Gavin’s knock at the door brought an end to Katrina’s nap, and she joined him and Sally in the living area. He’d brought dinner in, Italian food bearing the markings of a fast-food chain. At the end of the meal, Gavin ‘did the dishes’ by picking up the foam plates and plastic lids and tossing them into the trash. The plastic flatware followed, then he over-dramatically dusted off his hands above the garbage can, bringing laughter to all.
By the time they’d finished a game of Parcheesi, Katrina was yawning.
“Why don’t we make an early night of it?” Gavin suggested.
Katrina nodded. “Good idea. I don’t think I could keep my eyes open long enough to trounce you at Monopoly tonight.” Gavin’s laughter followed her into her bedroom.
Katrina stripped off her dress, folded it neatly and set it on the chair where she’d stacked her other dirty clothing. Just as she was pulling her granny nightie over her head, there was a tap on her bedroom door.
“Just a minute,” she called, hurriedly trying to locate the armholes of her night gown and stuff her arms into them. She found the edge of an opening and pushed her arm through it, only to realize it was the neck opening.
The bedroom door opened behind her. “Katrina?”
“Go away, I’m not dressed!” Katrina squawked, trying to pull the nightie down over her exposed legs and hips.
“I can see that,” Gavin observed, a hint of laughter in his voice. “Do you need any help?”
“No!” Katrina had managed to pull her arm out of the neck, but still couldn’t locate the arm holes.
Gavin stepped across the small room to her side. “Here, Sweetheart, let me help you.” He lifted the folds of fabric. The frilly, ruffled hem swirled against Katrina’s stomach, stirring up the butterflies which had awakened the moment Gavin had stepped near her.
He untwisted her gown and held one of the sleeves open for her. The other sleeve had been inside-out, no wonder she hadn’t been able to find it. Gavin gently put his hand into the sleeve, his wrist and arm brushing against her breast.
His accidental touch sent ripples of sensation flooding through Katrina. Unable to stop herself, she trembled and leaned toward Gavin, turning her face upward. He looked deeply into her eyes for a long moment, and Katrina could see he was fighting the desire to kiss her. This time she would take what she wanted, she decided, no matter what the consequences turned out to be.
She stepped closer to Gavin on knees that threatened to give way beneath her, and slid her free arm around his neck, drawing his face down to hers. He didn’t object as she kissed him. She really wished she’d learned how to be good at this. She pressed another kiss onto his mouth, tentatively reaching out with her tongue to lick his lips.
Suddenly Gavin moaned deep in his throat. His free arm crushed her against his chest, and the hand that was still inside her nightgown’s sleeve began to explore its immediate environment. Katrina was so full of new sensations she couldn’t hold still, and writhed against his touch. She clung to him, pulling him closer as his tongue plundered the softness of her mouth.
She’d never felt this beautiful…so wanted, so cherished. She wanted Gavin to make love with her, and she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
She extracted her other arm from the folds of her nightie. The gown lifted, exposing her body as she reached out to touch him. She tugged at his shirt, pulling the tail free from where it had been neatly tucked. Gavin pulled his arm from her sleeve, and continued his explorations. He caressed her, holding her so closely against him she could not mistake his desire for her.
He did want her physically; Katrina had no doubt now. Gavin pulled away from her mouth, and began raining small, feathery kisses across her brow and down the side of her neck. Katrina recaptured his mouth, this time as the aggressor, exploring his mouth with hers.
He slid his arm under her, swinging her up into his arms. Katrina tightened her hold on his neck, not willing to let go, or even to interrupt their kiss. She was pleased when he set her down on her bed.
He broke their kiss and started to straighten up, but she pulled his head down again, and he overbalanced, falling onto the bed and landing half on top of her. Katrina nearly purred with delight, and slid her hands up inside his shirt, enjoying the feeling of his crisp, springy chest hair against her hands. She pushed his shirt out of the way, and pressed her body against his, flesh against flesh.
Gavin held her close, looking into her eyes again. “Is this what you really want, Kitten? Are you certain?”
Katrina nodded. “I’ve never been more certain of anything in all my life.”
Gavin lowered his head again, kissing her deeply.
There was a tap at the door, and Sally opened it just a crack. “Sorry to interrupt you, but Lt. Carew is on the phone for you, Gavin.”
Sally. Katrina’d forgotten she was in the other room! She felt the heat of her blush flood her entire body as the realization of what she’d just been doing washed over her. What had Sally seen? Or heard? Katrina hadn’t heard the phone ring…was it really a phone call, or was Sally simply trying to get Gavin out of her room—so she could have him for herself? Jealousy stabbed painfully at Katrina’s heart.
“I’ll be right there.” Gavin rose from the bed and, keeping his back to the door, straightened Katrina’s nightgown, then his shirt.
