Post Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:17 pm

The Heartbreak of Eden

This post is rated mature for suggestive adult content.

Her skin was the color of the mud from which she had been created. Smooth and clean, it gleamed in the sunlight shining down on the riverbank that had birthed her. Brown-black eyes looked out on the world with the wonder of new experiences, but with a certain curved sharpness that spoke of an intelligent mind analyzing all that she saw. Luscious, full red lips curved upward in a smile that could cause the strong to go weak and beg for just one moment of consideration from the bearer. Crowning her glory, and similarly reflected in a lesser degree lower on her body, long, luxurious black hair cascaded down over her shoulders, wisps barely concealing the tips of swelling breasts.

Looking on her, Samael felt awed in a way he never had before. He had been there when HE had first decided to create the world. He had watched as the continents had been drawn forth from the seas. He had marveled at each and every creature that HE had populated the land, the sky, and the waters with. But it wasn’t until now, as he gazed on the woman standing and staring out across the flowing waters of the ocean that he truly felt awe at HIS works.

The man next to her, equally perfect, his muscles rippling in the sunlight, an easy smile on his face, turned away from the same view and gazed upon Samael. Dark eyes with heavy, thoughtful brows regarded the archangel, a tinge of fear in them mixing equally with the edges of challenge. There was something slightly feral about this one, Samael thought. Even the lion quaked a bit in Samael’s presence, but this man had a back bone even Samael had to respect.

Yes, HE had done a very good job. It was almost enough to leave Samael feeling a bit cheated.

He thrust the slight pang of jealousy aside. He had work to do, a task that HE HIMSELF had sent him to do.

He looked back at the man standing defiantly before him. “You are named Adam. And you,” he turned to the woman, who had left her gazing on the river. “You are Lilith.”

As Adam gave him a thoughtful nod, Lilith rewarded Samael with a smile that caused an unfamiliar fluttering deep inside. For the briefest of moments he was distracted from his work. He shook that off and swept an arm on the panorama around them. “This garden has been created for you as a home. A place of ease and repose. Everything you see here is yours. Together you may name them as you will. You may make use of them as you see fit.”

Adam crossed his arms across his chest and turned to survey the vast garden. He nodded with satisfaction to Samael. Lilith had taken a knee and was taking in the fragrance of the red, four petaled flower beside her. “I think I’ll call this a poppy.”

Samael felt a smile cross his face. He let it rest there a moment, then let it drop for a more serious expression. “There is an exception.” Turning his back to the pair he pointed to the top of a small hill overlooking the confluence of the two rivers that bounded the garden. At the crest of the hill were two trees. “You may not eat the fruit of those two trees.”

Lilith rose from the poppy and stepped up beside Samael, gazing up towards the trees framed against the blue of the sky. “Why not?” she asked.

“One is the Tree of Knowledge. The other is the Tree of Life. HE has declared that no one is to eat of either of them. Everything else HE has given to you. He has even given each of you to the other.”

“Meaning?” Adam asked.

Samael simply smiled.

He climbed the hill and rested his back against the Tree of Life as he watched the couple begin exploring the garden. At times they would separate, each drawn to something that had caught their individual eye, but these moments would not last long. Lilith would go darting back to Adam, taking his hand to lead him to her discovery, or Adam’s voice would boom out, calling her to join him at what new thing he had uncovered. They played with animals, plucked flowers, sampled fruit, each seeming to delight in sharing their experiences with one another. Contented with their progress, Samael drifted off into sleep in the warm sunlight.

HE awoke Samael. Day had become night while Samael had slept, but the hilltop was awash with the light of HIS glory. Samael quickly genuflected in HIS presence and awaited HIS voice.

“Lilith has fled.”

Samael looked up at HIM in shock. “But things had been going so well when I had fallen asleep.”

Samael could feel the sense of disappointment from HIM at the turn of events. “Regardless, she has left Adam’s side and run. I have sent Sansenoy, Sennoi, and Samangaluf to find her. Now I am sending you. Persuade her to come back, Samael. Remember, she is MY creation. Treat with her gently.”

Samael bowed again, and then HE was gone.

The archangel stood and gazed out into the night. Where might have Lilith gone to? He thought back to earlier in the day, remembering the woman standing on the river bank. He recalled the way the black hair had flown down over her back to just below where her legs came together, to the delicious smile that promised something mysterious every time something delighted her as her beautiful dark eyes stared out across the waters.

