Author: Jill Shalvis


Huh. This reasoning could be applied to him as well, and she could get on board with seeing his body up close and personal. To get started, she shoved his shirt up his abs. Happy to help, he tugged it over his head in one economical motion. Almost before it hit the floor, her dress did the same, pooling around her ankles. Before she could bend to pick it up, Ford slid his thigh between her legs and pressed in. He kissed her breast through the lace of her bra, and her brain went into total meltdown. She was kissing whatever part of his delicious body she could reach—his jaw, his throat, the corded muscles of his neck—when she couldn’t resist taking a little bite of him.


He hissed in a breath, and she murmured an apology.


“No. Do it again.”


Tara obliged, making him groan as she rocked helplessly against the thigh he had between hers, the sensation of him so hard against her making her dizzy. He tugged the straps of her bra to her elbows and trapped her arms at her sides, and then concentrated on driving her crazy. “Ford, my hands—”


“Mmm,” rumbled from deep in his throat as his thumbs ran back and forth over her very interested nipples. “Missed this,” he said, grinding his hips to hers. “Missed you.” He kissed her, then he gave her a gentle but decided push onto the bed. Following her down, he trailed kisses across her jaw and down her neck—and slowly divested her of her bra and panties. When his tongue darted out and made direct contact with her nipple, she gasped, the sound turning into a moan as he sucked her into his mouth. Then he dragged hot, openmouthed kisses along the undersides of her breasts, sending chills up her spine.


“What?” he whispered when she went still.


“You…” Tara had an image of him making love to her all those years ago, how he’d taken the time to learn how to pleasure her. She’d always loved having the undersides of her breasts kissed.


And he’d remembered. He remembered after all this time how she preferred to be touched.


“I what, Tara?”


“You remember me.”


“Vividly.”


Tara sat up and helped him shove his Levi’s off. His skin was warm, and he engulfed her senses, making her sigh into his next kiss. She sighed again when he rolled her beneath him, kissing and nipping his way down her body until he was at the apex of her thighs. Holding them open with his big hands, he smiled. “My favorite part,” he said, and then dipped his head and proved it.


He proved it until she was helplessly shuddering and panting for air. “In me,” she whispered, pulling him up. “Right now.”


She was rewarded with a full-wattage smile as he tore open a condom, rolled it on, and slowly slid inside her, their twin gasps of pleasure echoing around them.


“God, Tara.” His voice was so low as to be nearly inaudible. “It’s been so long.” He pulled out slightly, then flexed his hips and thrust back in. “So good.”


The sensation of being filled by him stole her breath. She tried to rock her hips against him but his body was like steel and he had his own pace—which was set to drive-her-out-of-her-mind slow. There was no rushing him. Ever. She knew this about him but still her hands roamed over his smooth, muscular body, urging, coaxing, demanding. When that didn’t work, she tugged him down and bit his lower lip.


With a growl low in his throat, he finally set an agonizingly measured rhythm, his hips moving in a delicious circle, making her moan with every thrust. But he didn’t speed up, even when her fingernails dug into his back and she whispered a desperate “please,” arching up and bending her legs, angling him deeper within her.


“Oh, Christ.” He dipped his head to kiss her. “Christ, that’s good.”


“Then go faster!”


“Not yet.”


“Dammit—”


“Let go for me, Tara.” He cupped her face. “Let someone else have the control for a little bit.”


No, she wasn’t good at that. “But—”


“No buts.” Ford tangled his fingers in her hair and made sure she shut up by kissing her thoroughly, his tongue sliding against hers.


Probably if anyone else had tried this, they’d have ended up walking funny tomorrow, but when Ford kissed her, she always lost track of her senses, not to mention the time and place. Every. Single. Time. She lost track of everything as he moved within her, bringing it all to a slow build that started low in her body and spread.


It took all she had to keep her eyes open and on his. Normally, she needed to close her eyes to concentrate, but with Ford, concentration wasn’t necessary. He took her where she needed to go with seemingly no effort at all, and she didn’t want to miss a single second of it. Even when her eyes were beginning to flutter shut on their own, she forced them open, unwilling to tear her gaze off his face, not wanting to miss the pure pleasure etched on his features.


Pleasure she was giving him. It was seductive, erotic, and she was burning with need, her entire body throbbing with it.


