I want to sit near a roaring fire with my hands wrapped around the warm cup and I want to feel the velvety heat coat my mouth and slide down my throat,” I ranted.
His breath pitched. “God, Grace you can seriously make anything you say the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard.” His eyes lowered their gaze to my lips as he unzipped my jacket. We locked eyes as I slipped my arms out of its sleeves. Wrapping both our jackets over us, he pulled me closer and nestled his face into my hair, his breath sparking flames down my neck.
I gritted my loudly chattering teeth. Traitorous body! I wasn’t the least bit cold.
He slid his warm hands under my shirt and slowly traced his fingertips along the small of my back and up my spine. His touch was killing me, killing my soul; just leaving the body of Grace wanting and needing.
I slid my hands up the front of his shirt, telling myself it was for the warmth, but I was never a good liar. His body was soft and deliciously warm, and the restraint was torturous.
A low moan escaped from his lips. He pushed himself up against me and gently pulled me into a sitting position; my legs straddling him. This is too dangerous, too toxic; too beautiful.
I glanced down at him and immediately I wished I hadn’t. He was watching me closely. He hesitated and fixed me with his intense icy blue stare. He raised his beautiful hand to my face and traced his thumb softly against my lower lip.
“One kiss, Grace, just one simple kiss. Baby, please,” he begged. “Just one.” His hands reached up, grabbing my hair and pulling me towards him. His smell was intoxicating; I inhaled deeply.
He ran feathery fingers through my hair and around to the nape of my neck. I trembled under his touch. I was a complete dripping hot disaster; falling into pieces wanting him to fill me and put me back together.
“Do you have any idea what you do to me, Grace?” His voice was low and husky, and he gazed at me, ice blue eyes concentrating hard. It took my breath away. “Just one. Grace...”
His slow deliberate hands moved over my skin, fingers trembling. It unleashed an inferno that coursed through my body. Every move he made was so freaking erotic.
“Just one,” I whispered. Then his lips touched mine. It was barely a kiss; his lips hovered over mine, taking the briefest of moments to savor the intensity.
I told myself, just one, a little one, then that would be it. I would stop myself from going too far.
“Grace,” he sighed and his lips devoured mine. I fell completely apart in his arms, his touch unraveled me, and his kiss brought me back together; complete. I wanted all of him; I wanted to taste every inch of his body. I moaned desperately into his mouth and he pulled me closer.
He clasped my hands above me and yanked the tee shirt over my head. He tilted his head back appraising me, and then let out a long faltering sigh. He trailed kisses over my neck and shoulders, and across my torso, leaving a burning sensation in their wake. Gently, he grazed my skin with his teeth, biting me softly. Every place he touched me echoed in my groin, making me breathless.
Yanking the cup of my bra down, he licked me in circular motions; my nipples hardened, I could feel the moist sensation all the way in my groin. He touched me as if he couldn’t get enough, like I was the first woman he’d ever touched, I shuddered in response to his fingertips.
My fingers ran down the lean muscles of his chest and settled on the button of his jeans, undoing them with the snap of my fingers. His hands slid over my legs up to the button of my jeans and I did the same. He leaned back and grinned wickedly, which made the deep parts of me ache with want even more. Thick hot desire burned in my belly.
Watching me, he laid his hand flat against my belly, dipping his fingers slowly between the material of my panties and my skin. My body hitched up towards him with longing. His fingers kept traveling down, ever so slightly, and my body throbbed for them. I quivered and his breath faltered again, as he watched my breathless reaction. Our breathing amplified in the small confines of the Jeep. He dug his teeth into my bottom lip and moaned; I rocked against him.
I slipped my hands past his waistband and tugged gently as my hands grasped his smooth hard skin. He closed his eyes, his breathing caught. When he opened his eyes again, his gaze was scorching, wanting, needing. I felt his legs tense under me; he throbbed in my hands.
His lips touched mine again, breathing me in I like was his air, then he tore his mouth from mine; panting. “Please, Grace, whatever it is you’re going after, please try to find it here in me. I will try my best to be the man that you need me to be.” His words brought me back to earth, and sent me reeling, as I realized where our hands were. I pushed against him and leaned back.
I cupped my hands over my swollen lips and tried desperately to get off him. I was astounded by what I had almost let happen, what I still wanted to happen. “Shane, I’m sorry.” I felt my eyes go wide and filled themselves with tears. I looked out the window, I looked up, down; I was frantic. I started the engine and blasted the heat; ice-cold air filled the small space. My body convulsed and raged against my decision to stop kissing him. I squeezed my hands around the steering wheel just to keep them off him.
Shane lightly placed his hand on my chin and pulled my face towards his. I flicked the heater even higher. The noise from the vents was a welcoming distraction from the hunger in Shane’s gaze.
“I lost myself in you that night, lost myself somewhere in that kiss,” Shane said.
“I told you I can’t do this. I told you I was in love with someone else.”
“An ex-boyfriend, right? Not Tucker or Ethan or Blake?”
I nodded my head and wiped the humiliating tears from my cheeks. I wasn’t crying about the kiss, because my God, that was freaking amazing. It was the fact that he could make me forget something that I’ve been after for thousands of years with just the tips of his fingers. Oh my, what would the rest of his body do to me? It’s killing me that I want to find out!
“Let me help you erase his memory,” he whispered.
I almost threw up on him. In fact, I know I definitely would have if there were any food in my stomach. I literally dry-heaved. Then I smacked him across the face. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to punch him with a fully closed fist.
