“Say something, Lee. Tell me if this is okay,” I beg.

When she doesn’t immediately reply, I start to pull out of her, my concern for her greater than my need to experience this with her. Her hand flies back and grips my hip, holding me in place.

“It’s okay, I’m okay. It hurts, but it feels good at the same time. Just give me a second.”

Letting out the breath I was holding, I’m prepared to give her as much time as she needs even though all I want to do is move.

I start circling my fingers around her clit again, slowly at first and then speeding up the movement. Within seconds, her back arches and she screams as her orgasm bursts out of her.

“I’m coming! Oh fuck, I’m coming!”

Her clit throbs beneath my fingers and her ass milks my cock with each pulse of her release until my own orgasm explodes out of me. I didn’t even need to move in and out of her, just having my cock sheathed inside her tight hole and feeling her squeeze around me is enough to drive me right to the edge and tumble over.

My come fills her ass and my fingers continue circling her clit as another tremor wracks her body, this one smaller than the last but just as powerful going by her shouts of pleasure.

When we’re both sated and panting heavily, I pull my cock out of her and we collapse next to each other in a heap of exhaustion and sweat. With the last of my strength, I wrap my arms around her body and pull her back against my chest. The desire to tell her that I love her overwhelms me, but I bite my tongue and keep my thoughts to myself. I don’t want her to think I’m saying it because of what just happened.

With a kiss to the back of her head, I slide out of bed and make my way to the bathroom. I’ve never used the Jacuzzi tub in my master bath since I bought this house a month ago and now I know why. I was waiting for the right moment and it doesn’t get any more perfect than this. When the tub is filled with warm, soapy water, I head back into the bedroom to find Finnley asleep. I slide my arms under her naked body and pull her up to my chest as she yawns and opens her eyes. She leans up and kisses my chin as I walk towards the bathroom, the look on her face so sated and sexy that I feel my cock stirring below us. I step into the tub with her still in my arms, sinking down into the hot water as she sighs contentedly, twisting in my arms until she’s straddling my lap.

She cups handfuls of soapy water in her hands and pours them over my chest and shoulders, running her palms over my skin as she goes. Her wet hand skims over the tattoo on my right bicep, staring at it intently. “I’ve seen this before and I know it has a name. What’s it called?”


Removing my hands from the edge of the tub, I slide them into the water and glide them up her wet thighs until I’m gripping her hips.

“It’s called a Maltese Cross. I got it the day I graduated from the fire academy.”

With the tips of her fingers, she traces the design and, even with the heat of the water, I suddenly get a chill from her touch.

“Is there meaning behind it, or is it just the universal symbol for firefighters?”

I’ve heard this story so many times you would think that I’d be tired of telling it, but something about explaining it to Finnley right now makes it feel like the first time. I’ll never forget that first day in class at the academy when our instructor put a picture of the cross up on the chalkboard and told us its history and the meaning behind it. The blood started pumping faster in my veins and I knew, right in that moment, that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

“It dates back to somewhere in the eleventh century. According to legend, a band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John were fighting the Saracens for possession of the Holy Land. As the Knights advanced on the walls of the city, the Saracens used a new weapon that no one had ever used in battle before—fire. They launched flaming glass bombs at the Knights, but the Knights never stopped moving forward. They were covered in fire but they kept going to save their brothers. They became the first firefighters in history.”

I look down at my arm and watch her fingers continue to trace around each piece of the intricate design.

“The Maltese Cross became a symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears it is willing to lay down his life for you, just like the Knights of St. John. They say that the cross is a firefighter’s badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage—a ladder rung away from death.”

Her eyes meet mine and the intensity in them overwhelms me. “It’s perfect. It’s exactly the type of mark you should have on you. You were always the most courageous person I ever knew, Collin. The fact that you put your life on the line for strangers on a daily basis doesn’t come as a shock to me at all.”

Tell her you love her, asshole. Tell her right now.

