Page 54

“So the next step, obviously, is sleeping with me,” I joked. She walked over and stood in front of me.


“Why’s that?”

“Because you’re the exact opposite of good.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

A smirked lifted the corner of her mouth. “I knew you would.”

“Grace, you don’t want to do this…” I warned as she moved closer.

“Yes, I do.”

“People in town say I’m dangerous, and they aren’t wrong. I’m unstable sometimes, lashing out without warning.”

“That doesn’t scare me. Besides…” Her steps moved her closer until we were standing inches apart. My back was still resting against the wall, and her breaths were coming faster and faster with each second. “Maybe I need a little danger in my life.”

Her hand brushed against my neck, and I closed my eyes as the feel of her fingertips danced across my skin.

“You’ll regret it,” I promised her.

She lightly snickered in disbelief. “Do you ever regret sex?”

I opened my eyes and burned my stare into her blues.

She heard my reply without me speaking a word. Hesitation hit her for a moment as confusion swarm in her stare.

“I use it to forget,” I confessed.

“To forget what?”


She nodded slowly. “I want to forget, too.”

“Forget what?”


Two people who wanted to forget everything together…there were only a million ways that could go wrong.

“This is a bad idea,” I warned.

“Yes,” she agreed. “But still, I want it.”

I grimaced. “You’re sad.”

“Yes.” She nodded. “You’re sadder.”


Her hands landed on my chest, and she looked up into my eyes. “You don’t scare me, Jackson Emery.”

“I should.”

“Why’s that?”

“Because sometimes I scare myself.”

She still stayed so close. Her body pressed against mine, and dammit if I didn’t pull her closer—how could I not? Gracelyn Mae invoked that odd sense of familiarity I hadn’t ever felt before.

Even when you didn’t want her near you, you somehow found yourself moving closer.

My hands against her lower back as her hips made contact with mine. What was it about her that forced my body to go against my mind?

“I’ve read about boys like you in books, ya know,” she whispered, her fingers slowly spinning spirals on my chest.

“Oh, yeah? What did those books teach you about boys like me?”

“Well…” She bit her bottom lip, and with a small inhalation, she whispered, “They taught me to stay away.”

“Then why are you so close?”

She tilted her head up, looking me straight in the eyes. “Because in those stories, the heroine never ever listens.”

“And then there’s trouble?” I asked.

“Yes, and then there’s trouble.”

From the way she said those words, I knew trouble was exactly what she was in search of. We were the classic cliché. She was the good girl next door, I the monster from around the block. We were perfect opposites for the perfect storm, and she was asking me to be her next flaw, her greatest mistake.

And, well, who was I not to live up to her request?

“I could destroy you,” I warned.

“Or save me.”

“Is it worth the risk?”

“Isn’t it always worth the risk?”

The more she touched me, the more I wanted to touch her back. I wrapped my hands around her wrists flipping us around so she was now against the wall with her hands above her head. “I have rules.” I leaned in closer, lightly brushing my lips against her neck. God, she smelled good, like peaches and my next sin. “You can’t break these rules, either.” My tongue rolled from my mouth and circled against her neck before I gently sucked her skin.

She shivered at my touch. “What are they?”

“Rule one,” I whispered, my mouth moving across her collarbone. “You never stay the night.”


“Rule number two,” I said, dropping her left arm to the side. Taking my hand to the bottom of her blouse, I slowly raised it up and massaged her skin. “You never develop feelings.”

“That’s easy enough,” she replied, her breaths uneven as I teased at the top button on her jeans. “I don’t believe in feelings anymore.”

I didn’t know why, but that made me sad for her. I, too, didn’t believe in falling for people, but that was my norm. Grace seemed the type to believe in something bigger than love, so the fact that her belief was completely gone was a bit surprising.

Maybe we had more in common than I thought.

“Rule number three…we don’t talk about my life.”

“Like ever?”



“And lastly, rule number four…” My mouth brushed against hers, and I slid my tongue slowly across her bottom lip. “If your favorite pair of panties get ripped, don’t expect me to replace them.”

Her cheeks reddened. She blushed so easily, and my new mission was to make her blush throughout the whole evening.

Our lips stayed lightly pressed against one another, and I breathed her in as she rested her left hand against my chest. “I have a rule, too,” she told me.

I cocked an eyebrow. “And it is?”