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Too Hot To Handle
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Too Hot To Handle
by Deanna Lynn

Chapter Twenty - One

Sheridan could see the fierce determination in Luis’ deep brown gaze and knew that he wasn’t going to let the matter drop. He wasn’t going to give up until he heard the whole story about why she was leaving, but that was a story she did not want to tell. If she did it would open up a can of worms she wasn’t particularly interested in seeing again. But she obviously had to tell him something. And she had no clue as to what that something was going to be.

She couldn’t tell him about what her father threatened to do because though she didn’t know Luis well, she knew him well enough to know he wouldn’t feel threatened by what her father said. In fact, he would tell her to let him do it. But she couldn’t do that. She knew her father wouldn’t hesitate to blackball Luis’ father’s construction company if his father didn’t’ fire him and there was no way she wanted that on her conscience. No, the best thing for her to do was to go back to New York. Now all she had to do was to convince Luis that was the best thing for her to do. But how was she going to convince him? She only knew one way and she wasn’t sure she could bring herself to do that.

She felt the tears start to sting her eyes again and she tried to turn away before they fell, but Luis caught her by the arms and refused to let her go. She struggled in his grip, but the more she struggled the tighter he held her. When she finally relaxed, he pulled her tight against his chest and rubbed his hands over her back. She let him hold her as the tears started to fall again and then when she was sure he had relaxed against her enough, she broke free of his arms and backed a safe distance away.

He started to walk toward her but she held out her hand and he stopped midstride. When she met his eyes again and saw the genuine concern that lit them, she made a decision. She now knew what she had to do. It would be the hardest thing she had ever done, but she had no choice. She had to do it. There was just no other alternative.


Luis knew the moment she made the decision. Her whole demeanor changed. It was as if a switch had been flipped and all the sadness left her body and was now replaced with some emotion he wasn’t quite sure he liked. In fact, he was almost sure he didn’t. The woman standing in front of him now was definitely not one he’d seen before. She wasn’t the woman he first met or the woman he’d taken to bed barely even a week ago. No, this woman was a stranger to him and he certainly didn’t like the feelings it caused within him. She was shutting him out and that bothered him. It bothered him a hell of a lot more than it should have.

What was it about Sheridan Crane that got to him? It wasn’t just her looks, because although she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, that was not what drew him to her. It went deeper than that. Much deeper. If he was entirely honest with himself he knew his feelings for her went way beyond what he had originally planned. He’d thought a few nights of hot sex would be enough to get her out of his system, but they’d only had one night and it had been hot enough for him to know that he would never tire of her being beside him. He could still see her lying in the bed beside him… fast asleep. He could see the way her blond hair looked as it rested against the white pillows. He couldn’t remember ever watching a woman sleep before but he had her. And he’d enjoyed it. He had enjoyed watching her take a breath and sigh at something in her dreams. He had enjoyed watching the smile that crept across her face as he’d brushed a lock of hair back away from her face. He’d never felt the emotions he felt in that moment before – not even with Beth.

He would never admit it to anyone, but Miguel had been right. She did scare him. She scared the hell out of him. It wasn’t so much her as it was the emotions he felt for her. They went so deep and they were so intense. Much more intense than his feelings for Beth had been. Maybe that had to do with the type of person Sheridan was. She was intensely passionate and that was the same way he felt about her. His feelings for Beth didn’t even come close to what he felt for Sheridan as he’d watched her sleep or tonight as he watched her leave the restaurant in tears. His heart had ached for her.

He had told himself she didn’t have a hold on him. That what he felt for her wasn’t love, but lust. And he knew, even as he said it that he was lying. He knew what lust felt like and what he felt for Sheridan went way beyond that. He had thought he knew what love felt like but he’d been wrong about that too. What he felt for Beth may have been love but it wasn’t the kind of love he felt for Sheridan. No, he had merely loved Beth, but he knew without a doubt in his mind that he was IN love with Sheridan. There was no denying that now.

As he looked into her blue eyes, all the love he felt for her came rushing forward and he knew there was no way he could handle her leaving. He considered himself to be a strong man, a man’s man, but there was no way his heart could bare the pain that saying goodbye to her would cause. No way at all.


Sheridan noticed the sudden change in Luis’ brown eyes and wondered what had caused it. He was looking at her as if he had never seen her before and it was making her slightly nervous. Then again just having him near made her nervous. Having him so close muddled her thinking. He was just entirely too hot to handle. He made her lose her focus and right now that wasn’t a good thing. She had to be strong right now, because if she lost it again she’d never get through what she was about to say. What she had to say.

