1 Cat Scratch Fever

The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath
And emeralds from mountains that thrust towards the sky
Never revealing their depth
And tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love
I’ll be captivated, I’ll hang from your lips
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

I’ll be your cryin’ shoulder
I’ll be love’s suicide
And I’ll be better when I’m older
I’ll be the greatest fan of your life

And rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed
And you’re my survival, you’re my living proof
My love is alive and not dead
And tell me that we belong together
Dress it up with the trappings of love
I’ll be captivated, I’ll hang from your lips
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above

And I’ll be your cryin’ shoulder
I’ll be love’s suicide
I’ll be better when I’m older
I’ll be the greatest fan of your life

And I’ve dropped out, I’ve burned up, I’ve fought my way back from the dead
I Tuned in, I turned on, remembered the thing that you said

And I’ll be your cryin’ shoulder
I’ll be love’s suicide
And I’ll be better when I’m older
I’ll be the greatest fan of your life
And I’ll be your cryin’ shoulder
I’ll be love’s suicide
And I’ll be better when I’m older
I’ll be the greatest fan of your life

The greatest fan of your life

Kitten’s Lair – February 23, 2013


Diego grunted slightly as he fumbled for his key in his jacket pocket. He’d already thumped on the door three times with his elbow, and although he knew the occupant inside was home, as he could hear the strains of the stereo playing, they’d chosen to ignore his insistent rapping.

Which meant he had to exert very impressive grace as he shuffled the numerous bags and packages engulfed in his arms to let himself inside, without dropping anything.

Slipping into the small, airy flat and nudging the door shut with his foot, he spotted Mia sitting on the plush suede couch in the living room with her feet propped up, exactly as she’d been when he’d left that morning, her face and body utterly motionless.

Despite the near evening hour, the legal rookie hadn’t changed out of her pajamas. She focused vacantly into space, without even a twitch. Her breath was slow and even, although her limbs remained as immobile as a cadaver. Occasionally her brow would furrow as if to indicate some kind of thought was forming, but then her countenance would slacken again into an indecipherable expression.  Had it not been for her wide eyes, he’d have assumed she was sleeping…or possibly dead.

Which meant the caramel-haired beauty was downright oblivious to her surroundings, the unfamiliar melody blaring from the speakers, or her concerned boyfriend’s presence as he unloaded his parcels onto the neighboring armchair. Then, so as not to startle her, he unobtrusively took a seat next to her – close, but not touching.

“Mami, I’m home!” He tried to keep his cadence upbeat, in vain efforts to bolster her dejected spirits. “It’s most fortunate you gave me the key to this place since it doesn’t appear that you’ve gotten up from the same spot I left you in since morning.”

Silence from Mia. It saddened but didn’t surprise him, as she’d been like this ever since the fateful Fawles trial, treating her mate as if he were a ghost and his voice seemed to pass right through her head as if it were as meaningless as a windy breeze. Even though she was wide awake, as her eyes were open, it was evident she was merely staring ahead but mindless to anything but whatever was in the tortured confines of her mind.

“I came bearing gifts – I’d anticipated that alone would have tingled those psychic senses of yours, and somehow propelled you towards the door!”

Diego felt ridiculously garrulous, and as though he were attempting small talk with a total stranger, rather than his lover of six months, who had yet to even turn her head to acknowledge him.

“Also, I brought us some Italian take-out for dinner. I got you a huge order of spaghetti and meatballs from your favorite place, The Great Impasta. Chef Mario Luigi says ciao, Bella!”

Still not a peep from his girlfriend.

Feeling increasingly unsettled, he nudged the one of steaming Styrofoam cups extracted from the cup holder he’d placed onto the coffee table and nudged it beside her barefoot, which was propped up against the glass top.

“Plus, I stopped by Sufficient Grounds Café…”

“I just don’t get it, Diego,” she spoke at last, though still not turning her head. “It’s near dinnertime but you’re still guzzling the Joe? What is it with you drinking your weight in coffee each day?”

The defense attorney was so grateful to have finally been efficacious in snapping Mia out of her semi-catatonic state that he ignored her somewhat testy tone and easily fell into their normal banter regarding his dubious choice of beverage.

“You know the answer to that, kitten. Working among these corrupt sorts distorts your view of mankind. All it takes is a single drop of milk to ruin the pure black magic in the cup.”

“I’ve had half a year to acknowledge that bitter drink is your addictive obsession, but aren’t you reaching by making java parallels in alignment with unsavory folks?”

“The weak get washed away by the tides of fate…The strong drink it up.”

“It makes no sense likening everything to coffee. But then again, hell if I know about what makes sense, anymore,” Mia stated hollowly, dropping her tousled head back against the cushion so she was staring listlessly up at the ceiling. “What in Mystic Ami’s name do I know about anything?!”

