“I do, baby. More than you’ll ever know.”
“Then I wasn’t sure if you’d want me after I told you what happened. Even though I’m technically a virgin, I still felt…dirty.”
“Don’t, Ruby,” he rasped harshly in my ear. “You’re perfect. None of that was ever your fault.”
“I think I might be starting to understand that I was just the object. I wasn’t a person or family to my uncle. I was a thing that tempted his sick mind. That’s why he beat me after it happened. He had to blame something, so he blamed me.”
I could feel Jett rocking my body gently, apparently trying to comfort me.
“Never again, Ruby. Never again,” he said, like it was an oath.
“I’m free, Jett. You helped get me get myself back again. I can’t promise you that I’ll never have a knee-jerk reaction, but I’m healing.”
“You need time, sweetheart,” he crooned.
“Then why do I want you so much? Why do I ache so badly it hurts?” I asked, allowing myself to trust Jett with my feelings. “I want to be close to you.”
“I want that, too,” he said in a voice hoarse with emotion. “Look at me again, sweetheart,” he cajoled.
I lifted my eyes and turned my head.
“Keep your eyes on me, Ruby. Don’t look away. If you get the least bit uncomfortable, you have to tell me.”
I agreed with a jerky nod.
His soothing strokes down my back got longer and his hand finally moved over the top of my ass. My breath caught, but I kept my eyes on his, reminding myself that the touch was coming from somebody I trusted, somebody who would never hurt me.
I was seeing through the eyes of an adult woman, and all I could see was Jett.
He took things slow, so by the time he finally had my rear cupped in his gentle hold, I was completely comfortable.
“This is an ass that should have been worshiped once you were old enough to explore your sexuality,” he told me in an anguished voice. “You’re so fucking sweet, Ruby. Nobody should have ever done anything to you except love you. You know that now, right?”
I nodded. “Rationally I understand it, but I was programmed to believe otherwise. I always thought it was my fault, that I’d done something bad to deserve it. But since I started counseling and reading books by survivors, I know it’s not true. I just have to retrain my brain, and it’s not going to happen overnight.”
I fell into his ferocious gaze, not even realizing when he’d pulled up my dress and laid his hands on my bare skin.
Truth was, I knew it was Jett, and my fear was slowly fading away completely.
I wanted him to touch me.
I wanted him to kiss me again like there was no other woman in the world who he wanted.
“Will you help me?” I asked, unable to keep the longing from my voice.
“With whatever you need, baby,” he vowed.
“I want you to help me explore my sexuality. I think I’m way behind. I hated my body so much that I didn’t even masturbate. I don’t even know what pleasure and orgasms feel like.”
His eyes flamed with heat as he looked at me incredulously. “Ruby, I’m not sure that’s—”
“Please,” I interrupted. “I know you’re not a virgin, and if I don’t do this with you, I don’t think I can do it with anybody else. I want to learn to live, Jett. I don’t want to let my past define who I am anymore. I don’t want to be a victim. I want to be a desirable woman.”
His hands stroking over my bare ass was anything but unpleasant, and I could feel my body responding to him with a need I’d never known before.
His expression turned into a smirk. “I won’t lie, Ruby. I like sex. I’ve always liked it. And I had no problem exploring my sexuality from the time I realized I had a dick, and that it felt good to play with it.”
Jett was unabashedly blunt, but him talking about exploring his own sexuality as a kid actually helped.
“Then you can help me,” I concluded.
“I’m not sure I can.”
I never stopped to consider the fact that maybe Jett just didn’t want to have sex with me. “You don’t want me anymore,” I stated sadly.