“Tara,” he said, voice rough and thick with desire. “Now.”


With nothing more than the demand, he sent her skittering right over the edge. A low, keening cry tore from her throat that she couldn’t have held back to save her own life.


She’d given him control after all, she thought dazedly. And as she burst, pulsing hard around him, he pressed himself deeper, then deeper still, coming with a raw, rough, very male sound of gratification as he followed her over.


Ford was still buried deep inside Tara’s gorgeous body when they heard the front door of the cottage open and then shut.


“Tara?” a male voice called out, one that had Tara jerking beneath Ford.


“No,” she whispered, then shoved Ford off of her and sat up, the sheet clutched to her chest, her eyes wide and horrified. “It can’t be.”


“Who is it?” Ford asked, frowning.


“Tara? You here?”


Galvanized into action, Tara leapt out of the bed and started yanking on her clothes. “Give me a minute!” she yelled. “I’m coming.”


“Yeah, you did,” Ford murmured. He had the nail marks on his ass to prove it. “Who’s out there, Tara?”


She shoved her feet back into her heels, then did a double take as she realized Ford was still lying in bed. Naked. “Oh my God. Get dressed!”


She was attempting to work her hair back into submission as he rose and pulled her against him, stilling her frenetic movements. “Talk to me.”


“It’s Logan,” she choked out and shoved at him.


He held on. “Logan,” he said, searching his memory banks. “Logan, the ex?”


“Yes. Wait—” She stilled in the act of getting back into her dress. “You know him?”


“Only that he likes to be plastered all over the papers and magazines. And once upon a time, you were plastered there with him.” He caught her arm before she could run off. This had been supposedly just sex—but that didn’t mean he was happy to find her ex-husband sniffing around. And actually, he was distinctly unhappy about that. “Why is he here?”


“I don’t know.” Tara clapped her hands to her face. “And you’re still naked.”


“Yes, and less than three minutes ago you were enjoying that very fact,” he said grimly. “You don’t know what he wants?”


She dropped her head to his chest. “No idea.”


Ford wrapped his hand around the bulk of her silky hair and gently tugged until she was looking at him. “You asked who was in my bed. Maybe I should have asked who’s in yours.”


“No one’s been in mine! For two years!” She closed her eyes. “Two years, Ford.”


He stroked a finger over her jaw. “You were overdue,” he murmured. Okay, so she and Logan weren’t still having sex. That was good. Not that he should care one way or the other. “Why so long?”


“Because I couldn’t find anyone I wanted to be with,” she said a little defensively. “And now there are two men, and one of them is naked and smells like me, and—”


He kissed her, long and deep. Crazy. Stupid. And Christ, so fucking good.


“—and tastes like me,” she whispered with a moan when they broke apart. “Oh my God, Ford.”


Since she looked so adorably miserable and confused, and sounded so panicked to boot—all a rarity for her—Ford let out a breath and stroked a hand down her hair. “I can fix the naked part. You’re on your own for the rest, unless you want help encouraging him to get the hell out.”


“What? No.”


Ouch. But a good reminder of what this was. And what it wasn’t.


“Ford. I can’t do this with you,” she whispered.


“Do what?”


“This. It didn’t work back then, and it won’t work now.”


Yes, he knew that. So he had no idea why he backed her to the wall and kissed her again, hard and ravishing, until she was clutching at him. It might have been a stupid, macho, asshole thing to do, but that she looked so dazed when he pulled back helped a lot. “I don’t think we’re done,” he said with a calm he didn’t come close to feeling.


“We have to be.” She chewed on her lower lip. “I’m working.”


“Everyone works, Tara.”


“On myself,” she blurted out, hurriedly, with a quick glance at the door, anxiety level clearly high. “When we were together last time, I was young, and I didn’t know—I didn’t know how to be in a relationship. I was bad at it, at giving myself.”


“And with Logan? Were you bad at giving yourself then too?”


“No.” She stared up at him, leveling him with those whiskey eyes. “With him, I did the opposite. I gave too much. I gave everything. Don’t you see? I have to figure it all out so I don’t just repeat my mistakes.”


“So that’s what you’re working on?” he asked. “Figuring out how to give yourself and not lose yourself at the same time?”

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