Rhythm Of The Night
by Katrina McDonnell

CJ inspected the rich red corseted gown. While it looked fabulous, comfort and practicality could not be used to describe it.

"Carol," she called. "I hope you're coming home with me tonight. I'm going to need someone to untie me."

"I'd be happy to help."

CJ swung around to find Danny lounging in her office doorway. His gaze swept appreciatively up and down her body.

"And just exactly what is going on between you and Carol?" A playful leer and raised eyebrow accompanied the query.

She fixed him with a glare, but he just grinned. "What do you want?"

"Heard there was a fancy dress party. Wanted a look."

CJ wandered back to her desk and put on her earrings. "You've seen. You can go now."

"Nah. I want to look at Satine some more." He twirled his finger.

After rolling her eyes, CJ pirouetted on the spot. "Happy?"

"Delirious. Actually a fever could explain the sight of Larry and Ed in tuxedo jackets and tutus."

"That was quite real." She searched the desk for the box containing her necklace.

"So this is a fantasy come true."

CJ paused as she located the box. With a teasing smile and lilting tone, she asked, "You have fantasies about Larry and Ed wearing tutus?"

Danny continued the game. "Their legs aren't as good as yours."

"Good to hear." She struggled with the necklace, the gown making it difficult to raise her arms into the required position.

He moved behind her, taking hold of the chain. "Let me."

The brush of his hands and the warmth of his breath on the back of her neck caused her body to lean back into his. She told herself it was an involuntary muscle reflex.

"Toulouse-Lautrec looked grumpier than normal."

CJ laughed. "Toby threatened anyone who tried to make him walk on his knees."

Danny's hands left her neck and he tapped her on the shoulder. "Turn around, please." He adjusted the intricate design resting on her chest. "So, who's the young, handsome and talented writer?"


"Oh." His hands moved to cover his heart as he sighed dramatically. "I'm honoured and flattered, though I think my party invitation got lost in the mail."

"Danny, you only just fulfil one of those criteria."

Danny tilted his head, smiled and grabbed one of her hands. "CJ thinks I'm handsome."

"CJ thinks you're a crazy man." She retrieved her hand and sat down to pull on her heels.

"CJ's noticed I'm a man."

"I possess acute observational powers."

"And many other cute things."

Standing back up, CJ asked resignedly, "Don't you have somewhere else to be?"


She frowned as she shifted the bodice. "I'm going to kill whoever let the President watch 'Moulin Rouge' eleven times in a month." The only way she was going to achieve comfort was to take the dress off.

"You can always cough on them," Danny supplied helpfully.

CJ pointed her finger at him. "Now that's a great idea. Can I start with you?"

"I can think of much more interesting ways to share germs," Danny drawled, as he closed the distance between them.

"Really?" That had come out breathier than she'd intended.


Danny stopped directly in front of her, as close as he could be without actually touching her. His eyes challenged her to make the next move, before shifting their focus to her mouth.

She bit the inside of her lip to prevent herself from licking them. All she needed to do was lean slightly forward and her skin would brush against his. She began to sway, but her brain countered, forcing her to step back.

A self-satisfied grin appeared on his lips in response.

"Shut up!"

"What?" He shrugged his shoulders and held up his hands in an innocence appeal. "I didn't say a thing."

CJ increased the distance between them. "Yeah, but you were thinking it."

"You a mind reader now?"

"Go away, Danny."


CJ turned her attention to her desk, shifting several stacks of briefing papers.

"Which movie would you prefer?"

She looked back towards the door and replied in a worn voice, "I thought you'd got the hint." Sparring with Danny, while fun, was also draining.

"I'm a little slow sometimes." He grinned.

She couldn't help but smile back. "I've noticed that. What was the question?"

"Which movie would you prefer to be the theme of the fancy dress party?"

"Anything with more comfortable clothing." She continued with the desk reorganisation while she thought. "'Grease'." As soon as the title left her mouth she knew it had been a mistake.

Sure enough, Danny was inspecting the lower half of her body when she turned around. "I can definitely see you in those tight black leather pants."

"Danny," she warned.

"I've even got the right name."

CJ grinned. "You are not John Travolta."

"I'm cuter." He was pointing and backing towards the door. "I'm also going."


"But I'd be happy to give you some summer lovin', come what may. Well actually more like June and July." He ducked out the door as she laughed, before popping his head back in. "Just three more words, I promise. You look beautiful."

Danny disappeared before she could reply, but she was certain he'd caught the start of the blush and the lowering of her head in self-consciousness. She'd thank him later; that compliment would help fortify her for the evening ahead.

"You ready?" a voice inquired from the doorway.

"Hey, Narcolepsy Boy!"

"Why couldn't I be Christian?" Josh whined.

CJ shook her head and stifled a laugh. "You don't fit the casting requirements."

Puffing out his chest, Josh stated, "My mother told me I'm handsome."

"But are you a writer?" CJ pushed him out of her office and in the direction of the party.

"Sam looks more South American than I do."

