Like a wild animal that had run out in front of a car, I couldn’t move as I watched a tall shadow take form and head across the sidewalk. When a soft knock on my door sounded, I might’ve squeaked. A little.
Spinning around, I dropped my glasses on the coffee table and then darted over to the door and stretched up. I couldn’t see crap out of the peephole, but knowing it had to be Reece, I opened the door.
Holy hot guy . . .
It was Reece and he was dressed like something out of my fantasies. A tight black shirt accentuated the broad shoulders, defined upper arms and chest. There was no mistaking how cut his tapered waist was. The shirt was tucked into black tactical pants and the black boots he wore completed the badass ensemble.
Okay. I was totally down for this part of the SWAT uniform.
I dragged my gaze up as I stepped back, letting him in. He stalked forward, a large duffel bag in his right hand. His knuckles were bleached white. So caught up in eyeball screwing him, I hadn’t realized he was checking me out in the same hungry, intense way I’d been doing to him. It was in that moment I realized I was only wearing the shirt.
I so did not even need to look down at myself to know I looked like a hot mess.
Reece closed the door behind him, locking it without peeling his eyes off me, which I thought, took some talent. I drew in a deep breath. “Is . . . is everything okay?”
There was something in the way he stared at me as he placed the duffel bag behind the recliner. It was raw, wholly unfiltered and a bit . . . unstable. As if he were a band stretched too tight.
He shook his head. “No.”
I didn’t know what to say as I stared up at him. A shiver danced over my shoulders.
His chest rose and fell with a deep breath. “The guy—the hostage situation. There was no talking him down.”
I held my breath.
“When he started shooting out the windows, we were ordered to go inside.” As he spoke, his blue eyes darkened to a stormy sky. “It was too late. He’d shot his wife and himself. Wasn’t a small caliber, either. The kids saw it. One of them was too young to understand, but the boy . . . yeah, he knew what happened. He’ll always know.”
Tears rushed my eyes as my mouth dropped open. “Oh my God, Reece, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say.” Not a part of me had thought that night would end like this for him. I’d known it was a serious situation. Obviously, I’d known it could end badly, but it was hard to fathom how he’d felt waking up this morning and making plans, then getting that call, having no idea he was about to see someone end another person’s life and then their own. The same with that poor woman and those kids.
But then, in a way, I guess I did know.
When I woke that morning when I was sixteen, it had never crossed my mind that I’d lose my best friend that night. One never knew when their life was about to be irrevocably altered. There was no warning. If anything, it always came when everything was calm and good.
“What can I do?” I asked, blinking back tears—tears for a woman and family I had never met, tears for the fact Reece had to be within ten miles of that situation, especially given his history. I wanted to ask if he was okay, make sure that he was, but before I could do anything, he was on the move.
Reece said nothing as he crossed the distance between us. Tension poured into the air, thickening it. He grasped my cheeks, the touch so incredibly gentle. He lowered his mouth to mine, and there was nothing soft about the way he kissed me. No slow seduction of my senses. He hijacked them with a kiss that swept through me, heating me up like I’d spent the entire day under the sweltering summer sun.
“You,” he said, lifting his head. “I want you. Badly. And I need this—need you right now.” His fingers splayed across my cheeks. “But if you want to slow this down, I can do that. I will do that. Just tell me now, Roxy, because I’m feeling like a live wire and when I get you naked, there’s going to be no fucking around. I’m going to be in you.”
His words sent a jolt straight from my heart to my core. I trembled as my eyes met his. “Don’t . . . don’t slow down.”
As crazy as it sounded, I knew what Reece needed to do. When everything had happened with Charlie, there was so much pent-up frustration born out of helplessness and the only outlet had been painting. Sometimes that wasn’t enough, and I’d fill the bathtub up, slip under the water and scream. That frustration had grown to horrific levels, once Charlie started to slip away into what was nothing more than a husk of a living person.
Reece had felt that tonight.
Life was there one second, gone the next. Like a train running off the tracks. He hadn’t been able to do anything to stop it. He bore that same frustration, that same helplessness I felt with Charlie, and I understood that need . . . that almost instinctual drive to remind yourself that you’re still alive.
Reece kissed me again, and if I thought he’d turned my senses inside out before, I’d been wrong. This kiss left me weak in the knees and wanting on a level that was almost painful.
His hands slid into my hair, deftly undoing the bun. My hair fell as he dragged his fingers over my scalp. He tilted his head, taking the kiss deeper. As he dragged his hands down, over my arms and to my waist, I gasped into his mouth.
A deep sound rumbled out of him as he lifted me up. My legs curled against his waist, like they’d been itching to do since forever. Whispering his name, I looped my arms around his neck.