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He laughed quietly. “Nuh, not possible. Pretty sure some of the crazy is just you now. But keep it under the limit for me, hmm?”


“You’re so brave sometimes, it scares me.”

“I don’t feel brave,” I said, voice muffled by his shirt.

He scoffed. “Something scares you? I don’t believe it.”

“I thought I’d lost you.”

“That’s not going to happen.” He rested his cheek on top of my head, holding on a little tighter. “We didn’t go through all that shit to let a few misdemeanors mess with us. Or an English paper.”

“So why didn’t you answer your phone?”

“Not saying I wasn’t pissed at you, but we’re not breaking up, Edie.” His slid his hands into the back pockets of my jeans. “That’s not how this works.”

“You know how this works?”

“Yeah. We keep trying,” he said simply. “If we really want it, then we don’t give up. That easy.”

I had nothing. Actually, that was a lie. “I could never be ashamed of you. Don’t ever think that again.”

“Edie, you saw how the teacher was today. What your mom thinks of me. My past isn’t going to just disappear.”

“That’s not you anymore. They’ll see.”

“You like your privacy, I get that.” The wind tossed his loose hair around, blowing it in his face. “Besides, people knowing we’re together or not isn’t that big a deal. I’ve already punched one guy and threatened another. No one’s going to have the balls to ask you out.”

“How very caveman of you.”

“Just the way it is.” The corner of his mouth curled up. “Offers coming my way have dropped right off ever since you nearly hit Erika.”

I smiled.

“See?” he said.

I rested my chin on his chest, looking up into his beautiful face. Since we seemed to be having a bare-our-hearts-all-out honesty session, he might as well know the worst. I took a deep breath and blurted, “Don’t freak out or anything, but I love you.”

His chin jerked up, eyes widening. “You do?”

“Yes. I love you and I’ll try harder not to mess up in future.” And he thought nothing scared me—my heart almost beat out of my chest. This ache, the fear of rejection, it felt like broken ribs all over again. It felt like throwing myself off a much higher rock with no idea if water waited below. “Anyway. I just, I thought you should know.”


“It’s not a big deal.”

“Yes it fucking is.”

His mouth slammed down on mine, stealing my breath. Warm, firm lips, and the thrill of his tongue tracing my teeth before sliding against my own. Kissing had never felt so good. Sure as hell, no half-assed fumbling in the shadows with other boys could compare. John’s technique deserved the highest of praise, but the best I could do was moan. My hands slipped beneath his shirt, exploring his skin, laying claim.

In no time at all, he had me backed up against the driver’s-side door. His hands roamed, though they stayed on top of my shirt and jeans and remained off the obvious groping areas. Fingers stroked down my arms and slid across my neck. And his kisses kept changing, from sweet and gentle to deep and lingering. I enjoyed them all. Each and every kiss made my head spin and my body light up.

Eventually we paused for breath, pressed up against each other, hearts beating as one. With gentle fingers, John lifted the wide neckline of my T-shirt, setting it back in place over my bra strap.

“You don’t have to do that,” I said.


“I’m not going to break and I’m not going to freak out.”

“What do you mean?”

“If I’m allowed to touch you beneath your shirt, you’re allowed to do the same to me.”

“Edie.” He swallowed hard. “We kind of jumped ahead with having sex. But we don’t need to rush now.”

“This isn’t rushing, I’m setting the pace.”

“You sure?”

It seemed easier to take action than keep talking. So I took hold of his hand and placed it on my chest. Over the top of my T-shirt and bra, sure. But with the way his hand gently gripped me, taking the weight of one breast, the point had obviously been made.

He licked his lips, gaze a little worried like I might try and take the boob back—change my mind and deny him access or something. Once, twice, he kissed my lips, before moving on to the side of my face, my neck. The hint of stubble on his chin teased my skin, his breath warming me further. Teeth nipped at my flesh. I felt combustible. A fire had been lit and I didn’t want it put out.

“You have girls in the back of your car often?” I asked, breathing heavy, my hands gripping his ass. He had such a great ass.

“Shit,” he muttered, sliding his spare hand around the nape of my neck. He chuckled. “Why do you ask me things like that?”

I shrugged. “Curious.”

“A few times, yeah. But it’s not that comfortable.”

“Maybe not for actual sex, no. But what about just for fooling around?”

He quickly scanned the area, checking that no one was near. “Feeling exposed?”

“Cold more than anything. But mostly, I just want to make out with you in the backseat of your car.”

“You do?” His thumb rubbed over my hard nipple through the layers of fabric.

A shiver stole through me and I nodded. “I haven’t done that before. It’ll be another first.”

“Then that’s what we’re doing.” He stepped back, reaching for the handle of the rear door. “After you.”

I smiled, too nervous to speak. Stupid, really. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been in his bedroom and on his bed. The backseat of a car shouldn’t matter. But it did.

He climbed in after me, shutting the door. I kicked off my flip-flops and pulled my T-shirt off over my head. Not stopping to do stupid self-conscious things like cover my stomach with my hands, because this was John. Also because, I was past that. Or I would be. I’d get there.

“Come here,” I said, sliding down a little.

No more hesitation. He knelt on the seat, tearing off his T-shirt, more than ready to meet me for each item of clothing. John was right; it was a little uncomfortable. Even with the Charger’s wide backseat, we were really both a bit too tall to fit. The weight of his body on top of mine, however, made everything right. Mouths glued together and his body resting between my spread legs. When I actually spread them, I had no idea. Holy shit did he feel good there.