He lifted his hand and rubbed his eyes, as if the conversation drained him. I knew exactly how he felt. My emotions were exhausting, hiding them, trying to fight them. It was to the point where I didn’t even try anymore.
“Maybe if it was just a passing desire, I could control how I felt for you.” He shook his head slowly as he stared into my eyes. “But this isn’t a passing emotion. I love you, Piper. I’m in love with you, and there’s nothing and no one that can—will—ever change that fact.”
We were silent, the air so thick it was like swimming through pudding. I couldn’t breathe, could barely even look at him for how intense this whole situation was.
Zane loved me.
He. Loved. Me.
* * *
I’d done it. Said it. I’d drawn the line and was waiting for Piper’s reaction.
As it was she stared at me, her eyes large, her shock clear.
“You love me?” she asked softly.
I swallowed the thick, suffocating lump in my throat. “I love you more than anything else in this world, Piper. I’ve never loved another human being the way I love you. Never even thought I could care about someone the way I do with you. When it concerns you I’m possessive, territorial, and the very thought of another man claiming you has pure rage blinding me.”
She was breathing harder, the look on her face having every part of me strung tight. I wanted to hear her say it back, wanted her to tell me I never had anything to worry about, that if she didn’t love me back things could stay the same.
I wanted to lie to her.
The truth was nothing would be the same if she didn’t want me.
But the looks. The way she bit her lip when I was near. All of that told me otherwise.
“Say something,” I whispered. “Anything.”
She took a deep breath and then smiled. That tightness I felt melted away. “I’ve wanted to hear you say those words for years, Zane. I’ve fantasized about it … worried about it.”
I reached out and ran my thumb along her bottom lip, unable to stop myself. She gasped slightly but didn’t push me away. “What were you worrying about?”
She looked away then, the interior in the car shifting so it was a little uncomfortable from her change in emotions. “How my father would react knowing that I am in love with his best friend.” She glanced at me then. “If you’d want me the same way I wanted you. If you’d think it was some silly crush I had, that I was too young to understand how I felt.”
I didn’t move, couldn’t after she’d said that to me, after the realization that I would get what I desperately wanted, that Piper would be mine.
Something snapped in me and I found myself reaching out for her, wanting to pull her onto my lap. And I did just that. Damn the fact the interior of the sports car was almost nonexistent. I needed to feel Piper pressed against me.
With some shifting from both of us, and my need for her having adrenaline rushing through my veins and causing me to be impatient, I had her on my lap. She was on her knees, her legs on either side of mine, her breasts pressed right to my chest. She looked down at me with wide eyes, her breathing ragged, her pupils dilated.
“Are we really doing this?”
I leaned in and kissed her, running my tongue along her lips, memorizing her sent, her flavor. “Yeah, baby, we really are.” I growled against her lips, unable to stop myself. “And I’m not letting anyone else have you. Ever.” She gasped for me. “In fact, I was ready to kick Brandon’s ass for even speaking to you. Or at the very least fire him.”
She laughed softly, the sound having every part of me feel lighter. “He was harmless.” She looked down at my lips. “I have only ever wanted you.”
I groaned and kissed her again. I needed to control myself or I’d end up taking her in my car, and that’s not what I wanted. Hell, I wanted to make this special for her, take her out, show her off. I wanted her on my arm, so everyone would see that she was mine, that I had the most beautiful woman at my side.
She pulled back but was still so close, our lips only inches apart.
“Take me to your house. Take me to your bed.”
My heart fucking stopped at her words.
“I want you, Zane. I love you. Be with me.”
I claimed her mouth again and cupped the back of her head, pulling her closer, needing her on top of me. Would I even make it to my place? Could I hold off on my needs, not come in my fucking slacks before I got her naked?