Page 12 of Closer

“I’m not good at this, okay?”

“No shit,” she says. She’s still angry with me.

“You may have never gotten off before, but I’ve never been in love before.” The words tumble out of my mouth and her eyes widen. “Just one look at you and I was a goner. I don’t know how to date or to smooth talk. I don’t know how to be charming to someone like you.”

“What do you mean like me?” she asks softly.

I step closer and reach up and cup her face with both my hands. “You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. And not only are you smart and challenging, but I’m feeling something I’ve never felt before.” I lean in and kiss her lips softly. I rest my forehead against hers and let out a breath. “I’m sorry about the restaurant. I didn’t mean to push you. I just couldn’t stop. I don’t know how to go slow when there’s something I want. I’ve never done something like that either before. Had no control.”

“I’m not sorry you did it,” she whispers, and I kiss her again. “I think I was just overwhelmed with emotions.”

“You telling me that you’ve never sucked a cock before or that you’re completely untouched makes me want you even more. I can’t control myself and I’ve never had that happen.”

I press her against her car and run my hands down to her ass to hold her tight to me. I’m a bastard because all I can think about is pushing her dress up and fucking her right here. But she deserves better than that.

With all the strength I have I release her ass and lean back to look her in the eyes. “I want you. And I want this,” I say, pointing between us. “But I can go slow if that’s what you need.” I take her hand and bring it to my lips as I run them along her knuckles. “There will be a knock on your door first thing in the morning. And I’ll see you at exactly five o’clock for the gala.”

“Maybe we don’t have to go slow?” She says it like a question and bites her lip. There is desire in her eyes but also uncertainty. I want to show her that I can be the man she deserves. That I’m not just a one-night stand. She is begging me for that trust with one look and I’ll die before I break my vows to her.

“The fact that you are asking me means that you’re not ready tonight. Don’t worry, petal. I’m not going anywhere without you.”

She smiles, and the storm cloud from earlier passes, but as if she’s thought of something she blurts it out as soon as it comes to her. “You told Benny you’d be free in a few days.”

“I figured by that point you’d need some time to sleep to recover.” I wink at her as I take a step away from her. She rolls her eyes, but this time it’s playful.

I watch her get safely into her car and wait for her to pull away. When she does I call for my driver and then tell him to follow her home. We stay a good distance back and I watch as she lets herself into her apartment, and then I wait for the light to come on. It’s harder than I thought possible to tell him to take me home, but Ava isn’t a fling. She isn’t someone who’s going to warm my bed for a single night. She’s the one who’s going to be in it for the rest of our lives. One night apart won’t kill me. Right?

Seven

Ava

I lie in bed, looking up at the ceiling and worrying my bottom lip. No matter how many times I try to weigh the pros and cons, I still don’t know what to do about Lucas. The man has me tied up in so many knots. I fling the covers back knowing staying in the bed isn’t going to get me closer to finding an answer.

I almost want to laugh like I have a choice in the matter. He had me in the palm of his hand last night. By the time I’d gotten to my car, he had me pressed up against it, and I would have done anything he asked me to. I was so close to begging it’s not even funny. He has a way with words. He’s arrogant at times but can be so sweet as well. It worked on me and for some reason I’m mad about it. Maybe that’s why no other man has caught my attention before.

Maybe he’s telling the truth and this isn’t some challenge for him. I could be just as different for him as he is for me. I should be able to relate after how I acted last night. Look what I’d let him do to me while we were in his restaurant. Then I’d stormed out pissed and jealous. Lucas made me feel things I never have before and that’s why I was so angry that he might have done the same with others.

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