My breath catches. “No. I’m starting to realize it isn’t.”

He lifts his head, eyes glittering as they land on mine. “Are you scared?”

“No,” I whisper, honestly. “I could never be scared of you. I’m only scared of what you want from me.”

“We have all the time in the world to fight that fear until it’s gone. I’m not going anywhere.” He grinds his erection against my core, as if powerless to stop, his groan long and agonized. Animalistic. “Almost, Jessie. You’re almost ready for me.”

“I’m ready,” I whimper. “I’m ready now.”

“I’m not talking about your pretty, wet pussy.” He presses his forehead to mine. “I’m talking about up here.”

With that, Ryan carries me from the room, his hands still molded to my bottom. He sets me down on the kitchen table and without breaking eye contact, he reaches into the to-go bag full of food and removes a container, ripping off the lid. I catch a whiff of glorious flavors like lemon, butter, cream and before I know it, he’s feeding me bites of chicken and pasta, wrapped around a plastic fork. There’s something so hot about Ryan feeding me. Like he’s in charge of my care and comfort and I have nothing to think about except being pampered.

“You liked when I fed you this morning. It turned you on.”

Caught off guard by his astuteness, I swallow a bite. “How could you tell?”

He doesn’t answer, but I get the odd feeling he’s harboring secrets behind those blue eyes. “Is your mother back in town, Jessie?”

I pull back instead of accepting the next bite, my pulse clamoring in my wrists. “Why would you think that?”

“She’s needed money from you in the past. I assume she’s come around begging for more and made you believe you’re responsible for providing it.”

Emotion wells up in my throat. Normally, I would make a joke and leave the room. I would run away from the understanding and sympathy in his expression. Telling him my secrets makes me weak. Makes me vulnerable. But I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to run, and so a tiny bit of honesty ekes out. “I am responsible.”

Ryan sets down the fork, his hardened detective vibe actually making me kind of…comfortable. He’s not fawning over me or drowning me in pity, he’s all business and some of my fear of being exposed dissipates. “What makes you think so?”

“She…” My lack of experience being truthful makes me tongue tied. “She, you know…she put herself between me and my father. I owe her.”

“Jessie…” He tips up my chin. “I’m grateful she protected you. But that was her job as a mother. How long are you going to repay her for doing her duty? Until you’re so desperate you commit a felony?”

Heat presses behind my eyes. “I think I knew you’d stop me.”

“Good.” He kisses my forehead. “That’s called trust.”

Panic trips through my belly. “Maybe I just know you’re nosy.”

“It’s trust.” He stoops down until we’re eye level. “You’re worried about people knowing your faults because they might use them against you. I learned that the night I found you crying on your bedroom floor. But you know what? I think your weaknesses are actually what make you strong. Compassion. Loyalty. Bravery. You just have to know when to say enough. That’s it, princess.”

I swipe at my eyes. “I’m still mad at you for seeing me cry the first time.”

“But not this time, huh?” He kisses my tearstained cheeks. “You trust me now.”

“No,” I say stubbornly, but it’s obvious I’m lying.

“Yes, you do. You know I’m going to come through.” He pushes back my hair and speaks just above my ear. “And you’re going to be honest with me from now on. You know why?”


“Because if you’d told me the truth, I would have told you there was nothing to worry about.” He runs his open mouth down the cord of my neck. “I own our apartment, Jessie. All the rent money you give me has been going into shoeboxes in my closet. It’s all yours.”

“What?” Rocked by disbelief, I shove at his shoulders. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

He chuckles. “You never would have accepted a free place to live. It would have obligated you to me.” After a moment, he sobers. “You can do whatever you want with the money, but I want you to think about yourself for once.”

“It seems like you’ve been doing enough thinking about me for the both of us,” I murmur, my body still trembling from the news that I’m financially secure. That my best friend has been looking out for me this whole time, loving me from a distance. A part of me knows his actions are on the crazy side, but I’ve never felt safer or more loved in my entire life. And he’s right, I do trust him. More than that, I think…I’ve been ignoring my feelings for him.

Tags: Jessa Kane Erotic