She and Todd had been more friends than anything and looking back she realized they were both hoping for something the other simply couldn’t give.
She’d even tried to put a spark into their marriage by seducing him that last night he’d been home on leave…hence the pregnancy.
If she was honest with herself, she’d never felt this strong of a bond, an attraction, to Todd the way she did with Eli. But now…well, they had so many more barriers between them. She had a baby to think of first and foremost.
“I have to say, having a handsome man cook for me isn’t something I’ll turn down,” she told him, settling her hands beside her on the edge of the counter.
“Then we’ll have to make it a weekly thing.” Eli cocked his head and studied her. “What night works best for you?”
Nora shrugged, glad they were finally on a comfortable topic. “I leave the clinic later on Thursday so having dinner that night would be great since that’s my long day.”
“What about your schedule?” she asked. “Are you free that evening.”
His quick response and lack of worry melted her heart. He didn’t have to reach out to her, didn’t have to adjust his temporary life here to make hers easier. Yet he was and he truly didn’t mind.
“You don’t know what this means to me, Eli.”
Those dark eyes roamed over her face as he stepped forward. Nora tipped her head up to hold his gaze and found herself mesmerized by the scar. Not the physical aspect of it, but the story behind it—the story she didn’t know. Just that alone symbolized how so much had changed between them—so much she knew nothing about.
“I want you to be able to relax and concentrate on this pregnancy and yourself,” he stated in that doctor tone she’d become familiar with. “And I don’t say that out of pity. I say that because you’re always helping everyone else and you deserve to be pampered a bit yourself.”
Pampered? She didn’t even know what that meant anymore.
“I should probably get back home and see what Mom and Dad need from me.”
Nora nodded, a bit disappointed that he was leaving, yet knowing it was for the best. The more time she spent with him, the more she’d want to spend with him. She walked him to her front door. Bright white light from the Christmas tree filled the room, illuminating Kerfluffle, who was still asleep on the tree skirt. The crisp glow from the tree spilled into the darkened foyer. Nora reached for the knob just as Eli reached around her to do the same.
From behind, his body molded to hers. Nora sucked in a breath as shivers raced through her body. He didn’t bother to move, to step back or remove his hand that covered hers. She didn’t want to relish this simple moment, but she couldn’t stop herself from taking in the exact feel of his body pressed so intimately to hers.
Eli had leaned in farther, his warm breath tickling her neck. There was no way to avoid the temptation spreading to every tingling part of her body.
“You still smell like flowers, Nora,” he whispered. “It’s just one of the things I remember about you.”[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
Nora closed her eyes as his low tone washed over her, through her.
“When I first deployed, I’d lie awake in my bunk and think back to your sweet smell,” he went on in that sultry tone. “I used any distraction I could to get through it. And nearly every mental tactic involved you.”
Nora couldn’t do this, couldn’t listen to his memories wrapped and delivered in that smooth, soft voice. No matter how her body responded to his touch, she couldn’t let him affect her on such an intimate level anymore.
“Eli, don’t,” she whispered.
His free hand came up to cup her shoulder. The strength from just that simple touch radiated through her and she wished she could draw more from him, wished she could be this open about her own emotions, her fears.
But she had to be cautious because where her emotions led, her heart tended to follow, and right now her heart had taken enough of a beating. As much as Eli intrigued her on so many levels—namely the lustful one—she couldn’t get wrapped up in a man who had every intention of leaving.