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THE divorce papers burnt a hole in her hand as she carried the large yellow envelope to her soon-to-be ex-husband's sleeping quarters. Nausea threatened and she swallowed hard to dispel it.
Just knock on the door, hand it over, then leave, Harriet lectured herself as her rubber-soled shoes squeaked loudly on the aged linoleum in the hushed corridors. Do not stop for a chat. Do not go in for coffee. Do not let him make love to you.
She tossed her head and clamped down on the irony that threatened to bubble up in her chest and escape as sarcas- tic laughter. Sex, Harriet. Have sex with you. Their days of love-making were long past and she couldn't afford such romantic stupidity.
They were getting divorced. The end. Finito. Period. They were just having a little difficulty remembering their differences in the haze of lust that descended upon them every time they got a little too close. Harriet hadn't yet worked out the co-ordinates of that invisible line-the one that separated close and too close-but she certainly knewwhen she'd crossed it. Except by then it was usuallyalways too late.
Harriet stopped in front of his door, gathering her courage. Tomorrow. She gripped the envelope tighter. She would be gone tomorrow and his signature would be on the papers and she could get on with her life. So she had to do this now.
She'd had the papers since she'd arrived in this country over two months ago but part of her had held back. Some- where inside there had still been a small kernel of hope. A little Pollyanna ray of sunshine that had believed she could truly convince him to change his mind.
But two months of alternating between fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants medical drama and snatched moments of incredible can't-get-enough-of-you sex hadn't resolved anything. Sex they were great at. Marriage they weren't.
Harriet took a moment to tie her wavy hair back in a hastily constructed ponytail. He was going to look all messy-haired and sleepy and sexy as hell, so she desper- ately needed to look no-nonsense.And he hated her hair tied back, and for this task she needed him to hate her a little.
Harriet knocked on the door. The noise echoed loudly down the corridor and she hoped she hadn't woken anyone else. All the surgical teams had been up until 1 a.m. and she didn't think they'd appreciate such an early wake-up call. But this had to be done. She'd put it off too long already.
She heard a mumbled expletive on the other side of the door and smiled to herself as she pictured Gill emerging from under his pillow, staring at the clock and frowning. Please, put a shirt on, she begged silently.
The door opened abruptly and Harriet was confronted with his magnificent naked chest. She looked into hisgrumpy face and watched as he bit off a retort and a slow lazy smile warmed his sleepy face. Oh, hell! Of all the men in all the world she had to marry one that looked like a naughty angel.
"Harry," he murmured.
His morning voice stroked across her skin, sending every nerve ending in her body into a frenzy. She knew where the line was today. And she was standing on it.
"I'm sorry I woke you," she said, lifting her eyes off his smooth pectoral muscles and trying to shut down her peripheral vision so she couldn't see the bulge of his naked biceps.
"I'm not," he said.
Harriet frowned at him. He lifted a hand and caressed the St Christopher hanging from the delicate silver chain around her neck. He had a mouth that was made for kissing and Harriet could feel herself teetering on the line. She wanted to lean forward and draw his soft bottom lip into her mouth and bite it.
She could feel his gentle tug on the necklace drawing her into the room. Harriet resisted. She knew that crossing the line was not what this was about. Give him the papers and go. Run like the wind.
Harriet brought the envelope up between them, abruptly displacing his hand.
"What's this?"he asked, a small smile playing on his lips and dancing in his grey eyes.
'divorce papers," she said, and felt stronger just saying the words.
Gill stared for a moment and shot her another slow smile as he took the envelope from her. He tossed it over his shoulder and Harriet heard it land on the floor behind him."Gill" she chided softly. "I need you to sign them. It's time."
He stood to one side and gestured her into the room with a flourish of his deft surgeon's hands.
Harriet shook her head vehemently. "No." She knew what would happen if she put her foot over the line. His quarters were three metres by three and dominated by an unmade bed and an undressed man.
"Harriet," he sighed, but she could see the sparkle of amusement lighting his eyes. "I'm not going to discuss our divorce with you in the corridor."
His rich, deep voice oozed like warm chocolate, coating her in its sweet, sticky web. He held out his hand to her. It sounded so reasonable. She looked behind her at the empty hallway and hesitated briefly, before taking his hand and feeling the gentle tug pulling her over the line.
When he reached behind her and pulled her hair free she didn't protest. Neither did she when he kissed her. In fact, she welcomed it greedily, ready to join in this dance they did so well, eager to be naked with him one last time.
