Perry Mason's first sensation was Della's hair. His face was buried in it. In fact, he was holding her so tightly, spooning her from behind, actually, that he was amazed that she could still breathe.

The lawyer would have smiled if he wasn't still rattled by what would be heretofore known as the "Janet Brent Incident."

When they left the District Attorney's Office yesterday afternoon, he was still angry with Della. Distracted by those gorgeous legs and heels, yes, but, dammit, still angry! How could she, of all people, intelligent, cool, practical Della be so-God, he didn't want to say it but—stupid was the word that came to mind. Had she not witnessed enough disasters brought about by the very things that she and that Brent woman had tried to do.

Dammit to hell!

Walking her to her apartment yesterday, he was relieved, but he couldn't stop thinking about what would have happened if she had gone to trial. One of the worst parts, seriously, was that she looked so goddamned sexy, while at the same time being so cavalier about it. He knew she was scared, but she covered it well.

Perry knew that Hamilton Burger and half the police force would love to get back at him through any means possible—especially hitting him where it hurt the most, Della. Most of them couldn't take their eyes off of her, which also pissed him off to no end, but seemed to be salivating while waiting to see the great Perry Mason get his ass, technically, his heart, handed to him on a silver platter.

After all, anyone who knew the two of them had to be a flaming idiot not to know that Mason was beyond smitten with her; the legal beagle would have moved heaven and earth for her. In fact, there was a running bet among some of the courtroom personnel that if Janet Brent was convicted, Mason would have Della Street out of the country faster than any one of them could say "accessory," let along charge her.

Della's soft breathing was even and deep. He inhaled the uniquely Della scent. The mixture of perfume and her body chemistry that made him weak in the knees and hard in the groin. No one, ever, had had the kind of control over him that she did. Perry could never visualize that ever changing.

Would he have secretly gotten her out of the country? Hell, yes, he would have! To a country that didn't extradite 'wanted' persons back to the U.S.

Andy didn't know how perilously close he had come to have his mouth smashed with the lawyer's big fist. Perry didn't like his attitude with Della and he didn't like his tone of voice, but it was better that he get her, and himself, the hell out of there before something happened that would keep him from representing her.

Della gave a light moan in her sleep. The sun had yet to rise and Perry could see the clock on her nightstand: 5:30.

They hadn't fallen asleep until 3:00 am. First there were sharp words, then when he couldn't stand looking at her any longer without touching her, Perry pushed her against the wall of her kitchen, where she had been pouring wine into two glasses.

He held the back of her head, grabbing her hair and kissed her with more vehemence and passion than he thought he had in him. Damn! Perry was so angry and so sexually fired up that he couldn't tell the difference between the two.

The glass that Della was holding fell to the floor, smashing into a thousand pieces. Neither of them noticed. The big man ground himself into her, never letting her lips free of his.

Della managed to get out, "God, I love you and I am so sorry!"

Perry didn't want to hear 'sorry' and he said so. Picking her up, he carried her to the bedroom. Putting her down, he said, in a husky voice, "Take off your jacket." She did. "Take off your skirt." She did. Bending down, after all was removed, to take off her heels, he said, "No, leave them."

He pushed her down onto the bed and crawled onto her like some great beast, between her legs. Della removed his tie and threw it across the bedpost. Perry kicked his shoes off.

Her nails raked along his back under his jacket, off it went, followed by shirt and undershirt. Now he could feel her nails and fingers on skin.

Della pulled him down to kiss him back, running her fingers through the lustrous black hair, whispering things that Perry, in his red haze, could not decipher yet seemed to make him want her wildly.

Unbuckling his belt, he forced his trousers down and while his tongue was in her mouth fighting with hers, Perry entered her body slowly to allow her to accommodate his size.

Della threw her head back exposing her throat and Perry took advantage of it. He kissed, nipped and licked her throat, ears, and dropped to her breasts, all while stroking in and out of her, steadily at first then powerfully.

Taking her by the hair and forcing her to look at him, her hazel eyes were dazed with desire and he muttered lowly, "What the hell were you thinking? Do you think I could live one goddamned day without you? Do you?!" He punctuated his desperation, desire, and love repeatedly with her as they merged together over and over, while the bed squeaked and creaked beneath them.

Della emitted a cross between a guttural growl and a scream as she rode a wave so intense that for a moment she thought she would black out. Seconds later, Perry followed her into le petite mort.

For a long time neither of them could move. They simply clung to each other, sweat pooling between and on their bodies. When he rolled off of her, she rolled to her side and allowed the last few days to catch up with her and sobs and profound misery wracked her body.

"Oh, God, baby, it's okay. It's all over now. You're safe." Stroking her hair, Perry pulled her in close and rubbed her back and threw his big leg over her and pinned her as close to inside him as he could get.

"Perry," she sobbed, until she fell asleep.

Now it was 5:45 am. Perry Mason was still holding her. Protecting her. Loving her. The law was what he had dedicated his life to, yet Della Street was his life. He would NEVER have allowed them to take her. Never.