Reining in a sudden desire to strangle him, CJ countered. "You can complain when, and only when, your costume cuts off circulation to half your body and barely allows you to breathe. I have no idea how I'm supposed to eat. I'd be more than happy to swap characters with you."

Josh grabbed her hand, pulling her to a stop. "You look really great, CJ. Save me a dance."

He flashed her that little boy grin and offered her his arm. She rolled her eyes before accepting it.

"As long as you don't fall asleep on me."


CJ watched Sam dancing with the Green Fairy.

"Christian bailed on you?"

"I think he drank too much of the Absinthe." She turned to smile at the First Lady.

"Haven't we all?" Abbey's cheeky demeanour was slightly at odds with the austere character of Marie.

CJ sighed and drummed her fingers on the table. "Not me. I didn't want to contemplate bathroom logistics. Could you please regulate your husband's viewing habits?"

"Any requests?"

"As long as I don't have to wear a corset, I'm good."

"How about 'Rocky Horror'?" Abbey grinned and winked. "You can have one of them wear the corset."

"Toby," CJ answered immediately, before noticing Abbey's questioning look. "You'll need to get me very drunk to pry that story out of me."

Abbey glanced to where Toby was propping up the bar. "I'll remember that. 'Grease'?"

CJ muffled a snort. "You're definitely Rizzo, but I'm having a little trouble picturing the President as Kenickie."

"And just who are you?"

"Principal McGee."

"Really?" Abbey's eyes widened in surprise. "I thought you'd be wearing the leather pants. There's even a certain someone with the right name." She raised her eyebrows and grinned knowingly.

Wanting to avoid the topic, CJ surveyed the room. "I think the Duke is planning to assassinate Zidler."

Abbey looked in the same direction and sighed. "Okay." She stood and bent over to whisper in CJ's ear. "But you're going to need someone to untie that dress."

CJ felt the uninvited heat spread across her face.

"Is that a blush?"

"No, just the pressure of the dress," CJ hissed.

Abbey smiled serenely. "I believe you."

CJ watched her walk away, before turning her attention to the search for a drink. She spied a half-empty carafe of wine on the next table and moved to claim it. Maybe a couple of drinks would help lessen her discomfit.

Sam's abandoned hat caught her eye. Pursing her lips, she contemplated an alternative to alcohol. Would definitely be more fun.

She exchanged the bottle for the hat and headed to the door.


A slightly bewildered figure in sweatshirt and boxers opened the door. He glanced up and down the hallway before his gaze returned to her.


She fingered the brim of the hat she held behind her back. "Does your offer still stand?"

His forehead wrinkled in consternation. "What offer?"

"To untie me."

Surprise, hope and abject confusion battled for control of his face. She forced back a smile. It was a pleasant experience not to be the one on the back foot for a change.

In a sudden attack of modesty, Danny tried to pull the hem of his Notre Dame sweatshirt down over his boxers. He only succeeded in drawing CJ's attention to them. The material was decorated with small pictures of...

A giggle escaped. "Nice outfit. But do you bounce like Tigger?"

He perfected his tomato impersonation. "I wasn't expecting company. Did you come here to criticise my fashion sense?"

"It's a little difficult to criticise something you don't have." CJ moved as close as possible without actually touching. In a low, seductive voice, she purred in his ear, "I've already told you why I'm here. Now, are you going to invite me in?"

Completely flustered, he stepped back to allow her to pass into the living room. She dropped her handbag on the couch, before turning around and seeing Danny backed up against the now closed door. With slow deliberation she stalked towards him, each step reinforcing his startled rabbit expression.

She once again stopped before her body came into contact with his, her hands still clasped behind her back. His breathing was shallow as she leaned forward and brushed her lips across his. She teased his mouth open and deepened the kiss, pulling away as soon as he started to respond passionately.

Smiling at his pout, she brought the hat around from behind her back and placed it on his head.

He glanced up at it and then back at her. "How much have you had to drink, CJ?"

"One glass of wine," she glanced at her watch, "two hours ago. I'm quite sober, Danny. How about a tour?" She was thoroughly enjoying being in control and keeping him off-balance.

Danny led her through the apartment, staying a few steps ahead much to her amusement. The tour finished outside his bedroom.

"This is not what I expected," CJ stated, as she entered the room.

Danny remained in the doorway. "What isn't?"

"Your place." CJ spread her arms. The apartment was decorated in cream, brown and grey-green tones, with a mixture of oak and leather furniture. Attractive and inviting, yet practical.

"What did you expect?" A little smirk played on his lips, as he leaned against the door frame.

"Something more basic. A place to crash, not to live." She walked back to him. "Tousled and mismatched like you." Her hand trailed down his chest. "Imagine my surprise when I find a home."

Danny captured her hand and held it tight against him. "I lived basic for the first few years, but then I realised I'd probably be here permanently and I found this place. Been here nearly seven years." His gaze travelled around the room before returning to her. "You really like it?"

"Yeah, I do." She smiled. "If you ever want to shut Toby up, tell him about your baseball memorabilia collection."

"And if I want to shut you up?"