Samael went rigid for a moment, then dashed down to the river and began swimming. Lilith hadn’t run away from Adam. She had run away from the garden altogether.

He found them in a canyon high up in the hills above the river. Sansenoy, Sennoi, and Samangaluf had arranged themselves in a half circle around her. He could see the anger in their faces as they stared at the woman they had trapped against the cliff. They had cornered her, but they were keeping their distance.

He could see why. Lilith was an absolute vision. She was braced backwards against a rock outcropping, long bare legs still glistening with drops of water from the river. Her hands were pressed against the rock behind her as her chest bent forward towards the besieging archangels, her breasts thrust towards them in challenge. Her face…

Samael’s breath caught in his throat. Where before her face had been an absolute vision of mysterious beauty, intelligence, and a touch of mischief, the expression of rage that had replaced it was somehow even more alluring. The flashing of her eyes was terrible and wonderful all at once, her brown cheeks had gained a flush of red that made her wrath somehow become a passionate glow that made him feel a rush of fear and desire both. Her beautiful and soft lips had parted to reveal teeth in a snarl that left him feel that nothing in nature could match their threat. A chill ran down his spine and he felt frozen on the spot. Just what had HE created when HE drew Lilith forth from the mud alongside of Adam?

Then those teeth parted as Lilith’s tongue darted forth to wet her lips. He could see her chest fill with air, and then her voice, a sweet and melodic tone shouted out in discordant notes.

“I would see a hundred of his children die every day before going back!”

“Wretch!” Sennoi shouted, though he could be seen to slightly recoil back from Lilith’s dangerously narrow-eyed gaze. “You will come back or we will drown you in the sea!” To either flank, Sansenoy and Samangaluf took a hesitant step forward, gazes locked on the bare bodied fury before them.

The threat broke Samael’s frozen state. He threw himself forward to stand between Lilith and the three archangels, arms stretched out wide. He locked eyes with Sennoi. “Enough!”

As the echoes of three voices intermingled and slowly melted away within the cliff lined ravine Samael kept his eyes on Sennoi. He detected only the slightest of movement fro Sansenoy and Samangaluf as the two slid back from their half-steps. Sannoi stared at him in a shock that was slowly being replaced by an expression of resentment. Behind him, Samael could hear Lilith panting softly, a sound that was somehow distracting even in the tension of the moment.

“Explain yourselves,” Samael spoke in slow, measured tones, arms still thrown outward, his gaze still locked with Sannoi’s.

“HE sent us to bring her back to her husband, but she refuses. She refuses us, who have been by HIS side since before time existed. The impudence of this… creature…”

Samael lowered his arms and leaned forward, his face inches from Samaels.

“You were sent to persuade her to return. Not to threaten her. Not to drown her.”

Sannoi’s face went rigid with anger. “She’s a lump of clay who dares to defy her betters.”

“She is HIS creation, just like you,” Samael hissed. “She is to be given every bit of respect as any other of his creations. Would you destroy what HE has created when he has not commanded you to?”

Out of the corner of his eyes Samael could see Sansenoy and Samangaluf dart nervous looks at one another and take a further step back. Sannoi glowered, but after a moment averted his eyes. His face was sullen, but the bluster had gone out of him.

Inwardly Samael drew in a breath of relief as he felt the tension ease out of the situation. “Begone. I will deal with Lilith.”

The three archangels looked at one another, then suddenly vanished, like a brief gust of wind on a still night.

Samael sighed, then turned around to look at Lilith. The woman was still braced against the stone, but the look of rage had been replaced with the a crush of suppressed agony. Her face and body hovered on a precipice for a moment, and then suddenly crumbled into tears and wails of agony as she threw herself at Samael, clinging to him as she sobbed against him.

He felt himself at a total loss. Such a situation as this had never occurred before, leaving him baffled as to how he should respond. Awkwardly he wrapped his arms around the shaking woman and lowered her down so that she as sitting in his lap, letting her wail in misery.

Eventually the wailing became sobs, and the sobs hiccups. A hand came away from his chest to attempt to wipe away the tears from her cheeks without much success. Samael shifted her in his arms so that her head might rest more comfortably on his shoulder and used one hand to pull messy black hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear. “Can you tell me what happened?”

