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Lessons Learned

 

"…Oh lessons learned, man they sure run deep
They don't go away and they don't come cheap
Oh there's no way around it
Cause this world turns on lessons learned…"
"Lessons Learned"
by Tracy Lawrence from the album: Then & Now

 

 

Chapter 1

He'd never been one to do things the ‘normal’ way. He'd always run heart first into a situation before completely checking it out, weighing the pros and cons, considering all options. If he thought it was the right thing to do, he just...did it. Even though it annoyed the hell out of people around him...Jack most specifically. Most of the time it had worked out.

The best thing he'd ever done by following his heart was flying to Tacoma to find Casey, after that terrifyingly amazing trip through the wormhole to an alternate future. Although he had to admit that it took Jack to help him find the courage to take that step. Years of feeling inadequate; of being rejected by the fairer sex whenever he attempted to pursue whoever had caught his eye...his attention, wasn’t easy to overcome. Then there was the whole guilt issue...feeling as if he were cheating on Sha’re. Even though, at the time he'd flown to Washington state, she’d been gone...dead...for almost two years. Maybe that’s why she'd ‘visited’ him, in his office deep in Cheyenne Mountain, soon after Casey’s arrival. To tell him what his heart had already recognized. That Casey was his Destiny, and had been since the beginning of time.

She’d only been in his life for about nine months now. He couldn’t imagine life without her. Didn’t know how he'd made it from one day to the next without her sweet smile, those amazing green eyes that filled with love and laughter, that shed so much sunlight into his very soul. It sometimes seemed like they'd been together longer. Maybe because of all that they'd been through in those few months.

Casey was an amazing woman, in his eyes. Willing to leave her friends and everything she'd known, to move half way across the country to be with him after spending less than twenty-four hours in his company. She had literally been thrown into the heat of battle when she'd flown to Colorado, and joined the Stargate Program. Her first two weeks at the SGC had been heart wrenching, to say the least. Then there was that damned mission for the Tok’ra that nearly split them apart for good, just a couple of months after their wedding. It would take the rest of his lifetime to make up to her for that. Being Immortal now, that was saying something. They'd barely had three months of relative peace and quiet before Kinsey had had her and Cassie Fraiser kidnapped, during an unexpected ‘command performance’ for the Senate Oversight Committee in D.C. He'd been afraid many times in his life, especially after joining the SGC, and the missions that he'd been on as a result. He'd never been more terrified than he had been the night that Major Davis and Teal’c had shown up at the airport without his Wife...not even the day that Sha’re had been captured by Apophis. He'd felt as if his heart was being ripped out of his chest. He'd been lucky, they...meaning he, Janet, and the team...had been lucky. It had only been a matter of hours before Casey had managed to escape, had found Cassie hiding in a rusty shed after the teen’s own successful...and costly...escape. Oh, he knew that by going to the police, going ‘public’ with the abduction of the woman and teenager, they'd helped to put the pressure on Kinsey and the sleaze ball he'd hired to do his dirty work; who had turned tail to run as soon as word had broken, which in turn had made it much easier for Casey and Cassie to get away from their captors. But she was damned smart, and had kept herself and Cassie safe until he could get to her...to them. As long as he lived he'd never forget how she looked as she jumped down out of that big rig, the smile on her face, how tightly she held to him, how damned good she felt in his arms.

He and Jack had made a deal the first day Casey came to the mountain, when he'd learned more about her past, and how she'd been abused...victimized. If her adoptive parents looked for her, at any time, the two men would fly to Tacoma, so that he could give that...bitch...a piece of his mind; perhaps find a bit of peace of mind in doing so. Just letting her know what a monster she was would go a long way in soothing his anger. During the ordeal with Kinsey, her adoptive...mother...(and he used that term loosely) had had the audacity to call him, to make demands. She'd even called CNN, gone on camera crying and carrying on about her ‘baby girl’...a woman she hadn’t seen in ten years! A little investigative work done by a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune uncovered evidence that Casey wasn’t the only woman who'd been molested while just a child by one Dr. Charles Hayling. With the aid of one Helen Webster.