CJ brushed her other hand over his lower abdomen, causing him to jerk back. "I'm sure you'll think of something."

He firmly moved both her hands away from his body and held them as he pushed her towards the end of the bed. "Would you like to be untied now, Madam?"

"Yes, please." CJ grinned salaciously.

His finger traced a circle in the air. "Turn around."

It felt good to have him standing so close, to feel his breath on the back of her neck.

"So, you escaped the clutches of the evil Duke?"

She laughed. "Bruno was too busy complaining about type-casting to notice little old me. Then Zidler bailed him up."

Danny's hands stopped moving on her back. "I just had a sudden vision of Bruno and the President performing 'Like a Virgin'. That is a little disturbing."

CJ could picture his facial expression from the tone of his voice. "I've been trying to ignore the obvious parallels which make the President my pimp." She shuddered slightly.

He shifted his hands down to her hips and drew her back to rest against him. "Ignore it," he whispered in her ear. "Why did you come here?"

"It was you or half a bottle of wine," CJ replied flippantly. "And the wine couldn't work out how to untie me."

"Nice to know I have one advantage over alcohol." He pulled away from her and resumed the untying, lapsing into a strained silence.

She knew he'd wanted her to say something else, but that wasn't possible. False hope wouldn't do either of them any good; she couldn't hurt him that way. Yet hurting each other was what they did best.

"There." He loosened the bunched material. "Done."

"Thank..." She turned, intending to wrap herself around his body. Instead, she found him retreating to the bed. "...you." Puzzled, she watched him settle back against the headboard and pull a paperback off the bedside table. "Danny?"

"Yes?" He glanced up at her from under the brim of the hat.

She held her hand out towards him. "What are you doing?"

"The offer was to untie you. You're untied." He cocked his head to the side and his eyes widened. "Was there something else you wanted?"

Pursing her mouth, her hands moved to rest on her hips. She spied a shirt on the end of the bed. Rolled up, it made a good projectile to aim at his lap.

"Hey," Danny gasped, as she found her target. "Careful."

"Why? You plan on using it?"

"You hurt his feelings," he pouted. "My eight year old niece chose the boxers for me. I've also got matching socks. She thinks we have similar colouring."

CJ sighed. "So, I've offended the honour of the Concannon clan."


"Does Tigger want to be petted better?" she purred in a low enticing tone, as she bent over, resting her palms on the end of the bed.

A small smirk appeared on Danny's lips. "He might be up for it later."

"How much later?" She could feel his eyes burning across her exposed cleavage.

"He'll hoist the flag when he bounces back."

Slowly straightening up, she asked, "And what do I do in the meantime?"

"Whatever you want. Poetry reading perhaps?" He held his hands up in defence at her withering glare. "No more throwing things."

"Fine. Go back to your book. I'll amuse myself," she replied dismissively.

Turning her back to him, she grinned. He'd be up for it sooner rather than later. She positioned herself so she could watch him in the dresser mirror and began by easing the straps of the dress off her shoulders, leaving them bare. His head was bowed over the book, the hat partially obscuring his face, but there was a flicker of his eyelids towards her.

The bodice began to inch down her torso, slowly revealing a black strapless Jacquard tapestry corset. Danny's interest was piqued, his head rising as the dress lowered. Tigger was stirring.

Effecting a nonchalant expression, she lowered the dress further to rest on her hips, before guiding it over them and letting it fall to the floor. She watched his gaze travel down the lace-up back of the corset, the stretch lace garter belt, over the curve of her backside encased in black silk, and along the black lace-top stockings.

She bent over, unable to prevent a shimmy of her hips for his benefit, and stepped out of the dress, draping it over a chair next to the dresser. His eyes were fixed on her, book abandoned, as she altered her angle so each could watch the full reflection of the other.

Running her tongue along her parted lips, she placed her hands on the exposed swell of her breasts, before slowly stroking down the corset. She smiled as his gaze followed the path to the garter belt, over her abdomen and down the front of her thighs. At the furthest point she could reach without bending, she stopped and parted her legs slightly. Her hands began their return journey up the inside of her thighs, the skin exquisitely sensitive. She gave in to the sensation as her fingers brushed between her legs. Closing her eyes, she circled the area, feeling the warmth and want, tracing the terrain. Her breathing grew rapid, increasing the friction between her nipples and the corset.

"Let me," he whispered against her neck, his hands capturing hers and pulling them away.

Her eyes snapped open and met his in the mirror. She decided to help him out by kicking off her heels. Didn't want him to get a crick in his neck.

Smiling in thanks, he rested his chin on her shoulder. His hands moved to the top of her chest and followed an identical trail down her body. Their gazes flitted between the reflections of his hands and each other's eyes.

She shuddered as his hands ran between her legs, growling when the pressure lasted only a heartbeat. In retaliation she ground her backside into him, feeling the definite bounce against her thigh.

"Hey." Danny grabbed her hips to still her. "Patience. There's still some untying to complete." He kissed her on the shoulder, before turning his attention to the back of the corset.