Lilith hiccupped and sucked on her lower lip in a way that made Samael’s heart flutter in his chest. She nodded, wiping tears on his chest, and curled up a bit against him.

“We were walking together in the garden,” she spoke, her voice shaky. “Everything was so beautiful. We discovered wonder after wonder as we walked along, naming animals and trees, enjoying the feel of the breeze on our skin and the feel of the dirt beneath our feet.”

Even with her voice roughened by her crying, the satin tones of it sent a shiver through him. He closed his eyes, picturing her walking along with Adam, gesturing towards things and naming them, her smile lighting up the day even more than the sun that shown on her skin.

“It sounds wonderful,” he said.

Lilith nodded against his chest, her silken hair playing softly against him. “It was. We had found a beautiful black cat that I had decided to call a panther. We were petting it, scratching its ears and rubbing its back. The great beast was purring so powerfully it shook my whole body. It was so soft, Samael. I thought I could pet it forever.

“And then Adam told me that the panther’s fur shone in the sun just like mine. He said I was even more beautiful than the mighty cat. And then he began stroking my hair just like I was a panther myself.”

Samael caught himself starting to reach for her hair himself, wondering what it would feel like between his fingers. He settled for holding her a bit more tightly. “How did that feel?”

“Really good,” Lilith replied, sounding a bit surprised. “I didn’t want him to stop. I just wanted it to go on forever. But then his fingers touched my face. The next thing I knew we were touching each other everywhere and each touch was better than the last.”

Something stirred within Samael. He shifted a bit awkwardly, trying to ignore it. The more she spoke the less he knew quite what he was experiencing. He only knew that he was growing more and more fascinated with the woman in his arms, but wasn’t sure what that fascination meant.

“It was the most amazing thing of a garden full of amazing things,” Lilith went on. “As wonderful as touching the panther had been, touching him and being touched by him felt so good. So right. It felt like this was why HE had brought us into being. The way it made me feel… It created such feelings in me. I don’t even know how to describe them.”

“That’s alright,” Samael whispered uncomfortably.

“And then his lips were on my ear, and his fingers found a spot on me…” She shuddered against him as her voice took on a feline purr. A private smile played across her lips, and her eyes, still wet with tears, changed their curves as she was taken to a different place. Her body moved against him in a peculiar way and he felt himself jealously wishing he could go where she had gone off to. She sighed in a way that broke his mind. His arms tightened around her as his eyes closed and he just concentrated on how it felt holding her.

A great sigh shattered the mood. “And then he ruined it. He ruined all of it.”

Samael jerked at the sudden bitterness in her voice. He sat up from where he had begun to slouch and his eyes opened to watch her face as her eyes opened and she stared off sullenly down the canyon towards the garden.

“What did he do?”

“He threw me on my back and lowered himself on top of me. We both somehow knew what would come next. But I wanted it differently than he did. I told him I thought it would be so much better if we tried another way than he wanted.”

Samael sighed at the loss of the emotion in her voice. It was as though some spark had gone out of her, and she had somehow been reduced to a lesser being than the one that had just been speaking.

“He refused?”

“He grew angry.” Her voice was a virtual monotone. “He said that I had been created for him. That he could do with me as he pleased. He told me that I was to be beneath him. In all things, not just this.”

Samael felt a sudden flame of anger within himself. He saw the smile that had been on Adams dark face earlier, surrounded with his black hair, the arms crossed across Adams broad, muscular chest, and his respect for that almost daring slipped into something more cynical. He found himself wanting to make Adam swallow that thing that now struck Samael as arrogance, and erase a smile that now seemed smug.

“So what did you do,” he growled.

“I told him we were equal. We had been created at the same time, from the same thing. That HE had made us for each other, not just me for him, and that neither of us should be beneath the other at all times.”

He could hear the heat in Lilith’s voice returning. It was the same heat with which she had flung her threat at Sennoi. He felt his own anger shifting and making room for hers.


“He shouted at me that I was to never speak of it again. He tried pushing me back down into the grass and trap me so that I couldn’t get away and he could do what he wanted whether I wanted him to or not.”

Samael growled. He found himself wanting to go marching back into the garden and put the fear of HIM into Adam. “Did he?”

