“Don't be mad at me,” I muttered.

“I'm not. I don't like talking about this.”

“You might feel better if you did.”

He groaned and rolled his eyes. I could feel him slipping further away from me at the suggestion. I slid my hand under his shirt, appreciating every ridge of his abs under my fingertips. I was determined to lure him out of this mood he'd fallen into. Nothing took me away from the cacophony of my thoughts better than being naked with Blake. I suspected the same was true for him.

“I miss you.”

His face relaxed and I smiled, relieved. He stroked my face reverently, tracing a path from my cheek to my chin. Before I could say anything more, he angled his lips over mine and took my mouth in a kiss. Soft and tender, the kiss quickly became heated. He pulled away abruptly.


He looked past me. “I can't do this right now.”

“What do you mean?”

I straddled him the way I'd wanted to, my skirt inching up indecently high. I pulled him into another kiss. I arched into his chest, leaving no space between us, rabid for his touch. No sooner had I fisted my hands in his hair, he pulled back, disengaging my fingers and holding them gently by my sides.

“Erica, stop. I need…to cool off.”

Before I could question him, he patted my thigh gently, a signal to move off of him. Slowly I obliged. He retreated to the kitchen where he started to clean up. I joined him and started helping, but he stopped me.

“It's okay. I'll take care of this.” He paused and faced me. Leaning against the counter with his hip, he looked deceptively casual considering the tension that rolled off him. “Listen, I've got some work to do for tomorrow, and it sounds like you do too. Do you mind if we call it an early night?”

I searched his eyes for answers, but he seemed as cold and closed off as ever. I stared, stunned and speechless, swallowing hard as the rejection settled over me. Had I pried too much? Didn't he understand my reasons for wanting to know?

Everything I thought to say back sounded feeble, desperate, in my mind. Why don't you want to be with me? Why can't I stay? The thought of him answering those questions honestly scared me. I wasn't sure if I wanted to know why he didn't want me tonight.


My apartment was empty and lifeless with no signs of Sid or Alli to console the loneliness and hurt that washed over me. Blake had never shot me down before. I was dressed to kill and the man had a marathon sex drive. Somehow we’d survived the past few days outside of each other’s beds, but now he was pushing me away?

I dropped my purse on the counter and stood in the quiet darkness of the room, trying to figure out how Blake's confession about his past had driven such a wedge between us. I went to the bedroom and assessed myself in the mirror. I felt terrible. Blake hadn't just shot down a night in his bed. That he didn't want me cut me to the core, leaving me with a sick and hopeless feeling.

No. I couldn't let this go.

I headed back out, grabbing my keys on the way.

I let myself into Blake’s apartment but he was nowhere to be found. I walked down to his bedroom where I heard the shower running. I hesitated at the doorway leading into the en suite bathroom. Through the glass, I could see Blake’s hands pressed against the wall, water pouring down his massive unmoving frame. He was beautiful, despite the sadness that had crept over us and threatened our night. I took another step forward. He turned his head toward me.

I stood still, waiting for his reaction. He turned off the shower. My breath caught at the sight of him as he emerged. Under normal circumstances Blake was a sight to behold. Now, stark naked and dripping wet, he could not have been more impressive. A prime specimen of masculine beauty.

Goosebumps beaded his skin and his cock was as hard as stone, jutting out from his formidable frame.

What the fuck?

“Blake.” My voice was barely a whisper.

“What do you want, Erica?”

His voice was flat, his face expressionless, as if I were a stranger. He toweled himself dry methodically.


I had no words. My grand plan to sneak back into his apartment and seduce him, to not take no for an answer, had been shot to hell by the sudden realization that seduction might be a lost cause.

“Go home, Erica. I told you, I've got work to do.”

“Bullshit. Do you want to explain to me why you've spent the past ten minutes taking a cold shower and now you've got the biggest cockstand I've ever seen, but you're cutting me off?”

“I don't want to fight with you. Can we just call it a night?”

He passed me and headed into the bedroom. I followed him, determined to get answers.

“We're talking about this. If you're going to shut me down, you can fucking tell me why.” My voice shook. I was losing my cool and wild scenarios swept through my mind. “Are you seeing someone else?” I asked, incredulous. What had transpired since our last time together in the office? Had I done something wrong?

He scowled and fisted his hands. “Jesus Christ. No. Will you just leave me be?”

His words stung. I hated him in that moment. How could he make me feel so small and insignificant with his indifference when I was here damn near begging him for intimacy? “You're right. I don't need this shit.”

He sighed. “Baby.”

I turned and marched to the door. Before I could reach it, he outpaced me and slammed it shut in front of me. He caught my elbow and spun me to face him.

“What do you want from me, Erica?”

My breaths came fast. My heart raced with anger mingled with my steadily growing desire. I couldn't decide which emotion would win or which I was rooting for. But I wasn't here to fight with him.

“I want you to fuck me.”

His jaw tensed and his grip on my arm tightened painfully.

“Why don't you want me?” My voice was small, almost unrecognizable. I weakened in his grasp, and my anger gave way to something else. A raw vulnerability that Blake had uncovered.

His next movements were so quick I could barely distinguish them. He pushed up my skirt and ripped off my panties in one violent motion, stinging my upper thighs as the fabric tore across my skin. A second later he hoisted me up around his waist and slammed me against the door. And then he was there. Plunging himself so deep that I screamed. I arched into the door, raw pain tearing through my core. I whimpered at the relief that followed. He was with me again, finally.

He thrust again and I cried out. Heat shot through me, my body melting around his.

I softened when I sensed Blake's stillness. His body was frozen against mine, eerily still. I opened my eyes to meet his intense and questioning gaze. God, he was beautiful. And he was mine, but somehow over the past couple hours I’d lost him. I had to keep him with me, to show him how desperately I needed him like this.

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