Aroused and being kept on hold, CJ found it difficult to keep still. Her hands ran up and down her hips, over her stomach, nearing their goal, only to retreat when Danny glared.

"If you'd stop wiggling around, I could do this a lot faster," he warned. "Is Carol into bondage?"

CJ laughed. "I dare you to ask her that. She's helping teach her four-year-old nephew to tie his shoelaces."

"Well, that explains the double bows. These outfits are not conducive to a quickie."

"You know, Danny, the bottom half comes off really easily. In fact, I can be out of them in the next few seconds."

"Move those hands back where they belong and stand still. This is going to be a slowie." He yelped and grabbed her hand which was squeezing the front of his boxers. "I didn't mean back here."

"You're no fun," she pouted.

Wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her back against him, he captured her gaze in the mirror. "Give me a couple of minutes and I'll be lots of fun." One hand slid down and pressed between her legs. "Satisfaction guaranteed."

She released a sharp breath and challenged, "You'd better deliver."

Sticking to the timetable, Danny drew the corset away from her body and dropped it to the side. A combination of cool air and his caressing inspection further tightened her already peaked nipples. He looked up to her face, seeking permission.

"You want a written invitation?" she answered.

She tried to hide a smile as his face lit up with a mixture of desire, arousal, and just the hint of a little boy discovering an ant hill. His touch was anything but innocent.

Leaning back against him, she watched his hands explore, tracing ever smaller circles on her breasts. He started nibbling on her earlobe and she tilted her head to allow him better access. Her right hand clasped the back of his neck, knocking off his hat in the process.

The flush across the top of her chest was visible in the mirror, as he rolled her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers. A torrent of heat and need rushed south, her thighs tightening in an effort to delay and enhance the promised explosion.


"What?" his lips vibrated against her throat.

"I need --" She groaned as his hands stroked down her breasts and across her abdomen, stopping just above the garter belt. Her eyes drifted closed.

"What do you need?"


"Okay." He kissed her neck, before trailing his hands back up and flicking her nipples.

"Bastard," she moaned through clenched teeth.

"Such a sweet talker."

Keeping her eyes closed, she felt his hands begin to roam again. He covered every square inch of her torso, the inside of her thighs, everywhere but the place she wanted him most. Her arousal was rapidly approaching painful, frustration at his teasing threatening to erupt.

It was time to take care of herself. She managed to get her hand to the target area before he could react. The silk was soaked through and the first stroke sparked a shudder. Her second touch was rudely interrupted.

She opened her eyes to glare at him in the mirror. "I'm going to hurt you."

"Just wait a little longer," he replied with an infuriating smirk. Gripping the back of her hands, he brushed the palms across her nipples.

She whimpered as the tension continued to pool in her groin. A change of tact was required. An image of his study fought its way to the front of her mind.



"What's with the Beatrix Potter collection?"

His hands stalled, still holding hers. She waited in anticipation.

"The books are actually first editions, Peter Rabbit is even signed --"

A low growl erupted from her throat and he grinned, ridiculously proud that he'd thwarted her plan. She turned her head away from the mirror, refusing to look at him, her body stiffening.

He stroked her left hand across her breasts again; she clenched her teeth. In one swift downward movement, he pressed her right hand between her legs. She determined not to visibly react, requiring all her strength as he moved her hand in a circular motion, liquefying her internal organs.

She thought her decision was validated when he drew her hand away, but he surprised her by giving in to her demands. His palm pushed hard into her, drawing a gasp from her lips, before he lightened his touch, dancing his fingertips across the wet silk.

"I'm staying," he whispered in her ear.

In response, she lolled her head back to rest against his, her eyes closing. The tempo continually changed, from a waltz to a tango, the jitterbug to a line dance. His touch finally settled into a steady rhythm over her most sensitive nerve endings. Her back arched, she pushed herself against his fingers, her breaths increasingly ragged. She'd been near boiling point for so long, she didn't require much more to make her whistle.

"Open your eyes, CJ."

Her brain screamed, 'I can't,' but her vocal cords could only emit a groan.

He insisted, "I want to see you. Open your eyes."

With effort she forced the lids up, focusing on his face.

"Look at yourself."

Her chest and neck were covered in a red mottling, overlaid by a sheen of sweat. Their faces were side by side.

"Now," he whispered in a tone that made her toes curl. "Just watch."

His other arm dropped to clamp around her waist, holding her tight against him so she didn't fall. Their eyes locked together in the mirror. She ground against his hand, the silk separating their skin sticking to her. Random thoughts tumbled through her brain, what the hell was she doing here; how much better this would be without her panties in the way, his fingers on and in her; did she feed Gail -- all rational brain function paused and only one word and a mirror existed.

Her body lost all muscle function as her head slumped against his. The mirror reflected his self-satisfied grin, but she couldn't fault him for it. His right arm joined his left around her waist, preventing her from trickling into a pool of contented hormones at his feet.

She watched as his ego morphed into something else. "What?" she whispered.

