She pressed her lips together and tilted her head into my hand like a kitten. “I just hate not knowing what to do. Being with you is amazing but you’re all I know. I have no experience so I have no idea how to do things to make you feel good. I can’t compete with your past.”

She really had no clue. I pulled her against me. “God, Harlow. You’re going to kill me,” I said, holding her while I tried to get my emotions together. “Sex is a way to get pleasure. It never meant anything more to me. Just a way to feel good. I didn’t put anything else into it. I just gave and took what I needed. And maybe when I first saw you that’s all I wanted. At that engagement party I got a look at those legs of yours and I wanted you na**d and under me. I won’t lie. But then I got to know you. I saw something precious that I wanted to taste. I wanted to hold it and I wanted to touch the special that I saw there.” I pulled back and looked down at her. “When I was inside you for the first time I realized I had found something I’d never felt, and it was terrifying. The pleasure wasn’t shallow and I wasn’t untouched. Something inside me turned over and I became addicted. To you. I don’t have any other explanation for you right now. But never compare yourself to anyone else I’ve ever been with because you’re all I want and all I see.”

Harlow didn’t respond. Instead, she pressed a kiss to my chest and continued to press kisses until she was on her knees in front of me. She looked up at me through wet lashes. “I don’t know how, but this is all I’ve been able to think about since that car ride.”

I was pretty damn sure I had forgotten how to inhale. Her hands held me and she squeezed just the way I’d taught her to. “Anything you do will be f**king perfect,” I rasped out.

My plan had been to wash her body and send her into a crazed frenzy with my hands before I pressed her against the wall and slid back inside her. But she wanted to suck my dick. How did I get this? Her? What did I ever do right to get this kind of reward? Harlow wasn’t meant for guys like me.

All thought left the moment her lips pulled me in and she began to suck as if she knew exactly what she was doing. There was no pattern or rhythm to it. She just took me in her mouth like I was a treat and she was enjoying herself. I didn’t instruct her. Hell, I was afraid to. I wanted inside her, and if she got any better that wasn’t happening in the shower.

She licked the head and looked up at me, smiling. “Is this okay?” she asked.

I realized I was holding my breath and sucked in some air. “No fantasy I’ve ever had can compare to how this feels.”

She opened her mouth and started to pull it back into her mouth. But I couldn’t let her do that right now. I wanted inside. I’d be more than willing to let her have at it another time for as long as she wanted, or until I blew.

“Up,” I told her, reaching down. She let it pop out of her mouth and I groaned. She stood up, frowning at me as if she wasn’t sure what was going on. I grabbed her face and covered her mouth with mine. The musky taste on her lips made my pulse beat faster. That was me. She tasted like me.

I grabbed her h*ps and pressed her against the wall and spread her legs before sinking into her tight warmth.


“Oh, God!” she cried out, grabbing my arms.

I picked her up and began to pump in and out of her while she moaned and begged for more. The little uptight Harlow was gone when she was like this. She was my wild, sweet girl. When she raised her knee and wrapped a leg around my waist and clawed at my back, I knew she was close.

I wasn’t wearing a f**king condom. Shit!

Harlow screamed my name and grabbed on as she found her release. I let her ride it out while grinding my teeth and holding back. When she started squeezing my dick with her tight little hole, I pulled out and covered her thighs with my release.

She was still holding on to me but she went still as the warmth of my come ran down her legs. Her eyes lifted to mine and went wide. She was just now realizing we had done this without protection. But I’d pulled out in time and I knew I was clean.

“I’m clean. I swear. I get checked regularly and I always wear a condom.”

“You’re sure?” she asked, still standing very still.

“Very sure.”

“I didn’t realize, but it felt different. Better.”

God, yes, it had felt like f**king nirvana. I had never had sex without a condom. I had no idea this was what all the fuss was about. Holy hell, I wanted that again.

“Let me wash you,” I told her, stepping back.