Diego’s forehead furrowed as he wracked his mind for a suitable response. He simply had to prevent her from further veering away from his philosophical coffee wisdom instead of spiraling down this dark path of turmoil yet again.

“The bitterness…Every time I get lied to, I always down a mug of coffee.” He told her quietly. “You’re a newbie still, but will apprehend soon enough, Kitten. In the meantime, all I can ask is that you withhold judgment.”

His deep baritone took on a slight teasing inflection.

“For the record, Madame Attorney, I presumed you may appreciate a hot libation in this unseasonably cool weather, so I stopped by to get your favorite tea. But of course, I didn’t want you to drink alone so naturally, I had to get myself a cup of my usual fix while I was there! When in Rome, right?”

She finally turned her head towards him, and as he saw the lifelessness in those beloved orbs, his favorite feature, Diego’s heart sank.

Aside from being the furthermost pulchritudinous woman he’d ever known, Mia Misty Fey also possessed the most bewitching orbs he’d ever seen in his whole life. The wide-set almond eyes, a soft, light brown color, were the exact shade of a latte, looking as if their roasted-coffee-bean rim had been diffused into a cream-hued iris and usually twinkled with earnestness, laughter, and vibrancy.

However, right now, it nearly gutted him to see how those jewel-like orbs held the same unwavering sorrow within them that’d been there since she’d nearly run out in front of his car after that trial from Abaddon last week…


Courthouse Parking Lot
February 23, 2013


I need to get out of here! Mia thought frantically as she dashed through the unexpected torrential downpour that had just come out of nowhere, drenching her to the bone instantly. I can’t believe the witness committed suicide during my first trial!  Dammit, I’m getting soaked! I was in such a rush that I forgot my umbrella at the office!

There were no cabs around, but it was about a 15-minute walk to her place. 10 maybe, if she ran.

Suddenly, she saw a black blur zip past her, then screech to a halt on the wet cement. The driver stepped out of the car, reached in, grabbed his red umbrella, and rushed over to her, his mien wearing a stunned but relieved expression at the sight of her.

“Glad to see I caught you while you were still in one piece, kitten. You ran out of there like a bat out of hell while I was bandaging my hand, and I didn’t think I’d catch you in time.”

“Diego!” She groaned with relief at the sight of him. “Thank God!” 

“Why didn’t you wait for me before mindlessly darting out into the rain?” He placed a gauze-wrapped hand on the small of her back, the other holding the umbrella over both their heads as he escorted her towards his Mustang. “I thought kittens hated to get wet?”

“Don’t tease me, Diego, not today,” Mia begged him imploringly with lachrymose brown eyes. “This day’s just been a nightmare – I just had to get out of there. I- I don’t know if I’m meant for this!”

A fresh wave of tears overcame the greenhorn once more, nearly blinding her vision.

They stopped on the passenger side, and as he opened the door for the distraught attorney, Diego gently reached down and wiped the wetness from her damp cheek with his fingertips.

“Weathering the storms will get easier, kitten, I promise you,” he promised softly. “But you can’t cry just yet. A lawyer can only cry when it’s over. And your journey, Mia Fey, has only just begun.”


End Flashback

The unremitting despair Diego presently recognized in those limpid amber depths was nearly his undoing. He’d spoken the encouraging words a week ago, had meant them with all his heart, but obviously, she hadn’t believed him. All of his notions of showing compassion and comfort now seemed pointless.

He was officially out of ideas.

Perhaps he needed to try a different approach. Maybe get his kitten to unleash her claws somewhat, even if it was at his expense. Mad Mia he could handle, no problemo. It was sad Mia Fey, because he loved her so damn much, that was killing him inside.

“If I can’t interest you in either consuming tea or dinner just yet, perhaps I could pique your interest with one of these packages?”

As he reached over and grabbed a heavy paper bag from the La-Z-Boy, Diego prayed that beneath her misery, Mia’s innate feline curiosity would get the better of her.

“I sense you have an unbearably tumultuous kaleidoscope of emotions swirling within you, kitten. I’m hoping by unleashing it, perhaps you’ll find some solace at last.”

Much to his respite, the delightfully investigative Mia did appear somewhat interested in the mysterious parcel, and her morose expression shifted into one of mild inquisitiveness.

“What’s in the bag?”

The proverbial cat, if I have my way! Diego thought triumphantly as he held up one of his conquest coffee mugs from the office.

“I had 17 of these on my desk for the longest time. They’re from another lifetime, way before I met you. Nevertheless, I heavily condemn myself for not chucking these sooner, and I reckoned perhaps you would like to do the honors.”

“I don’t understand.” The bewilderment was evident on her lovely face. “Why would I possibly want to get rid of your prized cup collection?”

