A moment passed and then he exhaled roughly. Slipping his hands free from mine, he cupped my cheeks, drawing my face down toward his. “I’m going to be real with you, Roxy. I would not know what to do if something happened to you,” he said, his voice thick. “The very thought of losing you kills me. And knowing how close I came to doing just that isn’t something I can easily forget.”

“I know,” I whispered, blinking back tears.

He let out another raw, shaky-sounding breath. “But I’m going to try, because that’s what I asked you to do with everything, and I know that’s what you’re going to do.”

My smile was wobbly but wide and then he lifted his head off the pillow, kissing me gently, mindful of the cut in my lip. “I love you,” he said against my mouth, his words barely above a whisper but packing an emotional punch. “Baby, I love you.”

I could spend the rest of my life hearing those words over and over again, and never grow tired of hearing them. Not only that, I wanted to feel them. I wanted to be wrapped around Reece until we didn’t know where each of us began or ended.

Kissing him softly, I shifted so I was able to slide one hand down his bare, hard stomach. When I reached the band on his sleep pants, he pulled his head back, resting against the pillow as he stared up at me. His cheeks heightened in color as I held his gaze and glided my hand under the band. Unsurprisingly, he was already hard when I wrapped my fingers around him.

A deep sound came from the back of Reece’s throat. His eyes remained latched to mine as I worked my hand over him. Just touching him like this made me damp and achy between the thighs. It had never been like that with anyone else and I knew there would never be anyone else.

Reece was for me.

I was for him.

One hand found its way up my borrowed shirt, settling on my hip. Concern clouded the arousal building in his eyes. “Do you think—?”

“I think it’s the smartest idea ever,” I cut him off.


His hips rose slightly. “Babe, I want you. I always want you, but we don’t have to do this right now. We got time. Lots of time.” His eyes glimmered as I got his bottoms down, exposing him. “And you also had those toys I’m so going to break out one of these days.”

The idea of him using those on me made me all kinds of happy, but unless he had a vibrator stashed somewhere, that fantasy would have to be lived out on a different day. “I want to do this. A lot.”

His lips parted. “Roxy—”

I cupped him as I squeezed his hard length.

“Fuck,” he grunted out, kicking his head back. “Okay. Perfect idea. Completely. One hundred percent behind whatever you want to do.”

I giggled, but that sound died in a moan as his hand traveled to my breast. It wasn’t long before my undies ended up off, the shirt was lying on the bed next to us and we were joined together. With his hands on my hips and mine pressed against his chest, he let me set the pace and we took our time. This wasn’t about screwing each other’s brains out or doing so to just get off. No. This was all about showing each other how we felt and there was something restorative in that, beautiful and consuming as we moved together. No rush. Just that moment. And when the building pleasure finally peaked, he was right there with me, our bodies shattering and coming back together.

I didn’t move afterward, sprawled out on top of him, my good cheek resting on his chest while he toyed with my hair. “What happened to the streak in your hair?” he asked.

“What?” I was feeling way too lazy and sated to think about his question.

“The purple streak. It’s gone.”

I laughed, because the way he said it made it sound like it took some kind of voodoo magic to make that happen. “It faded out.”

“Huh.” He continued to play with my hair and I liked that. “You should do the pink again.”

“The pink?” I frowned. “I haven’t had the pink for like almost a year.”

“I know, but I liked it. It was you.”

My frown turned into a grin. He remembered I had a pink streak that long ago? God, I loved this man. For realsies. “Well, maybe I’ll go pink next time.”

“Well, maybe you should,” he teased.

“Bossy,” I murmured, still grinning. We lay there for a few minutes, my mind wandering over all the things I’d been thinking about. I was ready to give voice to one of those thoughts. “I’ve been thinking.”

His hand dropped to my back. “Should I be worried?”

“Maybe?” I laughed softly. “It’s about what I . . . what I want to do with my future.”

He started to rub a slow circle along my lower back. “Okay. What do you want to do?”

For some bizarre reason, it was easier to say this than I thought it would be while lying on Reece naked. Odd. “I was thinking about maybe . . . stepping back from classes. I mean, I know getting a degree is smart, but it’s not my passion. Not right now. And college will always be there, but you know, if I learned anything from everything that has happened, who knows what tomorrow or next week will bring. I don’t want to . . . live my life doing something I honestly don’t care about. Maybe that will change one day.”

“Babe, you don’t need to convince me.” He kept moving his hand, and I wanted to arch my back like a cat. “I think it’s a great idea. It will give you more time to paint and to work on web design if you still want to do that.”

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