His face and voice imparted a sense of reverence more suited to a place of worship than a bedroom. "Back in your office, when I said you were beautiful? I was wrong. They haven't invented a word to describe you."

CJ was caught between embarrassment, joy and a compulsion to flee. This wasn't allowed to be anything more than sex. Emotions were off limits. This was a mistake, she should have stuck with the wine.

"CJ." Danny had moved in front of her, his hands on either side of her face. "Do you want to leave?"

His understanding of her should have been enough to send her running to the door.

"No." She leant in and kissed him tentatively.

Her arms slid around his waist, pulling their bodies together. The kiss developed slowly in confidence and intensity. She was doing this for herself, consequences could wait until tomorrow.

Breaking the kiss, he asked, "Come and lie down?"

"I've already done the first part."

"Wanna do it again?"

She slid her hand down between their bodies. "Is Tigger ready to hoist the flag?"

With a shudder and a corresponding hardening, he gasped, "He's getting there."

CJ grinned and took a few steps away from him to sit on the end of the bed. He followed, placed one knee on the bed and leant down to kiss her. She was slowly guided back till she was flat against the sheets, his forearms resting either side of her head. Their lips didn't lose contact as he moved to straddle her.

Raising her arms, she trailed her hands down his spine. She slipped under the boxer elastic and kneaded his backside, before reversing her direction and trying to remove his top. He gave in to her insistence, straightening up so his pelvis rested against hers. The sweatshirt surrounded his head, giving her the perfect opportunity to catch him off guard. She pushed her hips up to rub against him and pinched his nipples, a muffled groan encouraging her to continue. Danny pulled the shirt off quickly and threw it to the side, grabbing her wrists and holding them down against the mattress. He returned his hips to their former position far above hers, earning a pout which he promptly kissed.

His lips began a slow descent down her body, paying particular attention to her breasts which set her writhing. Danny shifted as he reached the garter belt, unclipping the garters and urging her to raise her hips so he could pull it off. Turning his attention to her navel, his hands caressed her silk panties before lifting her backside to slip them down. He moved off the bed to kneel on the floor at the end. The panties were eased down her long legs, his tongue savouring the bare skin at the top of her thighs. Tension built within her and once more he avoided touching where she wanted him most.

"Are you trying to kill me?" she moaned.

He answered by rolling down the stocking on her left leg, his mouth treating the newly exposed skin. CJ fisted the sheets as the actions were repeated on her right leg, her eyes closing. When her legs were bare, he ran his hands down the inside of each.

She waited for his next move, his next touch...impatience forced her eyes open. Danny stood at the end of the bed, just looking at her. She felt every inch of her skin being catalogued, every curve committed to his memory. The flight urge bubbled within her again. She needed him to stop looking at her like that. She needed this to be about lust and nothing more.

"So, you just going to stand there?" She sat up and ran her nails across the front of his boxers. "Or are you going to let Tigger out to play?" She glanced up at him from under her eyelashes, as she hooked her ankles around the back of his legs.

"You're going to have to let me go and get something before he's released." He tried to step back but overbalanced, grabbing hold of her shoulders to steady himself. "CJ."

She placed a kiss on his stomach before unhooking her feet. Danny backed away quickly, making her smile.

"I'll just be a minute." He gestured towards her with his hands. "How about you scoot up the bed."

"Scoot?" she teased, with exaggerated pronunciation.


After watching Danny walk out of the room, she scooted. Rearranging the pillows against the headboard, she settled into them and picked up Danny's abandoned book. The title prompted a giggle, definitely some extra blackmail material. She placed it back on the bedside table and let her gaze roam the room.

The mirror drew her attention; flushed skin, aroused nipples and uncertain eyes. Opposing factions of her brain tried to shout over the top of each other, fighting to convince her. She pulled the sheet over her bare body and jammed her eyes shut, attempting to slow her breathing.

"They're even in dat--"

She bit her bottom lip as she opened her eyes to find him frozen a few steps from the bed. A box of condoms, still in its plastic wrapper, was held out as a trophy. Confusion marred his face, followed by resignation as his arm dropped to his side.

In a quiet voice, he offered an escape. "I'll go out to the living room so you can get dressed. Let me know if you need help tying up the dress."

He walked to the end of the bed, stooped to pick up his sweatshirt, and placed the box on the dresser as he turned towards the door. CJ caught sight of her 'I'm about to bolt' expression in the mirror.

Indecision was abandoned as she jumped up. Grabbing him near the door, she pinned him up against the wall and pressed her naked body into his. He tried to speak, but her tongue seized the opportunity. Her hand forced its way down between them and into his shorts.

He cried her name in a strangled moan. Her grip tightened as she pushed him towards the bed, indicating for him to grab the box as they passed the dresser. Releasing his mouth, she pulled his boxer shorts down and off.

"CJ, I don't want you to regret--"

Being six-foot and having two brothers who liked to roughhouse really came in handy sometimes. Danny was flat on his back on the bed within seconds, more than a little stunned. She took advantage of his silence, climbing on top of him and kissing down his chest, her hand back working his erection.


