And I also now knew that all areas of his body were exceptionally well-proportioned; something in my wildest dreams I never thought I’d ever have personal knowledge of.

I thoroughly believed in insta-lust. Criminy, I’d experienced it several times at the gym, but I was never one to act on it. Or was I? I never really had the chance to do so. I’d never given myself the chance.

But this seemed so fast, because it was fast. Possibly record-breaking fast, but he, the guy I’d admired from afar for quite some time, thought I was beautiful. And he thought there wasn’t a single thing about me that screamed average.

My wry gaze flicked over his handsome face as the seconds ticked by. Uncertainty slammed into me. “Colton, I—”

His mouth silenced my words, but the softness of his kiss, the tenderness behind it, quelled the brimming disquiet. When he spoke, his nose grazed mine. “That’s a hard question to answer, but you know what I do know, Abby? Despite how you came back into my life last night, I was thrilled to see you. I came over this morning because I wanted to see you again and I didn’t want to wait for a better excuse. I’m impatient like that,” he added, and I felt his lips form a grin against mine. “And I kissed you and I am right where I am because I want you. I think you can feel that.”

“I can feel that,” I said, my voice throaty. There was no way I couldn’t feel that.

“And I think the way you kissed me back tells me you are right where you are because you want to be here.” He kissed me softly, stirring up the flutter into a crazy spiral. He lifted his head slightly and stared down at me. “I don’t know where this is going or what to expect, but I know what I want and I’m the type of guy that goes for it. Why would I wait getting that message across? It doesn’t feel like something that’s going to change in a week or a month.”

The type of guy who goes for it.

Was it really that simple? He wanted me, so he was going to go for it. Why waste the time? Could it really be that simple for me? Because I did want him. I wanted him so badly it was a physical ache. And why did I really need to even think about the future, where this could lead? We were both consenting adults, and there was no mistaking the fact that he was attracted to me. Could I pass this up?

Pass up the chance to feel again? To be alive?

Because that would be what I was doing if I listened to the tiny, annoying voices in the back of my head. In the hours spent here and there with Colton, I’d felt more than I had in the four years since Kevin passed on. The most I felt was through the words and stories I edited. Was there something wrong with wanting to feel alive again, for wanting more?


I hoped not.

“Okay,” I whispered, placing my shaking hand on his cheek, drawing his mouth back toward mine.

Colton came willingly, and his breath hitched before he closed his mouth over mine. There was nothing sweet about this kiss. Our lips parted, and his tongue was a hot, moist demand inside my mouth. He took complete control, as if he was staking his claim, and there was a possessiveness in the way he kissed that shattered memories of any other kiss.

He splayed his palm flat against my cheek, still for a moment, and then he glided it down my neck. His hand stayed there, the touch gentle and so at odds with the fierceness of the kiss. I moaned, my body arching toward his, wanting to melt into him. Between my thighs, I pulsed and I ached. I was so into the taste and feel of him, but that voice was in the back of my head, this time preaching a different story.

Could I actually get naked in front of him?

Speaking of getting naked, I was pretty sure the Hanes boy shorts I was wearing were the least possible sexy thing I could have on, along with the checkered bra.

Would he still be so aroused once he realized there was more cushion for the pushin’?

His pelvis thrust against mine, scattering those fears like ashes in the wind. He nipped at my lower lip, the tiny bite sending a wave of pleasure through my veins.

Making a deep sound in the back of his throat, he lifted his mouth from mine. “I really need to fix that window.”

“What window?” I murmured, dazed.

Colton laughed as he dipped his head into the space between my neck and shoulder. “Cute.”


“You’re cute.” He kissed my neck. “You can be cute.”

I opened my eyes. “I thought I was beautiful?”

“You’re both.” Pushing himself up, he paused just long enough to kiss me again and then he popped up onto his feet with grace I was envious of. “It’s good to be both.”

“Uh-huh.” I was still lying there, half sprawled on the couch, trying to get control of my thoughts and breathing. I wetted my lips that felt swollen.

Colton extended a hand. “If you stay like that, I’m going to be way too tempted.”

I glanced up at him. “What’s wrong with being tempted?”

His lips parted. “Damn if I remember right now.”

That brought a smile to my face. Placing my hand in his, I let him pull me up into a sitting position. “The window,” I reminded him.

“Oh yeah, that. Guess we need to get that fixed so we aren’t giving your neighbors a show.”

My eyes widened. Holy crapola, I hadn’t even thought of that.

Colton started to turn away, but stopped. A soft smile played across his lips. “You know something? It’s been a long time since I started a day and ended it with a woman. Glad it’s you.”

Chapter 9

Sunday morning, I did something I hadn’t done in a very long time. When I stripped off my pajamas and shoved the shower door open, I didn’t allow myself to gloss over my reflection or to pretend that I wasn’t purposely avoiding catching a glimpse of myself. Because that was what I’d been doing for a long time. Almost like if I didn’t see myself, I didn’t have to acknowledge how I felt.

But this morning, I looked.

The hollows of my cheeks were a bright pink and my gaze wary as I took in my disheveled hair. It was probably my imagination, but my lips looked swollen. There was no way that was the case, but I didn’t have to try hard to remember Colton’s kisses. My lips tingled. Those kisses were something I wouldn’t forget.

My gaze drifted down, over the slope of my shoulders and then across my chest. I pressed my lips together as I lifted my hands, placing them over my breasts. The skin was smooth, nipples puckered. Steam began to fill the bathroom, dampening my skin. I lowered my hands. My breasts were round and full. Definitely nowhere in the general vicinity of perkiness, but they…they matched the rest of me. My waist curved in slightly and then flared out, forming round hips. The shadowy area between my plump thighs drew my attention. Brazilian wax? Uh, no. I almost laughed out loud at that thought.

God, it had been so long since I had sex.

Could I do it? An image of Colton formed in my thoughts, and the flush raced down my throat. Biting down on my lip, I was pretty sure that I could do it. The man neared perfection when it came to his body.

That would be a lot to overcome.

As I twisted to the side, peeking at my behind, I tried to come to terms with how I felt about myself. It wasn’t easy and the steam covered the mirror before I had any answer. I stepped into the shower, letting the hot water beat down on me. I wasn’t sure if it was a lack of self-esteem or a lack of action that had my confidence bouncing all over the place. Or maybe it was the fact that I spent every day caught up in the fictional worlds of the authors I edited, experienced their love, their heartbreak and everything in between that I hadn’t, in the last four years, experienced anything in the real world or taken any time for myself.