So what if she can't get rid of that image of another woman's boobs in his face?

He knows exactly what to do.

Self-assured smirk firmly in place, he turns to see where she's gone. The kitchen and living room are empty. Well, if that's not an invitation—hell, if Kate Beckett answering the door in her nightshirt wasn't an invitation—he doesn't know what is.

She turns as he walks into her bedroom. "Castle, I..."

He doesn't wait for her to finish, just pulls off his jacket and starts on the buttons of his shirt.

"You think you're staying then?"

"I am," he says slowly, nodding.

She glares, but it's so much less effective now than it used to be. He has weapons against that glare now. And he plans on wielding one of them now.

He undoes his cuffs and drops his shirt on top of his jacket, stalks toward her where she stands next to the bed.

"What, not gonna worry about the pants, Castle?" she asks, her eyes raking harshly across his torso as he advances.

"Not yet," he answers, arching an eyebrow at her. "Plus, between the two of us, I figure we now have a complete outfit."

She laughs at that, and he grins, knows he has her again. Not that he ever really lost her, not when she opened the door to him.

"What do you do when you have an annoying song stuck in your head?"

"Excuse me, what?"

He takes another step closer until only scant inches between them, and then he repeats himself. "What do you do when you have an annoying song stuck in your head?"

She shrugs, and he hears the hitch in her breathing at the way he's looming over her. "I don't know. What, Castle?"

Settling his hands on her hips, he relaxes his body, lowers his voice as her own frame releases its tension and she softens into his grasp. "You replace it with something else."

"Oh?" she asks. "And is that what you think I need to do?"

Shaking his head, he slides his palms down her thighs until he can hook his fingers under the edges of her nightshirt. "I think it's what *I* need to do."

Slowly, he pulls the shirt up and over her body, leaving her bare in front of him. His hands circle to the back of her head, deftly undoing her messy pony tail and letting her hair cascade around her shoulders. She's beautiful.


"Lie down," he says quietly, and to his surprise, she doesn't argue, she doesn't try to kick him out, she doesn't even ask questions.

She trusts him. And he knows how hard it must be for her, knows how valuable her trust is.

Heart brimming, he takes an ankle in each hand and shifts them apart until he can kneel between her spread legs.

He glances up at her face, finds her watching him, her cheeks and chest turning a rosy pink, from arousal or embarrassment or both.

Curling his fingers around her calves, he skims his hands up and down her legs, grinning at the way she jerks against his touch when he coasts over the backs of her knees, licking his lips at the way she lets out a breathy sound of want when his thumbs trace the creases of her thighs.

He leans down, pressing his mouth to the crest of her hipbone, lips and tongue caressing the sharp ridge before his teeth scrape over the sensitive spot and she shudders beneath him.

"Castle," she whimpers, and he lifts his face, rests his chin low on her belly. Her head is thrown back, pressed hard into the pillow, but her elbows brace her, lifting her chest into the air.

"Beckett, open your eyes."

Turning his head, Castle presses one last kiss to her trembling, damp thigh, smiling into her skin.

He pulls himself up her body, his chest sliding slick over hers, both of them breathing heavily. Her eyes are dark, smoky with satisfaction and desire, tracking his slow, deliberate movements.

She lifts her hand to his cheek as he raises himself above her, swipes her thumb across his wet lips. Catching the pad between his teeth, he bites down gently, watching as her eyes fall shut and her mouth falls open.

"Kate," he says softly, brushing his nose against hers, barely an inch between their lips.

"Hmm?" she murmurs, opening dark eyes that soften when she finds him so close. "What?"

"Still too soon?"