“I’m ready,” I said, and the moment I said it, I knew it was true.

Jensen drew back and his eyes were wide. “Are you . . . are you sure? We don’t have to.”

“I know we don’t.” Taking a deep breath, I unhooked the first button on my jeans and pulled down the zipper. “But I’m sure.”

Jensen briefly closed his eyes as he made this deep sound and then he clasped my cheeks. Tilting my head back, he kissed me. There was nothing slow or soft about it. I felt branded, scorched all the way through.

He pulled away to ask, “Do you have a condom? I don’t.”

“I do,” I admitted. He drew back, surprise filling his features. Biting down on my lip, I shrugged. “When Gavin and I were together, I got some just in case. Well, Linds got me some.” I shook my head. “It doesn’t matter. I have some.”

“It’s okay. You don’t need to explain.” He smiled. “I’m just glad you have them.”

Turning, I went to the nightstand and opened the bottom drawer. I rooted around under the socks until I found the small box. I pulled out a wrapper without looking at it. Linds had gotten me one of the boxes that had a ton of different kinds—kinds I almost died looking at. I laid it on the nightstand and then looked at Jensen.

He stepped forward again, closing the small distance between us. I backed up until I felt the bed behind me. My heart was racing as I reached down and wrapped my fingers around the hem of his wet shirt. Wordlessly, he lifted his arms. I pulled his shirt off as he toed off his sneakers and socks. My shoes came off next, and then I undid his belt, my fingers trembling as I pulled it through the loops. Our jeans hit the floor.

Jensen unhooked my bra, carefully dragging the straps down my arms. The moment that hit the floor, we were chest to chest. I sucked in an unsteady breath at the feeling.

“If you want to stop at any moment, you tell me.” One arm circled my waist. “Okay?”

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“Okay,” I whispered.

Cupping the back of my neck, Jensen guided me onto my back. My damp hair spread out along the pillows, and he climbed over me, slowly lowering his body onto mine, his hips settling between my thighs.

Everything slowed down.

The kissing. The touching. The way we started to explore each other. It started with just the tips of my fingers grazing over his taut skin, and then I grew braver and it was my entire hands. He did the same, easing slightly to the side so we had room. Every place he touched, it felt like he was starting a fire. My breasts. My stomach. And then lower, and he touched me in a way that had my back pressing down into the mattress and my hips lifting up. When the last of our clothing ended up on the floor, it was almost too much and still not enough. Not even when we were chest to chest again, hip to hip with nothing between us. Not when we started moving and rocking against one another. Not when the way we started clenching at each other sped up, becoming less careful.

Then, with our breaths coming in short pants, mingling together, and our bodies trembling against one another, we broke apart. Jensen grabbed the silver foil from the nightstand, and I watched him slide it on, my pulse pounding erratically.

“Remember,” he said in a thick voice that stretched my nerve endings raw. “We can stop at any moment.”

“I know.” I spread my hand across his smooth jaw. “I trust you.”

Those eyes were like azure jewels, and then . . . then we started all over again. The kisses though, they were infinitely more, and when his hand left me, and I was really, really ready, we came together.

There was pain.

A sharp twinge radiated down my legs. There was no stopping the gasp, and the concern that filled Jensen’s eyes nearly brought tears to mine. He waited. We waited. Jensen kissed my forehead, the tip of my nose, and the lids of my eyes. He kissed the corners of my lips and the space just below my ear.

And then, slowly, there was no pain.

There was something else. Something fulfilling and empty all at the same time. Something that drove both of us. Something that guided our hips, our hands, and our mouths. Something that was dangerously wild and beautifully out of control.

That spinning feeling, the sensation of a coil tightening and tightening deep within me returned, and I chased it again, lifting my hips and legs. I held him tight, seeking his mouth as the tension broke, lashing out and throwing me over the edge, taking Jensen with me.

When it was over, our bodies were slick and the pounding of our hearts were slow to calm.

Jensen eased away as he palmed my cheek. “Are you okay?” he asked, his voice rough. Every so often, a tremor would course through his hand, then his entire body. It was the same with me—brief, sweet aftershocks.

Swallowing, I nodded then whispered, “Yes.”

He smoothed his thumb along my lower lip. “It didn’t hurt . . . too much?”

“No.” I forced my eyes open and smiled. “It was . . . it was perfect.”

His smile stretched across his face. “Yeah. Yeah, it was.”

Tipping my chin down, I watched him through lowered lashes as he shifted onto his side next to me. His skin was flushed, his features soft in a way I’d never seen them before. He still held my cheek, and we didn’t speak for a long time.

I rolled onto my side, leaning over and kissing the space above his chest. “I think I need to shower,” I said, feeling my cheeks heat.

“Yeah?” He reached up, tucking my hair back behind my ear. “Want company?”

I nodded.

A lopsided grin formed. “Let me grab our clothes.”

Jensen was the first to get up, and while he picked our clothes up off the floor, I tried to calmly walk into the bathroom and not run since I was completely naked. I had been naked, but being naked on the bed was different than prancing around the room naked.

I’d just turned on the shower when Jensen entered the bathroom behind me, closing the door. He dropped our clothes into a pile and then walked up, wrapping his arms around me from behind. He kissed my cheek, and my eyes drifted closed at the feel of him against me.

I smiled.

I’d never showered with a boy before. Obviously. Before today I would’ve thought it would be weird and awkward, and when we first stepped into the shower and bumped into each other, it was awkward.

But I was comfortable with Jensen.

We wouldn’t have done what we just did if I hadn’t been.

The shower took a little longer than it should’ve. We got distracted with each other, kissing and indulging in a more slippery exploration that was stirring up that swollen feeling again.

But I knew we were running out of time. “Mom will be home soon,” I said, my voice thick. “We should . . .”

“Yeah.” He kissed me one more time. “We should start behaving.”

A small grin appeared on my lips, because I doubted Jensen knew how to behave. We rinsed off the last of the body wash and then I stepped out, grabbing a towel since I had no idea where my robe was.

Changing into my clothes took a while too, because I couldn’t stop watching Jensen. He was just . . . yeah. Wow.

It was only once he was completely dressed that I realized I’d forgotten to grab a shirt, so I was left in my bra and jeans once again.

And that seemed to really please him. “I am not complaining,” he said.

“Of course not.”

Grinning, he wrapping his arms around me and started backing me up. “What we just shared? I . . . I really don’t have words for it,” he said. “I just want you to know that it meant a lot to me.”

I stared up at him.

He reached around and opened the bathroom door. Steam crawled out into the bedroom as cold air rushed to greet my damp back. “I’ve never really felt like that before,” he said, and that faint flush was back, creeping over his cheeks in a way I found extremely adorable. “You have to know that I—Christ.”

The shock of the word spun me out of my haze. Jensen wasn’t staring at me, his attention was focused behind me. I started to turn, but his arms folded around my back, pressing me against his chest so tightly I could barely move.

“No,” he said. “No.”

“What?” My pulse picked up as unease took root in the pit of my stomach. I tried to turn again, but it was impossible to break his hold.