She moved back up till their faces were level, leaning down to brush her mouth against his. As he tried to speak again she pulled back and placed a fingertip on his lips.

"Don't talk, don't stop," she pleaded with her voice and eyes.

Concern, worry and uncertainty stared back at her, but he responded with hands and mouth. Too gentle for her liking, CJ took control; deepening the kiss before moving down his body, touching and tasting with an edge of desperation.

As she concentrated on his groin area, she felt his hand on her hair.


She looked up at him with a glare.

His eyes were apologetic and begging for understanding, as he stated, "It's been a while."

Comprehension took more than a few seconds to arrive. She nodded and continued her path down his body. Her own screamed its demands, the heat between her legs growing unbearable.

There'd been more than enough foreplay, the state of his erection proved that. And right this moment all she could think about was having it inside her.

CJ moved swiftly to straddle his hips, positioning herself over him. She was startled by his hand grabbing her wrist.


Her eyes were forced to meet his. He held up the condom pack, ripping off the plastic and pulling one out.

She shook her head as he offered it to her. That was a line into intimacy she wasn't going to cross. She shuffled back down his legs, staring at the wall above his bed.

His legs shifted under her, indicating his readiness. Ignoring his outstretched hands, she braced herself against his shoulders and lowered her backside. The pain and stretching reminded her how long a while it had been.

Concern wrinkled Danny's brow, she smiled to ease it. Slowing the descent relieved most of the discomfort and increased her arousal. From the groans issuing from Danny's mouth, he wasn't complaining.

Up and down. Each downward stroke taking him further into her body, fitting herself around him. The story of her life.

She jammed her eyes shut, forcing her concentration onto the tactile. Feeling every inch of friction, the spiralling need in her abdomen, his thumbs brushing over her nipples. She leant forward slightly to allow him better access, in the process altering his angle inside her. A moan broke from her lips.

"You okay?" A worried whisper.

She nodded, not trusting her voice to work or to stick to the script. The final push and he was fully submerged within her. She paused, committing the one-time-only sensation to memory.

His hands clasped her hips as she began to rock and swivel. She took note of the movements that made him moan, smiling as she ground against him to increase her own pleasure.


She opened her eyes, her smile fading. That look again. She needed to stop it.

Bending, she pressed her torso and lips against his, the kiss deepening quickly. Much better. No calling her name. No looking at her.

A small part of her brain issued warnings about the skin contact, her breasts stroking against his chest, the friction between her clitoris and his pelvis, the kiss.

The rest of her brain stated that as long as he wasn't looking at her, she was safe.


As close to the edge of the bed as she could get without toppling off. No touching after, she didn't want him to get the wrong idea, to think this was more than just sex. He hadn't moved in five minutes, probably the post-coital snooze.

CJ turned her head towards the window, noticing the telltale flashes of an approaching storm through the curtains.

"You won't get home before it hits, so you might as well stay." His tone was nonchalant, undemanding.

Her body tensed in response to his mind reading.

The mattress shifted as he moved. "And after Tigger's had a cat nap, we can bounce again." His hand ran over her breast, across her abdomen and between her legs.

Tightening her thighs around his hand, she considered her options. He was offering her more sex, how could she turn that down? She might even be able to stock up enough to cover the next few years of inevitable celibacy. They'd already done it once, no harm in doing it again. It was still one-time-only.

A rumble of thunder vibrated through her chest, as the first large drops announced their arrival on the roof. Definitely too late to leave.

She reached down to cover his hand, before pulling it up to rest on her hip.

"Wake me when the flag's hoisted again."

She turned onto her side away from him. She was safe as long as he wasn't looking at her. And as long as he didn't see the rivulets running down the window reflected on her cheeks.


She stretched and winced. The gym was definitely off limits for the next few days. Walking might also present a problem. Though today was her day off, so maybe some bed rest--no don't go there.

After such little sleep, and what there was of it interrupted, she was surprisingly alert. She bit her lip and grinned as she recalled the cause. Exploring hands and mouths, sometimes enough within themselves, other times a first step. The bouts of love mak--sex had ranged from primal urgency to an almost unbearably slow and painful intimacy.

Their last encounter around dawn had been the most disturbing as well as the most satisfying. She'd awoken to find him pressed against her back; one arm under her with the hand stroking her breast, the thumb of his other hand circling her clitoris. His lips and beard were tickling her neck, his arousal prominent against the back of her thigh.

She'd given over total control, allowing him to guide her. After initial fumbling and tangled limbs while trying to position their bodies, he'd entered her. Spooned together, he set a sedate pace, building her slowly. His heart beat against her back, just behind hers. She'd tried to hurry him by pushing her bottom back into his groin, but he'd slowed the movements even more.

"Relax," he'd whispered. "Let me do this for you. Let go."

His long, slow strokes within her, combined with his hand motions over her had brought her to the most deliciously intense climax. Just the memory was arousing her again.

She should have left after the mirror, when he'd offered her the escape route. Her libido should be sated by now, her aching muscles should be crying out to be left in peace. But the more he touched her, the more she wanted. CJ groaned inwardly.

