“Where are you going?” He climbed onto the bed, half on his side.
“I…I thought I should grab my dress.”
“Why?” Shaking his head, he snaked his arm around my waist. “No. Don’t answer that question.”
He tugged me down so my back was curled against his front and his arm was a heavy, pleasant weight across my waist. “I’m not going anywhere, Abby.”
I squeezed my eyes shut tightly. Could he read minds?
“Do you understand?” His voice was quiet, and when I didn’t answer, his arm tightened around my waist. “I’m not.”
But he would, because—
I stopped myself. I shoved that ugly part of me away. In my head, I bitch slapped it. I told it to shut the fuck up, because that nasty part sure as hell hadn’t been entirely helpful in the past.
“Okay,” I said, placing my hand on his arm. “I…that was wonderful, you know, what we did—you did.”
“Of course I was.”
I laughed lightly. “Wow.”
There was a pause. “It was, Abby. It was perfect.” He pressed a kiss against my shoulder. “And it wasn’t me. It was you. You made this perfect.”
Perfect was a theme I was getting used to, or at least trying to. It wasn’t entirely hard. Not when Colton excelled at making me feel like I was perfect.
A month had passed since the night Charles came through that front door. He was still in the county jail and from what I’d learned, I doubted there would be a trial where I would have to testify. Charles would plead guilty to murder and attempted murder. He would go away for a long time.
Unless Isaiah got ahold of him.
But that wasn’t something I was going to focus on. Every once in a while, I had…nightmares. Sometimes Colton was there to ease those troubling memories. Other nights, it was up to me to get through them, and I did.
I couldn’t believe how much could change in a short time.
While Colton had a role to play when it came to the changes I was making, the feeling of self-worth and confidence had to come from within. Yeah, the external stuff helped, but using a guy’s attention to build your confidence wasn’t something that would last long. It would be dependent upon him, a strength that could be flimsy.
The strength needed to come from me.
And the best way I could gain back the stronger part of me was through actually experiencing life.
I wasn’t working myself to the bone any longer. Meaning after I put in a normal eight-hour shift, I forced myself to stop. Who knew how much extra time existed when you weren’t avoiding…well, avoiding actually living?
I visited the museums in the city with Jillian, something I hadn’t actually done in years, and I even started going out with Roxy, Colton’s younger brother’s girlfriend. Through her, she introduced me to Calla, who was dating Jax, and to Katie, a very…odd stripper who apparently had gone to the same high school as Roxy and I.
For the first time in years, I had a circle of girlfriends, and I had forgotten how incredibly important that was. When Kevin had died and I’d left New York City, it was like I’d closed a door on the life that had existed with him, including all our mutual friends. It seemed a little late now, four years later, to try to rebuild those bridges, but it was something I’d thought about a lot and wanted to try.
And like Katie had said last Sunday, while the four of us had breakfast at IHOP, “What’s the worst thing that could happen? They ignore you or think you’re some crazy cat lady reaching out to them?”
I was also thinking about taking cooking lessons. That was something else I’d forgotten that I’d loved—baking and all things food related. Colton was a hundred percent behind the idea, mainly because I think he just wanted to eat the food.
Speaking of the devil…
Colton reached around me, his finger aiming for the homemade peanut butter icing. I smacked his hand away. “Don’t even think about it.”
“I just want a little taste.” He looped his arms around my waist.
I grinned as I placed the plastic lid over the chocolate cake. “You’re going to have to wait.”
“I can wait for the cake, but…” He lowered his mouth to my neck, placing a kiss against my pulse. “But there’s another taste of something I’m not sure I’m going to be able to wait for.”
My stomach hollowed in response. All he had to do was make an innuendo and my blood heated. Colton was that good. “We’re going to be late.”
“It’s Jax’s BBQ, not a wedding reception.” His hands slid across my belly and then down my hips. He kissed the space just behind my ear.
I bit down on my lip as I leaned back into him, feeling his arousal pressing against my lower back. He was insatiable.
I loved it.
“We really should try to be on time,” I said as I tilted my head to the side, giving him more access.
With his hands on my hips, he turned me around in his embrace. “We can be late.”
Colton kissed me as he slid his hands down, gathering up the skirt of my dress and skating his fingers on the bare skin of my thighs. When he reached my panties and effectively slid them down my legs, every nerve ending took notice. He helped me step out of them.
We were so going to be late.
Our kisses quickly turned frantic, his tongue plunging in and out of my mouth, and our hands were greedy. One of his on my breast, teasing the aching tip through the thin material, his other firmly planted on my ass. I squeezed him through his jeans, loving the way his hips moved against my palm and the deep groan he made against my lips.
He broke the kiss and turned me back around. A fine shiver curled its way down my spine as he brushed my hair aside, then he placed his hand on the center of my back, bending me over slightly.
“Hold on to the counter,” he all but growled. I heard the tinny sound of his zipper.
Oh my goodness.
I did just exactly what he said and when he lifted my skirt again, I felt him against my behind, so hot and hard.
His hand slipped around and delved deep between my thighs, and his fingers immediately went to work, testing my readiness. And he didn’t have to test that out. I was already ready.
With one hand on my hip, holding me in place, he entered me from behind in a long, deep thrust. I cried out, gripping the edge of the counter. “Oh God, Colton…”
“I love hearing you say my name like that.” He started moving, his strokes slow and steady. My inner muscles began to clench around him. “Fuck, you feel so good.”