“I have always wanted a tub like this in my house,” Finnley tells me, quickly changing the subject like she knew I was one second away from making things even more serious.

She reaches for the bar of soap sitting on the edge by the wall and I watch as she dips her hand with the soap pressed against her palm under the water, finding my cock and sliding her hand gently up and down my quickly hardening length.

It takes me a minute to answer her as she continues to run her soap-filled hand up and down my cock. “Well, now you don’t need one. You can use mine anytime you want.”

She stares into my eyes as she pulls her hand away and drops the soap to the bottom of the tub, quickly bringing her hand back to me. I close my eyes and let my head drop to the edge of the tub, humming in approval as she tightens her fist around my cock and pumps her hand faster from base to tip.

She continues to work me over with her expert hand until I can’t take it anymore. Lifting my head up, I grab onto her hips and pull her up my thighs. She leans up on her knees and positions my cock right at her entrance, keeping her eyes locked tightly to mine as she slowly lowers herself onto me. We both groan as she moves her body down onto my cock until our thighs our touching.

I sit forward in the tub and wrap my arms around her body, pulling her flush against my chest as her palms move to my cheeks and she holds my face in her hands. I press my lips to hers as she begins rocking against me, my cock slowly sliding in and out of her. She glides her tongue across my bottom lip and I immediately part my lips, pulling her tongue into my mouth. Our tongues swirl lazily around each other while our bodies move with the same unhurried speed. I don’t think I’ve ever ‘made love’ before and I know for a fact I’ve never even thought those words in my head. I’ve always fucked and I’ve fucked hard. What we’re doing right now, this slow rocking against each other, is equally hot and filled with so much emotion, I can almost feel it burning a hole in my chest. Our kisses become deeper, our mouths moving faster even as our bodies continue the slow buildup. When I feel her start to clench around me and she moans into my mouth, I break our kiss, pulling back so that I can watch her. She’s fucking gorgeous all the time, but I’ll never get over the way she looks when she comes. When I hear her sigh my name, my cock immediately swells and my own orgasm follows quickly behind.

She opens her eyes and stares down at me, running her hands through my hair over and over. She takes her time, slowly kissing my cheeks, my chin, my nose and my forehead until the water starts to grow cold around us.

I lift her up and out of the water, drying us both off in between more kisses. When I scoop her up into my arms and carry her back into the bedroom, she laughs and I know in that moment I’ve never heard a better sound. Sliding her under the covers and moving in behind her, I pull her tightly against my chest.

As her breathing slows and she drifts off to sleep in my arms, I know without a doubt that a part of me has always been in love with Finnley. Being with her these last two weeks has only amplified those feelings.

As my own eyelids grow heavy with sleep, I realize that I have plenty of time to tell her how I feel. Now that I’ve found her again, I have no intention of letting her go. We have nothing but time spreading out in front of us and I have no problem waiting until I know she’s ready to hear me say the words that are on the tip of my tongue.

Chapter 19—Boiling Point

I’VE BEEN SO busy the last two weeks with Collin that I haven’t had an opportunity to pack up Jordan’s things. Since Collin is working another forty-eight hour shift, I finally have the time to myself to get it done.

I still haven’t told him about the restraining order, but Jordan has been unusually quiet since I filed it and I don’t see the sense in bothering him about it now. All it would do is piss Collin off and I know he would hunt Jordan down and beat the hell out of him. As much as I think a good, old-fashioned ass kicking is exactly what Jordan needs, I don’t want Collin getting into any trouble. For now, I’m going to keep it to myself and hope Jordan isn’t stupid enough to break the order.

While I busy myself pulling empty boxes from the garage and start the grueling task of packing up everything that reminds me of Jordan, I make a quick call to my mom and give her an update. I didn’t want to worry her about the restraining order, either, but she’s been bugging me nonstop ever since I told her I ran into Collin two weeks ago. I want her to know that things are moving quickly with him so it doesn’t come as a surprise when she hears it through the gossip grapevine.

