Over the next two weeks Liz felt herself coming slowly back to life. The world came back into focus around her. Colors, smells, tastes became vivid again. Her body didn’t ache constantly. Even her thinking started to become more clear. She still felt sad but she wasn’t overwhelmed by it.
The sadness had gradually been replaced by anger that was growing inside her every day. She was so angry at Tess for luring Max, Michael and Isabel to their deaths. She was angry at Khivar for so carelessly killing them. She was angry at the Antarian people for letting Khivar kill them. And most of all she was angry at herself for not realizing something was wrong with Tess.
Shouldn’t she have known? she kept asking herself.
She’d suspected Tess from the first of being an enemy. Why hadn’t she kept those suspicions alive?
Why hadn’t she realized that future Max was wrong? Why hadn’t she told Max everything so they could face the danger together?
Why? Why? Why?
There were so many choices she’d made that were wrong. She’d failed him so many ways, and she would never forgive herself.
Tess and Khivar had so carelessly ended three lives and it was disgusting. Three incredible people who had done nothing wrong. They had simply been in the way.
And it had all been so useless. Tess could have taken the granolith and left the others on Earth. They would have had no way to return to the planet and wouldn’t have threatened Khivar’s rule in any way.
Their deaths had been completely unnecessary.
But Tess had honored the deal with Khivar because she wanted her revenge for whatever perceived slights or wrongs she had endured. Tess knew she was leading them to their deaths and did it willingly, caring nothing for the lives of her supposed family.
Liz didn’t even have the consolation that those responsible would be punished.
Sure, Tess was dead, but it had been way too quick. For betraying and killing her family she should have been thrown in a hole and tortured for the rest of her miserable life.
Liz would have happily volunteered to do it herself.
And nothing would happen to Khivar. Justice would never touch him. He was literally living like a king. He was the law.
He had gotten everything he wanted, except Isabel.
Even though Liz was horrified at Isabel’s loss, she was glad that at least death had put her beyond Khivar’s grasp. She couldn’t bear to think of the beautiful, vivacious Isabel being Khivar’s sex slave.
It made Liz furious that Khivar would never be punished for his crimes. She ached to confront him. She wanted to beat him senseless, to rip him apart with her bare hands. She wanted to make him suffer. But even if her fledgling powers were enough to take him on, he was on another planet. She would never even get close to him and it made her feel so powerless.
And along with the anger and powerlessness, she was becoming restless. Each day it seemed to fill her more.
She’d worked with Zan on his latest car and it helped to be busy, but that only really took an afternoon.
She started writing papers again. The mental stimulation was distracting but she felt claustrophobic being in her apartment so much.
So she’d started running again. The exercise and motion seemed to help, and it was nice to be out of the confines of her apartment, but it still wasn’t enough to completely clear her mind.
And now she avoided the cemetery on her runs.
She couldn’t stand to see the angels any more. For so long the sight of them had been one of her only comforts, but now they were just a solid reminder of everything she’d lost.
Liz lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, watching the pattern of the morning light slowly change, and gradually realized that the sound of the shower had woken her.
Zan was still staying with her and still taking care of her and she was starting to think she should send him home. She was grateful to him, but she felt guilty that he had put his life on hold to spend so much time with her. She also felt stupid that she had so totally broken down that she’d needed his help.
She barely knew him but she had depended on him for everything. It was amazing that he’d stayed. He had no obligation to her. She had no idea why he had helped her.
You’re mine, princess.
His words floated through her mind, sending shivers through her body, but she shook her head. He didn’t really mean that. It was just a guy thing. Something he’d said when she’d challenged him.
Instantly the circumstances of that night filled her head.
She’d told him she didn’t want him, and of course he’d known she was lying. He knew everything she was feeling, and he proved it to her. She could still feel his strong body pressed against hers, and his fingers stroking her clit. He’d given her so much pleasure with that simple touch that it made her wonder what sex with him would be like.
Her mind filled with an image of his naked body covering hers, the sensation of bare skin touching her everywhere making her shiver with desire. She felt his thick erection at her entrance and arched up, silently begging him to come inside.
Shaking her head, she pushed the image away. She might want Zan, but she wasn’t going to let it happen. It was too complicated. It would be too confusing.
She just needed to get away from him for a while, then she could think more clearly. If he wasn’t around all the time she’d be able to see that he was just an attractive guy like all the others she’d had, and she didn’t really want to get involved with him.