So today Jack and he were making that flight. Casey had insisted on coming along as well, when she'd learned what he was going to do. She told him that she wanted to see the look on the woman’s face when he stood up to her. He wasn’t happy about it, he didn’t want her near the bitch, because he knew that seeing Helen Webster would most certainly upset her. Jack suggested that they make the trip a ‘team outing’. Janet believed that the team needed some down time, they'd been ‘running non-stop’, as the petite doctor had put it, since the beginning of the year. It had actually been longer than that. It seemed that the missions just never let up! General Hammond had approved twenty days of leave for them. So, Sam and Teal’c would be there as well. He was hoping that having her teammates along would help Casey remember that she had friends...family...who would protect her, no matter what. That he' be there for her, that he'd never let that woman anywhere near her...that never again would Helen Webster be a threat.

Melanie Wheaton, the aforementioned reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, had informed him that formal charges against Helen Webster had been filed, and that she was more than likely going to be arrested immediately. As wrong as it may have been, he knew that he'd take great delight in telling that bitch she was going to pay for her role in Casey’s molestation. He only wished that someone had found out about the situation, had confronted the bitch years earlier, before she'd hurt Casey...had allowed Casey to be hurt so badly.

The alarm clock was getting ready to go off. He reached up and turned it off; he was awake, and there was no chance of falling back asleep, not with his thoughts turning to exactly what he wanted to say when he came face to face with Casey’s tormentor.

He laid there for a few more minutes, and held her close. The warmth of her body against his was more comforting than anything he could think of. The way she cuddled close, her arm around his waist, her leg on top of his, filled him with a sense of...contentment...like he’d never known before. He'd been happy with Sha’re. What he felt with Casey went beyond that. He hadn’t known it was possible to be so happy, so content.

Deep inside he still struggled with the fear that something would happen, that she'd be taken from him, snatched away just as Sha’re had been. So he memorized each feeling; trying to burn her sweet scent into his brain, clinging to the sensation of running his fingers over her soft skin, stamping the sweetness of her kiss into his memory. So that he never forgot...no matter how long it took him to find her...save her...bring her home.

He pushed away the last of the dark thoughts. It was time to get up, and she could tell in an instant if he was thinking something...unpleasant. He couldn’t tell her his fears, he didn’t want her to be frightened, nor did he want to see the sadness, the guilt, in her eyes because she blamed herself for those fears. Casey would take the blame for anything bad or unpleasant that happened around her, to the people in her life, certain in her own mind that the situation would be different if not for her. He was sure that it was because she'd always been blamed for anything that had happened while she was growing up. How long would it take until she could move past all of that dark, oppressive...shit?

She’s so damned beautiful! he thought. She could have been a top model...or an actress, if that had been her heart’s desire. She had the looks, the grace...her eyes alone could captivate any audience. Add her smile, a toss of that blonde hair, that incredible body, and men would fall in love with her by the millions! He still couldn’t believe how she saw herself. Someday. Someday she'd look into the mirror and see the same incredible woman that he did. He took a deep breath. Mmm. She smelled good. She always smelled good! Spring flowers and vanilla. As always, that sweet smell made his mouth water with the need to taste her.

His fingers moved over her skin, the tactile input waking up the need in him that always seemed to smolder just beneath the surface...an inferno of desire and lust that sometimes seemed insatiable. When she shifted slightly, pressing those beautiful breasts against his side, his balls began to ache, and his cock began to throb, demanding attention...from her.

"Morning, handsome," she said softly, those beautiful green eyes looking up at him, still full of sleep.

"Morning, gorgeous."

"Is this for me?" She was smiling...that sleepy, seductive smile that always turned his insides to complete mush.

He couldn’t hold back the gasp when those soft fingers wrapped around his aching erection. "Just for you."

"What time do we have to be at Peterson?"

"Nine-thirty."

When she glanced up at the clock, he knew exactly what was about to happen. His body tensed in anticipation. She moved up, kissed him gently, then began to trail kisses along his jaw, to his throat. He knew where that sweet, hot mouth would end up. And he couldn’t wait for her to get there!

