AN: Thanks so much for the reviews, guys! Here comes the finale to this story! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Next story is special; it has my Millionth Word on FF. It's a doozy...Stay tuned for it!


Chapter 8

Warning: Strong Sexual Content

Penelope knew the answer to the question she was about to ask. She knew it the second she saw the look on Derek's face...but she still asked it anyway.

"You weren't teasing, were you?" She began moving her chair back so that she could stand, too. Considering his answer could be life changing, she felt she needed to be on even ground and see things clearly. "This last week..."

He gave her another one of his devastating smiles as he began to round his dining room table. "No. I wasn't. Answer my question."

He was watching her so intently, like a panther stalking his prey. He was obvious, deliberate, and she knew deep down that she didn't stand a chance.

Interestingly enough, like the scared rabbit caught in the panther's trap, her heart was beating a million miles per hour. She was both fascinated and afraid, excited and nervous. So much so, she took a few steps backward.

"Ah...Hot Stuff?" she muttered anxiously. "Maybe we should talk about this?"

"No," he said shortly, coming even closer while she teetered precariously on her high heels. "Answer me, Penelope. What are you hungry for?"

She wanted to say, You. Oh, how she wanted to say that! But old habits, fears and insecurities, died hard.

Immediately, all the things that had made her choose Kevin so many years ago, rose quickly to the surface. People expected her to be with someone like Kevin; what on earth was she thinking of being with someone like Derek Morgan? He wasn't for her. He was perfect, and she...she was quirky and funny and anything but perfect.

It was like that moment a few weeks ago with Derek, glistening and wet, nearly naked in her apartment. She didn't know what to do with him then, either. He was the perfect dream, like wanting the moon—she never thought in a million years she'd get him.

So...now that she had the moon, what would she do with it?

She could tell what "the moon" wanted to do. One look at his aroused face, and she nearly melted in a puddle.

"D...you really don't want to do this. We don't want to do this." She kept stepping backward, trying to escape, until she bumped against his wall, letting out an unexpected grunt.

"Oh, yes, I do," he said, narrowing his eyes at her. "I've wanted to do nothing less for the last seven years."

Ugh. That wouldn't do. She couldn't just sleep with him. Not with Derek. It would ruin everything. She'd want permanence, even worse, she'd want love, and he wouldn't want to give that to her and she would curl up into a ball and it would kill her. She knew he wouldn't; he was a player, she'd seen him with so many girls in the past.

And he kept approaching her. She wished he'd give her space so she could run like hell, and come up with a good reason not to sleep together. Because looking at him, he wasn't going to take no for an answer.

"A fun affair?" she teased, trying unsuccessfully to lighten the situation. "I think we should—"

"Who said anything about an affair?"

She widened her eyes and looked at him with her heart in her throat. "Isn't that what you meant?"

"Hell, no," he said, standing in front of her so closely, she had to hold in her breath in order for their chests not to touch.

The intensity, tripled with the heat and strength of his gaze, made her stammer. "Wh-What did you mean?"

"What I meant, what I have wanted to do for the past seven years, is love you, like you deserve to be loved," he murmured, bringing one of his long fingers up to gently trace the side of her face. "Like my woman...no one else's."

Penelope's heart was skipping beats, and her breath was coming ragged as she fought tears. She met his eyes. "What about what other people think?"

He gave that slow smile again. "They'll be elated."

"No," she said, shaking her head. She looked away from him as she voiced her fear. "They won't. I've seen them at the gym, Derek...the women who look at me and think I don't belong with you. I've heard them whisper in the locker room..."

He swore sharply under his breath, something foul enough to make her take notice. "Ignore them."

"No!" she cried, looking back at him. Oh, how she wanted to ignore them, but she couldn't. She needed to run away and indulge in her Godiva®. Then life would be better. A few tears escaped. "They're right, Derek...you're perfect, and—"

She swallowed hard and looked away.

"Look at me." As she tried to remain looking away, he held her chin in his hand, keeping her gaze centered on him. "Sweetheart...those people, those idiots, are blind. They don't see the beauty, the pure magic that happens between us every day. We got red hot chemistry that's off the charts." He paused, giving her a look that dared her to deny it...she couldn't.

"As for me being perfect," he said with a chuckle. "I'm a forty-one-year-old, scarred and scared bachelor who's broken without his girl..."

While he spoke, her heart overflowed, and tears ran down her face. He cupped her face and gently brushed them away with his thumbs.

"I need my solace, my baby girl, my goddess to make me whole. I've tried other girls, sweetness, and they're lacking something huge." He smiled softly at her, his face filled with love and need. "The name Penelope Garcia."

