Author:Nina Lane

Remember that time in the coat closet during a holiday party…?


Heck, we might even still be going at it, for all I know. Certainly we have a lot of time left… I’m almost thirty, he’s thirty-eight… which gives us plenty of years to indulge.


Provided we can fix everything that’s broken in the past four months.


Tension winds through me. I press a hand to my belly.


“Come home with me.” Dean’s deep voice rumbles across my skin.


Home with me. Where I belong.


I turn to face my husband. Aside from his wrinkled suit jacket, he looks unruffled with his hair gleaming under the lights, his black eyebrows and thick-lashed eyes emphasizing the angles of his jaw. His usual air of self-possession surrounds him, like a suit tailored just for his lean, muscular body. As his gaze meets mine, his eyes fill with warmth.


I know that look. A new tingle of pleasure sparks down to my toes as he takes my hand and we head back to the coat closet—this time to actually retrieve our coats. I take a wrapped present from beneath the gift tree. We say our goodbyes to the various members of the Historical Society before heading out into the late-afternoon dusk.


The town of Mirror Lake is sheathed in a fresh layer of snow. Fat, jolly Santas, Christmas trees, and happy reindeer plaster the windows of the downtown shops. Strings of multicolored lights twinkle around lampposts, windowsills, and awnings. Wind gusts from the frozen lake, which sits like a huge, porcelain platter at the base of white-capped mountains.


We walk toward Dean’s car parked at the curb, and he opens the passenger side door for me. We return home to our two-bedroom apartment above a row of shops on Avalon Street. We pass clusters of last-minute Christmas shoppers, excited children, and several holiday vendors selling popcorn and roasted chestnuts.


As I precede Dean up the stairs to our apartment, he reaches out to run his hand over the curve of my rear. I glance over my shoulder at him.


“Left you high and dry, didn’t I?” I ask, unlocking the door.


“You did indeed. Not that I’m complaining.”


The instant he closes the door behind us, I turn to meet his imminent kiss. This time, there’s no need for haste or furtiveness. We shed our coats slowly with our mouths still locked together, then he backs me up toward the bedroom.


It’s been more than three heartbreaking weeks since we’ve even kissed. After our marital troubles of recent months culminated in an ugly fight, I left to go and stay with our friend Kelsey March. Only yesterday did Dean and I begin to make tentative steps toward reconciliation.


I’ve missed him terribly. Everything about him—the caress of his breath, the sound of his voice, the strength of his muscular body—reminds me how good things can be between us and how much I still love him.


He takes the back of my neck in his hand, angling my head to deepen the pressure of his kiss. My bones weaken as desire spreads from the pit of my belly through my veins. I curl my hands around his arms, sinking into the beauty of our togetherness.


“Take off your clothes,” Dean whispers.


He lifts his head, sliding his palm against my cheek as he steps away from me. Lust brews in his eyes as he watches me hook my fingers into the stretchy material of my dress and pull it over my head. I tug off my torn nylons, feeling Dean’s gaze sweeping over my cleavage enclosed by my cotton bra. A trace of nervousness nudges at me. It feels like a lifetime has passed since I’ve been naked in front of my husband.


He nods toward my bra. “Let me see.”


My heart hammers. I twist the front clasp of my bra and push it off my shoulders. Cool air brushes my skin. Dean’s breath escapes him in a rush, his gaze a caress over my full breasts and taut nipples. He crooks a finger at me. I take a few steps toward him, tingles raining through me as he cups my breasts in his big, warm hands.


I love this. Love the way he touches me, rubbing his hands beneath my breasts, and then up again to twist my nipples gently between his fingers. Excitement pools in me, centering in my lower body.


“Did you think about us?” I ask as he moves his hand down over my belly and beneath my panties to the tangle of curls between my legs.


“Every night.” He eases his forefinger into my sex. “Missed you so damn much. Thought about you riding me, sucking me, on your hands and knees…”


A shudder rocks me when he rubs my clit. “I… I thought about all that too.”


Images of the fantasies I’d had about us during the long weeks of our separation flash through my mind. Fantasies even hotter than the ones I’d had about him when we first met. I spread my palm over the rigid length of his erection and move closer to nudge my breasts against him.