Diego sucked in a deep breath, loath to remind Mia of the womanizing Don Juan DeMarco he’d been before her coming along. Nonetheless, he hoped stirring her latent sense of territorial jealousy would at least make his discomfiting disclosure ultimately worthwhile.

Buck up, Armando! Undoubtedly Mia Fey is worth any and all ramifications that arise from this! She’s worth everything. The first time I saw her, my heart whispered, ‘That’s the one.’

“It’s mind-blowing Hammond never ratted me out to you about this,” he began carefully. “That lout has always threatened to destroy these – and in turn, I’ve always meant to destroy him if he ever laid a finger on any of them! However, after this whole fiasco with Fawles, it’s helped put things into perspective about what’s truly important now.”

The Latino held up the white porcelain item so she could see the name discreetly engraved on the glazed bottom, showing something which read suspiciously like Angel and bore a star symbol etched beside it!

“These mugs no longer fall into that category of significance, as each symbolized una dama who… merely fleetingly crossed my path back in the day.”

“Crossed your pathen la cama, you mean?” Mia arched a sardonic brow, attempting to keep appearing insouciant, despite the while flare of possessiveness sparked in her eyes. “What a lucky girl I am that mi enamorado dulce opted to wait half a year before finally deciding to rid himself of these symbolic objects reminiscent of every puta whose panties were no doubt melted off by that Rico Suave accent! The very one which, although you emigrated here from Columbia 20 years ago, you still seem to be able to thicken at will, depending on how far your roughish culo wishes to push your talents for literally charming the pants off the unsuspecting target!”

“Guilty as charged,” Diego professed with uncharacteristic humility. “Regardless, you have to know that there’s never been another woman for me since you came into my life, kitten. I swear on both my parents’ graves that I’ve been entirely faithful to you from the moment you agreed to be mine. While I’m not proud of every aspect of my past, it’s still helped form me into the man I am today. Ergo, I can’t claim to be entirely sorry about the life I lead before I met you.”

Veracity was etched on his every feature.

“What I truly am apologetic for, though, is still holding onto these reminders of a past that no longer matters to me, since you are my future. Therefore, as I said, I judge myself most for not having gotten rid of these sooner.”

“How sweet!” Sarcasm was positively dripping from Mia’s tongue as she seized the offending cup out of his hand, her nostrils flaring as she leaped to her feet. “I thought these were representative of your loco compulsion for coffee, but it turns out instead they were the illustrative notches on your bedpost as a reminder of your lecherous history! One which seems everybody in the office was aware of… except for me! And now you’re saying I have the esteemed honor of disposing of them, do I? Well, Señor Armando… el gusto es mio!”

Without any further preamble, she reared back her arm, like a major league baseball pitcher, and flung the mug over his head. The agile defense lawyer managed to duck just in the nick of time as it collided with a resounding bang into the far wall, then shattered into smithereens before falling to the floor.

Mierda Santa!  He thought in shocked disbelief. Maybe I should have thought this through a bit more! At least she’s no longer lugubrious! Now she’s just…plain livid!

Mia’s knuckles were white from clenching her fists so hard, her bared teeth gritted from her efforts to remain silent, while her hunched form exuded an animosity like acid – burning, slicing, potent. Her visage was crimson with barely suppressed wrath, and when Diego set a finger on her shoulder, she swung around and mentally snapped.

“Looks like your Angel is in heaven now!” She snarled, already grabbing the next monogrammed mug from the bag. “Who’s next? Well, what do we have here? Candi…and it ends with I! How sickeningly sweet!”


The second mug went sailing in the same direction as its ill-fated predecessor, with the loud crunching sound snapping Diego to his senses at last.

“Hold it!”

“Hold what, you barely reformed Casanova?!” She seethed, her breasts heaving as she shot daggers at him. “Are you cowardly rebuking my disposal privilege of these lewd souvenirs from your sinful deviant days?”

“Not at all, kitten. But let’s take this outside before all this rumpus makes the poor, alarmed neighbors call the cops!”

He quickly snatched the bag full of mugs in one hand and grabbed Mia’s forearm with the other as he steered his incensed inamorata out towards the balcony, where the fiery former spirit medium took great pleasure in continuing with her discarding method against the concrete ground, actually cackling as her demolishing methods continued with ferocious gusto.

“See ya, Cinnamon! Thanks for the roll!”


“Ya should have stuck with Debbie…Dallas!”

Diego fought back the urge to cringe as each clattering grew increasingly louder than the next.


Charity!” She glowered scathingly at him. “Seriously?!”

“She was very….giving?” He offered lamely, this time shuddering at the particular force behind that purposeful clang!

Eden! How do you like them apples?!”

Chardonnay – are you freaking kidding me? You said you hated vino blanco!”

“Adios, Lexus! It’s been a fun ride!”

“Trinity! Go back to Neo where you belong!”



“Chastity! Irony much?!”