"Oh, Derek!" she cried, launching herself into his arms. "I love you, too."

Wrapping her in his arms, he held her close and said into her hair, "You asked me to be yours, girl. Be my fierce goddess I fell in love from the word hello; don't go back on your word now."

"Never," she answered. "I said it once before: I don't care who knows...it's always been you."

She felt him chuckle, and then he reached for her face again. His dark loving eyes scanned over her appreciatively, and she immediately felt a rush of heat as he said, "Penelope...you still didn't answer me. What are you hungry for? Are you still hungry, baby?"

Looping her arms around his neck, she replied, "For you? I'm famished..."

This time, she rose on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against his. His answering response was to fold her against his upper arm and begin kissing her like she'd only dreamed of being kissed. His lips, warm and firm against hers, coaxed hers into opening, and she began to melt into the kiss.

Truly, for someone who'd been in a long term relationship, Penelope thought she knew a lot about kisses and making love. She had a feeling Derek was about to toss all of that out the window. She lost herself to the intensity, arching against him, kissing him back with an enthusiasm she didn't even know she had. Each tender stroke of his tongue, each possessive lick drove her a little more breathless, a little more crazy.

The heat exploded between them. One moment, she was trading tender kisses; the next, he was pressing her against his wall and claiming her mouth, making her limbs quake in response. She felt like she was on fire with need.

He pressed his hips against hers, and she felt her body pulse in response. That only inflamed her more.

She dug her fingers into his sweater, wanting to feel the muscles she'd dreamed about, as he continued kissing her, trailing kisses down the line of her throat.

As she reached bare skin, he growled, "That's it, Baby Girl...touch me."

Penelope let her fingers linger on his lean waist, trailing her palms on the hard muscles that lined his ribs. He was sleek, smooth, and so hot. He felt fever hot to her, although she herself was burning up.

Before she could touch any more, Derek latched his mouth onto a pulse point on her neck that caused her to see stars. She moaned—loudly—as he licked, teased, and even bit the spot playfully. She gripped him tightly as he laved his way up her neck to seize her mouth yet again.

"More," she whispered, tugging at his sweater, trying to remove it as she gave in to his kisses.

Derek complied, stepping away and yanking the offending article of clothing off. She was face to face with those gorgeous, rippling pectorals that always looked so edible to her. To prove a point to herself, she leaned forward and licked his flat, brown nipple.

"Damn, sweetheart!" he swore. A moment later, she was scooped up into his arms and he was carrying her through his house.

They kissed the entire way, past a happily barking Clooney, who had been shocked awake when her shoes flew off in the hallway by Derek's bedroom. Stepping inside, he slid her to her feet and began making very quick work of her clothes. Her sweater went flying, along with her skirt and tights. With a quick, one-handed movement, he removed her bra and sent that in a completely different direction. Then he stepped back to admire his handiwork.

"Oh, hell, yes," he whispered with delight as he watched her standing before him, nearly naked.

Any insecurities that might have remained would've fled with the look on his face, but they were already long gone. In fact, she thrust her chest forward and said teasingly, "I take it you like what you see?"

Instead of answering her, he nearly pounced on her, making her giggle at his enthusiasm. He lay on top of her on the bed, touching, kissing everything he came in contact with. He cupped her breasts in his hands, ran his face between them as he held them together, and then kissed a mole she had just under the left breast. She kissed him, too, licking the other nipple, kissing her way to the sweet indent of his belly button while she worked the button on his pants. With Derek's help, his pants and boxers went flying, too, freeing them both to explore each other fully. She grasped and stroked him as he caressed her with delicate, yet deliberate touches.

All of the sweet exploration soon gave way to desperation and need. Penelope arched beneath him as he positioned himself between her thighs. A moment later, he drove home, slow and sure, a coming together that was seven years in the making. Each heavenly stroke took her breath away, each press of his hips, each drive into her body brought her closer to ecstasy. They were truly a part of one another, truly complete, and she never wanted it to end.

As the pace changed, as they both moved closer and closer to the pinnacle, Penelope gasped and felt herself coming apart. It was like she'd reached for the stars and caught one as the tremors shook her body. She held tight to him as he shook and groaned her name against her neck.

"I love you," she whispered, when she finally had breath enough to speak.

Rolling to her side, he tucked her near him and said, "I love you, too."

She sighed contentedly. "I'm so happy."

He mumbled something that sounded like agreement and then yawned hugely.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Derek." She grinned up at him, happy and sleepy, too, while she traced circles on his tummy. "By the way, you were right again...this chocolate was far more satisfying..."

He chuckled, gave her a kiss, and then tucked her closer. "Silly girl...go to sleep."

And she did.