She immediately looked down at her legs and then back up at me. A small smile touched her lips. “I feel kind of marked.”

I stopped reaching for the soap and stared at her. Had she really just said that? “If you like being marked then I’ll mark you any damn time you want me to,” I told her before taking the soap. “Turn around. I’ll start with your back,” I instructed.


When I opened my eyes Grant’s arm was wrapped around me and I was nice and warm, tucked against his chest. I glanced at my closed door. The clock beside the bed said it was after eleven in the morning. Nan would be awake by now. Was I ready to face this?

“Stop thinking so hard,” Grant mumbled sleepily.

He wasn’t at all worried about Nan. I didn’t understand their relationship at all. If I was smart I wouldn’t be snuggled up in bed with someone who had any kind of relationship with Nan. But having the willpower to ignore Grant’s sexy smile and smooth-talking ways was almost impossible.

“I won’t let her do anything to hurt you,” Grant said into my hair.

That wasn’t what I was worried about. I could take on Nan if I had to. I was more concerned with making a choice that would eventually break my heart. Could I love Grant? Was I falling in love with him? Was it fair for me to love him?

Yes. I was positive I could love him. But I wasn’t in love with him right now. This was simply attraction, and possibly a crush. He flashed his smile and I did dumb things. That would be considered a crush, right? And if he wasn’t in love with me then would it hurt for me to love him? Even if he didn’t know my secret yet?

“Turn around and look at me,” Grant said, letting his tight hold on me go so I could actually move.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I don’t like where your head is. I need to fix it,” he replied.

He had no idea where my head was. And he really needed to get over wanting to fix everything for me.

“I’m not worried about Nan,” I told him. Okay, maybe I was a little. I didn’t like confrontations, and the one I had waiting on me when we left this room was going to be dramatic.

“Then why are you so quiet?”

“I’m trying to figure out what we’re doing. If I’m headed for possible heartache in the future,” I replied honestly. There was no reason to lie to him. I wasn’t one for pretenses.

“Turn around,” Grant growled, pulling my arms around him this time.

This was a bad idea. His face looked even better all sleepy. His eyes weren’t fully awake, which only made his long lashes more obvious. And his hair was all messy. Made a girl want to run her hands through it.

“I don’t do relationships. Closest I got was with Nan, and that was because she was so damn needy. I liked being needed. No one ever needed me. She did. But then she was also crazy as f**k and heartless, and that ended things for me. So what you and I are doing right here is a first for me. I’ve never wanted to wake up and cuddle with a female in my life. I’ve never missed her when she wasn’t around. You’re all I can think about, Harlow. Where I’m headed is new to me, but I damn well want to go there as long as that’s where you’ll be. You’re worried about getting hurt, but I don’t think you understand yet that you’re holding all the damn cards, sweet girl. All the damn cards.”

I stared up at him and let his words sink in. Why me? What was it about me that made this man want to do something he had never done before? Was I needy? Did he think I needed him? Because I was pretty damn self-sufficient.

“I’m not needy,” I told him.

He grinned. “I already figured that out. But I am—at least where you’re concerned.”

And there went my resolve to strengthen one of the walls I had built around myself. Instead, it crumbled a little. This man knew exactly how to make me weak.

I started to say more when a loud banging noise sounded at the door, followed by “Grant Carter, get your f**king worthless ass out here NOW!”

And there was Nan.

I jumped out of bed, thankful to be wearing my pajamas and not na**d, like Grant had wanted. “She figured it out,” I whispered.

Grant sighed and lay on his back as if he didn’t care. “Go away,” he called back.

She started banging on the door again. “I will not go away, you motherfucker! Get out of there now! I won’t let her do this. She has it all, why the hell does she have to take you, too? Stupid slut!”

My eyes went wide. I’d never been called that, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

Grant sprang out of bed and stalked to the door. The murderous look on his face had me backing up against the wall. Maybe I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was. Grant was an even-tempered guy, so I’d never seen him look so . . . pissed.