Destini?! What is it with all the endings with i?! Do none of these broads believe in the letter y?! Are they allergic to it?!”

“Bambi?! No more Thumper for you!”

“Brandi? Hope she didn’t burn going down!”

Tawny! Hurrah! This one actually ends with y! As in why do all these bimbos have stripper names?!”

Diego couldn’t help but smirk knowingly at her unmasked outrage. Even though Mia had been relatively undemanding and easygoing throughout their entire courtship/relationship, he was also well-acquainted with her underlying fiery, passionate nature – both in and out of la cama!

The latter, along with her unabashed, furious jealousy over women long since forgotten to him, was simultaneously endearing and amusing.

“Let’s try to be politically correct about these matters, shall we?” He drawled, unable to hide the mirth in his tone. “I do believe las mujers prefer the term exotic dancers.”

If looks could kill, the baleful glare Diego Armando was rewarded with would have turned him into worm chow in that instant!

He swallowed back the laughter forming within him. Christ, he was crazy about this wild woman! This headstrong, passionate, firecracker… all wrapped up into one smart, sexy, overall magnificent package    – on that he was so fortunate to call his.

She’s the kind of magic that you marry.

Chuckling faintly, partially because he was officially out of objects for her to throw and partially because he didn’t feel like being tossed over a 12th-floor balcony, Diego reached over and attempted to draw her into his arms, but found her rigid form unyielding. He settled for putting his strong hands on her shoulders.

“Do you feel a tad better, having purged all of that out of your system?” He asked kindly. “Because I have zero issues dealing with that fervor of yours, kitten. What I cannot bear is seeing you curled up into a resigned ball, in the manner of a shrimp washed ashore, that’s just given up on living. It’s that ever-present fiery spirit of yours, along with your indelible fighting spirit… That’s the Mia Fey I know; the one I’ve always known was hidden beneath those layers of desolation. It’s good to see that blazing strength of yours resurface again. But use it for yourself… Not for me.”

The fight drained out of her just then, and she folded her arms protectively over her chest.

“I don’t think I can, Diego.” Mia dropped her gaze away from his. “It’s not that easy. I – I haven’t changed my mind at all since last week. I honestly don’t think I’m cut out for this legal racket.”

“Yes, the courtroom can be a cold battlefield alright. Especially… for a beginner. But are you honestly telling me you’re going to throw in the towel, and give up on your whole life’s ambitions, all because of one devastating incident?” He demanded, deciding that a case of tough love was in order. “All of your aspirations of being reunited with your mother again, of clearing the unfair stigma surrounding her abducting of Kurain – you’re going to give all of that up? I can’t accept that. That’s not my Mia.”

“How dare you bring my mother into this?” She cried, her anguished expression immediately morphing into one of indignant rage. “I trusted you enough to confide in you about my underlying mission for all of this; for the whole reason that I wanted to become a lawyer – only to have you throw it back in my face and try to kick me when I’m down?! What kind of monster are you, Diego Armando?!”

In a blind fury, she clenched her hand into a tiny fist and socked him as hard as she could onto his rock-hard chest. Naturally, it was the equivalent of a fly landing on an elephant.

“I’m done coddling you, kitten.” He easily caught her next attempted punch and held her by the wrist, staring down determinedly into those flashing eyes. “Also, you’re going to freeze to death out here in those baby doll pajamas, so let’s get you back inside.”

Diego gently tugged her back inside the apartment and tried to get her to sit back down on the couch, but she wrenched her hand out of his grasp and resumed folding her arms over her breasts, her petulance seemingly resolute.

He bit back a sigh of exasperation. Just when he thought he’d finally been making progress, she seemed to recoil three steps backward for every two steps forward. It was time to take off the gloves.

“Listen to me, Mia Fey. I can appreciate your need to wallow and sulk and contemplate giving up. But I’m every bit as stubborn as you are and I refuse to let you do anything of the sort! It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow but you are stepping into that courtroom again, you hear me? No, I’m not trying to be a heartless bastard or cruelly force you to do something that I think you’re incapable of. It’s because I know you have it in you to get back onto that horse.”

He cradled her face in his hands as he went on determinedly.

“You and me, we are going to avenge Valerie Hawthorne and Terry Fawles and make sure Satan’s Succubus pays for her evil deeds… Together. We’re an unstoppable team, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime – for the reason that you are the smartest, strongest woman I’ve ever known.”

Mia drew in a quivering breath, yet didn’t offer any sort of rebuttal. Feeling inspired, Diego continued relentlessly.

“If you can’t do it for me, then do it for Maya. Reunify your family again, for the sake of that precious little girl who looks up to you… as the only maternal figure that she’s ever known.”

Another tear streaked down her porcelain cheek, and Diego wiped it with his thumb.

