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“Yeah, sure.” Finn shrugged. “I think most everyone has got their stuff already.”

“Great. Thanks.” Ridley smiled briefly at him, then turned his attention to me.

“What did you want to talk about?” I asked.

He shook his head. “Not here.” He turned, walking back between the covered trucks, so I followed him.

The majority of the vehicles were parked together at the edge of the campsite, creating an area that felt private and quiet, with large trucks blocking out the sound and most of the firelight.

“What’s going on?” I asked Ridley when I felt like we’d gone far enough. I stopped first, and he turned back to face me. The moon above us illuminated his face, and he looked around me, as if expecting a spy to be following at my heels.

“Ridley, what is it?” I demanded, starting to feel nervous, since he wasn’t saying anything.

He chewed his lip for a moment, staring down at me, and then, without warning, he rushed at me. His mouth pressed roughly against mine, cold and exhilarating against my warm flesh.

He pushed me back, and I began to stumble over my feet, but his arms were there, holding me up, carrying me until I felt my back pressing against the icy metal of the truck. His kisses were fierce and hungry, his teeth just barely scraping against my skin, sending delicious heat surging through my body.

But I matched his ferocity, wrapping my legs around him, burying my fingers in the tangles of his hair.

Almost instinctually, I began pulling off his jacket, desperate to get to the hot, hard contours of his body. Ridley moved his hands underneath my butt and thighs, gripping them firmly, as he carried me around the corner to the back of the truck.

Once he’d set me down, I started to scoot back, and he climbed up on top of me, his eager lips on mine. With quick desperation, his hands found their way under my layers of shirts, cold against my bare skin.

Ridley sat up, pulling away from me so he could hurriedly tear off his shirt. I don’t think I’d ever undressed so quickly, and when my sweatshirt got stuck going up over my head, Ridley was more than happy to help.

He pushed it back over my head, but in his haste to kiss me again, he’d left my arms tangled in it, trapped behind my back. His mouth traveled lower, trailing down my neck. His lips and the gentle scrape of his beard sent tingles all through me.

With one arm, he supported himself, and with the other, he unhooked the front clasp of my bra. My arms were still trapped behind me, but I’d stopped wiggling and trying to get free. I didn’t want to stop Ridley from touching me.

He wrapped an arm around me, lifting me up so my back arched slightly, and then his mouth was cold on my breast. I moaned desperately, wanting more of him.

With that, he released me, so he could pull off his jeans. I finally got my arms free from the sweatshirt and tossed aside my bra. Ridley had turned his attention to my pants, pulling them off in one rough, fast move.

He crawled over me, his body above mine, and I stared up into his eyes. I put my hand on his cheek, and he tilted his head, gently kissing my wrist. He lips moved down my arm, until they found their way to my mouth again, kissing me deeply.

Despite the cold, his body felt like fire against me. He felt strong and sure, holding me, completing me.

And then I pulled him to me, unable to wait any longer. I raised my pelvis up, pushing against him, and with a shaky breath, he finally slid inside me. I moaned again, unable to help it, and he silenced me with his mouth on mine.

Soon I was breathing into his shoulder, digging my fingers into his back to keep from screaming, and he moved deeper inside me until he exhaled deeply and relaxed on top of me.



We stayed that way for a moment, neither of us wanting to untangle ourselves from each other. But eventually we had to deal with the cold.

The covered canvas kept some of the frigid air at bay, but not enough for us to lie comfortably naked for long. Ridley sat up and lay his jacket over me as a temporary blanket as he searched around for something to cover up with.

Underneath one of the benches, he found a silver Mylar blanket from an opened emergency kit, and he spread it over us. He lay down beside me and pulled me into his arms.

“Well, that was a nice talk,” I murmured, resting my head against his chest and pressing myself closer to him.

“I actually did want to talk to you,” he said, his words muffled in my hair.

“Yeah?” I pulled back a little and titled my head so I could look up at him. “What about?”

“I don’t know when we’ll be able to talk again,” he said finally. “And I just wanted to be sure that you knew everything and understood how I really feel.”

My heart skipped a beat. “Everything about what?”

“About why I’ve been so cold and distant.” He stared at the canvas above us. “I never wanted to hurt you or push you away. It’s just . . . when I was in Doldastam, while we were apart, and Mina had me locked up in the dungeon, she never asked me anything about you. Not once. The entire time I was there.”

“You mentioned that,” I said softly.

“I know.” He nodded. “But I didn’t say that she never talked about you. Because she talked about you a lot. Constantly, actually.”

“What do you mean? What did she say?” I asked, tensing up.

“She talked about how strong and capable you were, and how you’d never had any trouble until you started getting involved with me.” He looked down at me. “I don’t know how she knew that we’d kissed or slept together, but she’d found out somehow.”