He didn’t even flinch from the slap. He just arched his stupidly perfect eyebrow at me, as if I was a joke to him.
“You cold fucking bastard! What will you erase it with, your dick? You really think sleeping with you is that fucking awesome? I love someone, Shane, with my whole heart. Don’t you understand what that means? Do you even have a heart inside that body of yours?” I cried. Hot tears poured down my face. They came down to defend my angel, the one I could never seem to find.
He drew his hands back and leaned against the door, looking right into my teary eyes, expressionless. “No, Grace. I don’t have a heart. I did once, but I gave it to a girl and I let her keep it when she died. That’s why I am the way I am, why every girl is just another piece of ass to me. No one has ever come close to making me feel the way she did. But shit, Grace, I would do anything to erase her, to not feel that fucking hole in my life.”
I couldn’t look at him any longer. I would have bet my life on him lying to get me to have sex with him right there out of pity. Like I would be the one that could tame him. I wondered how many poor girls got their heart crushed by those words. I’d burn in hell before I became someone’s piece of ass! “Let’s just keep trying our cells, so we can finally get out of this box, forget everything that’s happened, and move on with our lives. You can go back to your adoring Pieces of Ass, and I can go back to being alone. Everyone gets to live happily ever after.”
“Holy shit, Grace! Do you not listen to anything? Grace, that’s not a kiss I’m ever going to forget. Looking at the way I fucking make you cry, I wish like hell I could forget it, but I freaking can’t! I want you!” He grabbed my hands and pinned them together.
“Don’t do this, Shane.”
“Why? Lie to me and tell me you don’t fucking feel that need between us,” he yelled.
“Really, Shane? You want to go there? What are you asking me for exactly? You just want me to spread eagle for you right here, let you have your way with me, get me out of your system? Then we get out of this and you get to treat me like nothing but a PIECE OF ASS? You can have a great story to tell the guys-all about how you tapped that ass stuck in a snowstorm.”
He had nothing to say, because I was right. “This is a nightmare, Shane, me and you. I woke up crying the other night thinking how you kissed me!”
“Really, Grace? Why don’t you go ahead and ask me what wakes me up sweaty and trembling every freaking night! Go ahead, Grace, ask me!” he demanded. He pulled me closer.
“Get away from me, Shane!” I moaned, moving away. I clawed his hands off me and I yanked open the Jeep door. It wouldn’t budge, so I shifted my body and kicked at it until it opened enough for my body to climb out. All the while, Shane was screaming, cursing, and pleading for me to listen to him. I pressed the mute button and yanked my shirt back over my head. “I’m a fucking novelty to you, just because no other girl has ever had the self-esteem to say no to you!”
I pulled myself out of the car. The snowdrift we were parked in was so high that I was able to climb right onto the roof. Underneath the hardtop, I could feel Shane kicking the passenger side door open to come after me.
The roof lurched beneath my feet and Shane grabbed my flailing arms, dragging me off the Jeep and into the snow. “Get away, Shane!”
He lifted me up and tossed me over his shoulder, forcing all the air from my lungs. Carrying me, he climbed the snowdrifts, as I pounded my fists against his back. When he found an area sheltered by a tree, he eased me off his shoulder, sliding me down the front of his body. Oh, holy horror was that freaking hot!
I tried to wrench free, but he held me tight against him with one hand on the small of my back and the other grasping my neck through a fistful of hair.
He gently tugged my hair back and pulled his head down to mine, kissing me once on the lips. He brushed his lips along my cheeks to my ear and whispered with the heat of his breath, “Go ahead, Grace, ask me what dreams I wake from at night.” He pulled his head back and his eyes assaulted me with his fierce intensity. “I wake up with you as the last thought in my dreams. I dream about your lips, the smell of your skin and hair, and the freaking fire that burns inside of me to be inside you. I want to bury myself inside you and never climb out, my sweet death. Grace, I’m fucking in love with you.”
I stopped struggling and let him hold me. One, I was freezing because I had left my coat in the Jeep and two, well, for a minute; I so badly wanted this to be my real life.
I blinked back tears. “In another life, Shane, if I was anybody but me, I would have loved to be loved by you.”
Shane stood there holding me, eyes pleading, when we heard the roar of the snowmobiles. Finally, one of our messages got through!
Shane stepped away from me and raked his hands threw his snow covered hair. Two snowmobiles appeared out of the blinding whiteness and skidded to a halt in front of us.
Tucker lifted his visor to exclaim that my Superman was finally here, giving me a wink.
Blake lifted his visor and rolled his eyes. He jumped off and reached out his hand out to me. I took it and he helped me straddle the snowmobile, then he got on behind me.
Rage shadowed Shane’s features and his hands balled into fists.
Tucker looked rejected. I cared about neither at that moment. All I cared about was Blake.
With a disgusted sigh, Shane waded through the deep snow back to the Jeep and yanked the passenger side door open. I watched him effortlessly pull our packs and jackets out and sling both our guitar cases over his shoulders then climb back over the snowdrifts to our waiting snowmobiles.
Glaring angrily into my eyes, he handed my jacket to me when he passed, “Here you go, wouldn’t want you to get any colder than you already are.”
The words stung, because I knew he wasn’t talking about the temperature. He was just stating how cold of a person I was. He was right, but I had no other choice.
After I pulled on my coat and zipped it up against the wind, Blake wrapped one strong arm around my waist and the other on one end of the handlebars. He took off without even waiting for Shane to jump on Tucker’s snowmobile.