The warmth of her breath, the gentleness of each kiss, each caress, set his body on fire. Every nerve ending was vibrating with need... with pleasure. Damn! She loved to tease him! He didn’t think his nipples could get any harder than they were, but she seemed determined to accomplish just that. It was difficult to maintain control, to keep from grabbing her and shoving her down to his hips, forcing his aching flesh into that hot, willing mouth, as she continued to torment those hard brown nubs, kissing and licking her way from one to the other.

He couldn’t help but shiver when he watched her slide down, her skin smooth and soft and warm against his as she moved lower...his body responded ardently when she wrapped a soft hand around the base of his swollen manhood once again. She was already stroking him, slowly, her hand moving up and down with such care, caressing every inch of him. Her eyes locked with his, and she started to lick him. Oh, god, I never knew it could feel so good!

Incredible.

Wonderful.

Amazing.

Mind blowing.

He shivered again when she took as much of him into her mouth as she could. Oh god, what a feeling!

Her eyes were smiling at him...the green depths filled with glee. She was in complete control, and she knew it. Knew that he'd do anything she asked him to...anything. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Kill. He wouldn’t be able to say ‘no’ to her. He decided it was a good thing that he didn’t have to worry about her ever demanding that he do any of those things.

Never before in his life had he had a woman in his bed willing to do the things that Casey was willing...eager to do for him...to him...with him. Not until the first night they'd spent together had he ever had a blowjob...not like she did it. Not even Sha’re had been willing to take him all the way. He swore that Casey had the most talented tongue in the world...in the freaking universe! Sometimes it felt as if it was everywhere at once, he had no clue how she did it, he was just thankful that she did! That has to be illegal, somewhere! he thought for the umpteenth time, as that tongue brought pleasure, sweet and pure, rolling over him.

Her soft hands were moving over him, one hand on his cock, moving with that sweet, hot mouth. The other caressed his aching balls, moved to his thighs and back again, her fingertips scorching his skin.

Silk. Her hair felt like silk. It was long and thick and beautiful and he loved it when it covered him, tickled him, like it was now. He loved the way it felt when it touched him, fell down over him when they made love. He loved to wrap his hands in it. Some of the guys on the base teased him when he braided it for her before they went on missions, Jack especially. It didn’t bother him. Because they didn’t...they couldn’t...understand how sensuous it was to run his fingers through that blonde silk.

His heart was pounding against his ribs, he was panting as hard as if he’d just run ten miles with a full pack. He could feel it...he was about to blow...climb that mountain of pleasure and fly from the top, straight out into the stars. Unless she decided to torture him. Oh, hell, that feels so goddamned good! He wanted to scream...cry...beg...plead...when she moved her mouth away from him. Her hands never stopped moving. He watched that pink tongue paint circles up and down the throbbing shaft of his erection. Every touch was exquisite agony.

He was about to lose his mind...god he wanted to come...he needed to come...before his heart gave out! Gotta come...almost there...so damned close..."Please..." he gasped, barely able to fill his lungs with enough air to get the word passed his lips.

She smiled triumphantly. Once again she took as much of him into her mouth as she could. She was sucking hard and fast and flicking that amazing tongue back and forth and...

His body was as taut as a bowstring...his toes were curling...it felt so damned good it hurt...so close...so damned close...reaching for that wondrous feeling...reaching... reaching...he felt his aching flesh slide into her throat...she was swallowing...his eyes rolled back into his head...

"Sweet Jesus!"

 

 

 

Her first memories were those of a little girl in an orphanage. Being told that she was an expense...a burden...unwanted...oh, never in those words exactly, but she could remember very early on understanding the meaning behind what the Sisters were saying. She remembered being excited at the prospect of being adopted...until she met her new "Mommy" and "Daddy". That woman never should have been allowed anywhere near children! Every day she heard what a bad little girl she was. A mistake. An expense. A burden. Unwanted. Ugly. Too skinny. Too...naughty. Slut. Little whore. Tramp. Useless.

