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Curling my hand around him, I was surprised to feel how soft and smooth the skin was despite being rock hard and turgid beneath my grasp. As I ran my fingertips up and down the length of him, Knox let out a breathy groan. My core clenched. The idea of him filling me left me warm and achy. My palm slid lightly against him, gently massaging and caressing his considerable length as I savored the feel of him. Lightly rubbing smooth, hot flesh, I watched in fascination as he grew even harder.

Knox wrapped his hand over mine, increasing the pressure of my grip. “Like this.” Our hands moving together, he dictated the pace of our movements until I was rhythmically stroking him from base to tip.

He released a shuddering breath and his head fell back against the pillow. “Fuck, your hand feels good.”

My pace increased as I watched Knox’s reactions. His warm breath puffed past his lips, his abs tensed, and his hand found my free one, intertwining our fingers. He pressed his palm to mine like he was sinking and I had the power to pull him back to safety. He gripped my hand and his dark gaze met mine. He communicated so much with that one look.

Emotion burned inside me. I was discovering him, but this moment meant more than that. We were healing each other in these little moments built on shared trust.

“Shit, I’m going to—” His teeth bit into his lower lip as his body went rigid. He growled my name as he came, milky-white fluid landing on his belly.

While our breathing slowed, Knox reached over the side of the bed for a box of tissues on the floor. He wiped my hand and his belly before curling his arms around me, caging me in. I melted into his embrace, loving the feel of his strong arms. He could hold me hostage in his bed anytime.

“Sorry about the mess,” he apologized, whispering near my ear.

“I didn’t mind.” Watching Knox come apart and hearing his low husky voice growl my name had been worth it.

Meeting my eyes with an intense, passion-filled stare, he leaned closer, resting his forehead against mine. “You didn’t have to do that.”

I knew that. I’d wanted to. “Was it…okay?”

“That was f**king amazing.” He pressed his lips softly to mine in a lingering kiss. “I like you in my bed,” he whispered.

His admission meant the world to me. I kissed him back, my movements slow and deliberate, like every touch mattered.

During quiet times like this, I loved how open and exposed he made himself to me. I knew it was a side of himself he didn’t share with anyone else, and that feeling was addicting.

Chapter Seventeen


Last night had been the most incredible experience of my life. I had slept soundly in Knox’s arms all through the night. I smiled remembering our whispered conversation, and the way my heartbeat had thrummed so violently in my chest when I’d touched him. He was beautiful, and he wasn’t broken like he thought.

Then this morning was back to reality. We’d kissed good-bye early this morning. I wanted to go home to shower and change, and most importantly to arrive at our meeting separately. Even if I was breaking all the rules with Knox behind closed doors, I certainly wouldn’t broadcast it in public.

I sat at my little wooden desk at the front of the room, having arrived several minutes early, unable to stop myself from daydreaming about him. The more time I spent with Knox, the less I noticed that hollow ache inside me. I sang in the shower, hummed when I cleaned the dishes, and felt lighter just knowing he was in my life.

But then I realized something even more terrifying than going back to my pre-Knox state. I was falling in love with him. With a deliciously flawed man I was supposed to be helping heal from sexual addiction.

Casting logic aside, I knew this was a dangerous game, and if I played I’d likely be burned. But falling for him hadn’t been a choice. He wasn’t just that haunted, intense man I’d glimpsed at first. He was different around his brothers, lighter, laughed easier, smiled that big smile that showed off his dimple. I liked that version of Knox. And I liked the version of myself when I was with him. I wasn’t the broken shell of a girl I felt like most days. I felt vibrant and pretty and alive.

I wondered if my attraction to him was that our souls shared the same pain and loss. They could feel each other. When we were together I didn’t feel any pain or guilt. I wondered if it was the same for him.

When he entered the room, my heart’s rhythm changed, became erratic. His eyes met mine and while his face remained expressionless, I read the indecision, the confusion on him as clear as day. Did he feel guilty about what happened between us last night? It had been my idea to touch him, to push things further, and as much as I’d enjoyed it at the time, now I felt unsure and guilty.

Amanda patted the seat next to her, one that she’d clearly been saving just for him, and Knox crossed the room toward her.

Watching him and Amanda converse quietly, my stomach tightened and I felt hot. I was warm and flustered, and now I needed to start group.

I sat down in my seat and began the lecture I’d prepared. “Today we’ll be working on openness and honesty with each other. We’ve been meeting for several weeks now, and it’s time we progressed as a group. I’m going to ask each member of the group to share their progress, and this includes admitting to any slipups in a judgment-free, guilt-free environment. We’re all human, and it’s here that we don’t have to hide.”

I consulted the notebook on my lap to be sure I’d touched on all the key points I’d written out for myself. Knox watched me closely, his expression guarded and unsure. Guilt clawed at my stomach. I’d orchestrated today’s entire conversation to flush out what he was too afraid to tell me. I needed to know.


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