“So you’re good?” he asked, needing reassurance.

She nodded. “Yes. I’m fine.”

He didn’t want to leave. His eyes were on me trying to determine what kind of fucking friend I was. If he didn’t walk away I was going to step in and make him. Letting her handle it was hard. If I wanted a chance with getting her alone I knew I had to let her do this. Or she’d leave us both standing out here in the dark.

I barely glanced his way. Scarlet was one wrong move from running off. Keeping my eyes on her and pleading with her silently to talk to me was all I could do.

She studied me a few moments then took a deep breath. “We can take your truck,” she said to me finally.

I wanted to fucking sigh in relief but I didn’t. “Good,” I replied and held out my hand for her to take. She looked down at it, then slipped her hand into mine. Wrapping my fingers around her dainty hand felt good.

She moved to stand beside me, then started walking toward my truck. Although she smelled like fried country food and bleach I still wanted to inhale deeply. Get as much of her soaked in as I could. She didn’t look back at Mr. Gasoline. That made it easier to accept he had been making her laugh when I got there.

“Scarlet,” he called out. “Do you want me to bring you your car?”

She turned her head to look back at him. “No thank you,” she replied. “I’ll get it later.”

“We got it. I’ll make sure she has what she needs,” I added with a smirk. Then I reached around her, pressing my body against hers as I opened the passenger side door for her to climb inside.

Placing my hand on her hips I helped her. When she was in the seat she glared back at me. “I didn’t need a boost.”

“No? Well, I needed to put my hands on you,” I said, then winked before closing her door and walking around the front of the truck. Cutting my eyes toward the guy with the stupid name I saw he was there watching us still. Fucking annoying.

“Are you who she ran from? Why she works herself to death?” he asked loudly.

I paused. Turned to face him and held his bold glare with one of my own. “If it was a story she wanted you to know she would have told you.”

His shoulders were thrown back to stand taller. “Don’t fuck with her. She’s been happier lately.”

I didn’t like that comment and I didn’t like being told what to do. I took one step toward him as I felt the darkness start to slowly burn as it raced through me. He went from tough guy to backing up a step.

“I know how to make her happy. Don’t need advice on that one.” Before I could say more, Scarlet was in front of me. Her hands on my chest drew my attention off the fucker out there and back to her.

“Don’t. Just get in the truck. Please.” She looked scared. Of me or what she thought I was going to do I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to be the reason her happiness turned to fear.

I nodded and cupped her face with my hands, then kissed her. She tensed for a moment only. Slowly, her body leaned into mine and her lips opened for me. I tasted and explored while she pressed against me. This may keep us from getting very far from the parking lot. I’d needed to mark my territory in front of the dipshit. I hadn’t thought about my hunger taking over and not being able to stop this if I started it.

When he cleared his throat, Scarlet stepped back quickly, her quick breaths causing her chest to rise and fall rapidly as she gazed up at me. “We should leave,” she panted.

I grinned. “Yeah, we should.”

Her cheeks flushed. She hurried back to the truck and climbed in. I shot Diesel one last amused grin, then climbed in the truck myself. Let him remember that shit. She was mine. She’d shown him that pretty damn clearly.

“Stop looking so smug,” Scarlet said as I pulled out of the parking lot.

I couldn’t stop grinning. “Not smug, baby.”

She let out a sharp laugh. “Yes, you are. I climbed all over you out there.”

Reaching over I placed a hand on her thigh. “Don’t remind me or we won’t make it to your place.”

Scarlet sighed and rested her head on the car seat. “Why are you here?” she asked yet again.

“Because I fucking miss you. Not just the sex. I miss your smile. Your laugh. I miss being near you. I miss you, Scar.”

She was silent a moment, then she eased over to sit close beside me. “Oh,” was her whispered response. Then her head rested on my shoulder.

We rode in silence a few moments before I said. “Country cooking smells good on you.”

Her laughter was warm and bright. It chased away my darkness.

Scarlet

I MISSED HIM too. All the time.

That’s why I was sitting here. In his truck. Making a potentially terrible decision. But he’d shown up, after work, and although I’d been laughing at Diesel’s impression of Ethel, seeing him made everything else fade away.

He felt warm, smelled of the outdoors and spice, and made my heart fluttery. This was where I wanted to be. Close to him. My moods were all over the place lately. Because of him. He owned my heart and I couldn’t get back.

“I found your work. Don’t know where you live. You’ll have to tell me,” he said as his hand rested on my thigh squeezing it.

“Turn left at the next red light, take a right at the second stop sign and it’s in the trailer park to your immediate right.”

His lips touched my head as I rested against his shoulder. He didn’t say anything more. With his hand, he pulled my leg over his right thigh which moved me closer to him. His grip on my thigh eased up higher and my breathing hitched. He was close and my body was hyperaware of his proximity.

I wasn’t sure my heart could take it if this was a booty call. When we were together sexually it meant more to me than was healthy. I was connecting to him. Allowing him inside more than my open legs but also my heart, my soul. Making it even more difficult to see him go. I couldn’t keep him here. He had a life back where I would never live again. I’d have to watch him drive away. It was coming.

“Shame they don’t have you wear skirts at that place,” he said in a deep husky voice. I shivered at the idea. I felt vulnerable but the excitement was there. Always with him. When he came to the first stop sign after turning at the red light, he moved his hand higher and it was brushing against the fabric of my shorts. I wanted to press myself against it but I didn’t. I inhaled deeply and tried to get control of myself.

“You keep making those noises and shivering and I’ll have those shorts off you by the next stop sign,” he warned.

“We’re almost there. And you’re the one teasing me,” I replied my voice was breathless.

“Jesus, Scar. I’m gonna end up fucking you in the truck before we can get inside,” he swore.

Unable to stop it, I trembled again. The thought of Bray being inside me caused me to react even when I didn’t want to.

He didn’t stop at the next sign but turned right, then immediately sped up to turn right again into the trailer park I lived in. He tensed and slowed down. “Please tell me this isn’t where you’re fucking living,” he said slowly as he came to a stop inside the dilapidated fence.

“Third one on the left.” I pointed already preparing myself for him to be upset. I should have thought about this. I’d just gotten used to the place and the idea of being with Bray made me forget everything else. Like his reaction to my living space here.

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