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“Why wouldn’t it be?”

He swallowed, his lips moving in a distracting way. “I’m a sex addict.”

My heart sped up as his words ricocheted through me. “Should I be afraid of you?”

“I wouldn’t hurt you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do some other things.”

“L-like what other things?” I unconsciously leaned closer, drawn forward by his magnetism.

Knox let out a low, throaty chuckle and leaned back against the couch, stared straight up at the ceiling, and let out a heavy exhale. “Oh, McKenna.” He patted my head like I was a naive little girl.

Maybe I was foolish and naive for coming here today, but I could handle myself. It wasn’t like I was at risk for falling for this man, was I?

The trio of boys burst in through the front door, ending our strained silence. I could tell that Knox was as pleased as I was at their timing. Knox scooted further away from me on the sofa to make room for the littlest, Tucker, and soon we were in an intense racing game on their Xbox. They all took turns beating me and laughing at the way my entire body moved as I tried to steer my race car.

I had stayed at Knox’s far longer than I’d intended, nearly five hours. The time had flown by, laughing and eating with him and his brothers. I hadn’t felt this relaxed and happy in a long time.

By the time darkness fell, it was pouring down rain outside. I was going to be soaked through by the time I made it home, but I had to suck it up. Somehow I knew calling Brian for a ride would be a bad idea. He’d never approve of my being at Knox’s.

Reluctantly, I stood up. “I guess I should get going.”

“All right.” Knox stood next to me and crossed his arms over his chest. “Are you parked out front? I can walk you out.” Before I could answer, he grabbed an umbrella from a closet by the front door.

I slowly turned to face him. “No, I don’t have a car. I took the bus here.”

A crease appeared between Knox’s brows. “You took the city bus here?”

I nodded.

“Guys, I’ll be back soon,” he said, turning to address his brothers. “Come on, I’m driving you home. There’s no way I’m letting you ride the bus after dark.”

Letting me? He had a commanding way with words, but it had been a long time since I felt concern as genuine as Knox’s seemed to be. Even if it was unexpected, it was nice.

The interior of Knox’s Jeep smelled like him—sandalwood and warm leather. We rode the few miles to my apartment building while I pointed out the directions. I liked watching him drive. His long fingers curled around the wheel as his denim-covered thighs stretched out before him, drawing my eyes.

When Knox pulled to a stop outside the building, I wasn’t ready to go. Reading my hesitation, he turned to face me. “Should I walk you up? Make sure everything’s safe?”

“No, that’s okay. Brian’s home.” I pointed to the black sedan parked three spaces down.

“Brian’s that guy who came to your meeting to pick you up?”

I nodded.

“You live with him.”

It wasn’t a question, but I could see the uncertainty in his eyes. “Yes, but he’s just a friend, my roommate.”

“Are you f**king him?”

“N-no,” I choked out. Suddenly I felt hot and uncomfortable in the small, dark space with Knox, off-balance at the abrupt change in his tone. Why would he care if I was sleeping with Brian or not? “Do you have a date tonight?” I asked.

“I don’t date.”

I swallowed. “Fine. Will you be requiring company later?”

“Yes.” His dark gazed pierced mine, looking hungry and full of desire. “I can’t be expected to watch you parade around in your tight jeans all night and not need a release.”

It was the first time he’d mentioned that my physical appearance had an effect on him. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. God, what was wrong with me? He needed help, not another girl throwing herself at him. Besides, I should feel disgusted; he had just admitted he was going out looking for sex after spending the evening with me.

“Good night, McKenna,” he said, his tone final and dismissive.

“Good night.” I climbed from the Jeep, sliding from the seat until both feet touched the ground. Without looking back I headed inside, the cool rain a balm against my warm, flushed face.

Chapter Nine

McKenna

It had been a week since I’d seen Knox. Never in my life had I looked forward to my Saturday morning group so much.

All week I replayed in my mind the time we spent together at his house. I had felt a pull inside me, an indescribable urge to get closer to him. There were so many layers to his personality, so many sides to him. I wanted to know each one, to turn him like a crystal in the light, to inspect his many facets.

Knox entered the room and a slow smile tugged at my mouth. With his messy dark hair sticking up in several directions, he looked like he’d just rolled out of bed. He was dressed in jeans, work boots left unlaced, and a plain white T-shirt with a gray wool jacket slung over his arm. He looked rugged and beautiful. His eyes cut straight to mine. The way he looked at me was overwhelming; I could feel that penetrating gaze deep inside my body. And I liked it way too much.

I all but collapsed into my chair, needing to sit to steady my nerves. That week’s group session was about making amends for your past wrongs. Basically it was about getting right with yourself and others in order to move forward.

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