Sugar Free Page 16

It was a lie.

I needed today off to do whatever I could to erase Sela’s part in JT’s death so she wouldn’t get caught and she could live her life in peace as she deserved.

Mentally going through a to-do list, I know the next few days are going to be brutal. I’ll have to play the grieving partner and friend, prepare a eulogy for a man I despise, deliver it with more acting skill than I needed with the cops, and figure out how to soothe the company employees who will no doubt be traumatized by all of this.

But that could all wait until tomorrow.

For now, I needed to get home.

To Sela.

Despite the nearly hour and a half drive each way to Healdsburg, and the hour we spent having lunch, I still beat Beck back to the condo by almost thirty minutes. I was waiting on pins and needles, not because I was nervous about what he’d just done for me today, but because I wasn’t sure how he was processing his pain about what he learned about Caroline’s rape.

When the front door opens, I immediately rise from my perch at the dining room table. His eyes slide to mine and he gives me a tired but confident smile.

“Hey,” he says as he shuts the door, locks it, and tosses his keys and wallet on the foyer table. His face is streaked with dried sweat and dirt, and the front of his jeans are filthy. In his other hand, he has his sweatshirt balled up and I can also see it spotted with dirt.

“Who won?” I ask as I walk toward him. “You or the pig?”

“Excuse me?” he asks, brows furrowing inward with confusion, and I know he must be completely exhausted in both mind and body to not get my joke.

“It looks like you just wrestled a pig in mud,” I point out as I circle my fingers around his wrist, pulling the sweatshirt out of his other hand. I drop it to the floor and turn toward our bedroom, pulling Beck behind me. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

He follows me, content to let me lead. He doesn’t say a word, but I don’t need him to. I don’t care or worry about what he did with the letter opener and bloody clothes. I knew from that brief smile he gave me just a moment ago that it was handled in the best way possible.

I lead Beck straight into our master bath, releasing my hold on him to start the shower. It’s not lost on me that he was doing the very same thing for me just about twenty-four hours ago. Then he was wanting me to clean away the blood of my crime. Now I want him to clean away the grunge of his.

When I turn around, I find Beck stripping down. This disappoints me slightly, because I had wanted to do that for him. I want to take absolute care of him right now.

Without hesitation, I start taking my clothes off, starting with the awful cheap boots I’m wearing. Beck doesn’t act surprised, and even though I know he’s depleted, his eyes still wander over my body with a quiet flickering of heat in them. When his pants come off, I can see he’s starting to get hard just from watching me disrobe, but that’s just going to have to wait.

I reach out and take him by the wrist again, leading him into the shower. While Beck prefers us taking a bath together in his huge garden tub, I’m a fan of his shower. It’s huge…at least six by ten feet with three walls of pristine white tile and the fourth side mostly open with just a half wall made of clear glass blocks. There’s a wide bench that runs the length of the shower, but my favorite part is the various valves and sprays that offers a huge overhead waterfall, nine individual body sprays set into three of the walls as well as a multifunction hand shower that Beck has used numerous times to get me off. It has three different pulse speeds that are divine.

But that’s for another time, because the minute I pull Beck into the body sprays, he lets out an almost pained sigh of relief.

“Feel good?” I murmur as I watch him tilt his head back under the waterfall to wet his hair.

“Mmmmm-hmmmm,” he responds with his eyes closed.

I reach over and grab the bar of soap from a corner tiled ledge, and I rub it into a froth with a washcloth. Then I methodically take my time and go over every inch of Beck’s body, starting first with his hands because they are the filthiest. I take great care with them, using a nailbrush to help get the dirt that’s caked under his nails. When they’re practically sparkling, I reload the washcloth with the bar of soap and start at his neck and work my way down. Over his shoulders and across his upper back, where I gently wash over the tattoo that’s half red phoenix and half dragon.

By the time the washcloth hits Beck’s abs, he’s trying to wash me as well, his hands coming to my body in a natural way that can’t be helped. He’s never been one to sit back and let me just do things to him. He always wants to be touching me, focusing on my sensations first, his second.

I bat his hands away, telling him to be still and let me finish. He responds with a slight growl, makes an attempt to drop his hands by his sides, but when my washcloth hits his ass, they come back up again. Granted, they merely rest on my shoulders, his thumbs stroking my wet skin, but they don’t make any further move so I let them stay.

Because as long as his hands are being good, I can concentrate on my task.

I bring the soapy cloth back around front, across his hip and over his lower abs, pushing upward to get his chest a second time. Only because I love his chest so much. It’s a fabulous chest, well defined with a smattering of hair in the center. It’s also clean and doesn’t need my attention anymore, but I can’t help it. I love touching Beck.

Ultimately, my mistake is when I lift my face to take a peek at his. I find him staring down at me with the most intense look I’ve ever seen. Blue eyes flashing at me like a blinking neon sign that’s advertising his emotions.





Yes…that last one. Him looking vulnerable.

That gets me.

My eyes drop back down to the washcloth and I try to speak, but my voice is raspy with emotion. I cough and try to go for a light, casual tone so he doesn’t see just how much a single look from him can move me so deeply. “Thank you for what you did for me today.”

With lightning speed, Beck’s hand is under my chin, tilting my face up again. Same flashing signs of emotion in those ocean-blue eyes, but a new urgency there. “There isn’t anything I won’t do for you, Sela.”

“I know,” I whisper back to him, slowly moving the cloth from his chest down his stomach.

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