“No,” Lilith replied, the dark and angry Lilith he’d found in the canyon firmly settled into her voice and eyes. A dangerous smile settled on her face, white teeth flashing in the night. “I used my leg to throw him off of me. It must have hurt him somehow, because he gave a scream and curled up on the ground. I was so angry with him I gave him a new name that I made up on the spot. Then I ran up here.”

Lilith’s grin was infectious. He found himself matching it above her black hair, felt his eyes shining with the same sinister glee as hers as he stared out into the night. “Good.”

He felt Lilith snuggle again, clearly pleased by his agreement. But then she sighed and he felt the heat go out of her passion again. He looked down at her beautiful face, salt stained from her tears. Her eyes had closed and her lips were bent down in a sad frown then caused him to twist inside.

“Then the other archangels found me. They told me I had to go back to him. They repeated what he said, that I had been made for him, and that I was to lay with him and to bear his children.” She sighed, curling up a bit. “They told me if I didn’t go back and agree to lay with Adam they’d take me back against my will.”

“That’s why you yelled at them.”

She sighed, and a tear ran down her face again, cutting a fresh trail through the salt. “Yes. I did want to go back, and to lay with him. But not by being forced. Not against my will. I want his children, but I want them as his partner, not as something for his use.”

Samael sighed. “They should never have threatened you. HE told them to persuade you, not force you.”

They sat in the darkness, not speaking for several moments. There was nothing further he felt like he could say, nothing more he felt he should say. Just time to let the story stale a bit and to leave her to her thoughts.

She sighed, shifting to turn in toward him and rest more comfortably against his chest, a hand on his shoulder. He adjusted his arms to accommodate her new position, and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

Her head pulled away, though her hand remained on his shoulder. Her breathing gentled and she held herself perfectly still. He opened his eyes to see hers looking up at him, the red tinted whites bright in the night, her lips curved into something he couldn’t quite understand. He felt something nervous within his chest. “What?”

“Do that again,” she whispered, her expression intent.

Feeling as though he were walking into some sort of trap that he had no choice but to spring, Samael bent back down to press his lips softly against her forehead. He felt her sigh against his chest, felt her hand cup his cheek. A thrill rippled through him, and then his lips were on her eyelid, tasting the salt of her as her hand began exploring the side of his face.

He felt himself shaking as his body grew just as confused as his mind. He didn’t know what was happening any more than his body. He knew he wanted something, even needed it, but he wasn’t sure what it was. His body raged against him, his breath short and the flesh heating. Something clamored within him with warning of something, he knew not what, but the rest of him could spare it no time to consider. The only thing seemed to make sense was that the more she touched his face, the more he wanted to be touched, and that he wanted to touch her as well. There was something about that fiery spirit inside of her that made him want to experience everything it could offer, and he knew he could not resist giving anything it demanded.

Her hands were running over his skin, drifting from his face to his chest as she twisted in his increasingly uncomfortable lap to replace her fingers with her lips. Every touch of those soft red folds shot through him, making the next shiver more powerful than the last. It seemed as though she was slowly devouring him, making him some thing of hers, and his inner most self didn’t even want to resist.

As her hands began roaming over him, exploring, small explosions of madness rippled through his mind. He didn’t know what it was she was doing to him, only that he wanted more, and that he wanted her to know what she was doing to him. His hands slipped from her back to begin explorations of their own, tangling with her hair at the back of her neck, reaching down to cup and caress the roundness where she was sitting upon his legs, softly gliding across ribs and reaching around to fill themselves with soft mounds. With every new discovery he felt his own need to give her everything he could grew stronger until he was maddened with a desperate need to send her to such heights of emotion, of possession, of the pleasure she could take from him that he would be left only an empty shell, his being completely absorbed into her burning spirit and passion.

And then she shifted herself in his lap. He felt a pressure, a sudden slip, a burst of heat and damp, and then he was gone, falling backward beneath her as she absorbed him, claimed him… She devoured not just a bit of his flesh, but sucked into herself his very being and soul, and there was nothing but her passion, nothing but her hunger, nothing but the being that had been an archangel but was now nothing but a part of Lilith. Nothing but the creature Lilith framed against the stars crying out her dominance over all existence. Only Lilith howling ecstatically as she conquered. Only Lilith Lilith Lilith

And then, with a sudden rushing and exploding heat that felt like his entire body being swallowed up into hers, there wasn’t even Lilith, there was simply eternity.

