Neither of us moved.

We both seemed frozen, and then Luc did move. He lifted a hand, placing it over mine—over the hand that rested above his heart.

My gaze darted to his and I found it difficult to breathe. The fluttering was back in my ruined chest, overshadowing the wrecked feeling that threatened to pull me under and never let me resurface. The fluttering rapidly became something else, a burning and tingling that spread much, much lower.

My fingers curled into his shirt. What was I doing?

Luc was, well, he was Luc. He wasn’t even really human. As I stared up at him, I had to admit to myself that I’d stopped caring about the whole not-being-human thing after the first time I’d seen him shirtless.

I was that shallow.

I fully accepted that.


But what was I thinking?

I was thinking about stretching up on the tips of my toes and kissing him. That was what I was thinking about. And I didn’t want to think anymore—think about who I really was or all the lies that now made up my life.

I just wanted to feel—feel what I never did when I was with Brandon. I just wanted to feel—feel real. Like I was a person who existed and who had a past and a future.

Luc’s eyes flared a sudden deep and stunning violet. His gaze lowered to my mouth. An intense emotion rolled across his face. Luc let go of my hand and stepped back, but for once I was quicker than him. I stretched up and slid my hands up his chest, to his shoulders, and I brought my mouth to his.

I kissed Luc.

The first touch of our lips was like hitting a live wire. Little darts of pleasure shot through my veins as the flutter in my chest spread lower. My lips tingled from the contact and my skin flushed, and Luc . . . he just stood there, as still as a statue.

He wasn’t kissing me back.

He wasn’t doing anything.

Oh holy Lord, what was I doing? I was kissing Luc, and he wasn’t even touching me. His hands were at his sides, and I was hanging on to him like a feral octopus.

I needed help.

Serious help.

I let go and rocked back a step and then two. My legs bumped into the bed. The wrong kind of heat—murky, sweltering heat—suffocated me while Luc stared at me like I’d lost my mind, and there was a good chance that I had.

I totally had.

His chest rose and fell sharply.

Mortification overcame me, and words stammered out. “I sh-shouldn’t have done that. I don’t even know why I did. So let’s pretend it never happened? Maybe it didn’t? Maybe this is a weird dream, and we’ll—”

Luc closed the small distance between us in less than a heartbeat. One arm folded around my waist as his other hand thrust through my hair, tangling up in the strands.

His mouth landed on mine, crashed into mine, and I might’ve stopped breathing. He pulled me up against him until only the tips of my toes remained on the carpet and all the interesting parts were nearly lined up, chest to chest, hip to hip.

Luc kissed me—kissed me as a deep sound rumbled from the back of his throat. The little shivers of pleasure intensified. My brain completely shut down as my senses were overwhelmed.

He shuddered against me, and my arms swept around him, my fingers digging into his arms and then in his soft, silky hair. The kiss deepened as the tip of his tongue touched mine.

I sparked.

His hand traveled down my back, creating a wave of maddening sensations throughout me. Vaguely, I thought the overhead light flipped on and then turned back off, but I wasn’t sure and I didn’t care. Not when his hands gripped my hips and he lifted me an inch or two and oh . . .

Thinking was so overrated.

His kisses were devouring and he kissed as if at any given second we’d be ripped apart and he was making the most of those precious seconds. But then Luc moved, and I didn’t even know how we ended up on the bed, but we were falling, topping backward. My back came flush with the bed, and my eyes flew open.

His eyes . . .

They were a beautiful shade of purple, and the pupils were as white and gleaming as freshly fallen snow.

He planted one hand in the bed beside my head and one knee next to my leg, supporting his weight as he hovered over me. “This kiss . . .” he said, voice thick. “This is beautiful too.”

My chest squeezed. I knew he was comparing this to our first kiss, the one I didn’t remember. The one I would never remember. They were the good memories Luc had. Memories I wouldn’t—

“Don’t.” Luc touched my cheek. “Don’t go back there, Peaches. Stay here.”

The crushing pressure eased off, replaced by a different sense of urgency. I wanted more than kissing. I wanted—

“What do you want?” he asked, his gaze holding mine.

“You,” I whispered, cheeks burning.

“You have me.” His thumb dragged along my lower lip. “You’ve always had me. Always.”

My breath caught around a sudden knot in my throat. Raw emotions threatened to rise up and consume me as tears burned the backs of my eyes. I gripped his shirt and pulled. He ducked his head, letting me pull his shirt off. My gaze roamed over his chest, his stomach, and lower.

I reached for him with a shaking hand. My fingers skimmed the dips and hard planes of his stomach, down to the button of his low-riding jeans. Blood thundered.

Catching my hand, Luc pushed it into the mattress, and then he was coming down, his hips settling between my legs and then he was sipping from my lips, kissing me in a way I’d never, ever been kissed before.

His hand left mine, trailing over my arm and then down, under my shirt. Those fingertips brushed over my skin, causing my back to arch. His mouth left mine, blazing a path over the line of my jaw and then down.

He made this deep, throaty sound as the bridge of his nose dragged along the side of my neck. “Peaches.”

I shivered.

“God.” He nipped at my skin, eliciting a sound from me I’d never made before. “I love peaches.”

Things kind of spun and spun from there. My shirt was gone, we were skin to skin, and my legs were wrapped around his moving hips. There was a popping sound in the room and a sudden scent of burnt plastic. Way, way back in my mind, I thought I should be concerned about that, but I was drowning in him, in us, and his skin . . . it was humming. I could feel it vibrating under my fingertips, against my own skin, and it was the strangest, most amazing feeling.

There was no room for thinking or feeling beyond this moment. Not when his mouth made its way back to mine, not when I was panting against his swollen lips, and I knew I was on the precipice of something major, something beautifully unknown, and then I was falling over that edge, tumbling and spinning. I was humming.

“Luc,” I said, gasping.

He suddenly stilled above me, his breath dancing over my lips, and I was waiting—wanting him to do more, want more. He cursed and wrenched away, flipping onto his back, onto the bed.

My eyes went wide, and I was once again staring at the ceiling, my entire body trembling as the pleasant, sultry haze faded. Slowly, I turned my head to look at him.

I sucked in air.

A faint, whitish shimmer surrounded his entire body. One arm was thrown over his face. The other hand was clenched, resting atop his heaving chest. My gaze dipped. His jeans were unbuttoned and shoved down his lean hips. Had I done that?

I so had.

“Luc,” I repeated.

“I need a moment.” His voice was rough, like sandpaper.

I waited a moment. “Luc.”

His knuckles looked like they were bleached white. “I can’t.”

All the liquid heat that had invaded my muscles vanished in an instant. Suddenly cold, I folded my arms over my bare chest and sat up. My hair fell forward, slipping over my shoulders. I shivered for a different reason. “Can’t what?”

Luc pulled his arm away from his face. His eyes were squeezed tight. “I can’t do this with you.”

A sickening sense of dread filled me. “I don’t understand. It sure . . . felt like you could. That we . . . that we would.”

He made this sound like he was in pain. “Your head is so messed up right now. Doing this feels like I’m taking advantage of you, because come tomorrow, you’re going to be pissed at me again,” he bit out, jaw clenched.