The song “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain had begun playing on the stereo, and this time when he pulled her into his arms, she didn’t resist.

I’ll be your crying shoulder,
I’ll be love’s suicide
I’ll be better when I’m older,
I’ll be the greatest fan of your life

He felt as though he’d run out of words now, and was grateful for the mesmerizing lyrics of the crooner, who like most musicians, was so much better at expressing was in his heart than the attorney himself was. As a game-playing womanizer, he’d known how to spew endless sweet nothings like it was no one’s business.

And rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed.
You’re my survival, you’re my living proof.
My love is alive and not dead.
Tell me that we belong together.
Dress it up with the trappings of love.
I’ll be captivated,
I’ll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above


However, when it came to matters of the heart, Diego was as shaky as a newborn foal first learning to walk. How else to explain that his confident bravado notwithstanding, he had yet to inform the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his days with how he truly felt about her?  Tell her the words which he instinctively knew she desperately needed – and deserved – to hear, now, more than ever?

 And I’ve dropped out, I’ve burned up, I’ve fought my way back from the dead.
I’ve tuned in, turned on, remembered the things that you said


“I know I’m being hard on you, but it’s only because you mean so much to me! I’m sorry I haven’t been as expressive about my feelings as I could have – It’s just that I’ve never been good at articulating my emotions. I’ve forever been more of a show, rather than tell sort, Mia. ” He stared down at her and tenderly brushed a stray, toffee-hued lock off her forehead. “I guess that’s why singers still have a job all this time later. That being said, this song that’s playing right now – these words right here, they perfectly symbolize how I feel about you.”

Mia swallowed hard, yearning for him to go on but innately putting a protective shield over her heart, on the slight chance she’d misconstrued what he was trying to convey.

“But you haven’t fought your way back from the dead,” she whispered, staring up into his handsome face, adoring his beautiful coffee brown eyes, smooth tanned skin, and strong jawline.

“For you, I would.” His gaze never left hers. “As I stated earlier, nothing and nobody from my past matters to me anymore, because nothing compares to you, for you, and you alone, are my today and all of my tomorrows. I’d crawl back the depths of hell for you, Mia Fey, and I would find you in any lifetime. Because I love you so damn much.”

The revelation caused another tear to slide down her ethereal face, but this time it was one of pure wonderment and joy. Encouraged, he continued to say the words he’d never before uttered to another woman.

“I mean it, Kitten. I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. Ask me to define my love for you and I’ll say it’s captured in every beautiful memory of our past, detailed out in vivid visions of our dreams and future plans, but most of all it’s right now, at the moment where everything I’ve ever wanted in my life is standing right in front of me.”

Her soul soaring to the clouds, the ebullient Mia gazed up into her beau’s doting face, her trembling hand reaching up to cup his cheek. Then, right before Diego’s very eyes, those melancholic, expressive orbs began to transform, changing from the color of topaz to being edged with a golden verdant hue. The two colors seemed to swirl together like moss creeping over-rich soil.

And then she smiled, the beatific gesture resulting in both colors igniting with a glow, dazzling him with the warmth of the deep brown and the seductive peridot dancing around its edge, and there was a purring tinge now in her formerly disconsolate voice.

“I’ve been dying to hear you say that for so long, Diego Armando.”

Her fingers automatically followed the path of his shirt collar, encountering both the warm skin at the nape of his neck and the short, crisp mocha hair on the back of his head, reveling in the feel of both, along with the sturdy, shelf-like quality of his broad shoulders that her arms were slowly draping over. Also, she loved his towering height, which had her stretching upward and tilting her chin higher so that it was now grazing against his.

“And now that you’ve told me…how about you go about showing me just how much you really love me?”

For the first time, it was Mia who’d caught Diego off guard. He was so taken aback that he didn’t even fully register how he’d just poured his heart out to the woman of his dreams, and instead of returning the sentiment, she’d very clearly, and naughtily, brought out her kitten claws and made it evident she wanted to use him as a scratching post!

The rookie attorney started to wonder if her amatory boldness was a bit too much, seeing as how he’d confessed his love for her barely a minute ago, to which she’d responded with a proposition for him to make love to her! There was a high possibility Diego wouldn’t quite comprehend how at the present, her heart was too full for any words. That all Mia wanted – needed – more than anything in the world, was to take all the built-up love surging within her and express it to him, by having them be as close as possible.

Christ, if he didn’t say something soon she might possibly burst

His hands found her waist in the next instant, settling on either side of it at the narrowest part just above the flare of her hips. She could feel the size and shape of them holding her lightly through the wispy, silk fabric of her PJ’s. He dipped his head, and she got a whiff of soap while feeling his warm breath on her ear. The growing chemistry between them began raising the temperature in the air, as the slight sandpaper feel of his stubble against the softness of her skin made her internally turn into melted butter.

