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He pulled away from her just long enough to locate the bedroom. They made their way blindly. Hands straining at buttons and clasps, braces and belts. She worked quickly and before he was even aware of it happening (himself too concentrated on undressing her) he was stripped of his layers and being pushed down onto the bed.

She stood at its side in nothing but a satin camisole and tap pants. She saw him swallow hard as he took her in. His eyes wide, his expression suddenly boyish and awed.

She shimmied out of the the pants and watched his eyes drop to the newly exposed, dark mound revealed just below the hem of her camisole. The boyish look gone, replaced by one of lust and anticipation.

“Lie back, Jack,” she said.

He complied, stretching his hand out to her in silent invitation. She knelt on the bed and he shifted to one side so she could lie beside him, but instead she slung one leg over his thighs, straddling his hips. Then, reigning over him, she arched back and pulled the top over her head in one swift motion. Before it had even hit the floor she felt his hands.

Those hands she’d conjured up countless times these long months. She closed her eyes, picturing them. Every vein, each knobby knuckle, the long, slim fingers. She knew how they felt against her elbow or trailing lightly along her throat.

But this. This touch she’d only before imagined and her imagination had been far from accurate.

In this touch there was no finesse, no attempt to seduce. He kneaded her roughly, his hands greedy and undisciplined. They moved over her quickly as if wanting to cover all of her at once, unable to decide where to settle.

“You don’t know how often I’ve dreamed of this,” he breathed. His velvet voice deep and husky. “The way you’d look...” his hands slipped down to grip her hips on either side, “the way you’d feel...” he held her firm and pulled at her, tugging her body up along his as he slid lower to meet her...”the way you’d taste.”

Her head fell forward and she leaned to grasp the headboard for support. His hands held her firmly in place, right where he wanted her, supporting her ever weakening thighs.

She’d long been aware the magnitude of his appetite. Incongruously, his grin that first time she’d fed him—just one bite of gratin—sprang to mind, and she just had time to smile at the memory before her mind blurred. Moments later she heard a sound come from her throat she was quite sure she’d never made before.

Then she was on her back, her head at the foot of the bed, with no clear recollection of how she’d gotten there. His knee nudged roughly at her thighs, urging them apart, and he was inside her.

Jack.

She found the presence of mind to open her eyes. She wanted to see this, commit it to memory. This first of what she knew would be too many to count.

He was positively feral. Her Jack.

This side of him, this out of control, completely gone-over, Jack. This was for her and her alone. As much of him was. There was so much of him that she alone was privileged to see.

The muscles in his neck strained. She ran her hands over his sweat slicked back and brought her knees up alongside his thrusting hips.

It wasn’t long. It couldn’t be, in his state. One. Two, maybe three.

Her heart pounded to hear it. The desperate groans. Her name and then a sound she knew she’d remember until her dying day.

His momentarily useless limbs made his weight on her heavy, but not unwelcome. When he tried to move from her, she held him fast.

“Jack.” It was the only word that came to mind.

He stiffened, and buried his face in the crook of her neck.

“I’m so sorry,” he mumbled. “That was inexcusable. I don’t know what came over me.”

He rolled to her side. The sudden loss felt like a punch to her gut. She turned to him in confusion.

“Jack?”

“That was. I was. I’ve never...”

She couldn’t reconcile his expression, or his remorse, with her euphoric state of mind.

“What’s wrong?” She placed her hand upon his chest. His damp skin was cooling. His heart, beneath her palm, beat rapidly.

“It was so...carnal,” he said, looking stricken.

“Yes,” she said. “It was carnal. And uncontrolled. And everything I needed—everything we needed—it to be.”

“I wanted it to be special. This first time in particular.”

“It was,” she assured. She cupped his cheek and slid closer. He wrapped an arm around her waist. She toyed with the smattering of curls on his chest and felt him begin to relax. “Can I ask you something, Jack?”

“Anything.”

“Do you love me?”

“Do you really doubt that?”

“No. I’m asking you to say it, Jack. I thought I’d missed my chance to hear it from your lips. I want to hear it now." (And everyday from now on.)

He lifted her chin so that she was looking into his eyes.

“I love you, Phryne Fisher. Always.”

She nodded, blinking back tears, then kissed him.

He tasted just as she remembered him. It hadn’t registered in their earlier, frenzied coupling, but now it washed over her in waves. A taste she'd held tight in the recesses of her mind all these months. So familiar and welcome.

It was love. It was Jack.

She was home.