Page 24


I haven’t had a mother figure in my life for so long, and with everything that’s happened since yesterday, it just becomes too much at that point. Knowing that Melissa’s own mother doesn’t look at me and wish me dead after knowing everything almost makes me feel like I have been forgiven for failing. I, for the first time since I lost Grace, don’t feel the overwhelming sense of guilt.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble before leaning forward and resting my face in my hands. “I’m sorry.” It takes me a second to calm down, but she just sits there and softly brushes my hair while offering me reassuring words. There really is nothing in the world like a mother’s touch, even when that mother isn’t your own.

When I can finally control the whirlwind that is swirling around inside of me, I look up and meet her eyes. She wipes her eyes with one of her towels and smiles sweetly at me. “Greg, if there was ever a doubt in my mind about how big that heart of yours is, you just proved it without question.”

I stay with Lilly for a few hours and help her finish up some things around the house. I need to be around her, someone connected to Melissa, but I also need the comfort that she offers. When I leave she pulls me into a hug and wishes me luck.

The last place I want to go was home. I want to drive around Hope Town until I find my girl and carry her home. At this point, I feel like I could keep going until I meet ocean if it meant that I could get my girl in my arms. The need to have her in my arms is overwhelming, but I know Lilly was right. She needs time. So, I will be strong and give it to her.

I have only been home for a few minutes when I hear the front door click open. I instantly mute the TV, and stand from the couch, waiting to see who is coming down the hall. It could be one of the boys but I am praying it will be Melissa.

When she walks into sight, my knees get weak and I almost have to sit down. Even though I can see she is upset, she is still the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on.

“Hey,” she offers weakly.

“Beauty,” I whisper, “God, baby.”

Chapter 23

When I walk in the door, I half expect him to charge me, but when I find him standing in the middle of the living room looking worse than I feel, I can’t help but feel like a world class bitch for disappearing on him. But I needed the time. Time to sort my head and time to make sure that I don’t do or say something I can’t take back. If I would have seen him before, then there really is no telling where we would be right now. I just know it wouldn’t be pretty.

He looks like he has been through the wringer. and didn’t come out the victor. He is standing there in the same clothes he wore to work the day before; his hair is all over the place as if he has ran his hands through it over and over. But it isn’t his clothes or hair that make me pause; it’s his eyes. Those bright baby blues that I have fallen in love with look shattered. His handsome face is pale with a full day’s growth of beard, and his bloodshot eyes have dark circles underneath. My night might have been hard, but something tells me that his has been even worse.

We just stand there for a few minutes, feeling unsure of where we both stand, but when I see a single tear fall down his cheek, I am done with the distance. Dropping my keys and purse to the floor, I take off and rush into his arms.

“I’m sorry, so sorry,” he whispers brokenly into my hair.

“I know.” I do, after letting it all out last night and feeling as though my world had ended. When I woke up this morning, and the pain had faded but the anger hadn’t. I know in my heart that Greg would never intentionally hurt me but it still stings. Out of all the garbage that Mandy had thrown at my feet last night, I know he wouldn’t have said all of that to her. He might have mentioned Simon, in whatever capacity, but he never would have spoken about me… about us, like that. It is easier to begin to understand his motivation when I put that past me.

After I had Emmy pick me up this morning and take me back to Heavy’s to get my car, I drove straight to Fia’s grave and talked to the one person who I knew would get me.

Hours. I spent hours laying on the cool grass next to my sister’s grave and talked to her. It wasn’t easy talking to someone who wasn’t able to talk back to you, but I needed her and this was the best place.

When I finished my chat with Fia’s cold tombstone, I had realized one thing. This man would do anything to protect me. He would protect my body with his own. And he would protect my feelings and my heart by keeping something from me that could be damaging. I knew that he was doing what he felt was the right thing. Didn’t make it right, but it is what it is.

In the end, I had to ask myself if I could live without this man in my life just because he kept something from me. And no, there is no way I could give him and what we have just because of this.

“I didn’t think you would come back,” he mumbles against my neck. He gives me a soft kiss and inhales loudly. “I would have hunted you down by dinner; giving you space was the hardest thing I have done in a long time.”

“I know. I needed to clear my head.”

“I’m so sorry. You have no idea how sorry I am that I didn’t just tell you, but we were new and I didn’t know how you would handle it, baby. I had planned on telling you; I just didn’t know how.” His eyes are searching mine, begging me to hear his words. “I hurt you and it is eating me alive.”

“Stop, please?” His lips clamp shut and I bring my hand up to run my fingers across them softly. His eyes continue pleading with me, asking for forgiveness that he doesn’t need. “I understand now, why you did it and it’s okay. Last night I was so far in my own head that it would have been terrible if I had come right home. I am so sorry for running but I had to. I know it sounds childish but I had to.”

