There were many days where I wondered what the hell I was doing or why I was doing it, and Reece nailed it on the head right then, after us not exchanging a single civil word to one another for almost a year. Shocked me right to the core, because there was a part of me that didn’t want to acknowledge why I did some of the things I did.
Or why I didn’t do other things.
His thumb made another swipe, drawing my attention. The pads of his fingers were calloused, telling me he used his hands a lot. The contrast of the roughness to the smooth movements and his words had me squirming in my booth.
Before I could think of a response suitable to that statement, our food arrived and he let go of my wrist. But when he did, his fingers were slow to leave my skin, trailing over my hand and the length of my fingers. Unable to stop it, I shivered.
The topic of conversation changed to a much lighter one. “So how long do you think Jax is going to be up here before he takes his ass back down to Shepherd?” he asked, digging into his biscuit drowning in gravy.
I laughed as I picked up a slice of turkey bacon. “Nick was wondering the same thing. Jax is supposed to be back home middle of next week, but I doubt he’d make it a whole week without running down to see her.”
“I don’t either.” His grin was just too much. “Man, he’s got it bad for her.”
“They’re good for each other.”
“True,” he agreed. “Jax deserves it.”
When we finished eating it was close to four, and Reece had to go back on duty. He took care of the check, ignoring my protests with a mischievous grin that made me feel sixteen again.
He walked me to my car, parked next to the cruiser. “I’ll follow you home,” he said, opening my car door for me.
I blinked. “You . . . Reece, you don’t need to do that.”
“I’m back on call. If I get one, I can take it. And it counts as patrolling, so it’s no big deal.” He placed his hand on my shoulder and looked me straight in the eye. “It’s late. You live alone. I’m going to follow you home and make sure you’re safe. Either you can be okay with it or I can follow you like a total creep.”
My brows shot up.
That damn grin was back as he dipped his chin. “Don’t let me be the creep.”
A laugh burst out of me. “Okay. Follow me.” I started to slide into the seat and glanced up at him. “Creeper.”
His answering chuckle had me grinning and then had me wanting to bang my head off the steering wheel the short drive to the Victorian. What was I doing? Why was I all happy and fuzzy? Just because he wanted to start over didn’t mean anything other than being friends. And that was totally cool, and I guess it was also cool to be . . . happy about that and letting go of the anger and all the messy crap that surrounded that night. I could totally do the friend-zone thing with him.
As long as he stopped grinning at me like he was, and touching me. Friend zone meant a no-touch policy.
When I parked at the curb, the cruiser was right behind me, and I wasn’t entirely surprised that, when I stepped out of the car, he was already out of his, waiting for me. “Walking me to the door?” I asked, slinging my purse over my shoulder.
“Of course.” He closed the car door for me. “After all, I’m all about protecting and serving.”
I lifted a brow.
The scent of the late-blooming roses Mrs. Silver took care of filled the air as Reece placed his hand on my lower back, steering me up the old cobblestone walkway to the front porch. The weight of his palm seemed to sear right through my thin shirt. The whole no-touch policy went right out the door.
The lights were off in the Silvers’ and James and Miriam’s place, but a small yellowish glow radiated from the apartment above mine. I really needed to introduce myself. I added that to the ever-changing priority list.
Stopping in front of my door, I fished out my keys, desperately wishing I didn’t notice how his hand still remained on my back or that we were standing so close, his right thigh almost brushing my hip.
I glanced up at him and drew in a sharp breath. Out of all the things streaming through my head, I couldn’t pull out a single coherent sentence.
“See, you safely made it to your door,” he said, his tone light.
My skin felt too warm in the balmy air. “Thanks to you.”
“I’m good for something.”
“You’re good for a lot of things.” For some reason when those words jumped out of my mouth, they sounded a lot more perverted than they did before I spoke them.
In the dark, I could barely make out his expression, but he shifted so that we were face-to-face. Doing so caused him to drag his hand from my back to my hip. “Ah, Roxy, I wish I could say that I believed you knew just exactly what I was good at, but I can’t.”
Ack! Okay. The words really did come off perverted-sounding, because he was talking about that night, and we were supposed to move on from that. But we were right smack-dab in the middle of that mess. And my tongue got completely out of control. “You were good,” I said, remembering the way he’d kissed me. Drunk off his rocker or not, the man knew how to kiss. “I mean, really good.”
Those damn lips curved up, getting my lady bits all kinds of excited and wishing he’d move his hand a few inches to the left and down. “Now, Roxy, I thought it was nothing to write home about?”
I had said that. And I also realized we were thinking about two very different things. Kissing versus sex. I really needed to tell him what happened. “Reece, I—”
“There’s something I want to be up front about,” he said, cutting in. He dipped his head so that when he spoke, his breath danced along my cheek. “I told you that I missed you and I was done missing you.”
My brain emptied. “Yeah, yeah you did.”
“But that’s not the only thing,” he explained while my heart started to pound. “Obviously there is something between us. Drunk or not, that night would’ve never happened if there wasn’t.”
“Wait. You said you regretted that night. That you—”
“Yeah, I wish that night didn’t happen, Roxy. Only because I want to remember the first time I got inside you. I want to recall every second of thrusting into you, inch by inch, and commit that to memory, babe. That’s why I regret it and fully plan on rectifying that situation.”
Oh, holy balls, what he just said was light-me-on-fire hot. So steaming hot I wasn’t even focusing on the fact he’d never been in me. No guy, not even Reece, ever talked to me like that.