“Patio,” I said and we walked around the house and came to a stop at a table next to the pool. I sat Tater down on a seat cushion. “Look, V, there’s something I need to say.” I swallowed.

She got still, her eyes searching my face. “Yeah?”

I paced around. “Something’s wrong with me. I can’t write, play music, act, sleep. Eat. All I do is think about you.”

Her face softened. “Oh.”

My stomach fluttered with nerves. “I don’t care what anyone thinks, but I need you in my life everyday. I don’t want to wake up and not see you in my bed, V.” I leaned down to her and pushed both hands in her hair and tugged her to me. “Please give me a chance, V.”

“What about Blair? Your career?”

“I want the world to know you’re mine. I ended things with Blair.”

She looked away from me, making me antsy. Doubt niggled at me.

“I won’t stand for you messing with Geoff, V. Tell me now if you want him back.”

“No, it isn’t that. It’s Blair. She came up to me at the club earlier this week. It’s never going to be over for her.”

I kissed her softly. “Focus on us. Give us a chance, and I mean more than just a one night stand.”

She nodded and her eyes searched mine, as if waiting for something more.

“What?”

She swallowed and looked away. “It’s just—you know how I feel.”

She wanted me to say I love you.

“Love. Once I’d pushed it away. Now, I’d die without it.”

—from the journal of Violet St. Lyons

I LOVED HIM. These past weeks without him had been torture.

Did that mean I was willing to accept us when he didn’t feel the same way?

Maybe.

He caressed my face. “We can sit out here all night and talk, but I’m dying to sink into you. You owe me, you know,” he said huskily.

“Why?”

“Because I’m going to make you pay for dancing with those guys,” he said as he stripped off my slinky shirt, easing the fabric off and tossing it on the ground. He kissed my neck and then nibbled gently on my ear. “I keep picturing you in that swing with your legs spread for me.”

I moaned. “Me, too.”

“Strip for me, V.” He took a step back from me, a need so visceral in his gaze that I shivered.

“Out here on the patio? Do you have something against bedrooms?”

“It’s where we started,” he said.

I unzipped my skirt and stood before him in nothing but my heels.

His face reddened. “What the fuck? No bra and no panties tonight?” His hands clenched.

I bit my lip. “I took the panties off when I pulled up to the house.”

“Oh, you’re a naughty girl.” He sat back on a chair, eyes at half-mast, a smoldering expression on his face. “I want you to play for me just like that, V. I want to see your body when you let go with music.”

Need knifed through me. “What do you want me to play?”

“Play how you feel about me,” he said softly. “I took the liberty of getting your violin for you already. It’s on the table.”

I cocked an eyebrow. “You had this planned?”

“No, I just wanted to hear you play, but this is even better.” He bit his lower lip and groaned, watching me as I sashayed over to the violin. I made a show of it, leaning over the table to pick it up and placing it in the crook of my neck. I don’t know if it looked sexy or not, but he seemed to like it.

I took a deep breath.

How could I choose the song that conveyed the depth of how I felt? That I felt like we’d known each other our entire lives even though it had only been a short time?

In the end, I went with “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden.

I poured my heart into my sound, and when his voice chimed in on the chorus, I adjusted to his cadence. I closed my eyes when his hands cupped my breasts, his mouth not far behind. I raised my elbows to give him room, and my music faltered.

“Don’t stop,” he whispered in my ear. “I want you while you break free.”

I played on, stretching into the melody, drawing out the low notes as they reverberated between us. My body was under his spell, and I let it all go, my head going back, embracing us. For so long I’d believed that the price of love was too high, but now, with him, I saw a glimmer of the future, of us playing music, laughing, loving.

“Incandescent,” he murmured, and fell to his knees, his hands on my waist. He nudged my legs apart, his fingers skimming my wet core like little brushes of electricity. I shivered.

“Sebastian,” I groaned as his tongue snaked in and found my clit. I abruptly stopped playing.

“Need you now, V,” he growled, his voice rough.

I set my violin down even as he tugged his shirt over his head. His pants and underwear and shoes were next. I took in his tall frame, the toned biceps, the cut abs—the big cock. I pulled him to me and kissed him hard, my tongue tangling with his.

“You going all alpha on me? I like it,” he chuckled.

I laughed and we kissed, his hands molding to my ass, sliding me against him. He groaned and pulled back, breathing heavily, his forehead pressed against mine.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“It’s just, the feels for you are so intense, so crazy, it’s got me worked up and I wanna say all this stuff and do all these erotic things to you—dirty things—and then I want to worship you, too. That night on the swing, I was rough.” He swallowed. “I’m just trying to reel myself back a notch or two.”

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