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This was what he hadn’t shared with me the night on the balcony, how bad the guilt and the anger had really gotten for him. Oh my God, I didn’t want to hear this as terrible as it sounded. I didn’t want to even think of him being in that kind of pain. It slaughtered me.

“But Jax got me to talk about it. He got me to take the damn counseling the department required I take seriously. And you’re right. I still don’t deal all that well with it, but at least I’m fucking trying. I’m not pushing you away. I’m trying to deal. But you haven’t tried once, not in six years.”

Unable to stand to hear any of this, I tried again to pull free, but he wasn’t letting me get anywhere.

“You’re going to college for a degree you don’t want, because you’re too afraid to admit and accept that you like working at Mona’s. Not because you don’t have any drive, but because it gives you time to do what you love—paint. But you won’t even take that risk. You’ll continue on, just to stay safe. To not take any risks.”

“Shut up,” I seethed, wishing I never told him about how much I hated taking those classes. It was a good thing he was still holding my wrists, because I probably would’ve smacked him upside the head.

“Yeah, the truth is a fucking bitch, right?” His eyes glinted. “What I don’t understand is how what happened with Charlie made you so afraid to do anything, but you want to know what I do know?” His eyes flashed blue fire. “I love you, Roxy. Charlie’s death isn’t going to change that. This isn’t going to change that. And I know you feel the same way.”

He—he what?

He—he said I feel what?

Yep, it was time for me to roll on out of here. Using all my strength, I jerked away from him, which got me nowhere.

“Roxy, stop it,” he commanded.

Frustration rose sharply but so did something else. We were pressed together in all the places that matter, and despite the fact I was trying to leave him and we were arguing, the longer I sat on him, the more I could feel him hardening underneath me, and my blood was simmering from the contact.

And he said he loved me.

I twisted in his lap, which only succeeded in me grinding down on him. The red-hot sensation licked through me, and I saw the exact moment he felt the same thing I did.

His features tightened. “Jesus . . .”

My breath was coming in short pants as I zeroed in on his expressive lips. I was still trying to pull my arms free, and it was probably a good thing he hadn’t let go, because I’d probably fly backwards. I rocked forward, hoping to knock him off balance, and his answering groan set my body on fire.

I stopped thinking. Or maybe I was thinking so much that I couldn’t grasp and hold any one thought in particular, other than I needed this—I needed him. Just one more time. It took nothing to reach his mouth, and when our lips met, he jerked back a little.


I didn’t want to hear it, especially if he was going to introduce logic into what was happening. Pressing my lips against his, I kissed him harder, and when he didn’t kiss me back, I bit down on his lower lip.

Reece gasped, and I took advantage, slipping my tongue into his mouth, twisting mine with his as I rocked my hips again, but this time I didn’t stop. I moved in his lap, moaning into the kiss as pleasure spiraled so brightly I thought I saw white behind my eyes.

He let go of my wrists, dropping his hands to my hips, and I wrapped an arm around his neck, running my fingers along the hair as I slid the other down his throat and further, over his chest and his taut stomach. My fingers reached the top button and I unhooked it with ease.

“Shit,” he hissed, eyes clouded with need. “We haven’t settled anything—” He groaned as I palmed him through his trousers. “Fuck, Roxy . . . you’re not playing fair.”

“I’m not playing.” My lips felt swollen as I brought my mouth back to his and rubbed him through his pants. When he didn’t stop me, I quickly pulled down the zipper and eased the hot, pulsing length out from his boxers.

Reece leaned back, his gaze gliding down to where I held him in my hand. His voice was like smoke when he spoke. “This isn’t what you need right now.”

“Yes it is.” I rested my forehead against his. “This is what I want right now.”

“Roxy,” he said my name like it was a curse and a prayer.

I dragged my hand up his length, running my thumb over the head of his cock. “Touch me,” I implored, begged. “Please. Reece, touch me.”

He made that sound that drove me crazy, the deep growl that was so raw and masculine it curled my toes and caused the muscles low in my belly to tighten. Then he lifted one of his hands. Finally. He tugged the front of my cami down and then tugged the cups of my bra aside, baring my breasts.

Reece touched me.

He did more than just touch me. His hands were greedy and so were his kisses. We were flushed and panting as I worked him to the point he pulled my hand away and all but tore my panties off. There was no more waiting. On my knees, I lowered myself on him, skin against skin. I cried out at the feeling, at how he stretched me, and how I burned around his length, and how I was scorched every place he touched and kissed me.

Letting me set the rhythm, Reece gave me complete control as I moved over him, rising and lowering myself slowly at first and then more frantically as my muscles contracted around him. As the pleasure built, spun tighter and tighter, and the release I sought began to whip out through me, he moved then, taking over. Gripping my hip with one hand and the back of my head with the other, his hips powered up, thrusting into me, setting me off. The release was so powerful, so explosive it was almost painful, almost too much. I wasn’t sure I could take it, but I didn’t want to escape. Not when I felt him start to lose control, when he grunted my name in my ear. I knew he was close. His hold on my hip tightened, and he started to lift me off him. I didn’t want him to pull out. This . . . this was going to be our last time, and I wanted to feel him so very alive inside me. I trusted him, and I hadn’t missed any more of the pills.

I bore down on him, holding him just as tightly as he held me, and he knew what I wanted, because I felt him start to shake.

“Roxy,” he growled my name, his large body stilling against mine as his arms surrounded me in a powerful embrace.

It took a while to move after that. I could feel his heart pounding just as fiercely as mine, and I felt each flex of his body throughout every cell in me. Neither of us spoke as I rested in his lap. We . . . we just held each other quietly, in a silence that was filled with a thousand unspoken words. It was only when we were no longer joined that I knew it was time.