Did she? Something big and ugly and tangled sat within her, dying to get out. Something rib-bustingly, heart-burstingly horrible, and it was all his fault. Her insides hurt. He made it impossible to breathe. She couldn’t stand it any longer.
“You’re crazy.” Roslyn dropped the knife and pushed aside his hands. “How could you do that to me?”
Big hands enclosed her shoulders and drew her in. Violently she shrugged him off and shoved at him. Her palms slapped against his chest so hard they stung. The man actually stumbled back a step, proof of his own obviously addled state. “The chain or the knife?”
“Look at me,” he said quietly. “Please?”
She didn’t want to, but she did. The pull he had on her was horrible. “What?”
“Hey.” He gave her a contrite look, forehead furrowed and eyes full of woe. A spot of blood slid down his neck from the small cut. “I’m sorry I hurt your hand.”
She jerked a shoulder, as close to a shrug as she could manage. Every part of her ached.
“Is it alright?” he asked.
“It’s fine,” she said. “I just said that so you’d cut the crap with the knife.”
“Did you?” The side of his mouth kicked up into a smile and small lines wrinkled beside his eyes. “Huh.”
“You’re an idiot, but I don’t want to kill you.”
“No?” His voice sounded deep and hoarse. It rumbled right through her. “What do you want to do with me?”
She threw her hands wide in exasperation and he grabbed at them. With a growl she stepped back, wrapped her arms tight around herself. “No. I don’t know.”
“But you don’t hate me.”
After everything he’d done to her, she ought to. It was inexcusable that she didn’t hate him with an unholy passion. But she didn’t. Not even a little, just like he’d said.
Guilt smothered her. Her eyelids squeezed tight. She shook her head, scowling so hard she could feel a headache coming on. Pain crept up the side of her face and fuzzed up her mind. How perfect, feeling bad for not despising someone. How ridiculous. She’d always tried to be a good person, tried to do the right thing. Falling into a big black hole of negativity never helped anyone, only he drove her insane.
He made to touch her and she shifted back as far as she could, which wasn’t far enough.
“Nick, stop it. You’re giving me a headache.”
His hands grabbed for her again. No way did she want him touching her, but he easily evaded her swats. Fingers curved over her hips and attempted to pull her in, managing to drag her one reluctant step forward.
“Say it,” he demanded.
“Stop.” She opened her eyes and hit out at him. Her bruised knuckles stung and her arms sagged weakly. “Let me go.”
“No.” Nick leant back, trying to evade her half-assed punches. Then he apparently gave up and got closer instead. He hid his face in her hair and wrapped his arms around her. His breath tickled her neck. She flailed and fussed but he was strong. Strong enough to keep her exactly where he wanted her, as he had shown time and again. His hard arms held her tight, no matter how she squirmed. The prod of his hard cock was blazingly obvious against her belly, pissing her off even worse.
Anger kept the adrenalin pumping. Her whole body felt alive with it, shaky, edgy and wired. Not even remotely under control. She could have spit and raged and cussed him a treat. Then come back for more.
Like with Neil back at the school, she wanted to do this man harm. He’d hurt her. He continued to hurt her. So she should hurt him back. Shouldn’t she?
Nothing seemed clear anymore. She liked knowing her place in the world. How she fit. And she didn’t fit with him, no matter what other parts of her tried to say otherwise. Those thoughts were illusory and artificial. She wouldn’t listen to them.
Nick was totally wrong for her in every goddamn way.
“It’s okay,” he said with his mouth pressed against her ear. “It’s okay, Roslyn. I’m here.”
“I know,” she cried. Everything in her world was so fucked up and wrong she didn’t know where to start. She could have drowned in the self-pity. At least it would have brought it all to an end. “I know you’re here. That’s the problem.”
She could feel him laughing before she heard him, the motion of his chest bumping lightly against hers.
She’d kill him. She’d pick the knife back up and this time she’d …
Nick thought he might be losing it. A brain cell at a time she’d done him in, broken him down. Maybe he should just pick up the knife and hand it back to her. She sure as hell wouldn’t fight him over it a second time. The situation being so fucked, what else could he do but laugh? What a mess. Hysteria may have helped him along. He didn’t feel much in control of himself just then. No one had ever gotten to him like Roslyn did.
Soft hands still pushed at this chest, trying to win free. All the squirming didn’t help things. It felt far too fucking good. He needed to apologize properly. Talk some sense to her and cool the situation off. He’d had no business scaring her that way.