“You know I meant what I said to you just now, kitten, don’t you? I’m not playing.”

His face had grown rigid, and she found herself noticing with interest the faint shadow of stubble that darkened his jawline and his cheeks. How was it she’d ever thought she didn’t like overwhelmingly masculine men? In a possible example of the worst timing ever, she was discovering how much she did.

“Me, either.” She gave a playful, one-fingered caress to the warm skin at the back of his neck, and felt every muscle in his body go as taut as a bowstring in response. “But I do want to play.”

There was so little space between them that the tips of her breasts brushed against his torso, allowing her to feel every muscle in his body tense up, and her abdomen now brushed his telltale frontal bulge, giving her the hard evidence of his reciprocated desire.

Mia’s lips parted as she made the discovery, her sly gaze sliding up over his face, noting his mouth was set, and his eyes had a heated, restless glitter in their dark depths.

For a moment their eyes held.

Mutual acknowledgment.

The air around them felt like it was slowly turning to steam.

The clench of his chiseled jaw was only a little above the level of her eyes. She watched it tighten, and his full lips harden.

Then his arms encircled her, tightened. He pulled her fully against him and swung her around, lifting her clean off her feet in the process. It might have been a defensive action, asserting his blatantly male dominance over her at that moment. But she thought it was an offensive one, payback for her pretense in not returning his ardor declaration. Whatever his motive, it was unexpected enough to cause her to lock her arms around his neck and cling to him, then leave her plastered right up against him like jelly to peanut butter, even after her feet were firmly back on the floor again.

Who would have guessed that the independent, feminist lawyer was such a sucker for a big strong man who could sweep her off her feet? At least, for this man, she was!

She felt as if tongues of flame were licking at her skin at their propinquity.

The feel of him, warm even through his clothes and all solid muscle, was intoxicating. The unyielding firmness of his chest against her breasts, the brush of his long, powerful legs in their suit pants against her bare, exposed ones, but most of all the unmistakable evidence of his arousal that was now wedged between them, made her burn and quiver.

She never even realized her smile was gone until his eyes slid down to fasten on her as she wet her lips.

A wave of heat hit her, as tangible as if it had come rolling off a fire. Her heart pounded. Her pulse raced.

The music on the stereo in the background swirled around her, but she was mindless to everything except him. Except them.

She watched him studying her mouth, and her lips parted while her bones turned to water as she hungrily drank in the sight of this devastatingly sexy hunk of man meat, whose penetrating gaze in such proximity made him look, and feel, big, dangerous and sexy as hell.

All she could think about was feeling those blisteringly heated lips on hers – and every inch of her aching body.

Their eyes met again. His were hooded, restless, gleaming. They made her mouth go dry. They made her insides clench. His face was close to hers. It was all she could do not to turn her head so that her mouth brushed his sandpaper cheek. He stared down at her, his eyes half-hooded and wanting. When he looked at her like this, she felt the familiar, overwhelming sensation – not at all unpleasant – that Diego truly knew her. He knew how badly she wanted him, without even needing to say another word.

Wrapped in his arms, with the evidence of how much he craved her, and the electricity they generated throwing off sparks off the walls, his head dipped closer still.

Diego,” she pleaded against his lips, just millimeters from hers.

“Not yet.” His kisses trailed up the side of her throat, nipping and sucking at the tender flesh as she gasped. “want to play first, too.”

When he lowered his mouth to her neck again, she didn’t stop him. His teeth scraped lightly against her skin, sending sparks down to her toes. He kissed his way to her collarbone, grazing slightly, then licking the small sting away. He brought one hand up between their bucking bodies and cupped her breast, teasing it through the thin material. She almost flew out of her skin.

Then, the next thing she knew, he’d hauled her off her feet again, wrestled himself out of his shirt, and hauled her onto the sofa before she even knew what was happening.

“I’m only getting started, mi amor.” His voice was husky with need. “I’m nowhere near done with you yet.”

He pushed her back on the couch, grabbed her hands, and pinned them above her head.

“I want you to let me take the reins, kitten,” he growled. “Trust. Surrender. Let me take control.”

His eyes softened at her wary expression.

“I won’t hurt you. And you won’t regret it.”

He leaned down and kissed her at last, and she kissed him back with more intensity than she ever had before. He lay on top of her, their heated mouths infused as her hands ran slowly up into his wild, wavy hair and down over his strong shoulders, along his powerful arms, and around to his brawny back, holding his gorgeous male body against hers.

There hasn’t ever been a time that I’ve done that when I haven’t remembered all over again how much I love men. Especially this one.

She, too, could play the slow seduction game. Pulling one hand free from the prison of his grip, she decided to let her fingers do some further exploring and trailed down his chest and abdomen. He was rugged perfection beneath her hands, muscles rippling wherever she touched. When she landed on the protrusion pressing against her abdomen, that rippled too, the rigid steel pulsing against her palm. Curling her fingers, she grasped him through his trousers. Her neck muffled his guttural groan as his hips jolted.