Even though her Grandma Rose had told her that her heart knew the truth, to always listen to her heart, years of hearing the same negative comments...having them screamed at her day after day after day...had left a lasting impact, wounding her soul to the very core. Grandma Rose had done her best, the elderly woman had loved her, and tried to offer respite from the living hell that the child suffered as often as she could. Losing her had been the worst thing that ever happened to Casey, second only to being adopted by Frank and Helen Webster.

Leaving that house of horrors had done little to help her self-esteem...although she'd certainly felt better! Her stomach had stopped hurting all the time when she'd started college. She slowly learned how to make friends. What it was like to spend time with people who honestly liked her. People who saw her in a totally different way than...that woman...did.

She'd never known that loving someone, being loved, could be so...wonderful. That sleeping next to a man, the man she loved...who loved her...could make her feel so warm...so safe. That listening to his heartbeat as she rested her head on his chest could make her own heart flutter with happiness. For so many years she'd tried desperately to keep from becoming what the awful names...that woman...had called her implied; terrified of letting a man get close to her in any way, because of that fear. She'd kept potential suitors at arm’s length, even though her heart had cried out with loneliness.

The day that Daniel had shown up on the front porch of the apartment she'd shared with her very first best friend was a day she'd never forget. For which she'd be eternally grateful. It was the day she'd left the darkness behind...and had stepped into the sunshine. She could close her eyes and remember every moment, from opening the door, looking up into those beautiful blue eyes, until she went to sleep in his arms, no longer a virgin, feeling truly loved for the very first time in her life. Knowing that at long last she'd found the man who was her Destiny. Knowing that she'd never be alone...never be lonely...again.

She loved waking up in his arms. Loved the fact that his body reacted to the slightest touch, the simplest caress. Loved that his eyes, always so guarded when they were on the base, were completely open to his soul when he looked at her the first thing every morning. Loved that his love, his desire, was so plain to see in those beautiful blue eyes.

It wasn't often that she was able to send him soaring first. Daniel was always determined to drive her insane before letting her touch him...please him. She loved watching his face...his eyes...when she made love to him in this way. She could see his love, could feel the...wonder. He'd told her the very first night that they were together...the night he made her totally, completely his...that never had a woman given him a blowjob and taken him all the way. Granted, he was hung like a stallion; if the Casey from the alternate universe...the one who'd sent him in search of her...hadn't assured her in that letter that she could handle him, she would've been scared to death! But she could take him, completely; had been able to take all of him from the moment he entered her body for the very first time, and even though she had to use her hand on most of his raging anaconda when she was going down on him, she could take enough to make him feel good. She could make him cry out, whisper her name...and she reveled in doing so.

His eyelids drooped slightly...he was sated...for the moment anyway. His body was relaxed now, and she knew that he wouldn’t be happy until he'd made her cry out his name at least once before he took her...filled her completely with that beautiful, magnificent symbol of manhood. "Love you, Angel," he said softly.

She cuddled close to his side. "Love you, Stud Muffin," she replied. When she found herself flat on her back...his eyes looking down at her, that sexy, half shy smile on his face...she was neither surprised, nor did she object. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

"Your turn," he whispered.

The shiver that moved her frame beneath him pleased him, she could see it in the depths of those beautiful blue eyes. Her eyes went to his lips, just seconds before they descended upon hers. His kisses were like ambrosia, as necessary for her survival as that mythical food had been for the Olympian gods. She closed her eyes, lost herself in the sensations...the feeling of his tongue moving against her lips until she gasped...then sliding forward into her mouth...stroking her...tasting her...touching her...bringing such pleasure...such joy that she didn’t think she could contain it all. She tightened her arms around him, drew him closer, even as his hand locked around her chin, holding her steady as he took from her, demanded her surrender. She acquiesced. Her body...her heart...her very soul...all in his hands.