Nodding, she decided that she would tell him to go home. It was the best thing.
Suddenly she realized that it was quiet, and the noise of the shower had stopped some time ago. Quickly she got out of bed, gathering some clothes, determined to have a shower before she saw Zan. It would make her feel stronger to be clean and dressed, and give her some time to think about how she would tell him.
She was grateful to him, and she had to remember to let him know, but she had to firmly tell him that it was time for him to leave. She was better and she could take care of herself now. She didn’t need him.
Walking out of her room, she turned toward the bathroom, only to stop suddenly as Zan came out.
Her breath rushed out of her lungs as she saw him.
He was naked except for the towel wrapped low around his hips, and he was still wet from the shower. Water glistened on his sculpted torso making her want to lick off every drop.
She swallowed hard, her throat suddenly dry as she took in every beautiful inch of him. A sprinkling of hair on his chest became a line that led down his six pack and disappeared beneath the towel.
A shiver of desire ripped through her making her instantly wet, and her eyes roamed over him again. She wanted to run her hands over him, touch him everywhere. She wanted it so badly it made her hands shake.
When her gaze finally reached his face she saw that his eyes were dark with hunger, and she realized she’d been staring at him for a long time.
Blushing, she looked down, embarrassed to meet his eyes. “I-I’m s-sorry,” she stammered. “I-I didn’t-“
Zan broke the silence. “I like you looking. I can tell you like what you see.”
She blushed even more.
He moved closer as he spoke. “We want each other. There’s nothing wrong with that. We belong together.”
Her heart pounded and she swallowed nervously. She might want him, but she would never be with him.
She needed to get the situation under control again.
Glancing up at him, she quickly looked away again. “I wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I can’t believe you stayed so long. You must want to get back to living your own life in your own house.”
He didn’t say anything.
She couldn’t look at him but continued. “I mean, we don’t even know each other. It’s not like you had to take care me.”
She meant to sneak a quick look at him, but when she glanced up, the intensity in his gaze held hers.
A fire seemed to spark in his eyes and his face hardened momentarily and then suddenly softened as he started to speak. “No one would have left you alone like you were, princess, not even a stranger. And we are not strangers. There is a hell of a lot more between us than that and you know it.”
He held her gaze as he moved closer so they were almost touching. “I know you,” he rumbled, “just like you know me.”
Shaking her head, she was again filled with longing to touch his beautiful body and backed away quickly before she could act on it.
He smiled. “We might not know the little things like favorite colors, or movies, but we know the important things. You knew that you could trust yourself to me, that I would take care of you and never let anything happen to you.”
“Thank you for everything you did,” she said in a rush. “I-“
He moved closer again. “You don’t have to thank me. I’ll always take care of you. You belong to me.”
She ignored his words. “But I’m better now, and it’s time for you to go home.”
He looked at her for so long that it made her nervous. What if he refused to go? But finally a smile lifted the corner of his mouth. “If that’s what you want, princess.”
Relief flooded through her, and she released a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.
“But,” he continued, leaning in so their lips were only inches apart, “we both know giving you some space won’t change a thing between us.” Reaching out, he cupped her chin, stroking her cheek with his thumb. “When two people want each other as much as we do, it will happen.”
She wanted to deny him, but she could barely think because she wanted him to kiss her so much. Breathing hard, she unconsciously she licked her lips, and her eyes widened as she watched Zan follow the movement.
His eyes looked like molten lava when they met hers again and she thought he would take her. But amazingly she saw his jaw tighten, and she knew he was struggling to bring himself back under control.
“I want you,” he said as she met his eyes again. “I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything.” His thumb stroked over her lips, making her gasp. “But,” he continued, “I want you one-hundred percent willing and with me. And if that takes time, I can wait.”
She swallowed hard, not knowing what to say.
Zan smiled at the look of confusion on her face and released her. Without another word, he moved past her and headed for the living room where he’d been sleeping.
Liz turned, watching him walk away, and stared down the hall after him a long time, her thoughts a confused jumble. And then suddenly she realized that she didn’t want Zan to catch her still in the same place, so she hurried into the bathroom and locked the door behind her.
Not that a lock could keep Zan out, she told herself, but it somehow made her feel more secure to have the barrier between them. And then she wondered if it was because she wanted to keep Zan out or keep herself away from Zan.
