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Michael woke to a glaring ray of sunlight. He squinted, moving his head away from the window, and realized that all that had happened in the dark hours of the morning hadn’t been a dream. It was very real, and the fact that Anna still slept in his arms confirmed that. He still had his arms around her, but now her arms were wrapped snuggly around him as well, instead of at his chest, gripping his shirt.
The sensation caught his heart ablaze, hotter than it’d ever been, and he instinctively constricted his arms around her. He could tell by her steady, slow breathing that she was still sleeping, and deeply. He didn’t know what time it was, but didn’t care. Hell, he’d stay this way forever if he could.
Yes, he felt guilty. Perhaps more shameful than he’d ever felt in his entire life.
Yet here he was, on cloud nine with his brother’s fiancé in his arms. And the worst thing about it was that the guilt only seemed to add meaning to this new life of his. He’d never felt so alive, and though the shame was disheartening, it woke a part of him he didn’t know existed. A part he thought was dead. His emotions were raw, stripped, and he felt more vulnerable than ever before. And the negative emotions seemed to infuse him as strongly as the positive.
But there was nothing he could do, nothing he would do. If ever there was a time to make a play for his brother’s future wife, now would be the time. But everything inside him, all that made up who he was, would never allow it. So, instead, he soaked this moment in, along with the guilt at wondering how Mitch would feel if he knew what Michael was doing at this very moment…what he was thinking.
Placing his lips delicately against her hair, he inhaled, becoming swallowed in her intoxicating scent. He closed his eyes as he was thrown deeper down the spiral that had the potential of destroying his brother’s life, and his own.
But since the concept of releasing her was impossible, he continued to breathe her in, a tinge of lilac and citrus, and as the deepest pit in his stomach quivered and his chest caught fire, he again tightened his arms around her. And at the same time that he was grateful for the clothing between them, he cursed it.
She stirred, murmuring in satisfaction, and moved her mouth to his neck, where his eyes closed in torment. She lightly stretched against him, arching her back and constricting her arms around his torso as she breathed into his neck, and he realized if he didn’t pull himself away soon, he might do something he would always regret.
And as though his heart wasn’t speeding fast enough, she sighed his name, in a way that told him she wasn’t quite awake. It was the best sound he’d ever heard. Damn his brother and their situation. Damn the fact that he couldn’t throw everything away and lose himself in that moment like he knew he could.
He used all his focus to control himself.
Then she murmured his name again, louder, and he swore under his breath. “Anna…”
“Michael?” she replied, and he knew she was coming to.
Then she stiffened and he was sure she’d just realized the predicament they were in. She pulled her face away from the crook of his neck, where they met each other’s eyes, and hers were wide. His lips were close to hers now, and with the heat of their bodies together, tangled beneath the warm blankets, he knew if he was any weaker a man, his open mouth would have found hers.
Actual post here.