Slowly his mouth began to drift from her lips, toward her jaw, down to her throat, where he began another assault on her senses. Her body was already on fire; making love to him, hearing him moan and cry out her name always left her shaking with delight...and need. Not one inch of her throat, of her neck, was left untouched by his tongue, his lips. The caresses only served to send the flames higher.

His hands were already on her breasts, massaging them, caressing them, his fingers tugging at her hard nipples. It had taken weeks for her to convince him that his weight on her didn’t hurt her...that feeling his body press against hers, holding her against the bed was a serious turn-on for her. Not to mention the fact that it served to let her know that he was real, that he was there, and loved her. He slid down, his mouth never left her body as he continued to kiss his way to the taut peaks.

She couldn’t help but sigh when he began to suckle with such delight, such abandon. She could feel the result of his caresses, the kisses, in the heat and growing ache between her thighs. He wasn’t unaffected, as the throbbing of his magnificent erection against her knee confirmed. Nor could she stop the automatic arching of her back, moving her body closer to him, pushing against him.

His eyes smiled up at her when the sigh escaped her lips. One hand reached up to caress her cheek while the other continued to massage her breast, his mouth moving against its twin, teasing her nipple with his tongue, before sucking it into his mouth again.

Making love. She'd been afraid that she'd never find the man who could touch her heart, her soul. And in doing so, light the fire that she knew burned deep inside her heart, and her body. The night that he'd so miraculously come into her life, just moments before he'd rang the doorbell, she'd come to the conclusion that she'd remain alone forever. That she'd die a bitter, lonely, virginal old woman; that she'd never know the ecstasy of being in love. Being loved. Making love. She was so glad she'd been wrong!

His hands were on her waist now, his mouth moving over her flat belly. Daniel seemed to relish driving her insane with need. He took his time, touching her, tasting her, caressing her, making sure that she was so turned on that when he finally allowed her to go over the edge, the resulting sensations would be almost overwhelming. She watched the love...the glee in his eyes as his mouth moved toward her hips.

Addicted. He was physically addicted to her. At least, addicted to the secretions of her body. He called it her sweet honey...the nectar of love. He reveled in that addiction, tended to torment Jack with it. Just as Miss Eloise had told her would probably happen. Her body tensed as his mouth moved closer to the center of her being, waiting for that first intimate kiss. Listened to the soft moan he gave as his tongue began to move over and around the soft, wet folds of her womanhood. The man had the most talented tongue in the world! Her hips were moving up toward him, the giver of such intense pleasure; her fingers were clenched in his hair as he took what he needed from her, thrusting that talented tongue in and out of her until she couldn’t help but moan as well.

Another moan escaped her throat when his strong, warm, slender fingers slid inside her, began to stroke as his mouth moved over her, his tongue tormented her. So close, she was so close to that beautiful feeling, that intense flight into the stars. Her eyes fluttered shut as every inch of her being focused on what he was doing to her...for her, reaching...reaching for the climax that began to shimmer behind her eyelids.

"Give it to me, Angel," he said softly.

He began to feast on her flesh once again, bringing such mind blowing sensations that she thought she'd lose her mind; her hips were in constant motion now...no way to remain still when he was doing...that! Oh, goddess it felt so incredible! In spite of all the reading she'd done...the romance stories, the sex guides and manuals...there was absolutely no way to put into words the amazing feelings that moved up and down her spine, centered in that warm, pulsing, aching place between her thighs.

His fingers...his lips...his tongue...oh goddess!...She cried out, her back off the bed, her hips pressed against his face as he continued to lick her, her fingers tugging gently at his hair, her orgasm washing over her in waves of pleasure that left her weak and breathless.

She smiled as he began to kiss his way back up her body, stopping...as always...to make love to her breasts. His beauties, he called them. She bit back the giggle that almost escaped as she thought about how he ‘greeted’ them each and every morning...the absolute delight in his eyes as he tenderly kissed them, massaged them. She wondered if he understood how much those simple caresses aroused her? She felt as if she walked around turned on most of the time. Every touch, every kiss, every gentle caress served to keep her body humming with excitement, waiting for...needing...the release that could come only in his arms, from his hands, from his lips...his tongue, his loving attention to her body.