She wasn’t the least bit surprised when I told her I was leaving Jordan and she didn’t even bat an eye when I told her I was kind of, sort of seeing Collin so soon after I filed for a separation. My parents always loved Collin and she was thrilled to hear that we were in each other’s lives again. There was no love loss between her and Jordan. Just like Phina, she never judged me for trying to stick it out and make things work, but she was more than a little overjoyed to hear that I had finally had enough and was moving on.

After letting her know that I’m still alive and promising to bring Collin over to see her soon, I end the call and get busy with my task.

My plan was to just box up all of Jordan’s clothes and other personal items that he didn’t take with him when he moved out six weeks ago, but once that was finished, I moved on to other things that I no longer wanted in my house. Our wedding album was the first of those items. I didn’t even bother to flip through the pages one last time as I tossed it into the bottom of an empty box. I didn’t care to see the smiling, hopeful look on my face on what I thought was the happiest day of my life. The woman in those photos was a silly, trusting fool.

On top of the album I stack every single framed photograph of the two of us together that used to hang on the walls as well as three other photo albums filled with snapshots of us throughout the years. I pack away every gift he’s ever given me, every card, every note and I shove it all away until I’m standing in our bedroom surrounded by boxes. Seventeen years packed into ten boxes. Seventeen years of memories, promises and hope all hidden away in ten squares of cardboard taped tightly shut for fear they might try to sneak out and worm their way into my life again.

I carry the boxes downstairs and stack them by the front door, my body worn out and covered in sweat by the time I’m finished. I look around the house at the empty nails on the walls where pictures of us used to hang and stare at the DVD case by the TV that now only holds a small handful of my favorite movies since the majority of the ones we owned were his. I sigh in relief, looking forward to dropping these boxes off at Jordan’s parents house and finally having him completely out of my life. I have no idea where he’s staying since his parents haven’t heard from him and I don’t care. I just want this stuff out of my house for good. His parents can deal with it however they want.

When I glance at the clock on the wall, I realize that three hours have passed since I last talked to Collin. He was called back into work on an emergency call and a little ball of worry ties my stomach in knots. I have no idea how long a call normally takes, but something tells me three hours is a long time for something non-serious. It occurs to me right then and there just how dangerous Collin’s job is. He could be hurt at any moment. I know he’s had years of training and he made captain, so he’s obviously good at what he does, but that doesn’t stop accidents from happening.

To take my mind off of thoughts of him being stuck in a burning building or something equally terrifying, I head upstairs and run a hot bath. When the tub is full and almost overflowing with bubbles, I strip off my clothes and sink into the warm water, resting my head against the bath pillow and closing my eyes. I think back over every time we’ve had sex and how much better it gets every single time.

I think about that day at the station and how he rocked my body on top of the speaker while the bass vibrated beneath me. I never thought I’d want to own a giant subwoofer, but something tells me I’ll be running out to Best Buy and purchasing one as soon as possible. Running my hands up my thighs under the water, I remember how good it felt to have his tongue driving into me over and over and my fingers ghost between my legs. I picture the look on Collin’s face when he sucked on his fingers before plunging them inside of me and the small tingling of desire between my legs turns into full blown need. I quickly push two of my fingers inside me and, even though they don’t provide anywhere near as much pleasure as Collin’s long, thick fingers, they’ll do for now. Seventeen days worth of memories scroll through my mind as I pump my fingers roughly in and out a few times before dragging them through my folds to rub against my clit. I moan in the quiet room and my voice echoes off of the tiles, the house silent but for my sounds of pleasure and the sloshing of the bath water as my hand moves faster and faster between my legs.

I picture his hand wrapped around his cock that day in the weight room and the predatory look in his eyes as he stared at me while he pumped that hand up and down his hard length. I think about how much I wanted him to make himself come while he stood before me. How his face would have frozen with a look of unabashed pleasure while he palmed his cock until he came against my stomach. How I would have driven him crazy by sliding my fingers through the mess and then bringing it up to my lips, sucking his taste from my fingers until he grew hard again.

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