“Do you take meds?”

“There isn’t much they can do for them since they come fast and hard. Acupuncture helped. They went away for years after I tried it.”

“And they just came back today?”

“A couple of days ago.”

His hands curve around my calves and he scoots closer. “Nightmares and cluster headaches. I’m not going to ask all the questions that come to mind. Not now, but sometime soon you’re going to have to tell me. You know that, right?”

All too well, I think. “Moving here was a big decision, Liam. I’ve always been like this. Big things mess with me. It goes way back to my childhood Godzilla nightmares.”

“I’ll take that answer for now as long as you agree to see a doctor.”

“I don’t need a doctor.”

“What if you’d been driving?”

“I wasn’t.”

“Or walking down the stairs. I’m going to be stubborn on this. You need to see a doctor.”

“Acupuncture is what worked before. I’ll find a place to go.”

“I think you should be checked out by a real doctor again to be safe.”

“I’m not spending thousands of dollars for them to run MRIs and tests to tell me what I already know.”

“Humor me and see someone. I’ll pay for it.”

“Stop trying to spend money on me.”

“Stop hyper-focusing on the money. This isn’t about—”

My head pinches. “Stop. Stop. Don’t say it again. I get it. You have money and you spend $100 bills like it’s my penny. But I am not wasting it, no matter how much of it you have. I know what works and that’s acupuncture.” And it does. It’s how I’d recovered years before.

Disapproval furrows his brow. “I’ll get you an appointment, but if it doesn’t work—”

“It will and I can get my own appointment.”

“But you won’t because you want to save money, which is exactly why I’m going to take some of the pressure off of you. Tomorrow I’m going to the leasing office and paying your rent for a year, and—”

“No, I told you. I’m not going to take your money.”

“It’s done, baby. No strings attached. No conditions. If you want to ask for a refund after I pay it, you can donate the money to charity, but I won’t take it back. A gift is a gift and I expect nothing in return. Not even a promise of tomorrow.” He leans in and kisses me, and I mean to pull back but his tongue presses past my teeth for one irresistible, deep, silky caress, before he adds, “And tomorrow won’t be enough.”

“Liam—”

He gives me another quick kiss and I lose my thought. “Stop kissing me,” I reprimand, sounding completely unconvincing. “You’re trying to distract me.”

“Is it working?”

“Yes. That’s the problem.”

“Then why would I stop?” he queries, looking exceedingly pleased with himself. He leans in for yet another kiss.

I press my fingers to his lips. “No. Not again. I remember what I was saying. Please stop throwing money at me.”

He covers my fingers with his hand. “I want to do this for you, Amy.” His voice softens, turning gravelly. “Please let me.”

Please let him? My heart squeezes with the sincerity I sense in him and I reach up and stroke his cheek, then trace the line of his goatee. He is amazing and generous and so much more than I bargained for in every possible way. “You’re new territory to me, Liam. I have never met anyone like you. You’re overbearingly generous and overwhelmingly male, or maybe it’s the reverse. Sometimes I don’t know how to respond.”

He pulls me down on the bed and under him. “I’d say I’d show you, but I think we better wait until later considering you blacked out on me a few minutes ago.”

“I told you. I know what is wrong. It’s over. I’m fine. Show me.”

“Your sure?”

Finally, a question I can answer without hesitation. “Yes. Please.” Please take me away and block a piece of my past that is clawing its way through me.

***

It’s nearly one in the afternoon, and Liam and I are walking through the hotel lobby, our fingers laced together. I am such a nervous wreck I do not even care that wearing the same dress as the night before screams “sleepover” to the hotel staff. I cannot walk away from memories that hold answers, but at the same time my mind rejects even thinking about what that means right now. Not when Liam and I are heading to my apartment so I can change clothes before we go to the cellular store and pick up my ID, which is just another chance for Liam to find out it’s a Colorado license. Before I deal with that potential bombshell, I have to explain why my things I left in New York City haven’t been delivered. I hate lying, but I hate the idea of Liam being put in danger far more. I just want it over with, but a voice in my head quickly whispers, Lies breed lies. But questions breed questions, and when I made the decision to stay with Liam, I made the decision, like it or not, to own being Amy Bensen with him.

Liam and I step beyond the awning of the hotel exit and into the beaming sunlight. I cast his profile an inspection, and my breath hitches at how exquisitely male he is, his thick, dark hair a finger-combed sexy mess. He’s dressed in a snug black polo pullover, black jeans, and some kind of deck shoes. Half an hour ago, he was exquisite in nothing but droplets of water and the soap that I had the pleasure of lathering him with. I have never showered with a man. I have never felt like this about anyone. I don’t know what “this” is, except that it’s intense in all the right ways and I don’t want my past to destroy it before it ever takes form, as it has every other relationship I’ve had in my life.


Tags: Lisa Renee Jones The Secret Life of Amy Bensen Romance
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