No more fear.

“Harley, why are you here?” he asked again.

“I got the job in Colorado.”

“Congratulations,” he said with no surprise.

“You knew I would,” she breathed softly, no longer startled that he’d always had more faith in her than she had.

“I knew you would,” he agreed.

“That’s not why I’m here.”

He didn’t move, not even his hands, which were still above his head, braced on the wood as if he didn’t quite trust himself to touch her. He merely stood there, arms taut, body taut, waiting with that endless patience of his.

Except…it wasn’t endless. She had a feeling he’d reached his limits when it came to her. She bit her lower lip. “You said some stuff to me at my mom’s party.”


“I know it didn’t seem like it, but I heard you. I’m here for that good-bye you talked about.”

“I thought you didn’t do good-byes.”

“I never have.” Bracing her hands on his belly, she went up on tiptoes and brushed her lips across his, and when his body tensed and tightened, she did it again.

And then again.

“Until you,” she whispered, nibbling at the corner of his mouth. “You, TJ Wilder, I can’t seem to walk away from without one. I tried, but I can’t do it.” The other corner of his mouth…“Unless you’ve changed your mind.”

“No.” There was a faint trace of humor in his voice, but she suspected it was aimed at himself. Unfortunately, he still hadn’t made a move.

“I need you, TJ.”

At that, he made a low, inarticulate sound in his throat, and dropped his hands to her waist. “What?” he asked.

She stared at him. “Are you really going to make me say it again?”


She blew out a breath. “Fine. I need you. Okay? I. Need. You.”

“Look at that, and you didn’t even choke on it.”

She sagged. “Give me a break. This whole thing is frustrating. I don’t need people. People need me. But you, TJ”-she pressed a hand to her aching heart-“I need. And I really hope you got it that time because it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier to say.”

He cupped her jaw, his eyes raking over her face, searching her eyes. Whatever he saw in them softened his. “I need you, too, Harley. So much.” He still wasn’t pressed up against her, but she felt something in her relax anyway as his hands gently squeezed her hips.

More. She needed even more. She let her fingers skim over his chest, feeling the muscles beneath quiver as she worked her way down. Past his belly button to the waistband of his shorts, so low on his hips as to be quite, deliciously indecent. It took her breath. He took her breath, and her fingers kept going even lower, gliding over the erection straining against the thin material. “You’re going to burst at the seams,” she murmured.

He made a choked sound, half laugh, half groan, and dipped his head, nuzzling her hair as if he couldn’t help himself.

“You commando again?”

“Yeah,” he said thickly, and just like that, she went damp.

“Kiss me,” she whispered, and then took matters in her own hands, yanking his head to hers.

With another of those rough, sexy sounds, he buried a hand in her hair, using the other at the small of her back to finally pull her in. His palm slid down to cup her butt, rocking her hard against him. She wore a flimsy little halter sundress, a gauzy number that was so comfortable. The hem was easy enough for him to bunch up in impatient fingers and then he slipped into her panties as well, holding her bare bottom in both hands.

“Christ, Harley,” he gasped hoarsely against her collarbone when his fingers slipped farther down, between her thighs, finding her hot and wet. She shivered, and he lifted her, pinning her to the wall. His lips pressed to her throat and one of his hands twined in her hair, tugging her face up to his. Leaning in, until his lips almost brushed hers, he whispered, “I was going to come to you tonight.”

“You were?”

“In about ten more seconds. Even knowing you wouldn’t want-”

She cupped his face. “I want.” There was so little space between them, her lips brushed his with each word. “I want you,” she whispered. “I need you.”

He slid a thigh between hers, lifting her up with it so that they were mouth to mouth. “Do you need this?”

“So much.”

The words were barely out of her mouth before he kissed her, rough and demanding. She responded in kind, trembling, already on the very edge. He wasn’t exactly steady himself, but he didn’t break the kiss as he trailed his hand up her thigh.

She untied his shorts, tugging them to his thighs. Yep, he was butt-ass naked beneath, and she nearly had an orgasm on the spot. Then he ripped away her panties and suddenly she was commando, too.

Still kissing her, he shoved up her dress and pushed into her, their twin gasps of pleasure filling the room.

As wound up as she was, she came in two thrusts. He was right behind her. Unable to remain upright through his orgasm, he slid down, still holding tightly to her, still embedded deeply within her as his knees hit the floor.

Chests heaving, half dressed, half not, they stayed like that for long moments, her forehead to his shoulder, his face buried in her hair.

“Bed,” he finally murmured, and somehow got them both down the hall.