Harriet had felt the pull the moment he had opened the door and had known deep inside that resistance was useless. She could pretend as much as she liked that it was over between them, but she knew this would never be over. This insane lust that had blinded her with its ferocity for seven years.
He'd sign the papers and their union would be broken, but this endless urge to be with him, to know him carnally every time they were together, could never be broken. Her only hope was distance. Come tomorrow she was staying the hell away from him-for ever!
Harriet felt a quiver low in her abdomen as the sheer hunger and force of his kiss had her clinging to his broad naked shoulders. She heard him groan her name into her mouth and she whimpered in response.
"Harry," he said again, tearing his mouth away and looking searchingly into her eyes as his breath came in harsh gasps, his grey eyes stormy with passion.
She claimed his mouth quickly, empowered by his almost bewildered look. The fact that she could do to him what he did to her was a powerful aphrodisiac and she felt her kiss become wild and savage against his full lips. Just for one last time she wanted him to realise what he was turning his back on.
Her hands roamed to the smooth muscles of his chest, trailed down his flat abdomen, and she took pleasure in their quick response to her touch. She could feel them contract beneath her nails and when she slipped her hands beneath his boxer shorts to grab handfuls of his tight buttocks she grinned in triumph as the hardness of his erection pushed urgently between her hips.
Gill grasped the bottom of her scrubs top and whipped it over her head in a swift movement. He didn't bother fumbling with her bra clasp but yanked the cups aside, freeing her breasts and roughly stroked his thumbs over her nipples until they peaked into hard nubs.
He pushed her backwards and she fell against the rumpled bed. Harriet had a moment of clarity when she realised how she must look. Half-naked, her hair spread in wild abandon against the sheets, her bra ripped aside, her breasts achingly aroused. Then Gill removed his boxers and all rational thought fled.
He stood for a moment tall and proud, just looking ather with more lust than she'd known existed in the whole world. He wasn't embarrassed by his arousal and already she wanted to feel its silky smoothness in her hands, her mouth, deep inside her.
She licked her dry lips and noticed Gill's eyes widen at the unintentional come-on. He reached down and pulled the cord at her waist that held her scrubs up and yanked both them and her undies down in one swift movement. Now she lay totally naked before him as he stood before her, and she couldn't stop the whimper of need that escaped her mouth or holding her arms out to him in silent consent.
And then his weight was on her and his mouth was ev- erywhere. Drawing wet circles around her breasts and sucking her nipples to tortured peaks, nibbling her earlobes, tickling her stomach and licking inside her until she thought she would faint from the need.
And then when the desire built to fever pitch his mouth claimed hers and he let his fingers do the walking. They stroked and caressed and danced their way all over her body, and when he put them deep inside her she had to bite hard on her lip to stop the scream. Even crazed with lust, she remembered how thin the walls were!
"Now," she whispered urgently, clinging to his neck as his fingers wove a magical rhythm and she could feel her orgasm rushing out from deep inside her, threatening to engulf her at any second.
Their gazes locked as he plunged inside her. Each stroke hurtled her closer, at each stroke his eyes seemed to dare hers to close. She refused. She would not look away or shut her eyes, even as the pressure built. She wanted to look straight at him as she came. She wanted to watch his eyes as he came, too. She wanted their last time to be indeliblyimprinted on her retinas. She wanted to see his face as he lost control inside her.
Harriet bit down on her lip as the first wave broke against the shore.
'say it. I want to hear you,"
The demand was magnified by his panting breaths, trying to hold off his own pleasure until she'd reached nirvana as well. Harriet shook her head. If she let it out, the earth would shake and the parrots in the sparse trees outside would lift in noisy flight and every doctor and nurse in the complex would be woken from their slumbers.
"Let it out," he demanded again.
She shook her head again and tried to internalise the orgasm that was eroding the edges of her endurance.
"I want to hear you," he said. "One last time, Harry. Let me hear you."
Harriet felt the guttural noise move through her from the tips of her toes, gaining momentum until the sheer enormity of it demanded an escape. She held his gaze, noticing the sheen of sweat on his brow, and realised she could stem the noise and the tide no longer.
"Please, Harry."His voice was halfway between begging and groaning and she knew that she didn't have the power to deny him this one last request.And she wanted to anyway. She wanted to yell and scream like a banshee. She wanted their last time to be memorable, imprinted on his mind for ever. So she let herself go, crying out his name as the tumult of her orgasm flung her into the far reaches of the galaxy.
She vaguely heard his voice joining hers, crying out in abandon as she hovered above the earth, amongst the stars, at one with the beauty of the heavens.