“Roslyn,” he said, trying to calm down the idiotic chuckling. Not good. She’d gotten worked up enough for both of them.
No reaction from her apart from a muffled snarl against his shirt.
“Ros. Stop it.”
Nope. Nothing. This needed to end.
He cupped her face in one hand and made her look at him. Jerkily, she tried to turn away and he fisted her hair at the back of her head, held her still that way.
Aw, shit. Her eyes were glossy with unshed tears and her expression tight and tense and awful. Pissed off at him like nothing he’d seen. Never had he made a woman so mad. Her mouth trembled, same as when she thought he’d abandoned her. When she’d thought she would die.
Nick bit back a sigh as true regret slid beneath his skin. He’d done this to her, again. Only he could fix it. Nothing he could say would do, so instead he used his mouth for kissing her. Silently, he apologized. From the tip of her ear to the side of her face, the smooth line of her jaw and the jut of her chin. He must have caught her by surprise because the fists drumming against her chest slowed, lost their steady rhythm.
Roslyn deserved to be kissed, all over and all the time. He didn’t deserve to be the one doing it, but screw it.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
A frown puckered her brow and she tried to twist away again. His hand tightened in her hair and his mouth followed her. He kissed the edge of her lips, so sweet. There’d never been anything like it. She stuttered out a breath and made a tiny noise. It sounded a bit like a distressed hiccup. If only he knew what it meant.
“I’m so fucking sorry,” he said.
Nick canted his head and brushed his lips against hers. She stood rigid against him. The fingers tightened in his shirt, nails digging into him through the material. Mysteriously, she didn’t try to stop him.
Impossible to say exactly when she stopped fighting and let him kiss her. When she arched her neck and raised her mouth to him, allowing him closer. Somehow suffering his attentions turned into kissing him back. Instead of denying him, her lips actually sought him out.
Oh, man, bloody amazing. He couldn’t believe it for a moment, but her mouth moved beneath his and it felt fucking perfect. Roslyn kissed him.
He moaned because his tongue was in her mouth and her mouth was heaven. A hot, wet, delicious, hungry heaven he couldn’t get enough of. The taste of her hit him harder than her hands ever could. Floored him first go. If he hadn’t had her to hang onto he’d have been flat on his back.
Her kisses were hard and angry. She pushed back against him, fighting for control. Sharp teeth nipped at his bottom lip and his eyes shot open at the sting of pain. When had he closed them? He’d meant to watch her. He’d gotten so wrapped up in kissing her he’d lost touch with everything else. His bottom lip throbbed almost as hard as his cock.
The woman had bitten him good. But then, she rarely did things halfway. He had a scar on his forehead to prove it.
Ros stood gulping in air, stunned. Her mouth hung open and her eyes were wide. Of course, he wasn’t faring any better. They just stood there staring at each other, panting. The sound of their heavy breathing filled the place. It easily drowned out the noise of the rain drumming on the roof.
She’d actually kissed him back. The fact bounced round and round inside his head. God, her lips looked tasty. Swollen and pink and waiting right there for him.
Fuck it. He covered her velvet-soft mouth with his own and kissed her some more. Lost himself in her, never wanting it to end.
Her elbows bumped him as she wound her arms around his neck. The woman clung to him. Left no doubt in his mind she wanted him every bit as much as he wanted her. That she accepted him, thank God. The burning in him made it hard to think, though. The lack of blood to his brain as his dick tried to push a path straight through his jeans to her.
Action stations. He had to have her, right now.
His hands stroked over her back and kneaded her ass cheeks. She in turn rubbed herself against him in the best way, stirring him up even further. Acting like she couldn’t get close enough. It was time for her to lose the jeans. His fingers dealt with the button and tore down the zip. Not breaking the kiss for a fucking moment. Mouths remained pressed tight together. He pushed the jeans over her hips, taking her panties along with them. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Down her thighs and past her knees.
Smooth, warm skin met his hands. The odd goosebump, too, but he got that. Their mouths finally separated as he ducked to go lower and her eyelids fluttered open. Her pupils were huge.
“Quick,” she said and he nodded, understanding completely.
Her hands gripped his shoulders. He stripped her jeans down her legs and off her one free foot. Good enough. No more waiting.
“Nick,” she whispered.
“I know.” He stood and undid his jeans, shoved them down past his cock. “Come on.”