February 12, 2018
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“I thought you and Mal would be off having a good old time.”
He glanced down at her, wondering about the tone. There was a thread of irritation in it. She was smiling up at him as if there was nothing wrong, but he knew there was something she wasn’t telling him.
“Apparently your brother had a woman picked out already.”
She nodded. “He’s a slut.”
Kade couldn’t help it. He threw back his head and laughed. Shannon had a way of talking about her brothers, especially Mal, that Kade knew was to remind them they were still just her brothers.
“What about you?” she asked.
“I’m not a slut.”
She chuckled. “The jury’s still out on that one.”
“Your brother needs to learn how to be a little more picky.”
Her lips curved up at that comment, and he felt the moisture dry up in his mouth. God, he wanted to kiss that smile off her face—then move down her body, exploring every delicious inch of her. He knew her flesh would be sweet.
“I noticed you’re pretty picky.”
He nodded as he worked her around the dance floor. “I don’t fall for every pretty face that comes along.”
She said nothing. Instead she laid her head on his shoulder. The gesture was so natural it was as if she did it every day. He knew he should tell her not to. His brain said he should do it. But he couldn’t. It was too close to what he wanted, what he yearned for. For five long years he had wanted her, wanted to feel this way with her, her head on his shoulder, her soft, warm body in his arms. He had wanted that for so long, he just couldn’t bring himself to stop her.
It was bad enough he would probably have to take a five-hour cold shower when he got back to the room. Sweat slid down his back, and he had to fight the urge to lean down and brush his lips over her forehead.
He had talked himself into not doing more when she sighed and relaxed even more against him. Her breasts were pressed against his chest, and with every breath he drew in that sultry scent that was so unique to her. His head started to spin. His body started to duel with his mind. His brain was starting to lose when the music ended. The band swung into a fast-paced Hawaiian tune. His body protested when he had to pull back.
Even to his own ears, his voice sounded gruff. She raised her head and blinked as if coming out of some kind of daze. Her breathing hitched, and her breasts rose above the neckline of her dress. His gaze slipped down, he could see her hardened nipples through the delicate red fabric. He curled his fingers into his palms and counted backwards from ten. If he didn’t get away from her soon, he would definitely lose control. There would be nothing to stop him from tearing off her clothes and bending her over a banquet table.
The wind shifted, pulling a few strands of her hair loose from the complicated style.
He cleared his throat. “Well, that was…nice.”
Fuck. How lame could he get? She studied him for a second, her expression serious, thoughtful. Then in the next moment, her lips curved.
“You know where my room is, doncha?”
Lust soared. His body reacted at the direct question. Any doubts he had about her interest in him vaporized. She apparently thought there was no reason to hide her attraction to him anymore.
He nodded, unable to form a word.
“Well, then you know where to find me later.”
With that, she walked away, and he couldn’t help watching her hips and that magnificent ass of hers. He could just imagine having her on all fours in front of him as he took her from behind.
Kade drew in a deep breath. He needed to get a drink. He needed to go away, far away. He could not breach the trust his friend put in him. If another man had thoughts about his sister like he had about Shannon, well, he would kill him. Of course, his sister was married with five kids, so there was a really good chance his brother-in-law had those thoughts.
He headed over to the bar. After ordering another beer, he turned and found himself face to face with Kai Aiona, Shannon’s brother-in-law.
“Hey, man. I saw you out there with Shannon.”
“Yeah. I’ve known all the Duprees for a long time.”
He nodded. “Those two women, though, they melt a man’s brain.”
He didn’t know what else to say, so he just nodded and took a shallow sip off his bottle.
Kai laughed. “Don’t worry, bra. I won’t be bugging you about your intentions. The one thing I understand about the Dupree women is that they have their own minds. Just make sure you know what you’re about. I’d hate to have to beat the crap out of you to make Jocelyn happy.”
“I’m a SEAL.”
Kai laughed in his face again. “And I’ve been working on the docks since I was a teen.”
They eyed each other, and Kade realized he’d come up against an adversary he might not be able to beat. He wasn’t as muscular as Kade, but there was something to be said about a man who knew how to fight dirty.
“Now, speaking of my bride, I need to hunt her up. We have a big suite to use for the night.”
He left Kade alone to his thoughts. He didn’t have to look for Shannon, he knew where she was. It didn’t matter if he tried to ignore her, he could always sense where she was if she was nearby. He could find her in a crowd of a thousand. He watched as she pulled May and Kai’s father out onto the dance floor and tried to teach him to two-step. It was silly that his heart turned over just at the sight of her. She was smiling as usual, her joy easy to see. Shannon enjoyed life, every little bit of it, to the fullest extent. Out of all of the Duprees, she was the one who could always find a silver lining in any cloud. And now she had pulled away the barriers he’d thought were there. She had made her interest clear.
As he watched her dance, he felt his resistance melt. He might not have the right, but the lady had given him an invitation, and even if it was for just this one night, he would taste a little bit of paradise.
With his job, there were few opportunities for it. Once—just this once—he would take the chance.