I tucked some loose hair behind my ear. Jake’s eyes followed, his gaze as real on my skin as fingertips. My fingers shook, and I quickly dropped my hand to my side. I couldn’t stop my eyes, though, from making their way to Jake’s. He stared back at me, pupils dilating as if he was in a trance.

As if a hand was on my back, I leaned toward him. He leaned toward me too.

There was no room inside of me for thoughts. I was nothing but emotions. Pain. Need. Relief. I probably wouldn’t be able to unpack all the feelings, even if I spent the rest of my life trying.

Jake’s lips parted as if in slow motion. “Skye,” he whispered. There was an edge to his voice, making it sound like he was about to chastise me. Maybe chastise himself.

He didn’t have the chance.

Our lips crashed together, and the years melted away as Jake’s hands went to the sides of my head, and his lips swept across mine. Our lips were a perfect fit, locking together as if they’d been designed for each other.

This was it. I remembered this.

It was a feeling of coming home, of finally finding something you didn’t even know you were searching for. I would have cried with relief had I been able to do anything but kiss him. Hold him. The way I’d been longing to do for so many years.

Jake’s arms went lower and wrapped around my back, and I shifted my weight toward him, melting us together. Then I was off my feet and back on the couch, straddling his thighs as our mouths said everything we couldn’t.

Jake changed positions again, lying down until I covered him completely, his hands deep in my hair as our lips and tongues made up for the lost years.

I knew this was stupid.

Deep inside me, a voice screamed for me to stop. To leave. This was dangerous, I knew. But I was never one to walk away from a little danger. At least the old me hadn’t been.

The new me seemed to be getting braver by the second.

My insides burned. My heart swelled. As Jake pushed my shirt up and peeled it over my head, an even deeper surge of desire swept through me. Just the need itself made me groan. Twisting his fingers through my hair, he brought my face back down to his. I tore at his shirt with trembling fingers, crazed with a need to feel his smooth muscles underneath my palm.

What was happening? Was this what I wanted?

The questions were surfacing and resurfacing in the back of my mind, but I couldn’t give them any attention. There was no place for them. There was only room for me and Jake in this moment. We had a score to settle. Amends to make. Forgiveness to deal. Curses and blows to exchange. Love to remember.

Our kiss broke again as I pulled Jake’s shirt off. Taking charge once more, he locked his hands on my hips and flipped us around. With me now on the bottom, he got to work removing my pants in record time, practically ripping them from my body. My underwear slid off and hit the floor, exposing the hot and needy spot between my legs to his gaze.

“So beautiful,” he murmured, and stood to rid himself of his pants. I held back the gasp as I witnessed the scars on his chest and shoulders for the first time. He was still beautiful, the marks giving him a dangerous look that shouldn’t have been sexy, but was. When his cock popped free from his boxers, it drew my attention, and I licked my lips, remembering how he tasted, how he felt on my tongue as if we had last been together only yesterday.

He lowered his head and kissed my knee, my thigh, one hipbone, then the next. He nuzzled his nose in the soft curls on my mound and I heard him inhale, breathing me in.

“I remember this smell,” he murmured, the words vibrating on my sex.

My fingers went into his hair as his tongue washed over me, before his teeth closed over my clit. I pulled at his shoulders. I wanted this, but I wanted him more. I wanted the heat of him filling me, making me his.

Understanding my need, he crawled up my body, his tongue tracing a path to my breast. I cried out as he nipped at one nipple before moving his attention to the other.

“Please,” I begged, my legs wrapping around his thighs.

He kissed my shoulder. My neck. My jaw. My nose. When his lips found mine again, his cock nudged my entrance.

“Shit.” His breath was a hot blast against my face.

I blinked up at him, my body writhing as the very tip of his cock spread my opening. “What?”

“Condoms. I don’t have any condoms.”

I lifted my hips, trying to impale myself on him, not caring about anything else. “Pill. I’m protected.” I’d gone on the pill a year after Jagg was born, hopeful I’d one day need it. Looked like the day had finally come.

His hands grasped the sides of my face, clamping my head between his palms. The tip of his cock slipped through my wet folds, then between them to nudge my clit, sending delicious sensations through me.

“I’m clean, Skye. Look at me. After my last injury, I was tested for everything.” I gazed up into his chocolate eyes. “Do you trust me?”

I’d never trusted anyone more. Or anyone less.

He was giving me an out, I knew it. A last chance to push him away. To hurt him as much as he hurt me. The thing was… I didn’t want to. God help me, I didn’t want to.

We’d made love as kids. I wanted to make love as adults.

I wanted to know if what I remembered about the experience was as powerful now, in reality.

Jake had been my first lover. My only lover.

I’d not let a man get this close to me since.

And he was so very close.

The hard length of him sliding against that bundle of nerves. With a lift of my hips, he would be inside me, filling me. Connecting us by body as much as I knew I was connected to him in my heart.

“Make love to me,” I whispered, knowing I’d have to deal with the aftermath of our lovemaking later. But it was worth it. Anything would be worth it, I knew.

Apparently, he knew it too.

In one strong thrust, he was inside of me, his mouth crashing back down onto mine as our bodies slammed together. I cried out, but he swallowed the sound and all the ones after it.

Our bodies shouldn’t have fit together so perfectly. We shouldn’t have been able to move this way. He was so big, so powerful. He could crush me, tear me in half if he wanted to. But he didn’t. Even as he began to move inside me, stretching and filling me to the edge of pain, I felt his restraint, the sheer magnitude of the power he held back. But I didn’t feel threatened. I felt safe.

“Skye…” he whispered my name against my lips, then said it over and over as his body picked up speed. I wrapped myself around him tighter, watching his face, our eyes connected as we lost ourselves to each other.

Each stroke took me higher, toward a peak I wanted to reach, but not yet. I didn’t want this to be over. I wanted to stay locked in the cocoon of his arms, in the warm bubble of our breaths as we whispered words that meant nothing and everything.




At some point, I began to cry and he kissed away the tears I’d fought so hard to keep at bay. Then he was crying too, our bodies rocking together as we connected on a plane that was so much more than physical. All I could do was take it, absorb it, until it all became too much and I exploded beneath him, shattering the carefully built wall I’d held in place.


My name again. A curse or a prayer, I didn’t know.

With a last stroke, I felt his body spasm even through the white-hot pleasure of my orgasm, and he buried himself deep inside me one last time.

Jake broke our kiss as he gasped for air. His lips still grazed mine, his breath entering my mouth, mine entering his as we calmed, giving each other life.

Pain and pleasure filled my chest as I held onto the man above me as if he was the only thing that could save me from the ocean of emotions trying to pull me under. What happened between us was both so right and so wrong, but it didn’t really matter. I had no power to stop it. Jake and I were being swept away. We were part of a destiny we’d never chosen. At this point, we were just hanging on and trying to survive the ride.

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