His warm palm skims up my thigh until his thumb brushes the curls between my legs. Immediately, my insides clench. More so when his voice lowers roughly. “Ah, I missed this. I missed the perfection of your pu**y.”


“Oh, that’s smooth,” I say with a snort.

“Classy too.”

We snicker, but another light touch of his thumb makes me utterly wet. He feels it and sighs, resting his forehead against mine. “Anna Jones’s pu**y. Total perfection.”

“I’m thinking of having cards made up that say just that.” I’m trying not to squirm against his roaming finger.

“At the very least, have it imprinted on your underwear.” He flickers a thumb over my clit.

“I’ve decided to forgo underwear altogether.” I’m breathless. “Seems a shame to cover perfection, you know?”

“Good plan. You don’t want to smother our girl here.”

“You’re so thoughtful, Drew.”

Though we’re joking, and he’s doing his best to turn me on, that somber air still hangs over him. His breathing is too slow and heavy, as if he has a massive weight on his chest. And my heart hurts for him. Especially when he absently traces the numbers on my chest once more.

“Hey.” I cup his cheek. “You will wear one again. Don’t you dare think otherwise.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I mean it, Drew. You will.”

The corners of his eyes crease with worry. “What makes you so sure, beautiful?”

“Because it isn’t in you to quit.”

Drew’s smile is slow, but wide. “Kiss me, Anna.”

We meet halfway. Instantly, I open to him, and his tongue dips in to taste me. I shiver, loving the way he touches me, and he breathes into me on a sigh.

Under the sheet, his c**k rises hard and strong, nestling between my legs. I rock against it, and we both groan. Drew cups my cheeks, holds me where he wants me. “I love your lips,” he whispers.

He suckles my bottom lip, plays with my mouth in that delicious way of his.

“I love the way you kiss,” I say.

He hums, the vibration making my mouth tinge. He kiss goes deep then light. “I love you.”

The words slap into me, and my entire body seizes. I’m shaking as I pull back to look at him. His expression is tender but wary. He knows he’s turned my world on its ear.

“What did you say?” I choke out.

“You heard me.” His tone is cautious, as if he’s waiting for me to run away but hoping I won’t.

Tears blur my vision. My body feels like lead. I sag in his arms and slump against his chest. Gently, he lifts me up a bit until he can see me.

“Hey.” He thumbs away a tear. “I didn’t tell you to upset you. I told you because holding it back is too hard.” He leans in until our breaths mingle. “I want to tell you every day.”

Drew pauses and vulnerability tightens the corners of his eyes. “And you need to know what this is for me, because I wasn’t clear before.” Deep gold eyes hold mine. He’s leaving himself wide open, revealing his soul. “You have my heart, Anna. And every time I had to walk away from you, every time you walked away from me, it felt like it was being ripped out of my chest. It f**king hurt, Anna.”

His confession mirrors my feelings so closely that a fresh wave of hot tears well in my eyes. “It hurt me too. So much. I felt so empty I couldn’t stand up straight.”

Drew’s dark brows furrow. “Why didn’t you—”

“I was afraid. Shit.” I take an unsteady breath, feeling sick. “You shine so brightly, Drew. And it’s beautiful to me, but I didn’t know how to live under your light.”

He frowns, his expression growing fierce. But his words are low, strong. “What people see? That is only gloss. But, Anna, you light me up. Drew. Not the player. You didn’t know how to live under my light? I don’t have a light anymore unless you’re there.”

“Drew.” With a trembling hand, I stroke his neck then rest my palm in the center of his chest. “I’m not…” I squeeze my eyes shut. I don’t want to admit my weaknesses. Not even to myself. But this is Drew, and I trust him. More importantly, he deserves to know. I open my eyes and face him.

And he’s watching me, uncertain now, likely hurting again, because of me and my f**king issues.

“I never went to prom,” I blurt out. “I was never asked on a date, guys never even looked at me in high school.”

His expression shifts from shock to confusion to an understanding that makes my insides pitch. My fingers curl against the dense rise of his pecks as I forge on. “No one really liked me. I was the weird girl. The sullen one they wanted to pretend didn’t exist.” I snort, an ugly, pained sound. “Or maybe they really didn’t know I existed.”

I shrug, not wanting to meet his eyes, but I do. “Mom called me a late bloomer. Which means dick all when you’re sixteen and dying inside.” Viciously, I wipe at my eyes. “And you…” My voice cracks before I can bring it under control. “When I say you shine, I mean just that. You’re the sun around which people orbit. If you had been in my school, you’d have been the one everyone looked toward to lead. You never would have seen me hiding in the shadows.”

“Anna…” His voice is so gentle it sets my teeth on edge.

“No,” I snap. “Just…let me finish.”

He gives an awkward nod.

“I know it wasn’t fair to treat you the way I did,” I say. “Or to put you in some category that I created due to bad experience and old teen angst. But it’s hard, Drew.” My mouth trembles, I bite down on my lip. “It’s hard nullifying all of that, because it came back to me every time you paid attention to me in public and people stared. When they’d ask why you’re with me.”

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