I managed a nod as he began to kiss my neck and squeeze my ni**les gently.

“That’s it, baby, arch that back for me.”

I hadn’t even realized I was doing it but I was. I couldn’t get close enough to his touch. The way he made me feel was intoxicating. I craved it. Grant had opened up this world to me with so much pleasure and excitement that I hadn’t realized existed.

“Lie down on your back. I want to kiss these needy little nipples.”

I didn’t argue. I wanted it, too. I climbed on the bed and lay back just in time to see Grant pull his shirt over his head. See the tattoo on his shoulder that came down over his right pec. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was sexy. It looked like some sort of tribal print. Then some Chinese symbols were on his chest just above his pecs. I planned on asking him about them, but not now.

He reached for his jeans and unbuttoned them. I was fascinated with his lower abdomen. All those tight ripples in his stomach, the way his hipbones stuck out, and the small patch of hair that started low, just under the band of his underwear. I wanted to see exactly what it looked like under there, but until tonight I hadn’t gotten a chance. Grant always got my panties off but he said he needed to keep his pants on if he was going to keep his head straight. I didn’t push. But I wanted to see.

I lay there as he crawled over me and stared down at me with a sexy, hungry look in his eyes. He didn’t break his gaze as he lowered his mouth to my breast and pulled a nipple into his mouth. I watched him. It made my stomach quiver and I had to squeeze my legs together to ease the ache between them.

He let it pop out of his mouth, then stuck his tongue out and flicked it with a grin before moving over and giving the other one the same attention.

I grabbed handfuls of the covers underneath me to keep from crying out. It felt so good. The warmth of his mouth anywhere on my body was amazing, but when he found the sensitive areas it made it even more incredible.

When that nipple popped free of his mouth he started kissing down my stomach, and I knew his next step would be to pull my shorts off. He would use his mouth to send me flying off into bliss. I wanted more than that tonight.

“Take off your pants,” I said.


He froze and his eyes lifted back to me as he pressed a kiss just below my belly button. “You know the rules. I can’t do that. I don’t trust myself.”

I swallowed against the nervous knot in my throat. “I want . . . I want you to take your pants off. I’m not worried about keeping you from doing anything . . .” I wasn’t sure how you told a guy you were ready. I hadn’t ever been in that position before.

Grant frowned for a moment, then his eyes flashed with that bright, excited gleam he would get when I came down from the highs he sent me on. “Are you telling me I can finally feel just how f**king amazing you are?”

I had been prepared for him to say f**k me or screw me but this . . . this was better. It was real. Calling it anything more or making it romantic would cheapen it somehow. This was about mutual attraction, and I got that. I didn’t need pretty words that he didn’t mean. I needed honesty, and he seemed to get that.

Grant moved over me and placed a hand on each side of my head as he looked down into my eyes. “We don’t have to do this. I’m not asking for it. If you aren’t ready, I’m good with that. I’ll wait.”

Because of that reason alone, I was ready. He meant what he was saying. He didn’t want to push me. “I want this . . . I want you.”

“Fuck,” Grant growled and pushed himself off the bed. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a condom. I wasn’t sure what I thought about that but I was glad he was prepared, even if it bothered me a little bit. He tossed it on the bed. Then, finally, I got to see him unzip his jeans. He let them fall to the floor along with the white boxer briefs he was wearing. I gasped. I had felt it through his jeans many times; once I had rubbed against it until I’d gotten off. But never had I imagined it was so . . . big. I wasn’t sure it was going to fit.

He didn’t leave me time to get too worried about it. He reached up and pulled off my shorts and panties with one firm tug, then he was back on the bed. His hands took both my knees and moved my legs apart. I hadn’t been ready for him to just go at it. I needed to be eased into this . . .

Grant began kissing the inside of my leg, and he slowly made his way to where I wanted his mouth the most. Once his kiss pressed the top of my mound and I felt his tongue take a long slow trail down to my core, I was ready. My hands clenched the covers as I cried out in relief as he pulled my cl*tinto his mouth.

The first time he’d done this, I’d been embarrassed until he had me crying out and panting from the highest level of pleasure. But he hadn’t let up—he’d done it again. When he’d left me that night I’d been exhausted and unable to move.