Shifting to face his side of the bed, she glanced at the clock. Nearly eight. Her gaze dropped to where he lay on his stomach, the red curls at the nape of his neck calling out to her fingers.

One more time. Tigger had probably retreated into permanent hibernation, but his hands and mouth would do. If she left now she'd just be incredibly frustrated. Once more in their one-time-only.

CJ propped herself up on her elbow and stroked her fingertips over his curls. He stirred slightly. She increased the pressure, trailing her fingers down his neck. Danny attempted to swat her hand away and mumbled into the pillow.

Leaning over, she kissed the same path and pulled the sheet down. He mumbled again as he tried to hitch the sheet back up his body. CJ stifled a laugh and replaced the sheet with herself. As she rubbed her breasts against his back, his mumbles turned into moans.

"I hope that's CJ."

Her lips paused in their inspection of his neck. "You were expecting the Duke?"

"I have a secret crush on Bruno. Actually I was just dreaming about him wearing the tuxedo jacket and tutu, and his legs are better than yours."

She tugged the curls.


"Be happy I didn't thump you in the head."

He changed the subject. "As much as I like this position, unless there was something revolutionary in that sex education report, we can't do much."

"And what makes you think I want to do anything?" She nipped his earlobe and shifted one leg over to lie between his.

"I have no idea--" He turned his head trying to locate a muted ringing. "Did you leave your cell out in the living room?"

CJ swore and clambered off him, stomping out of the bedroom. After noting the number, she answered with an annoyed, "What do you want, Joshua?"

Her body tensed as she listened to his exaggerated good morning speech. He was trying to butter her up.

"Unless you want that narcolepsy to be permanent--" She listened as he explained. "Josh, this is my day off."

Further explanations followed as her hand moved to massage the stiffness settling into her neck. Closing her eyes, she sighed. "Okay, I'll be in by nine." She continued as he complained. "Do I have to give a briefing in the next thirty minutes? Is the world about to end? No, I didn't think so. I'm not coming in now to keep you company. See you at nine."

She threw the phone into her bag, before leaning the palms of her hands on the back of the couch and breathing deeply in an attempt to relax. No, thumping and kicking the couch was much more therapeutic.

"Hey! My couch didn't do anything."

CJ turned to see Danny lounging against the doorway, Tigger alive and definitely bouncing. Her skin tingled as his gaze swept over her bare body, the heat and dampness of her arousal returning with a vengeance.

"You know." She walked towards him with a wicked grin, pointing at his obvious attraction to her. "I didn't think that was medically possible for a man of your vintage."

"Well." He slid his hand between her legs as she reached him. "You know what they say about a good red."

"Gives you a headache?"

As well as lowering inhibitions and destroying common sense. But feels damn good inside. Just once more.

Lips joined as hands worked quickly. CJ pulled him into the living room and backed up until she felt the wall against her back. Bracing herself between the inanimate and Danny, she raised one leg, trailing her foot up the back of his calf. One definite advantage of being taller than her partner was the greater ease of the position.

"CJ." He broke their lips apart and stilled his hands. "We have to stop--"

The talking stopped as she ran a nail along the underside of his erection and reclaimed his mouth. She shifted to position their bodies and groaned as the head of his penis hit her clitoris.

But it only served to knock some sense into him and he once again tried to speak. "I have to get a condom from the--"

Rising on her toes, CJ held his penis in place before lowering herself onto it. A few more pushes, a leg wrapped around his hips, and he was deep within her.

"It's okay," she whispered, before kissing him and starting to rock her hips.

It took a minute or two for his confusion to dissipate and his hormones to take control. CJ rested her head on the wall, pulling him even closer with her leg. Her back scraped across the paintwork as he moaned against her throat.

Danny didn't last long with the rigours of the night taking their toll. He stilled and exploded inside her, his weight collapsing against her chest. CJ attempted to push him off her, while trying to ignore her aching arousal that had only increased in magnitude.

"Don't. We're not finished."

CJ gasped as Danny pressed her bottom hard into the wall, grinding his pelvis against her clitoris. She leant forward, winding her arms around his neck and rubbing her nipples across his chest. He had softened inside her, but was still enough to encourage the contraction of her muscles.

She groaned his name as her climax shuddered through her body. Her head dropped to rest on his shoulder, exhaustion settling over them. Danny's knees buckled and they slid down the wall. Wrapped around and within each other, CJ closed her eyes as Danny gently rocked them. His breath was warm on her neck, his hands drawing circles on her back.

"Claudia Jean."


He nuzzled her neck. "The two words that describe you."

A flash of mirror, stiffened spine and held breath. She needed to leave, but didn't want to hurt him any more than necessary.

She had the perfect excuse.

Kissing his shoulder, she inquired in a level voice, "Can I borrow your shower?"

"Only if you bring it back."

CJ rolled her eyes and mumbled under her breath, "Idiot."

"Hey! I represent that."

She smiled before mentally kicking herself. She needed to hurry up and get away from him. And most importantly, she couldn't let him touch her again.

