I wanted to brush my lips along that angry, throbbing vein but the spark in his eyes told me he wouldn’t welcome it, right now. He stood unmoving, the set of his shoulders making it clear he was expecting an answer and wouldn’t back down.

The woolly robe I had on slipped down my left shoulder, exposing the large bruise that had already formed, courtesy of Thomas. Perry stepped forward and touched it softly. “How’d you get that?” he almost whispered, his expression softening as concern crept across his face. “Oh, that- it’s nothing, I was just sparring with Thomas. Guess I’ve gotten rusty.”

His other hand had crept up my right shoulder, sending a tremor down my back.  “Why didn’t you tell me dd? Were youplanning to just leave when I was asleep or something?”  I winced, both from the pressure of his hand on my bruise and the way he’d made my plan sound like I was abandoning him or planning to never return.

I pulled away and threw myself on the bed, exhaling loudly, wishing every one of my frustrations could vapourise, as easily as my breath.  “I was looking for the right moment to tell you just never came up. I’ve really got to get moving on that damned novel Perry; I’ve got a contract to honor and I just can’t seem to get into it, here. There’s just too much going on, so many distractions!” He slid in beside me. “So, I’m a distraction too, huh?”

His arms were on either side of me, his face hovered above mine, so close, I could feel his warm breath against my cheek. Ilay beneath him, pinned down by the intensity in his autumn brown eyes, my lips aching for his. I blinked and broke the spell.“In this case Perry, yes, you would be. I’m sorry babe, I really have to go it alone. But it’s not like I’m not coming back. Twoweeks will fly by. You’ll see”

He didn’t answer but began to leave a trail of soft kisses down the side of my neck, teasing my sensitized skin with the tantalising roughness of his five o’clock shadow. “Oh, babe, please, not now; I’ve got so much.. to do.. before ...I ... oh, oh .... yes, mmm... yes...I mean NO!

My insides were beginning to simmer and he knew it, damn him! I closed my eyes as his hand slid down to the sash of my robe and began undoing the knot. His lips brushed mine, before trailing down my throat and dragging deliciously across my collarbone. The front of my robe parted obligingly as the knot unraveled. I grabbed his hair, my fingers lost in its raven-hued, silken depths and brought his mouth crushing down on mine. To hell with packing and dinner; I’ll buy what I need and a night of liquid nourishment wouldn’t hurt anyone.