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I knew he wasn’t. That wasn’t his style. “I don’t want you to feel that way anymore.”

“And I don’t. I really don’t.” He briefly closed his eyes. “It’s just . . . when I think about what could’ve happened—what almost did—it’s a jolt to the system. It takes me back to that very second, but it doesn’t hold me there long.”

Tucking my hair over one shoulder, I placed my hand on his hard stomach. “I get it. I do. Like I said before, if it had been you asking me to let go, I would’ve been pissed.”

“You would have straight-up punched me in my nuts.”

A grin tugged at my lips. I would’ve. I would’ve done it until he couldn’t walk his fine ass into the Otherworld.

The hand on my hip moved to my back. With the slightest pressure, he brought me back to his chest, to where I was lying before. He kissed the top of my head. “And like I said before, I get why you thought that was what needed to happen. I hate saying that, but I get it.”

I pressed my lips to his chest and then threw my arm over his waist, squeezing him so tightly that he laughed.

“God,” he grunted. “You’re unnecessarily strong.”

Giggling, I squeezed him again, but this time not as hard.

A few moments passed and then Ren said, “I know I’ve told you this before, but I need to say it again. Especially now.”

“You think my breasts still look lonely?”

Ren laughed. “Believe it or not, that wasn’t the direction I was going in.”

“Well, that’s a shocker.”

“I know.” He sat up then, bringing me with him, my hair tumbling over my shoulders, and then we were face to face. For a moment, like I did every so often, I got a little lost staring into those beautiful eyes. “I was scared out of my mind when I thought I was going to lose you, but I was also so fucking blown away by you.”

I blinked. “What?”

His eyes searched mine as he reached between us, catching the strands of my hair and tucking them back. “You went after her with that icicle, knowing how dangerous that was. Yet you did it anyway.”

“You would’ve done the same thing,” I reasoned.

“That’s not the point.” Ren cupped my cheek. “You made such a selfless choice. Part of me wants to keep you locked away and preferably chained to a bed because of it, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more awed or impressed by anyone in my life.”

Warmth started to invade my cheeks and spread down my throat.

Ren’s hand slipped and curled around the nape of my neck. “I love you, Ivy. I think you’re beautiful and sexy as hell. You’re funny and so damn intelligent that sometimes I don’t feel worthy.”

“Ren,” I whispered, my eyes filling with tears as I placed my hand on his chest.

“And I admire the fuck out of you,” Ren continued, his voice thickening. “You are so many amazing things, Ivy, but most of all, you are so damn brave.”


That word again.

A word that meant so much to me, and I knew Ren was right. He was proud of me, but better yet, I was proud of myself—of what I would’ve been willing to do and what I had done.

I smiled as I leaned in, pressing my forehead against his. I was brave, and I had my entire life to be brave. “I love you,” I whispered.

Ren’s lips curved into a grin against mine. “Prove it.”