“I was afraid you would blame me. Fuck, I’ve been doing it to myself for years, so why wouldn’t you?” I’m clearly confused now because I can’t figure out for the life of me why I would blame him for not telling me that he knew Simon. Sure, the thought filtered through my mind in anger last night that he could have somehow prevented Fia’s death, but even I know how ludicrous that is in the light of day.

“Baby, what could I possible blame you for? Having a hard time dealing with the loss of your sister? I did too; hell, I still do. Not telling me about our connection through that son of a bitch? I don’t blame you for that. I understand you thought it was the best and, baby…I can’t say for sure, but if you would have sprung that on me right away, I might have freaked out.”

“Doesn’t make it right, Beauty. I hurt you.” His words hit my heart and the love I feel for this man just grows. He has torn himself to pieces because he indirectly hurt me. Whatever I did to deserve a man like him, I feel blessed that I am even allowed a gift like that. I place my hands on both sides of his scruffy face and pull him down to my lips. It’s just a soft meeting of our mouths, but enough for him to feel my love and assurance that we are okay.

“My feelings were hurt, but Greg, you can’t protect me from everything. Even you will hurt my feelings every now and then. What’s important is that you don’t keep things from me. We are a team, and from now on, it’s complete honesty, okay?”

“Love you so much, baby.” He says softly before kissing me deeply.

He continues to devour my lips in a kiss that is almost bruising. He is letting out everything he has felt over the last twenty-four hours and pouring it into this kiss. I feel owned, loved, cherished, and branded. His hands are frantic against my body, pulling my shirt over my head and in his haste to get my bra unhooked, he snaps the clasp clear off the bra. He pauses long enough to pull his shirt over his head, and that gives me enough time to shed my jeans and underwear. Before I can even blink, he has me backed up to the wall and his lips back on mine. His hands roam over my skin, causing it to get tight, and a chill to flash through my body. I love the feel of his hard body against my softness. How his hard muscles feel against my fingertips.

My lips feel bruised and swollen by the time he pulls back and locks eyes with me. He looks nothing like the man that I saw when I walked in the door. This man standing before me now is my beast.

“I need to show you my love, Beauty.”

After that line, I am confused when he drops to his knees, but when I feel his hands dig into my hips and lift, I do the only thing I can. Push my back against the wall and wrap my legs over his shoulders. He wastes no time gripping my ass tight and locking his mouth to my pussy. Two seconds later, I am fisting his hair tight and pushing him closer while my release rushes through me. He continues sucking and licking, pulling me closer to his mouth.

“Baby, can’t—I can’t,” I whimper.

“You will,” he says against my dripping pussy. “You can.”

He lifts me higher and dips his tongue deep, dragging it back slowly toward my clit, and circling the swollen bud before taking it between his lips and sucking. He repeats the process twice before I am screaming my second release. I can feel my wetness against his face when he turns his head and kisses each of my thighs before helping me stand. More like helping me lean against the wall so he can stand up.

“When did you take off your pants?” I question when he stands to his full height and his dick stands tall and proud between us. The piercings in the tip stand out against his tan stomach, bumping against his belly button. I lick my lips and he growls.

“Between the first and second time you came all over my tongue. Did you not feel me let go of your ass?”

“Um, baby… I was a little busy.”

“Yeah, and it was delicious.” He gets close again and picks me up, and I wrap my legs around his hips. His thick erection immediately seeks entrance. “Watch me love you.” He pulls his hips back slightly, and I reach between our bodies and help guild him inside me. He settles deep and quick with one thrust, and my head falls back with a thud against the wall.

With his hands on my hips and mine against his shoulders, our lips connect and our bodies lock together. We move as if we have been doing this mating dance for years. It doesn’t take long before he pulls back to look into my eyes, and the love I see reflected is enough to push me over the edge. He pushes me back down and rolls his hips a few times before I feel his warm release against the walls of my pussy.

“You’re such a beast,” I speak softly into his ear before nipping his lope lightly with my teeth.

“But I’m your beast, and baby… every Beauty needs a Beast.”

“Yeah, I sure do.” I laugh and wrap my arms around his neck. “I love you.”

“I love you too. So much, baby.” His warm breath hits my neck and with our bodies still locked together, I know that we will be okay. Our love might be new, but it is powerful enough overcome.

Chapter 24

(3 Months Later)

Waking up wrapped tight within Greg’s arms is the best feeling in the world. Even in sleep, he keeps his arms tight around my torso and his legs tangled with mine. My beast. Always ready for anything.

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