Page 5

He asks about me as if he truly wants to know, and I feel like we’ve known each other before . . . in some dark, forbidden place.

When he kisses me heatedly on the mouth during another make out, I come at him with the intensity of a natural disaster, and this may be what this is, but there is no stopping me, no stopping him, it seems, from having and undoing me.

Around five a.m. his phone rings for the third time. We’re still kissing with lazy intensity and my lips feel raw and red and swollen and my br**sts are deliciously sore but I’m still begging for more. Growing exasperated with the buzzing, he finally answers gruffly, “This better be good.”

I flip over to my stomach to give him room to talk and quietly study his profile. His eyes and one of his hands stay on the curve of my ass as he speaks into the receiver.

As he discusses what I think is business in a low, gruff voice I can barely make out, I memorize the grooves of his abs, trailing my fingers along his stomach. I edge toward his lap and, as he keeps squeezing my ass in one big hand, I kiss his hard c**k and lick up the wetness, which makes him squeeze his eyes shut for a moment and exhale roughly.

When he finally opens his eyes, they’re hard and cold. He snaps a list of numbers into the receiver, then hangs up and remains thoughtful, and that’s when I sense he’s pulled back from me.

I sit up in bed with a sick sensation. This is it, and then my suspicion is confirmed when his glorious body rises from the bed where he was just mine. I watch him disappear into the bathroom, a sinking sense of despair burning in the pit of me. I know what’s coming, don’t I? I know. The look I thought I saw last night was a trick. A trick of the drink. A trick of the light. A motherfucking trick and I should’ve known it. Now I’m dying inside and it isn’t of excitement. This little fantasy? This fleeting connection I thought I had with someone? It’s over.

It wasn’t a connection. Or even real. It was a little alcohol, some rain, some hormones, and a couple of sexy lines that made me believe he really was as turned on by me as he’d ever in his life been.

“I’ve got a flight early and need to take care of one last thing before I leave.” He comes back with his clothes fisted in his hands and quickly jumps into his jeans. His jaw is a little too tight, as though he isn’t enjoying this any more than I am.

“Sure,” I say, and I hope to hell I sound nonchalant enough. All of these orgasms and the way I made those embarrassing noises for him are making this extremely awkward because I lost it. Omigod, I lost it, I lost myself in a complete stranger.

He looks at me, then opens his mouth for a moment before anything actually comes out. “It’s f**king complicated—you don’t want me in your life.”

“Don’t. Please don’t. You don’t have to do this. Let’s leave it at this. I know how this goes. Goodbye, have a nice life. Adios, Pepe.”

We stare, he whispers, “I shouldn’t have touched you.” He heads to the door. I look at his broad back while working on my brave face. I’ve done this a million times. I’m putting up walls around the parts where it hurts so that it doesn’t hurt one whit. Not one whit.

“One of my guys vacuumed your car last night.” He stops with his hand on the doorknob, then stalks back and presses the keys of my car into my hand, and strangely, he kisses my eyelids. “Your eyes,” he whispers. Then he leaves.

My stomach literally aches when the door shuts behind him. I plop down on the bed after the most delicious sex of my life, completely . . . devastated. A crushing loneliness settles over me, magnified a thousand times from when I walked into that party just hours ago, hoping to make myself feel better. One more frog. No. God, he was not a frog. He was . . . something without a name. And now he’s gone. And that fleeting connection I was so certain of is gone too.

And I am truly, inexplicably, devastated.

A ton of bricks sits right on my heart as I gather my stuff from the bathroom, and when I realize it’s all still wet, I wince, struggling to pull the damp clothes over my body. I can’t find my panties. I look around the entire suite. When I look under the bed, I swear I can still feel him in my swollen pu**y as I bend. Greyson.

Fuuuuck, even his name is sexy.

“Did you actually take my panties?” Disbelieving, I go look on the other side of the bed, refusing to remember how sensual I felt when he took them off me.

While searching beneath the bed skirt, I hear a click followed by footsteps. I raise my head to face the door, and blink in confusion. He came back? He’s standing right in front of me. An ache so deep its unfamiliarity overwhelms me.

