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And it had nothing to do with being outmatched by Brian. I’d seen the restraint Knox displayed, the tension in his shoulders as he held himself back from doing any real damage. He’d spared Brian, and the only reason could have possibly been because of me. Because of my friendship with Bri.

I remained on Knox’s bed waiting for him. I would wait all night if I had to; I needed to make things right between us. When my eyes grew droopy, I lay down, curling on my side against his pillow.

The sounds of running water and rustling coming from the hallway woke me. I crawled from bed, groggy and wondering what time it was. Since I was pretty sure only Knox used the bathroom on the third floor, I tapped my knuckles against the door. “Knox?”

“Not now, McKenna,” Knox grumbled from inside.

No way was I letting him patch up Brian’s handiwork alone. “I’m coming in.” I pushed the door open and entered the tiny steam-filled bathroom. Blinking through the vapors, I found him slumped on the floor, his head hanging in his hands.

He stared up at me with unfocused eyes. “What are you doing here?” he slurred.

“Have you been drinking?”

He chuckled. “No, officer.”

“Knox, this isn’t funny. You’re wasted. Did you drive home like this?”

“Relax. People get drunk, and no, I walked home.”

“Where did you go?” I assumed it was somewhere local, since he’d walked home, but I was too afraid to ask my real question—What did you do?

“I went out. Had a few drinks.” He shrugged.

“And?” I probed. I had to know; even if it crushed me.

“And I picked up a girl, and I couldn’t even f**k her. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

My breath stuttered.

He pushed his hands into his hair, tangling it in disarray. “Your sad blue eyes wouldn’t leave my brain. I couldn’t stop comparing your subtle feminine scent to her harsh perfume. Your touchable soft waves to her too-stiff curls.” Looking up to meet my eyes, confusion and distress was written all over his features. “I don’t know what you’ve done to me. You’ve gotten inside my head, f**ked with who I am.” The pain and anguish in his eyes hit me straight in the chest.

Part of me felt proud—I’d actually gotten through to him. But most of me felt sad. Knowing I affected him just as much as he affected me was harrowing. And I’d never seen him so devastated and needy. It tugged at something deep inside me.

The pull between us was too strong. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could hold out. “I just came to make sure you were okay,” I choked out.

“I’m fine. Let me drive you home.” He rose to his feet.

“You’re in no condition to drive.” And if there was one thing I couldn’t tolerate, it was drunk drivers. Not after the way I’d lost my parents.

“Suit yourself. I’m going to shower then.” With the water still running he began undressing, right there in front of me.

I slammed my eyes shut. Oh God. Knox. Naked. My heart banged against my ribs. I should turn around and march out of this bathroom, but my feet were frozen in place.

The shower door opened and Knox cursed as he stepped under what I assumed was scalding hot water. “What are you still doing here, McKenna?” he asked several moments later.

I peeked open one eye, and then the other. Knox stood in the small glass-enclosed shower stall underneath the spray of water, not even bothering to try to cover himself. He was beautiful. All male with sculpted muscles and rugged good looks. He had a dusting of dark hair in all the places a man should, but I forced my eyes up, not wanting to wander any lower than his defined abs and completely visually molest him.

“I-I came to help.” To take care of you. I swallowed the thick lump in my throat and when I met his dark gaze, something inside me snapped. Without thinking, I pushed open the shower door and was suddenly under that warm spray of water with him. My hands stroked his cheek where it was already swelling, and my fingers pushed into his hair to soothe him. It was my fault he’d gotten hurt and therefore my responsibility to comfort him. Not that being so near him, enveloped in his heat, was any great burden. I felt more alive than ever before under his dark gaze.

“Kenna,” he groaned, his eyes falling closed. The tortured cry of my name on his parted lips was the sweetest sound. He stepped closer until our bodies were flush together, brushing at the tops of our thighs, our abdomens, our chests. My heart slammed against my rib cage at the contact. He was pure male heat and my body responded greedily.

Desire raced through my veins, heating me from the inside out. I knew this was a bad idea—the worst. Knox was drunk and I was… I didn’t know what I was, only that I’d never felt this way before, and I wasn’t about to give it up.

We were so close his forehead rested against mine and his lips were just millimeters away from where I wanted them. I’d never wanted anything more than this kiss. We’d been unconsciously building toward this moment since the first time I’d laid eyes on this sinful man. My body knew then what my head could not.

“Kiss me,” I whispered.

“And what if I can’t stop?” he murmured, his lips brushing against mine.

Pure carnal need like I’d never experienced before shot through me. In that moment, nothing mattered but Knox’s hot mouth on mine. “Then don’t.”

Our mouths were so close that we shared each breath. I breathed him in with each inhalation I drew. The only sounds were my thumping heartbeat crashing in my ears and the spray of water cascading down on us.


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