Gabriel's Hope (Chapter Five, page 1 of 13)

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Deidre paced on the beach behind her bungalow, unable to do anything but lecture herself over and over about how stupid she was to sleep with some random stranger. Her blood still raced whenever she thought of his hot touch branding her body. She'd done things with him she'd never admit to, things that made her never want to see him again.

Things that made her knees weak and her eyes drift dreamily to the ocean as she remembered. Something about him touched her on a level that left her feeling at peace, as if he, too, understood what it was to face death each day and struggle to see the light instead of the surrounding darkness. She wasn't alone when she was with him.

He was so gentle and tender in bed, savoring every touch. He didn't treat her as an outlet for his own release but as a partner on a sensual journey, one where pleasure was a gift as much as a reward. It was more than sex. It was deeper, beyond the physical joining, the sense of being one. She held nothing back as he drove her to sensations and heights she'd never imagined.

She shook her head and focused on her phone again, willing Logan to return one of her dozens of calls or texts. Dressed in jeans and a tank top, she plopped onto the beach then hopped up. Her body was humming with the stranger's weird energy. She couldn't sit without fidgeting or think straight.

She found herself walking down the beach to where she'd met him the night before. She hadn't considered why he was there, just like she hadn't thought twice about tumbling into bed with him.

"Like some common whore," she muttered.

After seeing his name tattooed across her back and the look of pure murder on his face, she hid in the closet until certain he was gone. The man she'd seen in daylight and the one who'd kissed her so passionately in moonlight became two separate people. One she wanted to spend eternity in bed with; the other she felt the need to flee.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid. This is totally karma," she told herself angrily. "You sleep with a wacko, your boyfriend won't return your calls. You deserve this, Deidre."

It was three o'clock. She wasn't going to be on the beach when dark fell, in case Gabriel came back. Nose wrinkling from the scent of rotting seaweed, she glanced towards the crumbling foundation of the beach house. Her eyes went to the sand in front of the lot. This was where she'd met him, the man who rocked her world. He'd been standing in the brush.

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