A deep well of emotions burns in her gaze, enrapturing me and refusing to let me go. “She said I didn’t belong there and she wouldn’t come back with me.” She has to whisper her words, her voice is so fragile. Like she really believed it happened.

“I’m sorry I stole from you, and I’m sorry I even took it. I don’t know what’s happening to me.” Bringing the heels of her hands up to her cheeks she wipes at the stray tears and that’s when I hold her, rocking her in my arms and shushing her.

“I hate crying… why am I crying?” Her frustration shows as she holds on to the pain, still not having learned to let it go.

The coffee pot stops, and I can’t hear anything. She’s stiff in my arms, not crying, but not getting better either.

She’s stuck in that moment. The monster in her dreams, following in her shadows.

“You want to go upstairs?”

She doesn’t answer right away and I add, “You need to sleep.”

It takes a moment, it always does with her, ever defiant, but she nods eventually. She pushes off from the counter, leaving the black coffee to steam in the mug where it sits, knowing it’ll go untouched and turn cold.

Her arms stay wrapped around her as she walks up the old stairs, and I follow behind her, listening to the wooden steps creak with every few steps.

I keep a hand splayed on her back and when we make it to the bedroom, she stops outside of the door. “You don’t have to babysit me,” she tells me, craning her neck to look up at me in the dimly lit hall.

“Maybe I want to lie in bed with you, ever think of that?” I ask her softly, letting the back of my fingers brush her cheek.

She takes my hand in both of hers and opens the door to her bedroom. It’s smaller than mine, but nice. Her dresser looks older, maybe an antique like the vanity she has in the corner of her room.

Everything is neatly in place, not a single piece of clothing is out, nothing is askew. Nothing except for the bed. It looks like she just got out of it. The top sheet’s a tangled mess and the down comforter is still wrapped up like a cocoon.

“When did you get up?” I ask her.

She shrugs and pulls back the blankets, fixing them as she answers, “I think around three… I don’t remember.”

“It was almost midnight when you said you were going to bed.”

“Yes,” is all she answers me.

“Come here.” I rip her away from straightening the sheets to hold her, and she clings to me. “It wasn’t real,” I whisper in her hair.

“I wish…” she pauses, then swallows thickly before confessing, “I wish it was in some way, because at least I got to see her.”

Her shoulders shudder in my arms. I don’t have words to answer her, so I lay her in bed, helping her with the blankets and climbing in next to her.

The kisses start with the intent to soothe her pain. Letting my lips kiss her jaw, where the tearstains are. Up her neck, to make her feel more.

And she does, she breathes out heavily, keeping her eyes closed and letting her hands linger down my body.

Slowly it turns to more. She deepens the kisses. She holds me closer and demands more.

“You’re still in trouble,” I whisper against her lips, reminding her that she needs to be punished. Her response is merely a moan as she continues to devour me with her touch.

“Not tonight, but it’s coming.”

Her eyes open slowly, staring into mine and she whispers, “I know.”

“Tell me what you want.” I give her the one demand, wanting her to control this. Giving her something I haven’t before.

“Don’t make this harder on me. Please,” she begs me and I nearly turn her onto her belly, to fuck her into the mattress like I’ve wanted to do since the day I first laid eyes on her, but then she says, “I don’t want to beg you for something like… like…”

“Like what?” I ask, not following.

“I don’t want to consciously ask… for… for this,” she whispers and opens her eyes to look back at me.

It takes a long moment to feel how deep that cut me. Maybe it’s the disbelief. “To ask for something … like for me to fuck you?” My tone doesn’t hide a damn thing I’m feeling as I sit up straighter in bed. “Is it offensive? Or do you just not want to admit that you want me?”

“Jase.” Bethany wakes in this moment, her eyes more alive than they were downstairs. Brushing the hair out of her face, she sits up straighter, and blinks away the haze of lust.

“Tell me what you want.” I give her the request again. Waiting. Every second the fucking agony grows deeper and deeper.

W. Winters Books | Romance Books | Irresistible Attraction Series Books
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