“I guess what I’m asking is…” I look around the room, feeling a little unsure of myself. I’m insecure because this man looks like a Greek god below me, and he’s between my thighs. He’s the definition of perfection. I don’t know where to begin with a man like him in my bed. I let him take the lead, and I gave up all control.

“Eyes on me.”

I snap my eyes back to him. “Have you been with anyone recently?” I finally spit the words out. I hate the idea that he wanted me, but might have still been with someone else while he waited. The thought of him with someone else makes me sick, but even more so as I think about how he felt about me. The idea of him harboring those feelings, but still being with someone else, nauseates me.

The moment the words are out of my mouth, I want to snatch them back. I realize that I don’t want to know the answer. I start to dig my fingers into his chest, but Captain moves. He sits up, coming face-to-face with me.

“It was me who came up with the idea that you wouldn’t be allowed to date when you were watching over Mallory in college. I told Miles it might distract you, but really, I knew it was the only thing that would keep me from coming for you.”

My mouth falls open at his confession. I never really wanted to date. I’d always had a little crush on Captain. He’d been the only man to spark my interest, after watching how my father treated my mother for years. I wanted nothing to do with men before Captain came along. Going to a college full of privileged males didn’t help, either. Rich men thought they could do anything and get away with anything. I think that’s part of why I’d always had a crush on Captain?because he seemed so good. Like a man who would cut off his own arm before he’d ever hurt a woman. He’s a protector, and I crave that, deep down.

I didn’t want to date anyone, but it didn’t mean he had any right to stop me. Especially if he was dating. The thought makes my blood boil. I dig my fingers into his chest more, wanting him to feel the bite of my nails.

“Retract the claws, kitten.” I feel his hard cock jerk under me, and I narrow my eyes at him.

“It’s been a long time.” Still, I keep glaring at him, giving him the look that normally sends people running. But not him.

He smiles the stupid, perfect smile that melts me, the one he gives me when he thinks I’m being cute. “For years, there’s only been one woman in my bed, shower, at my desk, maybe a few times in my kitchen.”

“Ryan.” I growl this time.

“You. If you only knew of all the things I dreamed about doing to you, you might run.” He rests his forehead on mine. The teasing smile drops away. “Paige, you’re the only woman I’ve touched since I laid eyes on you. There was no way in hell I’d give someone else even a small piece of me, knowing what I felt for you. You’ve owned me for years. All of me.”

I tilt my head up a little, giving him a soft kiss. Then I bite his lip, making him jerk. Before I know what’s happening, I’m on my back with him looming over me. His big body hovers over mine.

“Just giving you a taste of what would happen if I get jealous. You know, so you make sure it doesn’t happen,” I say, raising my chin in challenge.

“Hmm. You might want to rethink that, kitten. I like your teeth on me, if you haven’t noticed.” He grinds his erection against me, and the friction is delicious. I wrap my arms around his neck, wanting to stay connected.

“I’m sorry. I’m finding myself very territorial with you all of a sudden. Maybe because I’ve never really thought of anything as mine but you. I think you’re mine,” I tell him, wanting to put it all out there. “I don’t think I could bear to lose you. When I thought I did last night, for a moment—”

“You’ll never lose me.” His words cut me off. They hold so much confidence.

“It’s wrong for me to let you get mixed into my mess with me.”

“It’s wrong for you to not let me,” he throws back. “You think I’m going to let you kill him?” His words are low and challenging.

I thought about it for so many years. I’ve implied what I want to do, but the words have never come out of my mouth. They’re always right there, but never slip free. It’s like if I voice it, then I’m bringing them to life and becoming like him. The day my mother died, I just stood there. Then when I saw my father again, for the first time in ages, I stood there once more. Paralyzed. Maybe I don’t have what it takes.

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