My same routine. The simple task of taking off her boots and putting them against the wall and getting undressed for bed calmed her a little bit. But grief and the nervous energy of what took place still buzzed through her body, and until she was tired, she would not be able to go to sleep. She put the ear phones to her MP3 player in her ears, and the music blared, blocking everything out. She danced around her small sleeping quarters with the intent of exhausting herself into not thinking or dreaming. She leaned against the door to catch her breath, fully intending to go back to dancing around. She felt the vibration of someone knocking on her door on her back and threw the door open, forgetting she was just in a pair of green army boxer shorts and a tank shirt and socks. Ace stood there, and while the music blared in her ears, his hot gaze traveled along her body. She pulled the ear buds out of her ears.
"Um, yeah, I think I've forgotten how to speak," he murmured.
A warm, tingly flush that had nothing to do with her dancing spread through her body. "That statement contradicts you since you just spoke."
"Can I come in?" He held up a thermos. "Hot chocolate this time, with marshmallows."
Kimberly stepped back. "I'm only letting you in because of the marshmallows."
"Works for me. An invite is what I wanted by any means necessary."
He closed the door, and as she walked over to the other side of the room to grab a chair, she heard him make a noise and turned. "What?"
"Your butt says 'Booty Camp'," he pointed out.
"I know." Kimberly didn't elaborate. She put the chair down. "You can sit here--wait, there might be a bomb. Oh no, you guys take them up and laugh at it."
"I take it you saw me today?" he said, still standing at the door.
"Of course I did. You and your marine boys were laughing it up while you were dropping mortars."
He stepped closer. "Kimberly, trust me, I know the danger. We have to make light of it. If not the pressure will kill us before the bombs do. I was never in any danger."
"Whatever. I don't care if you blow yourself up. I just met you a few days ago."
He grinned. "You care. If not, you wouldn't be so upset."
She rolled her eyes and decided not to give him the benefit of an answer. Instead she sat on her bed and tucked her feet under her. "You know it's very inappropriate for you to be in here."
"No one saw me, and if you cared about how it looked, you would have sent me away." Ace sat and poured two cups of the hot chocolate from the thermos and handed one to her. Kimberly took a sip of the warm, sweet liquid and sighed in delight.
"Yeah, but you, Lieutenant, have a lot more years in than I do, and you might be jeopardizing your good record by being here with me," Kimberly reminded him.
"I think I have done a lot worse than hang out with a female soldier in my time in the military," Ace said. "Besides, this is my last round before I can put in my papers. They are going to be either glad to see me leave or ask me to stay."
"You don't know which you want to do?" Kimberly asked.
"I'm still thinking on it," he replied. "Enjoy your hot chocolate before it gets cold."
End of subject, Kimberly assessed. He didn't want to talk about his career anymore, and she was fine with that. But the cavalier way of how he spoke about it made her wonder what the story behind Ace Cameron was.
She took a sip and reminisced. "This reminds me of Paradise. The town's main street is probably decorated by now."
"It's not even Thanksgiving yet," he said.
"Our Mayor's wife has a thing for these holidays. Right after Halloween she starts on the town to get the residents in the Christmas spirit." She smiled. "I love it, the lights and the music, well, everything."
"They should pay you for being their tourist spokesperson," Ace commented.
"What do you do for the holiday?" Kimberly asked.
"Nothing, I just find somewhere to be where there are a lot of people and hang out. I don't have traditions like you. My dad was an asshole, and my mom left and forgot to take me with her."
She knew the nonchalance was his way of dealing with the past. "You can spend Christmas with me in Paradise sometime. It will be the best holiday you ever had."
"I have no doubt that it would be." Ace raised his cup to her before asking, "How is your friend? I think you called her Joanna?"
His one statement sent her mind back to where it didn't want to be. The anger about her death and the grief flooded back in like a wave to shore.
Kimberly swallowed back the tears. "She's dead."
"Oh God, Kimberly, I'm so sorry," Ace said.
"Why? You didn't kill her." She heard the hardness in her tone. She was sorry for it, but it was the only way she could deal with it. "Besides, she was just a girl I knew. I'm a loner here. I can't make friends here. It's too dangerous."
Ace put his cup down on the floor. "You know that's bullshit. I can see it in your face that you're hurting. Don't play the hard ass with me. You liked her, and she's gone. Cry about it, but don't hold it in."
Kimberly gave a harsh laugh. "If I give into everything I'm feeling I might drown in it, Ace. I just want to make it through this and go home."
"I'm sorry for your loss," he said.
Kimberly did something impulsive. She put her cup down and crossed the small distance to sit on his lap. She nibbled his lips gently and felt his hand on her ass. He moaned at her teasing kiss, and she could feel his cock get hard while she sat on his lap.
She moved suggestively, rubbing against him. "You want to help me, Ace? Make me forget everything, just for a little while. Take me."
Ace moaned and grabbed her hair. He pulled her mouth to his and devoured her lips. Desire flooded her body, and Kimberly shifted against him. His hand moved from her hair and cupped her ass through the boxer shorts to hold her to him while he stood. He walked to her bed, and she felt the mattress against her back. Then his delicious weight was on top of her while her legs wrapped around his waist. His lips left her and travelled down her neck, sucking at the sensitive skin as he worked his way down her body. He pushed her tank shirt up and over her head in one smooth motion before taking her nipple into his mouth. Kimberly cried out as the sensation made her wet.
She led his hand down to her shorts and slipped it beneath the waistband. "Touch me, Ace."
He moaned against her breast and delved between the velvety folds of her pussy to sink his finger inside her. She lifted her hips in pleasurable anticipation of his touch. Instead he pulled away and got off the bed. She watched him walk away and clasp his hands behind his head. He paced the small room back and forth.
"Come back, Ace. I want you," Kimberly invited.
He turned and came back, kneeling on the floor and pulled her to him roughly. He kissed her until her head swam before moving again.
"One day, Kimberly, I'm going to have you, hot and panting and wet while I take you. Not because you want to forget but because you want nothing else but me. You can count on it." He moved the thermos to her small counter along with the cups. "Enjoy the hot chocolate."
With one last smoldering look he went out of her door. The gust of cool wind that came in behind him did not cool her in the least. "Well damn," she said softly to herself not knowing what to think. One thing was for certain, she and Ace were heading toward a collision so explosive it would knock her off her feet.