I had no one to compare him to, but I was positive that Grant was an expert at this. I didn’t want to dwell on that, either. But the fact was he knew what he was doing. He could make me lose control, and I never lost control.

I felt the familiar building and tightening inside me and my body got excited. It knew how good it felt to reach that height that Grant took me to so easily. Then he stopped and I wanted to scream in protest. I was almost there.

He moved up my body, pressing kisses on my warm, sensitive skin as he worked his way up to my neck.

“I’m gonna put that condom on now,” he whispered as he moved over to grab the small packet I’d forgotten about. He ripped it open and I took in the sight of him rolling the protective covering over his large length.

“You look scared,” he said, not moving back to me. I lifted my eyes to look up at him.

“Will it fit?” I asked.

A crooked grin tugged at his lips. “Yes, sweet girl. It will.”

I wasn’t so sure. He seemed optimistic.

Grant went back to kissing my neck and nibbling my ear as his body lowered between my open legs. I was going to do this. I wanted it.

“You seem tense. Have you had a bad experience?” Grant asked with a frown, puckering his brow. He looked upset.

I shook my head. No, I hadn’t had a bad experience. I had no experience. Didn’t he know that? I mean, we hadn’t talked about it but surely he had figured it out by now.

“It’s just, I know what to expect, I think . . . from what I’ve heard.”

His entire body went rigid as he held himself over me. His frown transformed into a look of surprise. “What are you saying? Of course you’ve . . .”

He didn’t know. I guess he hadn’t figured it out after all. “This is my first time.”

Grant’s eyes snapped closed and he let out a muttered curse. Did he not like to do it with virgins? Was that a bad thing? I wanted to put some distance between us. For the first time, I felt vulnerable.

He opened his eyes and stared down at me. The tenderness in them took me off guard. He tucked his head into the curve of my neck and shoulder and drew a deep breath. I waited silently.

“You chose me” was all he said. His warm breath against my skin made me shiver, and his body mimicked mine. He pulled back and looked at me. “I will make this good for you. I swear.”

I never doubted that he would. I knew it was going to hurt me at first. I wasn’t an idiot about how this worked. I also knew I probably wouldn’t reach an orgasm this time, but that wasn’t what this was about. I wanted Grant inside me. I wanted to feel closer to him than I had ever been to anyone. That was all I wanted from this.

Grant pressed his lips to mine gently, then lowered his body until I felt the head of his c**k pressing against me. It excited me as much as it scared me. I lifted my h*ps to reassure him and he slid inside me. When he reached the barrier his eyes locked on mine as he rocked his h*ps in one swift thrust. I didn’t cry from the pain—it was only a burn. He had slid completely inside me and gone still.

“You’re so f**king tight,” he said in a hoarse groan. “Damn. It feels like,” he panted and ducked his head and took a deep breath, “a hot satin glove squeezing me just right. God, baby.”

I wasn’t sure what all that meant, but the way he was panting above me sounded like this felt good to him. It was more than I had expected. I was full. Grant was inside me and I felt complete. I wanted him here.

“I gotta move, but damn, I’m afraid to,” he said as he slowly pulled out of me then sank back inside me. A low sound came from his chest, which sent pleasure coursing through me. Just seeing him in this much pleasure from being inside me was a major turn-on. I spread my knees and he sank deeper into me and let out a curse that sounded like it had been torn from his chest.

My cl*tthrobbed from just hearing his voice. I was climbing toward that release I recognized and it made me want to beg him to move more. Move harder. Each time he filled me he rubbed against my cl*tand massaged something inside me. I wasn’t sure what it was but it felt so good.

“Fucking amazing,” he groaned before covering my mouth in a ravenous kiss. He had never kissed me like this before. He was losing control the same way I did when he kissed between my legs. I was reaching that point with him. Seeing him react this way was making my body respond in ways I didn’t know it could.

“It feels good now,” I assured him.

He tensed and then moved to lower his head back to the corner of my neck and shoulder. “The pain is completely gone?” he asked with a low, strangled moan.

“Yes,” I replied. The little sting that was still there was smothered by the pleasure.

