Sometime later, Talley woke to the sound of the door opening. She had left it unlocked on purpose. Her eyelids fluttered open and she watched her doorway fill with the silhouette of a man.
He was a tall man, lean but not slender. He wore a denim shirt, sleeves rolled up, unbuttoned almost to the waist. His jeans, worn and faded from hours of work in the sun and many washings, fit snug on his hips and were held up by an old leather belt. His scuffed square-toed cowboy boots were rundown at the heels from years of use.
She watched him fill the doorway then pull the door shut behind him. He came in on a wave of hot humid air, but she shivered from the anticipation. Every Saturday night for three months he had come to her like this in the middle of the night--every night except the first night.
"Mace," she whispered. She was, as always, in awe of this man. She couldn't see his face clearly in the shadows, but she knew it by heart--every crease around his eyes and mouth, the sunbrowned, soft leathery texture. Her fingers ached to touch his face.
"Come here, darlin..."
She was up and in his arms before he finished. Her eagerness and desperation for him disgusted her, but she could control neither. She lay her head against his chest. She was tall but he was taller and that worked out so well.
He tousled her hair and kissed her forehead. She reached up and lay her lips over his, slipping her arms around his neck. His mouth accepted her eagerly and his hands slid down her sides to cup her buttocks and press her up against the bulge in his jeans. She felt a quickening between her thighs, and warmth spread throughout her limbs. Her breath came in shallow gasps as he released her.
"I wasn't sure you'd come by tonight," she said as she pulled away from him and he patted her butt. She filled a mug from the coffee maker and handed it to him.
He took it and sat in a kitchen chair, downing a large swallow. He leaned back and smiled with a wink. "You knew."
"No, I didn't know, but I'm glad you're here."
"So am I or I wouldn't be."
"How are things going?"
He shrugged, unwilling to talk about what worried him right then.
"The Rose was a madhouse tonight, but Dylan let me off early." She told him about Jack Sandler.
"You never should have gone out with that bottom rat in the first place."
"I never really knew Jack and it's been six years. I guess I thought he'd changed. He seemed nice enough sober."
Mace took another large swallow of coffee.
"I don't know what you do to it, but you make the best coffee I've had in years."
She reached for his mug. "More?"
His eyes were smoky and he shook his head.
"That's what I came for, darlin."
Crude, but the truth. Talley stepped into the deep vee of his legs and they kissed long and hard. Mace's hands cupped her breasts, his thumbs tracing lazy circles over her nipples. Shivers ran through her body, and she threaded her fingers through the long waves of brown hair salted with gray. When the kiss ended, she trailed her fingertips over his weatherworn face.
She shook her head, her honey-colored hair falling over him. "Nothing. I like saying your name. Mace."
His hands slipped off her breasts and down and caught behind her thighs. He heaved her up and closed his legs so that she straddled him. The pressure of his warm bulge and the roughness of his jeans made her ache with the want of him. His hands moved under her nightshirt and spread over her bare bottom.
He grinned a little, leaned forward, and placed a kiss on the pulse in her throat. "You know, don't you," he murmured directly into her ear, "that only whores don't wear underpants."
She laughed at him and pushed him back. "And how would you know?" she teased, reaching for his belt buckle. His grin widened, but he admitted nothing.
When his jeans were undone, she pulled him free. He was already straight up and reaching for heaven. Talley wrapped her hand around his arousal, moving up and down in the slow motion she knew Mace liked. He groaned and his head fell back against the kitchen wall with a soft thump.
Need flowed through her and she squirmed in his lap. He pulled her forward until she was pressed against the bunch of his jeans at the base of his zipper where the rest of his bulge was hidden. He rocked her against him, and the tingle reached all the way to her toes.
Talley stopped with a shudder and a moan when she was close to the edge. Mace moved his hands to her waist and straightened out his legs. She lifted briefly, then sank onto him, his long length filling her up. With one hand flat on the wall near Mace's head, her other hand pushed aside his denim shirt. She bent her head and swirled her tongue around one flat nipple, bringing it to a hard point, then did the same to the other. Mace's breath escaped in a rush each time.
Her toes pushed against the floor as Mace's hips surged beneath her. She closed her eyes and her hips quickened with his. Talley tossed back her head and let the warm burst of pleasure wash over her and through her. When it was over, she rested her head on his shoulder. Mace's hands spasmed on her waist, and he grunted as he spilled within her.
When he was still, she removed her hand from the wall and wrapped both arms around him. God, he felt good in her arms, under her body. Every inch of her touched him and she never wanted to let him go.
"Darlin, that was the best," he murmured and kissed her hair, "but you're gonna break my back."
"Oh, Mace, don't make me move." But she unwound her limbs from him and shivered from the extra ripple of pleasure when he slithered out of her. She straightened her nightshirt and made it to the other chair at the end of the dinette table, her limbs weak and shaky.
Mace groaned as he sat up, adjusting himself. "Damn, but I'm too old for gymnastics."
"Ha!" She laughed. "You did nothing but sit there."
"Nothing, huh?" He grinned crookedly as he zipped up. "I seem to recall having a little something to do with your pleasure."
She exaggerated a shrug. "Maybe...a little."
"Maybe? Little! You're getting awful cocky for a girl."
"No," she assured him and shook her head. "Cockiness is still your territory."
He lifted the coffee cup to his lips and winked at her. He took a sip, grimacing. "Cold."
"I'll get you some more."
He caught her hand as she reached for the cup. His callused fingers played over hers. "You can get me some more coffee, too...in a little while."
"You'll be asleep in a little while because I'm going to wear you out."
"Is that a promise?"