He kissed her, not even a lingering trace of her honey on his tongue. Settled on his back, he tugged at her until she snuggled against his side, her head on his chest, her arm around his waist. "Better?"

"Much," she admitted softly.

"Love you."

"Love you, too." She'd nearly fallen back asleep, the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he inhaled and exhaled with each breath, the soft bumthump-bumthump-bumthump of his heartbeat beneath her cheek relaxing her completely.

"I want you to stay at the hotel," he said quietly, his voice firm.

"I want to be with you," she replied, just as firmly.

"Case..."

She lifted her head, looked into blue eyes filled with concern...worry. She knew that this was a decision he'd just made. "She can’t hurt me, Daniel. Not as long as you’re there. You said that Jack, and Sam, and Teal’c would be there as well. Let her choke on the fact that there are people who believe in me...care for me; let her deal with the fact that I’m married to the most wonderful man in the world, a man she will never be able to intimidate, no matter how hard she tries."

He frowned.

"I need to do this, Daniel. I need to...face her. I know that it will take time for the...scars...that she’s left on my soul to heal. But facing her, knowing that she no longer has any hold on me will help me move toward that healing."

She could see in his eyes that he understood her need...her desire. She could also see that he still didn’t like the idea of her being near the woman who had abused her for so many years. "All right. But I won’t tolerate her saying anything to you. She’ll talk to me. No matter what she says, I don’t want you to respond."

"I never have before," she said softly, dropping her eyes. "I’ve always been a coward when it came to her."

"That is not true! Casey, you’re the bravest woman I’ve ever met! Just staying alive in that house is a testimony to your courage, your determination," he insisted. "What would have happened if you had responded to the hateful things she said to you?"

Slender shoulders moved up and down. "A beating, most probably," she admitted.

When he closed his eyes, the look of horror that filled his face gave her an idea of what he was thinking. "I’m so sorry," he whispered.

"Sorry? For what?"

"That you had to go through that...endure all of that! It’s a freaking miracle that you survived! It’s a miracle that you can function on any level at all!"

She smiled. "Well, I spent a lot of time during my ‘formative years’ with Grandma Rose."

"I still think we should put your Grandma Rose up for sainthood."

The smile widened. "I’ll talk to Miss Eloise about it."

His chuckle let her know that the serious part of the conversation was over. He glanced up at the clock. "I need you, Case. I need to be inside you," he whispered.

"I want to feel you, Daniel." She rolled to her back.

He smiled, shifted until he was poised above her, his arms supporting his weight. Waited for her arms and legs to go around his body before slowly lowering himself, pushing his throbbing member against her.

She reached between them, caressed him, stroked him for just a few seconds before guiding him to that part of her body that waited eagerly to take him in. She sighed with contentment as he filled her, brought them together in the intimate act of love that joined not just their bodies, but their hearts and souls as well.

He closed his eyes as he sank into her warmth. Just for me, his mind sighed happily. He could feel the gentle pressure of her arms against his shoulders, her silent way of requesting the weight of his body against her own. He lowered himself gently, felt the curves of her breasts press against his chest, her hard pink nipples moving against his skin, sending fingers of pleasure up and down his spine.

"Oh, yeah," she sighed out loud, tightening her arms around him as he began to move slowly, gently.

That soft sigh of pleasure, those words of contentment served to make his heart hammer harder, faster against his ribs. He lowered his head without opening his eyes, nuzzled her cheek, seeking her lips with his own. Felt her turn her face toward him. Soft and sweet. Her kisses were soft and sweet and filled with so much love...and filled him with so much need.

Her hips were meeting his thrust for thrust, grinding against him as he pushed into her. She could feel the results of each meeting of their bodies in the tingles that shot through her, that added to the heat that continued to build. She needed...wanted...faster, harder. Sped up the movement of her hips. Felt him push against her, remain still for a second; his way of letting her know that he was in control, and that he was setting the pace. Again she tightened her arms, and her legs, holding on to him as her hips moved in rhythm with his.