He lifted himself up and his gaze locked with mine. His neck muscles flexed and stuck out as his jaw went rigid, like he was holding onto something as hard as he could. “This is . . . this is more than . . . ,” he closed his eyes and a pained look came over his face. “I can’t hold out much longer. I’m so close.”

His words were all I needed to send me spiraling off to that place I knew he was sending me. I heard him shout out my name as I screamed his and lifted my h*ps to meet his last thrust. I wrapped my legs around his waist to keep him there. I wanted to feel each spasm of ecstasy with him inside me. I didn’t want him to move.

I let each cry free as I clung to him.

“Never been that f**king amazing. You’ve ruined me. Fucking ruined me. I can’t not have this,” he said in my ear as he breathed heavily and his body jerked against me.

I agreed. I wanted this. I never imagined that this was what I was missing. I wasn’t about to let this go. I needed more. My fear of the truth was pushed aside. I couldn’t stop this. Not now.


Present day

If I went upstairs after her, there was a chance that Nan would get out of bed and catch me or overhear us. I wasn’t scared of Nan, but I was scared of what she’d do to Harlow. I was positive Harlow wasn’t here by choice. Nan knew she was here last night when she brought me back. She was playing a game here. There was an ulterior motive, but then there always was with Nan. And I’d walked right f**king into it. Literally.

Kiro wasn’t a fan of Nan and he adored Harlow. I couldn’t imagine why he would send Harlow down here to live with Nan. He owned this house, so I was sure that was the only reason Nan had let Harlow live here. Kiro hadn’t given her an option. There was no guessing there.

“You’re still here? Why?” Nan asked as she walked past me in nothing but a pair of panties that did nothing to cover her ass and a tiny tank top. Once, that had heated my blood. Her body would heat any man’s blood. But not anymore. I was over that. Sex with her was empty. So incredibly empty.

“I was gonna get coffee before I left but I can leave without it,” I said, turning to head to the stairs.

“You can have some damn coffee if you want it. Then leave. I have things to do today,” she called out behind me.

I wasn’t staying here. I’d get Harlow alone, but not here. “No thanks. You’re awake now. It’s time to leave,” I replied.

This was the last time. She thought I was a sex toy she could pull out and play with, and the fact was I had been. But I’d been closing my eyes and pretending like she was someone else. It never felt as good, but it helped me deal.

The guilt had been eating me alive. Leaving Harlow only hours after I had been with her to race home on Slacker Demon’s private jet and face the loss of a friend had broken me. Life was short. It had never been real to me before, but watching Jace lowered into the cold, hard ground had been a wake-up call. How long did we have? Seeing Bethy buckled over, sobbing at his loss, made me realize that kind of pain would be unbearable. She would have to live the rest of her life without him. That was scary as hell.

I had never loved anyone the way she had loved Jace. But I was close . . . I had been falling but then I stepped back. I couldn’t be that open. I couldn’t do that. What if I let myself be completely owned by Harlow? I knew now how easy it would be. She was the one for me. If I let her, she would be the one to own my soul. I couldn’t do it.

Each heart-wrenching sob that had torn from Bethy had been like a bucket of ice water poured over me. I had watched Rush as he held his wife, Blaire, in his arms, and she had cried silently against him. And I’d seen it there on his face. He had given his soul. He was thinking the same thing, but it was too late for him.

He was vulnerable. If he lost her he wouldn’t be able to survive it. She would take every ounce of life in him with her. He couldn’t breathe without her. I’d left that day and drank until the idea of Harlow was numb. The sweet taste of her mouth was a blur, and the way she’d felt when I’d been inside her was a memory.

Harlow scared me. What I felt for her scared me. I had fought going back to her. I had been tormented with the memories of how her smile made my chest swell, and the way she made those innocent little sighs of pleasure. Then that night . . . that one incredible, mind-blowing night. I was afraid I would never be able to wash it away and move on. That was a power I had never allowed anyone to have over me. When Harlow didn’t respond to my calls and her dad warned me to stay away, I finally forced myself to push those memories to the back of my mind. Whiskey helped. When I didn’t have whiskey she was hard to forget. Even with whiskey, I remembered her—it just hurt less.

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