"Luis," she said in a voice she scarcely recognized. "I have to –"

That was as far as she got before his lips covered hers in a passionate kiss. A kiss unlike any other she’d had before. This one caused her limbs to go limp, her body to ache, and her brain to short circuit. This one wasn’t just a kiss, there was emotions behind it – hers and his. But she couldn’t let her emotions get involved because that would only lead to more heartache than she was prepared to handle.

Showing more strength than she thought possible given the way his kisses made her feel, she shoved him away from her. His dark eyes opened and locked onto hers. They were filled with surprise - and desire. She bit the inside of her lip to keep from begging him to take her back in his arms and make her forget what she knew she had to do. She didn’t want to do it, but she had to. For his sake as well as her own, she had to say goodbye. It was the only way to stop the roller coaster that had suddenly become her life.

"Don’t do it." Luis whispered placing his right hand against her left cheek and caressing her cheekbone with his thumb. "Don’t say goodbye, Sheridan. I don’t want you to go."

Tears climbed down her cheeks and traveled toward where his palm rested against her cheek. He raised his other hand to cup her face, then swiped her tears away with his thumbs and locked his eyes onto hers. As she looked into his dark eyes and saw the deep-rooted emotion in them, she knew that walking away from him was going to be a lot harder than she first thought. But she still had to do it. She took a deep breath then stepped back away from him and closed her eyes to block out the hurt in his. When she opened them again, he was still looking at her, but his eyes no longer held the emotions they had a few minutes ago. Now they were closed off and she wasn’t prepared for the sudden sense of loss that sliced through her heart.

"I’m sorry." She whispered as she stared into his dark eyes. "I have to go. I don’t belong in Harmony. I never should have come here. It was a mistake to come here."

"A mistake?" He asked not bothering to hide the surprise and hurt he felt. "Do you mean what happened between us was a mistake? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?"

"No, I’m not saying what happened between us was a mistake. We both knew what we wanted before it happened. Since it was just sex and we both agreed that was what we wanted, it couldn’t have been a mistake. Right?"

"Just sex." He repeated shaking his head as if he didn’t quite believe what she said. Why? They had both agreed they weren’t looking for anything serious so why was he suddenly acting as if she’d just slapped him in the face. Didn’t he think it was just sex?

"Luis –"

"No." He said cutting her off. "You’re right. It couldn’t have been a mistake because sex was all we wanted and the sex was good so…" He stopped and shook his head then a split second later, he gave her a killer grin that didn’t quite reach his eyes. "The sex was better than good and I hope we can have a repeat performance before you leave on Sunday." He walked toward her and took her gently by the arms then placed a light kiss against her lips. "What do you say sweetheart? How ‘bout you come back to my apartment with me and we have a little fun before you leave?"

She sucked in a deep breath as one of his hands covered her breast then gently began to knead it into arousal. It didn’t take long. "Luis." She moaned as his other hand stole it’s way down her backside and pulled her closer so that she was smack up against the evidence of his desire. She knew he was doing this because he was angry with her, she could feel it in the way he was holding back. Oh, he wasn’t holding back his passion and desire for her. No, he was holding back his emotions from her. He was trying to tell her something, but her senses were on overload and she didn’t quite comprehend it.

Maybe he was right. Maybe they could have a repeat performance and then she could say goodbye. One more night of hot sex with Luis couldn’t hurt anything could it? They’d already done the deed once so one more night shouldn’t make much difference. Right? Right, she thought placing her hands on his broad shoulders then sliding them upward to run her hands through his thick black hair. One more night wouldn’t make a damned bit of difference in the long run so why should she deny herself and him one last night of passion? She shouldn’t and she wasn’t going to.

"Okay." She whispered against his cheek before taking his earlobe gently between her teeth. "One more night."

She felt Luis stiffen and wondered why. He’d just said he wanted one more night with her. Why did he act as if her agreement bothered him? She pulled back to look at him and when she saw the anger in his eyes she knew - he hadn’t been serious. She backed away out of his arms then wrapped her own around her midriff. Fighting back tears, she forced herself to look at him. He stood ramrod straight with his hands bunched into fists at his side. His jaw was clenched and his eyes blazed. What had she done to cause the anger she saw in him? All she had done was agree to his request. Why did that make him angry? Suddenly, her mind played an image of his face when he’d said her full name upon climaxing and she knew. It hadn’t been just sex to him. Other images flashed in her mind and one by one they all said the same thing, Luis had thought what happened between them was more than just sex, but how much more? And how could she find out without having to tell him how she felt about the night they shared?

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