He grinned mentally when she tried to increase the speed of their movements. Let her know that he wasn’t having any of it...that they would take their time climbing to the top of the mountain, that they'd soar into the stars together. His own body was demanding more. He struggled to maintain the easy, steady pace of their thrusts, wanting to prolong the pleasure as much as possible.

Kisses...she loved his kisses...moaned into his mouth when his tongue began to match the downward thrust of his hips, invading her body in two places at the same time. That so turned her on...drove her wild...made her burn with need.

When she began to struggle with him, trying desperately to take control of the kiss they were sharing, he nearly pulled away to laugh. He loved it when she was out of control, her need driving her to take what she so desperately wanted...what her body demanded.

More...she wanted...she needed more! Her hands slid down his shoulders...to his waist...his hips...grabbed onto that fine ass and held tightly. She lifted her chin as he began to kiss and nibble her neck, determined to maintain control. Her body was already straining, grinding against him, her hips pushing, rubbing each time his body came into contact with hers.

"That’s it," he whispered, panting slightly, his lips next to her ear. "Take it...take what you want, what you need."

With another moan she began to ride him, his body motionless above her now, as he allowed her to take what her body was demanding of her. Oh, goddess...yes, yes, yes!

He waited until that sweet whimper filled her throat, then rose up on his outstretched arms and began to pound into her; all of the moving she'd been doing had affected him as well, driving him closer to the edge of that cliff...to the brink of insanity.

Lights and colors were flashing behind her eyelids as her body began to shake. Her climax exploded over her...through her, sending her spiraling into the stars. His name was on her lips as she fought to drag more air into her lungs.

As soon as his name reached his ears - the soft whisper adding to his joy as her body convulsed beneath him, her sweet well massaging him, milking him with every pulse of pleasure she experienced - his own body grabbed at the climax he'd been reaching for, following her into the stars. His hips jerked as each spasm sent his love deep into her body. He collapsed on top of her, breathing hard from the exertion of their intense lovemaking.

She pressed a kiss to his shoulder. "We’d better get into the shower," she whispered.

"Uh huh."

The clock ticked off the seconds. He was still on top of her, although his breathing had slowed somewhat. Her hands continued to caress his back, his shoulders, down to his hips. "Daniel?"

"Right. Shower. I’m moving."

She giggled. "Not very fast you’re not."

He lifted his head, looked at her. "I was moving fast enough for you a minute ago."

The giggle turned into a full throated laugh. "Actually, it was a couple of minutes ago."

"Smartass." He pushed up onto his arms, dropped a kiss on her lips, then pulled away from her. The air was cool as it hit his body where he had been touching her, been one with her, making him shiver slightly.

She crawled off the bed behind him, disappeared into her closet, looked for the clothes she wanted to wear today, dropped them onto the comforter.

He followed her into the bathroom. Turned on the water while she pulled clean towels from the cupboard. Couldn’t resist kissing her one more time before answering nature’s call.

They gently bathed one another, the tender caresses as pleasing as the love they'd just made.

 

 

 

She zipped her duffle closed. Double checked the garment bag, then closed it as well, locking both with the new locks that Daniel had purchased for all of their luggage the day before. She pulled the strap of her purse over her shoulder, walked into the kitchen. "I’m ready," she announced softly.

Daniel took note of the look of fear in her eyes. "You can wait in the room," he said.

Casey shook her head stubbornly. "I need to do this, Stud Muffin."

He studied her for a minute. Nodded. Opened his arms, pulled her close when she stepped into his embrace. "I’ll be right there with you, babe. In fact, I’ll be the guy telling that bitch just exactly what she is."

She couldn’t help but smile. "The look on her face will definitely be a Kodak moment," she replied.

"Yeah, well, I’ll have Sam take a picture."

"Waste of film."

"Let’s go. The guys are probably already waiting for us."

She smiled again. If Jack had spent the night, as Sam had intimated that he was going to do, there was a chance that they'd be as late as she and Daniel were going to be. It had been worth every minute.


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