“You’re deep in thought.” His husky voice broke through the silence and I looked over at him once more. We were stopped at a red light, and the way he looked at me, his stare intense, speared right into me.
“Sorry, I was just … thinking.” I didn’t want to admit exactly what those thoughts were about, at least not right now.
I felt the atmosphere shift, change the longer we stared at each other. It grew heavy, as if Zane himself had something to say. It was the way he looked, watched me. The fact the light had turned green, yet his focus was still on me.
Since we were out of the city the roads were pretty much free of any traffic. It was like we were in our own world, neither of us caring that the world still moved forward.
It was just him and me.
“Piper.” He said my name softly. His voice, the way he spoke, was emotion filled.
I felt my pulse start to beat harder. I wanted to reach up and cup his cheek, feel his scruff underneath my palm. But before I gave in to that feeling, he focused forward again, the connection we’d just had broken.
He accelerated, driving forward once more, silence weighing heavily between us. His hands were tightly wound on the steering wheel, his knuckles white from the force. His body was rigid, hard once again.
And then he was pulling off to the side of the road, kept the engine running, and stared out the front windshield.
There was a flashing red stop light up ahead, a late-night diner still open across the street, and a few parked cars here and there. Aside from that there was no life. It was just Zane and me, the silence deafening, my confusion growing.
“Zane?” I looked at him, my brows furrowed, not sure what was going on. He still faced forward, the red flashing light filling the interior in a ruby glow.
“Zane?” I looked around, not sure what was going on. “What are you doing? Why are we stopped?”
He exhaled slowly and I shifted on the seat to face him fully. I could tell something was on his mind, but he was so tense, so closed-off from me. Finally, he shifted on the seat as well, and the soft sound of leather moving against his suit seemed loud in the small confines of his sports car.
As he stared at me, I wondered what could’ve been so important that he had to stop the car. But as I looked into his face, I could see what he was about to say was serious. That had me nervous. Was everything okay?
Was this about my father?
Was he about to tell me that he knew how I felt, could sense it, feel it?
Or maybe he was about to tell me how things couldn’t happen between us.
Every “what if” passed through my head and my entire body tightened. I tried to act calm, appear like I had my shit together. The truth was I didn’t. So, all I did was brace myself for the impact.
“I didn’t know how to say this, how to go about even bringing this up,” he finally said, his voice deep with emotion.
He was looking past me as he spoke, as if maybe he couldn’t look me in the eye when he said the words. With every passing second I grew even more convinced he was about to draw the line between us.
“But I can’t stand idly back anymore, Piper. I can’t keep how I feel inside a minute longer. Having you so close, working right beside me, knowing that all I have to do is reach out and touch you, pull you in close, has my self-control on a tightrope.” He looked at me then. “It’s snapped, Piper, and if I don’t tell you how I feel, what I want, I’m going to lose my fucking mind.”
I felt my eyes widen, knew they were probably massive saucers on my face. What Zane had just said was certainly not what I expected to hear. I’d assumed he’d keep us at a distance, break my heart even if he didn’t realize.
But no, what he just told me was my fantasy come to life. The look he gave me, the way I felt when he touched me … all of that had meant more than what was in my head.
It was real.
“Zane…” That was the only word that come out of my mouth that moment. I was so shocked, not even able to think clearly.
“Let me finish, and then you can turn me down.”
My heart stuttered at that confession. Me, turn him down? Was he insane?
“I’ve wanted you since you were eighteen, Piper. It’s wrong, I know. Not just because you’re so much younger than I am, but because you’re Liam’s daughter. This could cause issues between him and me, but I can’t stop myself from wanting you. I can’t hold back my emotions anymore.”