His pants were zipper fly. The top button came undone with little effort and she impatiently reached inside, desperate to feel him against her bare palm, as Diego was only shirtless.  He was molded fire—large, formidable, and hot. She wrapped her hand around him, loving the wicked thrill that came from being in control of pleasuring such a strong, masculine man. He groaned again, this time louder. She continued her ministrations, tactilely exploring him where she knew would pleasure him most.

Groaning from the rapture of her touch, his eyes devoured the sheer perfection of her – marveling at the suppleness of such long, well-proportioned legs that would soon be wrapped around his waist as he became one with her.  He shook with need as he slid his hands along the resilient, silky length of those stems. He lifted her leg and pressed tantalizingly moist kisses against her upper and inner thigh – appreciating the delicate curves and lines as he ran his tongue slowly, savoring, nipping, watching her heated responses with a wicked grin as he teasingly kept his lips close enough to heaven to tease and torment her without letting them trail where he knew she ached for it most, enjoying her shiver of arousal.

He cupped her mounds with both hands under her peignoir, his hands teasing the throbbing peaks into stiffened points. Mia moaned and arched upwards. Her passionate mouth was open, her face flushed with desire. In her sexual need, she was as fervid as he had ever seen her. Laid out before him, her glossy tresses hair spread around her like a beckoning siren. So damned beautiful. More so, because her desire was for him – his touch, his mouth, his hands.

He claimed her lips with his as he removed her camisole, the scant boundary separating them. He needed to see all of her, stroke and caress every velvety inch of her, now, this minute. The sight of his kitten and her rose-tinted skin, every nuance revealed, still took his breath away. She was even lovelier than he remembered.

It’d been so damn long.

Diego wasn’t an ass man. He wasn’t a breast man. He wasn’t a leg man.

He was an everything man.

Her bosoms were magnificent, large, but gently rounded, with dusky crests, peaked and firm, seeming to beg for his attention. Unable to resist, he lowered his head and captured one rosy bud with his mouth and tugged, drawing it deeper. She tasted of passionate need. He felt her back arch and heard her fevered moan from deep within…

“Kitten, these beauties should come with a warning label.” He circled the tantalizing tips with his tongue.

She gasped and anchored her fingers in his hair. “And your mouth should come with cautionary advisement. Just one touch and I’m lost.”

“I guess I’ll have to find you then.” His ravenous lips drew in as much of the sensitive flesh as he could as he feasted on her, massaging the aching nub against the roof of his mouth.

Mia moaned and tugged at his thick mane as he continued lavishing her with his lips and tongue. Then, not wanting her other peak to feel ignored, he teased it with his thumb, and she bucked beneath him.

“OK!” She gasped. “You found me.”

“Finders keepers.” He slid his mouth to the other glorious globe, swirling a finger through the dampness he’d left behind on the first one, and then his hand slid from her chest, down into her PJ bottoms.

Long, lean fingers grazed the over the area that would pleasure her most, then began caressing her intimately, causing her to whimper and rock against him, moments from going over the edge already. God, she wanted him to be joined with her now, needed the slick feel of flesh invading flesh, turning her desperate ache into exquisite release. If she could only get those pesky trousers a bit further down his legs…

She reached behind him, trying to grab his ass, to bring his body even closer. Then his questing fingers slightly curled, adding an abrasive torment to the carnality that was rapidly building, and she fully surrendered, letting him control her like only he could, taking her higher and higher, until she wanted to scream in frustration, as she was so close to release, but only wanted to do so when he was inside her.

“Diego, please!” She arched her hips against his, spark creating fire. “Get your clothes off!”

Oh hell yes. He could unite them right now and take them both to the far side of paradise with just one slight movement of his hips to complete the act they were both vying for.

Oh hell no. He always had to show her it wasn’t just about penetration. Every time they were together, he demonstrated how a real man is supposed to take care of a woman. None of that three strokes, time’s up.

“You first, kitten.” He was already pushing down on the waistband of the flimsy satin. “Assuming this tiny bit of material clinging to that delectable body can be construed as clothing.”

“Complaining?” She flopped backward, giving her hips a little bounce and wiggle to help him remove her PJ shorts, leaving her exquisite body now fully nude beneath his.

Diego tossed her shorts to the far corner of the room. He didn’t want her putting them on any time soon…preferably never. That might be long enough to get his fill of every nook and crevice of Mia…of her beautiful breasts, her sensuous mouth…

His painfully pounding manhood…

Screw it!

Urgent to feel her flesh against his, he quickly divested himself of the remainder of his clothing in record time, thankful for years of undressing practice. Then he lifted her hips, burying his face between the valley of her creamy, silky cleavage, inhaling the enthralling feminine scent that was uniquely hers.

