Zuri bit back a complaint, wishing he'd quit hovering because he was keeping her on edge. But when he didn't budge, she dragged her feet to the bed, scooped up the wash-softened cotton and turned toward the bathroom.
"Uh uh," he said, tsking softly. "My house. My clothes. My rules."
She glanced over her shoulder, not knowing if she'd heard him right, but that same hard challenge he'd issued when he'd demanded the kiss was stamped all over his granite features.
She knew she ought to ignore him and lock herself into the bathroom to dress and gather her scattered wits, but the underlying tension riding the edge of his jaw excited her.
Colt had never been this dominating...except when they had sex. She'd loved it then. Her body seemed to crave it now. Heat bloomed again, winding around her core. A delicious little thrill accelerated her heartbeats.
Without a saying a word, she walked back to the bed and tossed down the clothing. Then keeping her gaze glued to his, she slowly untied the belt and let the robe fall open. With a sexy shrug, she let it slide off her shoulders and pool behind her on the floor.
Colt blinked first. His gaze trailed downward. His throat worked around a tense swallow, and Zuri couldn't help the smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth. He might think he was in charge, but she knew better. Colt liked what he saw.
His quickening breaths were the first clue. The curving of his fists the second. When he opened his stance, just a few inches, she nearly crowed.
Reaching for the cotton pants, she wished she had something sexier to slide inside, then wondered if she'd lost her good sense to think that way. She had enough problems on her plate. But how could she dress and prevent him seeing what this was doing to her? Bending and opening her legs to step into the sweatpants made her feel vulnerable, exposed in a way that just standing there naked hadn't. "I don't understand you, or why you're doin' this."
"You don't know me."
"I guess that's true. It's been a long time."
"You didn't know me then."
She pulled the pants upward, over the curve of her bottom, feeling a little less off-center now that her lower half was hidden from his view. The waist of the pants settled on her hips and she rolled the band to gather up the excess fabric. "Guess that'll have to do," she muttered.
As she dragged the T-shirt over her head, she reminded herself why she was here. Definitely not to play games with her ex-boyfriend. She needed a safe place to stay. And she needed to keep Colt clueless until she had a chance to find her car and get rid of the damning evidence before the police found it. Her story might sound a little more believable then.
When she'd pulled the fabric down, fully covering her body, only then did she raise her glance to Colt's again.
His brows pulled together. "Gonna tell me what's going on? Why you're here?"
"I'm a little hungry," she said, knowing her attempt to stall was completely transparent. "I don't suppose I could eat first?"
Colt dropped his fists and stepped closer, forcing her chin higher to hold his steady gaze. "If you're in trouble..."
What? He'd help? She didn't think so. Colt appeared to be the same inflexible cowboy. He'd always judged a person's actions as either black or white, right or wrong. No interesting muddying of the colors accepted. She'd forgotten that about him.
She pondered telling him part of the tale, but worried he'd use what he learned to play with her some more. He seemed to like that fact he held the reins.
Zuri licked her lips. "I need a place to stay. Just for a little while."
His gray eyes, once so warm and open, narrowed. A muscle flexed alongside his jaw.
She waited him out, knowing he wasn't satisfied with her response. The longer the moment stretched between them, the more uncomfortable she grew. Still holding his steady gaze, she shifted her bare feet, supremely conscious of the fact she wasn't wearing a stitch of underwear and that his clothing, while freshly laundered, still carried the hint of his unique scent. She was at his mercy. Completely.
Colt inhaled deeply, and then issued a soft, masculine grunt. He reached down and closed his hand around hers, then tugged her closer to the bed. He sat on the edge, staring at their hands before he looked up. "If you stay...you'll sleep here," he said, his voice tense and ragged.
Zuri wet her lips with her tongue because her mouth had suddenly gone dry. What he proposed sounded both so...wrong, yet incredibly tempting. She couldn't get words past her tightening throat. If she could have, she didn't know whether she would have told him to go to hell or given him a breathless yes. Instead, she squeezed his fingers.
So many thoughts swirled in her mind. Their past, her impossibly complicated present. It sounded so simple. She'd sleep beside him. Make love with him. Maybe she'd even find out that her memories of their being together were painted in rosy hues because she'd been younger, and he'd been her first.
Perhaps in exchange he'd give her clothes and money so that she could make a graceful exit.
Zuri crowded closer to his knees, tilting her chin.
Colt's lips curved slightly at the corners, and although his gaze remained narrow, he scooted back.
She climbed over his lap, facing him, her thighs sliding over the outside of his, not saying a word, following her instincts although they'd led her down treacherous paths before. She slipped her hand alongside his neck, felt the heavy thrum of his pulse and bent down, her mouth hovering above his. "Think you can keep this uncomplicated, cowboy?"
A deep, throaty groan seeped between his lips, and she leaned into him, settling over the ridge throbbing beneath the placket of his jeans. She could do this. She could take what she wanted from him without losing her heart again. It was just sex.