As he came to his senses, his chest raging, his body trembling and covered in a sweat that he had never experienced before, he realized that she was laying atop of him, knees straddling his hips, her chest pressed down onto his as she drew ragged breaths against his neck. He wrapped his arms around her, softly stroking her hair, not wanting to let her go or ever feel anything other than he was now. For the first time in eternity, he felt as though he had given himself wholly into the needs of another, and been perfectly received.

He had been so wholly lost to the pleasure and service of Lilith that not even the thought of what HE would say could take away the glorious completeness of that moment.

The next morning was a considerable change from the night before. Lilith looked even more beautiful and glorious to Samael than she had looked when first he laid eyes on her. There was a certain sheen to her brown skin in the dawn light that he swore had been absent before she had stolen the stars in his sky for her own adornment. Her silken black hair still tumbled down her back, the reminder of the night before written in every disordered strand, every knot and tangle adding a beauty that was purely sensual to the sheen that drew the eye just as easily as it had when perfectly ordered. Every curve of her shape seemed even more perfect for having been so intimately explored. Even the slight change in how she walked, the slightest bit of a mincing wider gait, as though bringing her legs together was uncomfortable stirred admiration in him. Before he had not known why he was fascinated by Lilith. That morning he had awoken with the sure knowledge that he would never know anyone or anything more completely, or have a devotion more strong.

Lilith, however, was clearly agitated. Every time she glanced at him, her lips parted in a smile that was both innocent and hungry, and her eyes crackled with a delight that was at once beautiful and dark. But the moment her eyes slipped away she looked fearful and worried. She paced when standing and fidgeted when sitting. Her eyes kept looking around, as though fearful of eyes in the cliffs, and her hands constantly fluttered as though she did not know what to do with them.

As she paced, Samael stood and walked to stand behind her. He wrapped his arms around her to tangle her busy fingers into his and then used their interwoven fingers to pull her back against him. She resisted for a moment, and then settled backwards, turning her head to press her cheek to his chest.

“You’re troubled.”

She nodded, her hair tickling his chest.

“Tell me?”

She sighed, looking down at where his feet stood to either side of hers. “You told me yourself I was made for Adam.”

Samael felt a pang of hurt in his chest. He couldn’t deny it, as much as he wished that it would simply go away. “And he was equally made for you,” he responded softly.

“And that means we weren’t meant for each other.”

A bitter sickness came as he silently acknowledged that fact.

“HE sent archangels for me, to take me back. He even sent you. And yet, what I did…”

“What we did,” he corrected.

Lilith’s fingers tightened around his and he could feel the corner of her mouth tweak upward against his chest. It quickly faded. “You didn’t know what you were doing.”

“Did you?”

Lilith answered with silence.

“Lilith, I am glad I could do for you what you so greatly desired.”

“HE’ll be angry with you.”

He let a moment of silence linger before acknowledging her with a quiet “Maybe.”

She turned let go his fingers and turned in his arms, reaching up to place a hand on his cheek. He felt shivers run through him at the touch, and a powerful part of himself stirred as it had the night before. He shoved it forcefully aside as he pressed a kiss to her forehead.

“If HE is angry with me, so be it.”

“I don’t want you to be hurt.”

“If I am, it will have been worth it.”

“Even if I do go back to Adam and accept being made to always be beneath him?”

A spike of pain and anger flashed through him as Adam’s smirk. He buried it within himself.

“If you will be happy, and if your needs will be fulfilled, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Lilith wrapped her arms around him, saying nothing more on the subject before pulling herself away to go down to the river for water. Samael watched her go, that slightly wide walk tantalizing him as she left.

“She won’t go back,” HE said.

Samael turned around to look at HIM. The canyon was flooded with light so bright the sun seemed pallid and weak in the morning sky. “Isn’t that her choice?”

HE watched as Lilith disappeared around a bend. His expression was gentle, with no strong emotion of any sort expressed. “Not this time. I gave her and Adam both choice. I wanted them to be able to make decisions and to direct their own lives. Without choice, any love they might have for me, or for the world I have made for them, or for each other would have been completely meaningless. But choice also means consequence. If the choices they made came without consequences, then they would have been just as meaningless. When a choice is made, it must open some doors and close others.” HE turned and looked back at Samael. “She made a choice last night. Now, she will have to face the consequences.”