My insides flutter as I stand. His dark brown hair is deliciously tousled and it goes beautifully with his eyes, eyes that are like all the glasses in a bar that reflect the light, shining almost unnaturally on me. He’s tall and sculpted but he oozes some unnamable, almost unnatural power over me. When he looks at me with those eyes, when he stands even this far away, somehow aloof and untouchable, he only makes me want to touch him all the more.

“You forget something?” I say. I’m dying of embarrassment at being caught talking to myself like this. He makes me feel as girly and vulnerable as I’ve ever felt in my life.

“I didn’t take your panties.” He signals to a lamp and frowns slightly, as though he can’t figure out why they ended up there. They’re hanging right over the top of the shade.

My cheeks blaze bright red. “Thank you,” I lamely mumble as I peel them off the shade. “I really like these panties.”

He crosses his arms and quietly watches me slip them on. “I really like them too. They look especially gorgeous on that ass of yours.”

I slide them on and pretend to be engrossed in my toenails when he comes over and drops on his haunches beside me, and tips my head around to his. The timbre of his voice drops to a level that is beyond intimate. “I want to take you home.” My toes start curling, and he continues in that low, husky voice until my whole stomach feels like a knot. “And I want your phone number, and when I come back to town, I want to see you again.”

“Why?” I counter.

“Why not?”

“You don’t even know my last name,” I accuse.

“I know the length of your legs.” He reaches out to touch a strand of my hair with his long fingers, his eyes never once leaving mine. “I know that you’re ticklish behind your knees. That you like to pant in my ear.” He leans back against the wall and just watches me. “I know that I’d like to kiss you again. That knowing you were in that bed, I couldn’t get on the damn elevator. I wanted to see these . . .” He leans over and rubs my eyes with the pads of his thumbs. “Again. So the risk analyst in me says no. This is a bad idea. But you look like a determined woman, and my guess is you’ll be going to that bar, continuously, picking up men, until you find what it is you were looking for. And my risk analyst says that’s far worse. Who will these men be? Who will you be picking up, Melanie?”

I feel embarrassed all over again, but I don’t want him to know, so I shrug.

“Well, it may surprise you to know that I’m not okay with that. It may surprise you to know that if any man will be doing any number of things to that body of yours, it will be me.”

The look. Oh god, the look. “So.” A probing question comes into his eyes. “Am I taking you home?”

God. I’m defenseless against that look. That look I’ve wanted, I’ve memorized, I don’t want him to break through my walls and make me cry, but I’m a little drunk and my walls are made of paper today. I bluff in self-defense.

“So chivalrous of you to come back. You’ll make my eyes water.”

“That’s right. And when you orgasm your hardest, you shed a couple of tears too.”

My cheeks flare bright red as I remember, and I roll my eyes at him. “If you say so.”

“I do say so. That was the highlight of my night.”

I strap on my shoes, beet red, and he pulls off his shirt. “This one’s dry. Put this on.”

I slip into his shirt and his scent and warmth engulf me as I watch him ease into his damp turtleneck, and it’s with complete disbelief that I walk out of the room with him, with this beautiful god, feeling his gloved hand on the small of my back, guiding me to the elevator, his eyes studying my profile with an odd smile.

“Not exactly what you imagined when you woke up this morning, was I?”

My body is so well f**ked I can barely walk, and my eyes, my eyes hurt, I can’t tell him every day of my life I’ve tried to imagine him. “Not exactly what I imagined,” I say. “Today was nothing like I imagined.”

He tips my head and kisses me. Not with lust. Just a kiss.

An after-sex kiss that reaches to the deepest levels in me, pulls open my nerve endings and makes me feel exposed, and wanted, and raw, and I have to fight not to cry for real like you do when you made that last wish on your very last penny and it came true.

Men have mocked me, ruined me, used me, abused me. I like to get in verbal fights. I like to cuss, spit, scream, and be myself. Nobody has ever made me want to cry while just talking to me. Nobody has ever made me want to cry, but one lone memory and now this man, who’s giving me the look, seems to manage it.

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