“With the right clothes and some time, you’ll adjust. It gets pretty nasty come February, but a couple of winters here, and thirty degrees feels balmy.”
At the corner, we wait for the light and cross Third, and we’re at her hotel far too quickly for my liking. The front lights of the old Victorian glow, illuminating the porch that stretches the length of the front of the house. It appears this is one of the many homes in this area of town that have been restored and converted into a small hotel. Places like this usually have half a dozen rooms and no night staff or kitchen—more like a B&B than a hotel. A lot of the old neighborhood near downtown is like this—catering to tourists who visit Jackson Harbor for its small-town charm and don’t want to stay in a chain hotel.
On the front porch, Nic fishes her keys from her purse. She only fumbles a bit as she unlocks and opens the door and steps inside before turning back to me. “My room’s on the second floor.”
“I’ll walk you up.” I pull the door shut behind us and shove my hands into my pockets, as if that might be enough to help me resist temptation.
On the stairs, I almost regret giving her my coat. If I hadn’t, I’d have a great view of her ass and the soft skin of her thighs between the tops of her boots and the hem of her skirt. Maybe it’s better that I can’t see what I know is under my coat. I don’t need any more temptation. She quotes Shakespeare, has skin like porcelain, and kisses like she was born to do it. Whoever hurt her is an idiot.
She rounds the corner on the second floor and uses the same key to unlock the door to her room. “Thank you.”
“For tonight. For lending me your coat and walking me.” Her gaze drops to my mouth and stays there. She lowers her voice and adds, “For kissing me when I needed to be kissed.”
“It’s been my pleasure.” The corner of my mouth quirks into a smile. “All of it.”
She nudges the door, and it swings open, revealing a large bedroom with a king-size bed against one wall and a couch against another. She takes my hand from my pocket and backs into the room.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m bringing you in. I don’t want you to go yet.”
I swallow hard. “I don’t want to go.”
She loops her arms behind my neck and kisses me again. It’s just as good as it was in the bathroom, but faster, greedier. This is a kiss that knows what it wants and where to find it.
I pull away with a groan and lean my forehead against hers. “This is such a bad idea.”
This kiss doesn’t feel like a bad idea. It feels like the best idea I’ve had in months. His mouth is warm, and his big hands make me feel safe.
His coat slips off my shoulders and falls to the floor around our feet.
“Tell me to leave.” His breath is hot on my neck, his hands skimming up my sides even as he says the words.
“Because you’re too sweet. Because you’ve had a shit day and someone’s hurt you.” His eyes search mine, even as his hand slides under my shirt and his knuckles graze my belly. “Because I’m not what you’re looking for.”
“How do you know what I’m looking for?”
He groans and nips at my neck. “You’re telling me you’d be okay with this?” He’s breathless, as if these kisses are doing as much to him as they are to me. I know the question he’s asking is important, but all I want right now is more. More of him. His heat. His touch. His mouth. “You’d be okay with me touching you tonight and just being another guy you see at the bar tomorrow?” He flattens his palm against my stomach and his fingertips brush under the waistband of my skirt, getting him closer to where I want him, closer to where I’m aching.
I want this, and so much more. I can hardly breathe. The tequila helped me forget, but this—his hands, the quickening of my pulse, and the dangerous ache between my legs—this washes the whole day away.
“Tell me to leave,” he repeats.
I pull away and look into his eyes. I take his hand off my stomach, step back, and hold his gaze as I unbutton my shirt. It slides from my shoulders as I unzip my skirt and let it fall from my hips. Then I’m standing before him in nothing but my cowboy boots, a black lace bra, and panties.
His eyes darken as they skim over me.
“I’m not asking you to leave,” I tell him. “I’m asking you to stay.” This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m desperate to cling to this feeling. I love the way he looks at me. I’m so sick of falling short in everything, of trying and trying and never being enough. I want wild. I want crazy. I want pleasure without promises.