“Adam made the choice that started this.”

“He did,” HE agreed. “I made him to have a strong will and a desire for dominance so that he would rule this world without fear as my steward. He chose to rule Lilith instead. It was a choice that closed many doors and opened others.” He turned back towards the distant river. “Lilith then made choices that closed some of those doors and opening still more. And you made choices as well.”

“It didn’t feel like a choice,” Samael sighed, also looking down the valley.

“No. And it wasn’t one you should have been able to make. My angels were to be my servants, doing my will unquestioningly. You were never meant to have choice. But Lilith seems to have awoken something within the four of you I sent down here. Sansenoy and Samangaluf quietly argue between themselves about what they should have done yesterday, and Sennoi openly speaks against you. Amongst my host more and more of my servants are beginning to change. Some cheer you, some are jealous of you. Some are rallying against you while others are lining up to support you.”

Samael felt worried. He had never imagined such a thing as being possible. Conflict within the host? “All because I made a choice?”

“Because Adam made a choice. And Lilith made a choice. And, yes, you made one as well. A path has been created that has shaken everything up. A path full of consequences.”

“Lilith?” Samael asked.

He felt shock as, for the first time, he heard HIM sigh. “I can’t let her return to the garden. It was meant to be a place of perfect peace and repose. Provoked though she was, Lilith’s fiery spirit will burn the garden to ash if I allow her to return.” HE shook his head. “I’ll create a new wife for Adam, but Lilith can never be allowed back into the garden.”

“It’s not right,” Samael grumbled. “He treated her poorly, but it’s Lilith that will be punished by being sent out alone into the wilderness?”

“She won’t be alone.”

Samael froze, unable to tear his eyes away from HIM. HE turned to regard Samael, and a weight of sorrow filled HIS face. “I can’t let you return to the Host, either.”

“Why?” he whispered, his throat tight.

“If I were to tell you to destroy Lilith this instant, would you?”

Samael bowed his head, the truth of the question piercing him through. “No. I would give everything I am to worship her as Adam would not.”

“Worship her. Make love to her. Subsume everything you are to her pleasure and happiness. She deserves that much. But know that the Host is not a place for anyone who cannot obey me.”

“So you are just turning me away?”

“We will still talk at times, as we do now. But you will never be allowed to go home again, and the Host will always be set against you.”

“What about Adam?” Samael snapped. “You are turning Lilith away from the place that was made for her, and turning all I have ever known against me. But to Adam you are giving a new wife, and allowing him to hold paradise for himself. He should be punished for what he did to her. To Lilith.”

HE turned back to look towards the green garden beyond the river. “Don’t you see? His punishment is the harshest of all. I gave Adam and Lilith that burning, passionate need for touching and for passion because I wanted to encourage Adam and Lilith to do something that previously only I could do. They were to create life together, something that has never happened without my direct touch before. He was to be the father of all things that were to be created without me. He will still create. He will still become a father. But when his children go out into the world, they will find that there are already people in the world.”

Samael struggled to understand what was being said. He knew the words, knew what they were supposed to mean when strung together like that. But somehow it seemed impossible. It made no sense. Not when they were applied to him.

HE gave a kind, if sad smile as he turned back to Samael. “It will take time for you to accept this. Just know that Adam’s punishment is perhaps the hardest of all. His children will always have to suffer and struggle, because yours will be stronger. They will be many. And they will be there first. I will have to give Sannoi the power to destroy one hundred of the children you and she shall make every day just to allow Adam’s children a chance. But for now?”

HE turned just as Lilith returned from the river, glancing towards her. He faded out just as she began seeking out the source of the light flooding the canyon. “Go forth and multiply, Samael.”

Lilith stepped up beside Samael, taking his hand with hers. “HE was here, wasn’t HE?”

“Yes,” Samael whispered.

Her fingers tightened on his. “What did HE say? Was it bad?” He could see the worry in her eyes.

“No,” he said, pulling her gently into an embrace. “HE gave me to you. I am to be for you what Adam refused to be.”

Lilith grew wide eyed, her mouth forming an ‘oh’ of surprise. Then she laughed and wrapped herself tightly around him. “Please tell me it’s true.”

He kissed her forehead. “It’s true.”

He could feel her body react against him as his lips pressed against her forehead. Her laugh grew husky. “Do that again,” she said.

Smiling, he did.