I enter Hunt Auto’s breakroom, closing the door behind us. As soon as the lock engages, Lennon whirls around, and I shift my gaze from her infuriated glare to over her head.
Just for a minute.
Because Jesus… She’s f*cking gorgeous.
My fingers itch to sink into those beautiful, thick curls, hold her steady while I desecrate that wide, lush mouth. The knit of her dress pays homage to every curve and dip of her body, molding to her high, firm breasts, the sensual flare of her hips, the thickness of her thighs. And fUck if I can’t feel the heels of her knee-high boots in my lower back.
At twenty I’d barely had the opportunity to explore the searing sexuality and lust that had existed between us before I had to leave. Barely had my fill of that violets and musk scent that was more intoxicating than the best top-shelf alcohol. My stomach aches with hunger for a woman whose particular flavor is still as fresh, as potent to me as it was ten years ago.
“What in the hell are you thinking?” she snaps, then flicks her gaze towards the closed door. She lowers her voice without losing any of the venom. “Do you know what you just did?”
“Yeah.” I drag my gaze from the wall and meet hers. Not daring to glance below her chin. No, f*ck that. Her nose. “I stopped you from driving while you were upset. And don’t try lying to me,” I interrupt when her lips part to do just that—lie. “You were upset. Still are. Don’t ask me to see you hurting and walk away, whether it’s my business or not. Don’t ask me to do it.”
“Why not?” She jerks her gaze back to me, and I go solid. “You do it so well. You’re a pro at it.”
I stare at her. At the tautness of the skin over her cheekbones. The darkness in her eyes. She’s a bomb set on emotional detonate, and the masochist that I am, I want all that shrapnel embedded in my skin. I want her to draw my blood.
“Don’t stop now. Let it out, baby. You’re right. I left you. Didn’t look back. Didn’t give a f*ck,” I lie.
“You don’t give a f*ck about anyone but yourself. You never did. You used me and then threw me away,” she rasps.
“Yeah, I did. Now what?” I keep shoving at her, even though guilt slides through me like filth. “You want me to apologize? To crawl on my knees and grovel? To beg?”
“Yes.” Her whisper echoes in the room as if she shouted it. “I want to see you hurt, sorry, suffering. Just like when you left me broken. You didn’t give a damn then so don’t pretend you do now. Nothing about you has changed, King. Not one thing. And I hate you for it. I hate you for not once looking back at the wreckage you left behind you. I hate you for going on with life and living it like I never mattered while I had to face reminders and memories of you every time I walked out my front door. I hate you…” Her voice hoarsens, and she crosses her arms over her chest, bowing her head. “I hate you because you gave another woman what you promised me. A family. Gunner could’ve been ours. Should’ve been ours. But you stole one more dream from me.”
It doesn’t occur to me not to touch her.
Eliminating the space between us, I pull her into my arms.
“King, don’t…” Her whisper ends on a sob, and I tighten my hold on her, pressing my lips to her hair.
“No. I can’t. There’s no way I can let you go right now.” I inhale her, take her so deep into my lungs, her scent burns me, marks me. Rubbing my mouth over her hair, I beg just like she wanted me to. “Let go, Len. Let go and allow me to be the one who carries you through it. Lean on me, baby. Just for a little while.”
Her fists ball into my shirt, stretching the material at my waist. She rolls her forehead against my chest, and her jagged breaths scorch me through my clothes. I slide a hand up her spine, cupping the back of her neck, squeezing it.
As if that unlocks something inside her, her shoulders shake and seconds later, her cries rip through the room. She crushes her cheek against me, and her tears dampen my shirt and skin. Stroking her back with one hand, I cradle her head with the other, fingers tunneling under the bun to scratch her scalp.
How long she sobs in my arms, I’m not certain. Minutes, hours. A lifetime. It’s not long enough. Curling my body over her, I brush my mouth over her ear.
“I left, yes. But I did look back. So many damn times. And never, ever did I stop giving a f*ck,” I softly admit.
Her breath shudders against my chest, and locking down a groan, I lift my hands to her face, tilting it back. Her eyes, moist with all the tears she’s shed, meet mine. Even with her face wet and swollen, she’s beautiful to me.
“Liar,” she accuses, voice so rough, it’s nearly painful to hear. “You’re such a liar.”
Then she raises on her toes and crushes her mouth to mine.