But she didn’t really want to know the answer, and she quickly stripped off her clothes. She turned to get in the shower, but caught sight of herself in the mirror. Her body was flushed with arousal and her nipples were budded into tight points. She looked wanton and sexy and normally that wouldn’t have bothered her, but it made her uncomfortable that it was because of Zan.
Quickly she got into the shower and pulled the curtain shut so she couldn’t see herself. Turning on the water, she stepped into the spray, letting the hot stream cascade onto her. She hoped it would drown out her thoughts if only for a few moments, but she couldn’t seem to turn off her brain.
You want Zan
, she said silently to herself.
, she argued, it’s not Zan I want. It could be any guy with a good body
, she reminded herself, you couldn’t find a guy the last two times you were at a club, even though there were several excellent candidates. And when you settled on a guy, he didn’t even turn you on. That’s because you’ve become focused on Zan.
She shook her head. No, they were just off nights. It didn’t mean anything.
You’ve never had an off night before.
, she argued, the odds say it was bound to happen sometime. Nothing is ever one-hundred percent.
It was one hundred percent until Zan came along.
Everything had seemed off since he’d come into her life. She felt cold, shivering even though she was under the hot spray as she realized the truth of it.
It’s just because I want him
, she reassured herself. It doesn’t mean more than that. It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about having him.
, she assured herself. That was what she’d wanted since he’d come into her life. She was better alone. And it’s not like she could ever be with anyone else, ever love anyone else. Not after what she’d had with Max.
Zan was a nice guy, a good friend, and he did have a smoking body, but that didn’t mean anything. It certainly didn’t mean she had feelings for him.
He was also arrogant, pushy, overbearing, and a complete jerk. That still didn’t stop her from wanting him.
Just the thought of having him instantly filled her with desire, making her feel like she was melting inside. It had been so long since she’d had a thick cock inside her and she wanted it now.
Her hands smoothed over her breasts, brushing her hard nipples before sliding down her body. She let her legs part slightly, giving her better access to her clit.
She didn’t need to start slow and build herself up, she already half-way there. With two fingers she went directly to her pulsing nub and rubbed it in quick, hard circles.
Shit it felt so good.
Her hips started moving, and her pussy felt so empty, but she knew she could bring herself to a satisfying end.
Images filled her head of Zan pounding into her, giving her the ride of her life. She imagined Zan over her, filling her again and again, and she swore she could feel him inside.
Her fingers moved even faster over her clit and she arched back against the wall as the end quickly came. Her breath came in quick pants as her clever fingers worked magic on her swollen nub, and she came, crying out.
Immediately she clamped her hand over her mouth, hoping he hadn’t heard. But the water was on high and the door was shut, she was almost positive her voice would have been drowned out.
She waited, practically breathless, for long minutes, but Zan didn’t come bursting in. He couldn’t have heard her.
She was almost disappointed that he hadn’t.
What would have happened if he had come in? Would they be fucking in the shower right now?
It would be spectacular.
Shaking her head, she knew she it couldn’t happen.
She would never let it happen.
Turning off the shower, she wrapped a white towel around her body, and opened the door. Silently she went to her room and quickly dressed, willing herself to get back under control. It took long minutes but when she thought she’d mastered her desire, she went to find Zan.
Cautiously she went into the living room, but he wasn’t there.
Looking around, she noticed that all of his things were gone, and she felt a rush of disappointment.
She’d told him to go and he’d practically run.
It was better this way though. She could control herself more if she wasn’t around him. It would be easier for her to get rid of her desire for him if she couldn’t see him.
She might even be able to put her life back together if she could get him out of her mind.
The smell of bacon drew her attention to the table where she saw a full breakfast set out of waffles, fruit, coffee, and the wonderful smelling bacon. The waffles and bacon were still steaming. Obviously Zan had just left, but he was still taking care of her.
She felt her heart skip, and not for the first time, she wondered what he wanted from her.
Sitting down, she started eating.
From the first she’d wondered about his motivations. He said he wanted to help her, but why?
He’d kept asking her about Max and the others and for a while she’d believed that it was he wanted. But now she wasn’t so sure.
Zan said she belonged to him, but it had to be more than that. Sure he wanted her, but it’s not like he really had feelings for her.
She shook her head. No, it had to be something else. And eventually he would get around to asking for it.