He jerked the door open. Then he reached for her. I watched as he grabbed her shirt and pulled her close to his face. “Don’t ever call her that again. Do you f**king understand me? Ever.” He let her go and she stumbled backward, and then he slammed the door in her face. The sound of the lock turning echoed in the silence around us. I think he had shocked her into silence, too.

His shoulders were rising and falling hard as he laid one hand on the door and stared down at the floor.

I didn’t move and I didn’t speak.

Finally, he turned to me, and the anger I had seen earlier was gone. He looked like Grant again. Fun-loving, easygoing Grant. “I’m sorry,” he said simply.

I didn’t know what to say to that. “Okay” didn’t seem like the right word to use here. I just nodded.

“She just wants to hurt you. I’ve tried to talk to her and help her see that nothing is your fault, but she won’t listen. If I could muzzle her I would.”

A mental picture of Nan muzzled made me smile. Grant smiled back at me in return and then walked over to me. “She should’ve never called you that. You’re so far from that, and she knows it.”

He was talking about the slut comment. Was that what set him off?

“I think you scared her. She’s not saying anything.” I wasn’t even sure she was still there.

A frustrated frown touched his forehead. “She isn’t done. She’s just too mad to react right now. I’ve never been that tough on her. I typically just walk away and let her talk. But that,” he shook his head, “that shit was going to be dealt with.”

“Are you trying to fix things again?” I asked, wondering why he thought he had to fix all my problems.

He grinned and bent down to press a kiss to the corner of my mouth. “No, sweet girl, I’m just correcting a wrong. No one can fix Nan.”

I was afraid he was right.


All I wanted to do was get Harlow na**d and back in that bed. But I was behind on work and we both needed to leave the room and get this Nan shit over with.

I let Harlow get dressed while I cleaned up in the bathroom. I couldn’t watch her dress because we’d end up back in bed. Screw work. Once we were both dressed, I opened her bedroom door slowly, just in case Nan was standing out there, waiting to pounce.

Harlow waited behind me and I was pretty sure I heard a sigh of relief when we saw the hallway was empty. I reached back and took her hand as we walked out of the room and to the stairs. I didn’t think Nan was going to jump out of a damn corner and attack, but I still felt safer with Harlow as close to me as possible.

I wasn’t going to let Harlow stay here alone until I was sure Nan was over this. I didn’t know what she’d say to Harlow, and I wasn’t going to let her lash out at her without me there to protect her and shut that shit down.

“Hungry?” I asked her as we reached the bottom step with no Nan sightings.

Harlow jumped when something made a loud noise in the kitchen. Guess we wouldn’t be eating here. “I, uh . . . probably not a good idea,” she said, staring at the kitchen.

“Want to just leave?” I asked.

Harlow shook her head. “No. I live here, too. I want coffee before I leave. I won’t hide; this is my home, too.”

The way her shoulders straightened reminded me that behind the sweet face was a spine of steel. She’d been through a lot. I just nodded and let her lead the way.

If she was getting coffee then so was I.

Nan was standing in front of the microwave and turned to glare at us when we entered the kitchen. Her eyes dropped to our joined hands, and her glare turned to pure hatred.

“You have got to be f**king kidding me. Really, Grant? Holding hands? My God, you have lost your mind.” She snarled and jerked the microwave open and pulled out a small bowl.

Harlow let go of my hand and walked over to the coffeepot. I had to make myself stand still and not run after her to guard her. She wanted to do this and I was going to let her.

“He gets bored easy with your type. I don’t know what he’s telling you but he likes excitement, which you could never give him. Don’t let that little heart of yours get involved, because you’re not Grant Carter’s type,” Nan said in a haughty tone as Harlow went about making coffee and avoiding her. When she set her mug down, she turned and gave Nan her full attention.

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