Anger at the situation flared through Katrina. Why had Carew called at precisely this moment? If he had actually called. Katrina’s eyes filled with as-yet unshed tears. She blinked rapidly, refusing to let them fall while Gavin still stood above her.
“I…actually came in to give you your pills for tonight,” he said. He reached into his pocket and extracted the bottle, shaking two of the white tablets out. He set them on the nightstand next to a glass of water that had seemingly appeared from nowhere. Gavin must have set it there earlier while her face was still covered by her nightie. “Promise me you’ll take them?”
Katrina nodded. She wasn’t sure how she would be able to swallow them around the lump in her throat, but she’d manage. Somehow.
“I’m sorry, Kitten.” Gavin now turned toward the door.
“Sorry for what? Sorry you kissed me?” Katrina’s voice was bitter. Once again he was pushing her away, showing her he didn’t really want her. Just like Charleston.
“No. I’m sorry the phone rang.” Gavin walked out the door, closing it softly behind him.
Katrina’s heart soared. He was sorry they’d been interrupted. He actually wanted her, more than just in the heat of passion. She wrapped herself in her love.
A little shakily, she got up and slid her arm into the errant sleeve of her nightie. The lump in her throat had diminished with his last sentence, and she swallowed her pills, then lay back down on the bed. The medication acted swiftly, and Katrina was soon asleep.
The old nightmare was back. Her room was pitch dark, but she felt a presence filling it with pure evil. It was in the room with her, drawing nearer to the bed. She could hear the ragged breathing. The shadow coalesced and split into a pair of menaces, one on each side of the bed. Katrina scrambled into a sitting position and pressed herself against the headboard, knowing it wouldn’t be enough, knowing she was doomed. One of the shadows pressed closer to the bed.
A long knife glittered in his hand as he passed through the one dim sliver of light which fell through the crack between the curtains. He raised the knife, then laughed, a soulless chuckle that chilled her to the depths of her being. As he came within striking distance, he lifted his other hand and adjusted his ball cap, lifting it off his head, then settling it down again with a peculiar wiggle which no one else could possibly duplicate.
Katrina awoke and sat up in bed with a gasp. Her shaking hand reached out and turned on the light. The empty room was instantly safe, drained of the evil, and she was freed from the terror which had gripped her only moments before.
Jason! She knew the man at the pool had seemed familiar, but hadn’t put the pieces together, even when he’d adjusted his cap against the afternoon sun. Maybe the beard, so different than his usually hairless face, had thrown her off, she thought, but it had been Jason at the pool. She was certain of it.
Of all the motels in the city, how had they ended up at the very one Jason was at? She strained her memory, trying to recall if he’d looked at her directly while they’d been at the pool. She didn’t think so; he’d turned away from them before taking out his magazine. She shuddered. Sally was right, she should have stayed in the room.
Sally. Sally was a police officer; she could arrest him if he came after her. Or, maybe they should just leave; avoid the whole mess. Either way, she needed to tell Sally Jason had been the man at the pool. She’d know what to do. They could check out now, get away before Jason realized…before he recognized…before any trouble….
Katrina flung the blankets aside and scrambled from the bed. She hurried to her bedroom door, opening it quietly. The outer room of the suite was dark.
Katrina negotiated a cautious path around the chair and coffee table, edging inch by careful inch toward Sally’s bedroom door. The crack of light coming from the slightly open door into Gavin’s half of the suite gave her just enough of a glow to see the outlines of the furniture in her path. She hesitated in the middle of the room, looking towards Gavin’s room. Should she just tell Gavin? No, he was only a lawyer. Sally was the one with the authority to arrest Jason. She took a steadying breath and continued on to Sally’s room.
Just as Katrina raised her hand to knock on Sally’s door, she heard her voice coming from Gavin’s room. Instant jealousy inflamed her. How could he lead her on, then leave her and go directly to Sally’s arms?
Sally was a lot more beautiful, Katrina admitted, and being a cop, she probably wasn’t a know-nothing idiot like herself, but she’d hoped…apparently Gavin wasn’t above taking whatever favors had been freely offered, no matter the source.
He’d said as much the first night he met her, hadn’t he, that he didn’t have to take from women because they were willing to give. Somehow, though, she’d felt…he actually cared for her…that he was interested in her, rather than just her body.
Katrina felt betrayed, then stupid for feeling betrayed. After all, what did she expect after the way she had thrown herself at him, a lifelong vow of fidelity?
Foolish girl that she was, that’s exactly what she wanted, nothing more or less, and what she had been willing to offer him. After all…now that he knew she wasn’t actually married, he seemed more willing to…
Gavin’s voice rose sharply, bringing Katrina’s thoughts away from herself and on to the two in the next room. There seemed to be a little trouble in paradise. Even while branding herself sneak, spy, and other words to that effect, Katrina moved close to the door, listening intently.