CJ untangled her limbs from around him and rose, wincing as he slipped out of her body. She was going to be walking like a cowboy for the next month.

"There's towels in the linen closet and a robe on a hook behind the door."


It was all she could do to stop from breaking into a run. She didn't look back, only breathing again when she was out of his line of sight. The hallway wall provided momentary support before memories seared her skin, propelling her into the bathroom.

She stepped into the shower, shuddering at the initial blast of cold water. The shudders continued as the water warmed, her forehead resting against the wall below the shower head.

'Idiot!' her fist screamed against the tiles.

Coming here in the first place was bad enough. She should've left after the mirror, before they went too far. She shouldn't have stayed after the first time, storm be damned. She could've left while he was sleeping after the second, third and fourth times.

But none of that compared to what had just happened. She hadn't been able to keep her hands off him, even after a blatant reminder of her job. And as for stopping him from getting a condom...

"Shit!" Thump.

CJ did a quick mental calculation of her cycle. A sigh of relief. She should be safe, should be due in three days.

PMH. Laughter. That's all this was. Pre-menstrual horniness.

She grabbed the soap and washcloth, and started to scrub his fingerprints from her skin.


Her hair would have to drip dry. She dried it as best she could with the towel and then ran her fingers through to clear the worst of the knots.

Tying the robe around her waist, she opened the bathroom door, praying she could make it to the bedroom without seeing Danny.


A mug of hot coffee sat on the dresser. She gave in to its siren call.

As she sipped she noticed the bed. It was made, all evidence of the night obscured. Her various articles of clothing were laid neatly on the end.

She put the mug down and quickly pulled on her panties, breathing in sharply as the material came into contact with chafed skin. She paused and looked helplessly at the remaining material.

What the hell was she going to do? She couldn't go in wearing the dress, even if she could get it back on. She could go home to change and probably still just make it in time for senior staff if she left in the next five minutes. Only problem was how to get home without being arrested for indecent exposure.

"The pants might be a bit short, but you can wear the sweats."

Danny's voice startled her, even though it was low. There was an unspoken question there she had no intention of answering.

He was a blur at the edge of her peripheral vision. Her eyes scanned the bed, finding the folded grey sweat pants and shirt. She acknowledged the offer with a nod, staring straight ahead and waiting for him to leave. He took the hint.

The pants ended part way up her calves, but she needed to tie the drawstring tight to keep them from falling down. The sweat shirt was loose and comfortable. Even though they were clean, his cologne had permeated the fabric.

It would have to do. She avoided even a glance at the mirror. Slipping into her heels, she picked up the remaining clothes. She stared at the hat, rubbing the brim between her thumb and fingers.

Danny's pillow offered to adopt it and she agreed it was a good home. The hat looked lonely, so she provided it with a couple of playmates. She quickly left before the bed tried to claim her.

CJ retrieved her handbag from the couch and was halfway to the escape hatch when he spoke.

"Will you be briefing today?"

She could hear the tinge of want underlying practicalities. She partially turned her head towards the kitchen doorway.

"Probably not."

"Okay. I'll see you at work tomorrow."

The tone was dismissive and accepting. His eyes would tell the real story, but she didn't want to know.

Still avoiding eye contact, she whispered, "Thanks for the untying," as she took the final steps.

She was out the door before he could reply.


CJ slumped into her chair after the last briefing. Felt like Friday, but it was only Monday. She needed another weekend.

She winced and shifted, a comfortable position next to impossible to find. The soreness was a constant reminder of her transgressions and as for the dreams last night...

The source of her discomfort had been uncharacteristically quiet during the briefings and she'd studiously avoided anything more than a sweeping glance. It didn't help. Even now she could feel his gaze and touch. It didn't matter how hard she scrubbed, his mark was indelible.

Work. Overload her brain and maybe the memories would fall out.

She turned her chair to the desk, only to find a small gold box sitting in the middle. After briefly considering sending it to security for destruction, she gingerly removed the lid.

Nestled in tissue paper was a red windmill ornament for Gail's bowl. Biting her lip, CJ picked it up and set it down in front of the fish bowl. A piece of card in the bottom of the box caught her eye.

'A souvenir of your visit to the Moulin Rouge.'

She jammed the lid back on and shoved the box into her desk drawer. Four little letters danced across the file she was trying to concentrate on and the windmill kept attracting her eye.

She gave up the pretence and retrieved the box.


The card fell out as she turned the box upside down.

'The hat, corset and garter belt ensemble is just darling. Will be all the rage this coming season. A private fashion show can be arranged if wanted.'

She snorted at the image. Those three items and nothing else. Her libido stirred again. She definitely wanted.


It was only lust, only sex, only hormones.


She thumped her head down on the desk.

Who the hell did she think she was kidding? It had never been only anything between them.

She'd run straight into the quicksand with her eyes wide open. She'd known what she was doing when she went to him, when she went too far, when she stayed.

She had to make a choice. To fight or embrace.

Either way someone was going to get hurt.

And she was screwed.


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