He licked his way around each mound of firm, tempting flesh as she arched back to offer him better access. Her hands urgently clawed at his chest, as though she were trying to get inside, and he wanted her there, inside him, surrounding him, and shuddered at the sensation of a long, impatient fingernail trailing down his back.

The weight of her body shifted as she raised her long, shapely legs to twine around his waist, opening to him, yielding. Her muscles, tight and toned, gripped him close, while her buttocks, firm beneath his palms, flexed as she undulated and caressed his skin, her hands insistent.

He throbbed with the need to fill her, to feel her warm heat surrounding him. Urgently, he shifted her, knowing she was ready for him, unable to wait any longer, and eased his way slowly, groaning at the sensation of how when fully sheathed, Mia fit Diego like the finest glove, custom made to fit him perfectly.

Waves of sensuality stroked at her and then exploded as he drove inward. Shattering bolts of electricity enveloped her, and she screamed with his possession as he buried himself within her slick, welcoming channel.

She clenched around him, nearly spiraling him over the edge. He tilted his head back, and their eyes locked. He saw in her gaze that she knew what she was doing to him. Her eyes were dilated with passion, and he increased his tempo.

He groaned as she tightened again, stilling his movements, then relaxing, allowing him to push forward even more, tightening and releasing, not enough to hurt but to control, to make him feel every inch of her honeyed heat.

A watery bead of sweat slid down the side of his neck and she leaned forward, drawing her tongue along the path on his skin.

“You taste so good!” She gasped as she began to writhe against him, wondering if there was anything more incredible than this blissful sensation of being one with the man she loved.

But suddenly there was more, much more, as he accelerated the undulations of his pelvis. She matched his heady thrusts, her hips rolling beneath him as she increased her movements as well. Small splinters of light burst around her as he retreated and drove forward in long, slow strokes. Her slick desire coated his hot presence, and his gyrations grew faster, more powerful, and deeper still. Her nailed clawed at his back and clutched at his ass, gripped the hard muscles, pushing and pulling as she felt the tremors rising within her, knowing she was about to explode any second.

Oh, God, she never wanted this to end.

He brought his two palms down upon the cushions, on either side of her head, and stared intensely into her eyes, the unmistakable burning in them so breathtaking, that it made her momentarily shift her gaze.

“Look at me,” he ordered.

She obligated, locking gazes with his as she raised her hips to match his insistent rhythm.

“That’s it,” he encouraged, his voice turning velvety. “Keep your eyes on me.”

His normally perfect features were shimmering with sweat. Combined with his scuff and smoldering gaze, he looked sexier than ever.

“Mia,” he rasped fiercely, the cords tightening around his neck as he neared his peak. “En español, it means mine. You are mine, Mia. Do you understand me?”

Yes! Yes, I’m yours!” The words of surrender came out as a moan. “Only yours. SiempreDiego. Always.”

“I’m almost there, mi amor. Join me,” he commanded, then pressed on with renewed urgency, taking them both into heavenly bliss in that instant.

Mia screamed out his name as waves of heat flooded her and butterflies danced through her body. Her nails raked sharply down his back and she cried out loudly while stars burst in her vision.

“I love you, Diego!” She sobbed against his neck as they reached the heights of ecstasy at the exact same time. “I love you!”

“I know, Kitten.” He rolled onto his back, holding her against him as he did so, then cradled her in his arms while his sweaty head fell limply against the sofa cushions, totally sated but completely spent. “I’ve always known.”

Basking in the afterglow, Mia drowsily rested her head against his chest, listening to the rapid thud of his heartbeat. It was rather beautiful: the way he put her insecurities to sleep, the way he dove into her eyes and starved all the fears and tasted all the dreams she kept coiled beneath her bones.

Leaning up on her elbow, she braced against a granite pec and smiled lovingly at him.

“I swear I thought I couldn’t love you more than I do right now, and yet I know I will tomorrow.”

The two satiated swains lay there contentedly, ready to pass out from hedonistic exhaustion, but not before Diego made one final avowal.

Mia completed him. The missing final piece of the puzzle that was his already great life and had just gotten infinitely better. He no longer craved random women and copious amounts of notches on his bedpost. He wanted babies and children and to be part of a soccer dad and mom team while they cheered on their offspring on the playing field. He wanted a woman to lie with him on a grassy field, under a blanket when the stars were out.

All of his dreams had finally come true.

“Mia Fey, I love thee with a love that shall not die.” He placed a kiss on her forehead, his eyes boring with such intensity she could feel it in the depths of her soul. “Till the sun grows cold, and the stars grow old.”

Edwin McCain – I’ll Be


Heart-Warming Java Shots Copyright © by JordanPhoenix. All Rights Reserved.

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