I’m too distracted. I trail the kisses to his neck, and shift so that I’m straddling him, kneeling over his lap so that I can slide my tongue along his shoulder. When I do it, my body flames to life again and any lingering thoughts are lost beneath a wave of desire. My br**sts press into him as I lick his skin. Since we are both wet, his skin is slick and they slide as I rise out of the water to reach his shoulders.

Sean tilts his head to the side and moans my name as I do it. I trace my tongue over the rise and fall of his muscles, slowly licking and kissing his smooth skin. Sean’s hands travel down my back and he cups my butt gently. Desire is building inside of me again. I slide my br**sts against him, tracing the lines of his shoulders, pressing my lips to his damp skin. When I move to settle onto his lap, he’s hard. Looking into his eyes, I slowly lower myself onto him. He’s so hard and sharp. The sensations that shoot through me as I do it are divine. The soreness doesn’t prevent me from taking him all the way in. If anything, it reminds me of that cloud of lust that filled my mind from last time I came. Sean’s gaze remains locked with mine. He gasps as I take him in, his hands still on the curve of my hips, guiding me.

Neither of us says anything. I sit upright on his lap and Sean leans back against the side of the tub. His gaze lingers on my br**sts before returning to my face. “You’re beautiful, Avery.”

I smile, because I don’t know what to say. I never thought I was anything, and here I have a gorgeous man telling me that I’m stunning. Before I can think about it, Sean shifts beneath me. I gasp and my mouth falls open into a little O.

“You like that?” he asks and I nod. I liked that very much. Before I have a chance to ask Sean what he’s doing, he does it again. This time I moan loudly and toss my head back. Sean grabs my arms so I don’t fall backward. Breathing hard, he moves his h*ps in a slow circle. It puts pressure in all the right spots. My back arches and I scream this time. It feels like he’s doing more, and maybe he is, but I’m not going to stop him to ask.

Sean remains perfectly composed, his eyes filled with fire as I climb closer and closer to ecstasy on his lap. He continues the movement, pressing his h*ps harder against mine, pushing me closer to the edge. I can barely hold myself up. I have no idea where to put my hands. Before I can think about it, they’re on top of my head, tugging at my hair. I don’t think about how I look or what he sees. I just enjoy what he’s doing to me. My br**sts ache for his touch, but Sean keeps his hands below the water, tightly gripping my ass. The world goes fuzzy and the only thing I’m aware of is how I feel, how Sean makes me want him. Heat builds within me, making me hot even though we’re in the water. As Sean moves inside me, it’s all I can do to sit up.

When he says, “Come for me, Avery,” he thrusts his h*ps against mine and I can’t control myself. I feel the pulsating from deep within me and ride him as hard as I can. Water sloshes out of the tub as I do it. My hands are on Sean’s shoulders as I thrust harder and harder. He watches me with a carnal look on his face. His eyes move between my bouncing br**sts and my face; his hands hold me tight to his lap, pushing harder, deeper. I shatter and fall against his chest, breathless. Sean’s hands find my damp hair. He kisses the side of my face as a whirlwind of pleasure shoots through my body. He’s still hard inside me, which makes the aftershocks more delicious.

I barely come back to myself as he starts kissing my neck. I still can’t speak. I’m a mess of heat and jagged breathes. I feel his warm lips press gently against my hot skin. One of his hands is in my hair, the other around my waist. He lifts me off of him, making me gasp, and settles me on his lap and holds me, so that I’m facing away from him. I lean into his back and he wraps his legs around my hips. His arms wrap around me and he holds on tight, like I might fly away.

We sit there in silence for a long time. I wonder what he’s thinking. When we get out of the tub, Sean takes me to the shower. He grabs my hand and we step into the steaming shower stall. Using shower gel, Sean rubs his hands over my body and soaps me up. Next he uses the shampoo and works it into my hair. Then, he turns me around and pulls my body against his, before the soap is rinsed away. With one arm wrapped around my chest and the other around my waist, he holds me tight. I turn my head to the side and let him hold me. Sean doesn’t let go right away. I notice that his heart races, but I don’t know why. It pounds wildly, like he’s running or afraid. Taking his hands I loosen his grip and turn back toward him.

“What’s wrong?” I can’t ignore it any more. Something’s bothering him. I have no right to ask, but I want to make it better.

Sean smiles sadly at me and says, “Nothing.” That’s the end of the conversation. We rinse off and get out. Sean hands me a fluffy white robe. I slip into it, and thank him. He nods and leaves me to untangle my hair in the bathroom.

It takes me longer than I wanted, but I don’t have conditioner or the stuff I use in my hair. Combing it felt more like pulling it out. When I emerge from the bathroom, Sean is dressed. He’s wearing his clothes from earlier, with one exception—he’s also wearing shoes.

A shot of cold panic settles into the center of my chest. Clutching my robe at the neck, I ask, “Where are you going?”

Sean won’t look at me. His movements are quick and erratic, like he wants to run from me. Sean walks across the room and closes the closet doors. He stands there for a moment, looking down at the handles before turning to me. A fake smile spreads across his lips and he heads for the door, keys in hand.

I step in front of him. “You’re leaving?” I can’t believe this. Sean looks at me for a full minute with pity. The floor of my stomach drops. It feels like I’ve been thrown off a cliff. The look he gives me says this is the way things are, but I can’t accept it. My heart beats harder, as fear works its way up my spine.

“Yes.” His voice is cold. “Step out of the way.”

“I can’t.” My voice catches in my throat. The voice in the back of my mind is telling me that I’m going to regret this, that I need to step aside, but I can’t. I reach for him. “Sean, stay.”

A cold look crosses his face. My heart thumps in my chest like it’s been shot. “I asked you to move. Don’t make me force you.” I don’t move. I can’t. I’m frozen with fear and remorse has choked me so hard that I can’t speak. I don’t know what expression is on my face, but it’s the wrong one.

Sean grabs my arm and pulls me aside. I expect him to walk through the door without a word, but he stops. His eyes don’t meet mine. There’s something about him that makes me think that I’m missing something. Sean’s grip loosens on my shoulder, but he doesn’t let go. It feels like I’m holding him up, like he’s falling apart. When he speaks, there’s a hitch in his voice. “I thought I could do this, but... I can’t. It’s not you. I—” Dark lashes conceal his blue eyes. When Sean exhales, he looks beaten. It makes me want to fix whatever’s hurting him, but I’m starting to think it’s me. “I need to think.”

Sean’s hand slips off my shoulder and he turns away without another word. Every instinct I have says to stop him, to help him, but I know I can’t. There’s something there, beneath the surface and it’s destroying him. It’s the reason he avoids New York, it’s the reason he’s walking away from me. Sean disappears through the door, head hung between his shoulders.