She snorted. “You like everything.”

Hard to argue with the truth. “I especially like having you back in Cedar Ridge,” he murmured, watching the emotions his words caused play across her face.

Pleasure. Arousal … and uncertainty. It was hard for him to know she didn’t believe or trust in emotions. Hers.


But he understood. He’d set them back. “Are we okay, Lily?”

She met his gaze, her own uncertain.

“Huh,” he said. “I was sure me nearly bleeding out was going to change your mind.”

“I just need some time, I think. Not because of our fight, just because of me. I’m not used to this. To … being an us.”

He could understand that. He was surrounded by family who drove him crazy and lived to torment him, but they’d lay their lives down for him.

Lily didn’t have any of that and hadn’t for a long time. He did his best to be quiet, to just feel the relief that she was no longer pushing him away. That she was trying in the only way she knew how.

“I like being back,” she finally said softly. “I like being in this world again.”

“It’s your world too.”

She shrugged, and he lifted her chin to look into her eyes. There was no way to go back and comfort the devastated, grief-stricken girl she’d been. But he had the grown woman right here in his arms. “You belong here as much as anyone.”

He could tell that made her feel good but was also far too serious for her, because she changed the subject. “I still can’t believe Hudson stitched you up like that. Let me see your chest.”

Her holier-than-thou tone had him flipping her beneath him on the bed. “You’ve been the boss of me for going on two days now,” he said, making himself at home between her legs. “My turn.”

She stared up at his mouth like she wanted it on hers. He intended to oblige her. “Doesn’t seem quite fair,” she said, “since you’ve been a pretty big dud.”

He felt his brows rise. “A big dud?”

“And a bad patient,” she said.

Her hands were trapped between them. He entwined their fingers and slid her arms up over her head, holding them there while he lowered his body over hers and met her gaze. She was looking a little apprehensive and a whole lot aroused.

It was a good combo, he decided. “So you have complaints.”

“Well,” she said, hedging, clearly fighting a smile. “It’d be rude of me to insult your manhood when you’re down.”

He nudged his hips into hers, and he could tell by the way her breath caught that she could feel he wasn’t down at all, but up. Very, very up.

“Consider me corrected,” she whispered.

He kissed her neck, nudging the strap of her cami from her shoulder.

She moaned as his hand made its way beneath the soft material and skimmed lightly across her nipple, her entire body trembling under his touch. “Your injury …”

“Shh.” Slowly he eased her top over her head and sent it sailing. Leaning over her, he kissed her sexy mouth and then flashed her a smile before dragging hot, open-mouthed kisses down her breasts, her ribs, a hipbone … She was making the sexiest little whimpers he’d ever heard as he got to her panties. He kissed her over them and then pulled the cotton away from her, sliding them down her legs, where they took the same flight as her top had. “Can’t get enough of you,” he whispered, and lowered his mouth to her wet center.

She sucked in a breath, and then another. “Aidan—”

“Shh,” he said, and continued on with his plan to drive her crazy with lust.

It took a very gratifyingly short amount of time. When she cried out and began to shudder, he stayed with her to the end.

Panting, still quivering, she tried to roll, giving him a push to indicate he needed to go with her. Letting her have her way, he ended up flat on his back with her on top.

“Does this hurt?”

“You’re killing me,” he said. “But you’re not hurting me.”

She smiled and ran her hands down his chest, lightly over his bandage. His eyes nearly drifted shut in sheer passion at the sensation of all those smooth, soft curves lying against him. God, she felt so damn good. But her hands were headed south, her eyes on her own movements as she wrapped her fingers around him.

“Don’t let me hurt you,” she said.

Too late, he thought as she slid down his body. The feel of her mouth around him shattered any control he’d been managing to hold on to. He managed a single shallow breath before she began to suck in rhythm. His heart rate doubled and then tripled, and his hands slid into her hair. “Lily—”

She didn’t stop, not even when he was gasping and choked out her name. Not wanting to hurt her, he forced his hands from her hair and ended up fisting the sheets instead. She took him all the way to the edge before he managed to sit up and pull her in so that she straddled him.

She licked her lips like she was savoring the taste of him and then sank down on him so that he slid in deep.

“Aidan?” she whispered against his mouth.


“Can’t get enough of you either.”

He stilled and stared up at her. “Good,” he said in a fierce voice that had nothing to do with lust and everything to do with emotion. Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, to-the-soul emotion.

“I …” Her gaze dipped to his chest and then back to his eyes. “I do feel things for you,” she whispered. “Big things. I just …”

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