Looking up at her furious question, he laughed, but the sound held little humor. “This barely qualifies as alcohol.” He put the half-full third bottle on the table and got up. “What I’d like to do is get drunk on you.”
Frowning, she held her position just outside the doorway, not about to allow Noah St. John to intimidate her. “You’re drunk,” she said, putting a hand on his chest and pushing when he came too close.
“No, I’m not.” He backed her up against the house, placed his hands palms-down on either side of her shoulders. “You don’t hate the taste of beer, do you, Kit?”
He kissed her.
Her parched, starving nerve endings shrieked to life. She’d dreamed of Noah’s touch for so long, and now he was finally, finally, touching her. He tasted of the crisp bite of beer and of Noah. Just Noah.
She had no defenses, no shields, no way to protect herself.
Fingers curling into his T-shirt, she rose toward him. He deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue into her mouth as he fisted a hand tight in her hair… and a hint of reason infiltrated her mind. This was all too sudden, too fast, too aggressive.
Lashes flicking up, she saw his eyes on her face. Flat. Remote. He wasn’t involved, she realized, her pleasure turning into this ugly coldness that made her feel dirty inside. He was kissing her, but he wasn’t the least bit involved. She could’ve been a mannequin for all he cared.
Tearing away from him, she wiped the back of her hand over her mouth. “Why would you do that?” she whispered, her entire body shaking. “Why would you hurt me that way?”
His eyes glittered. “You seemed to be having a good time.”
She wiped the back of her hand across her mouth a second time, bleeding inside. Enough, she thought. Enough.
He’d fucked another woman in front of her and she’d managed to forgive him, had given him another chance, but she wasn’t a self-flagellating doormat. “Get out,” she said quietly.
“Since you’ve been drinking,” she added, “I’ll call you a car. But you will get out.”
His face was stone, eyes about as soft as concrete. “So that’s how hard you’ll fight for me?”
She trembled, her hand fisting. “How about you fight for me for once?”
Not giving him a chance to answer, she shook her head. “You don’t trust me with your secrets, you mess with my head, you make me feel ugly and unwanted, and you ask why I won’t fight for you?” Anger smashed into hurt, the jagged shards splintering through her. “Fuck. You.”
Noah’s face set into an impenetrable mask. It was the same look he’d given his parents at the charity gala.
Hardening her heart against him, protecting herself against the pain he could so carelessly inflict, Kit said, “You did this. Whatever the pain inside you, tonight you made the decision to drink and to do that to me.” But alcohol or not, he wasn’t drunk, had known full well what he was doing.
“I’m not leaving you with that creep out there.”
Kit gave him a humorless smile. “I’ll survive. I damn well did while you were busy fucking every groupie from here to God knows where.” Her words made him flinch, and a small, vengeful part of her felt good that she’d hurt him too.
And that made her hate him a little, that he’d turned her into this vindictive bitch. Not wanting to say anything else, words that would make her hate herself too, she walked into the house and grabbed her phone. She felt Noah come in, go into his room. He was outside with his duffel when the car drew up, Casey at the wheel. The bodyguard and driver was meant to be on a break, but she’d asked him to do this as a favor, not trusting any other driver not to use it as a payday.
Locking the door the instant Noah was out, she determinedly refused to cry. Instead, she called Fox. “I threw Noah out,” she told the lead singer. “Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.” However much she hated him at this instant, she couldn’t forget the night that had begun this journey, how she’d found Noah in the motel room.
“I’ll take care of it,” Fox said in his distinctive grit-laced voice. “You okay?”
“No.” Everything hurt.
“You want Molly to come over? Sarah’ll be fine on her own—she’s steadied since we got back.”
“Thanks, but I think I need to be alone right now.” Get her head screwed on straight. “Look after him.” With that, she hung up and went back out into the garden.