“Would I do that to you?”
“You’d poison my coffee if you could get away with it. I’m not under any illusions that you’ve forgiven me.”
“What if we put that aside for tonight?” she said.
“Hate sex? Because I don’t hate you.”
“Not hate sex. Call it bonus night. One last time. Like you said. You’d do things differently. Maybe I would too.” Her voice was a siren’s low, sexy whisper. I felt it like a lick along my spine.
“Why would you want to do that?” I said, trying to get my brain to work.
“I want you, Jeremiah. I’ve hated myself for weeks, because I shouldn’t want you. Not after what you did. But does it have to matter? Does it have to be unforgivable?”
“You tell me.”
“Take me to your room, Company Man,” she said.
I wasn’t a man who could say no to that, wasn’t a man who could deny her anything. Especially not what I wanted most.
She followed me to the hotel, stepped into the elevator with me. I couldn’t help the cliché elevator kiss that happened. We had the plush elevator car to ourselves, and I backed her up to the wall, slid my hands up her sides, crushing the fabric of her silky green top as I worked my tongue in her mouth. She melted for me, moved with me, licked me right back. My match in every way.
In my room, I barely got the door shut before I turned to her and kissed her again and again, softly, leisurely, giving her the tender, wet kiss like she liked.
“You are going to melt my panties right off,” she said, “And you know I couldn’t have hate sex. I like you. I just never wanted to admit it.”
“There was never a time I didn’t like you, not even when you were giving me hell at check-in,” I said, “You were irritating, but in the sexiest most challenging way possible. I couldn’t stay away. I still can’t. Don’t do this if it’s just a bonus night, Maggie. You know I don’t want you just one more time. Just to say goodbye. I want you back. If we can’t be the way we were—”
“I don’t think that’s possible. Not knowing what I know now. That you can put aside liking me or caring about me or whatever you call it and destroy something so important.”
I took a step back. The last thing I wanted to do was stop kissing her, but I wasn’t the kind of guy who could screw first and ask questions later. I had too much respect for us both. So I pulled her over to the couch by the window and sat down.
“Talk to me. I told you I want to help you. I meant it. What can I do?”
“You can hold me. You can make love to me. Let me escape for that long,” she said. Her eyes were bright. I kissed her cheek.
“If you just want to be held, I’ll hold you all night,” I said. “I don’t expect anything from you.”
“Jeremiah,” she said.
When she said my name, it undid me somehow. It clawed at my chest, made me want to crush her against me, plunder her mouth, act like some damn Viking marauder. I took her hand and kissed it.
“Yes. Whatever you need, it’s a yes,” I said, my voice low.
“Ask me to stay the night.”
“Stay the night with me, Maggie. Nothing would make me happier.”
“Okay,” she said with a shaky smile.
If comfort was what she needed, I could give it to her. I was willing to give her anything in my power to give. I wanted to heal her, and I’d be damn lucky if she gave me the chance. I swept her red hair back from her face and kissed her, pressing my lips to hers, softly nipping at her lips. She responded, her hands on my face. She climbed into my lap. I gathered her greedily in my arms, kissed her lips. Had her skin always been so satiny smooth? Had I missed her this much? It felt like life flowing back into my body, just holding her, touching her again. She leaned back and removed my shirt. I held her against my chest, kissed her hair. Her mouth was on my neck, kissing and sucking, making my whole body tense as nerve endings sparked and I clenched my jaw.
Maggie paused, threw her arms around my neck and hugged me. I wrapped my arms around her in a massive bear hug. It felt like that hug was putting the pieces of me back together, shards I hadn’t realized were dislodged by everything that had been going on. It was possible that I needed her just as much as I wanted her.
“Why can’t I stop missing you?” she whispered, “not just sleeping with you. Everything about you.”