“What?” she asks, dropping her hands from her face.
“I want to help you.”
She cries harder. “I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve your help. I have lied so much.”
“Stop. Not another word. This is what I do. This is what I’m good at, excel at. Let me help you. Let me keep you safe.”
She hiccups. “I have something I want to say.”
“When I first found out about what you do, I wanted to ask you for help. I wanted to see if I could trust you, and then I realized . . .”
“What did you realize?”
“I realized who you were. And I didn’t know how to ask because I didn’t want you to think I didn’t see the real you. Here I am, after lying to you, and I just wanted you to know. You are so much more than you let on. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve your help. I don’t deserve you.”
“I beg to differ. I think you deserve more.”
A pregnant pause follows. I swallow and find the words inside me. “I think you deserve everything.”
I move closer to him until there is no space between us. His lips are temptation, salt water taffy wrapped in clear wax paper. Full. Sweet. Inviting. Begging to melt on my tongue.
Old Willow would have kissed him, crashed her lips on his as if she owned them.
My head rears back when I realize I can be Old Willow again. Without a word, I wrap my arms around his neck and place my mouth on his. I expect him to kiss me, but instead, I feel his hands touching my shoulders and pushing me back.
“Willow,” he says, and I shake my head.
“Don’t Willow me.”
“I don’t think—”
I lift my hand. “See, now that’s your problem, Price. Thinking. Don’t think.”
My hand reaches out, and I place it over his heart. “I want to.” I lean closer. We are only a breath away, my lips hovering over his.
“I don’t want to take advantage of you.” When he speaks, his breath fans my lips. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“You could never hurt me, Jax. I feel safe with you.”
I press my lips to his. “Don’t treat me with kid gloves. Don’t hold back.”
Then I feel it, his tongue sweeping against the seam of my mouth. “Well, in that case . . .” His mouth opens. The kiss is slow at first.
His lips on mine, his mouth parting mine.
Then our tongues move. It’s like a slow dance. We circle each other, tease each other. We pour the pent-up emotions from our friendship into the kiss, and then we say all the things we haven’t said in all the weeks; we say all the things we both feared to say. But now that the gates are open, we allow our bodies to do the talking and express all the emotions we’ve hidden inside, all our wants and needs.
I allow myself to become lost in the kiss. I allow it to sweep away all the past and all the hurt I have been living with. As it deepens, I bask in the warmth of his mouth on mine.
As if he knows I need more, he pulls me toward him, wrapping his arms tighter around me until there is no separation between us. I use the move to crawl up onto his lap, straddling his legs. We never break the kiss, not even when he moves his hands below my ass, not when he lifts me in his arms, and not when we stand. He holds me tight, never breaking our connection as he walks us to his bedroom. Then and only then does he set me down.
Sitting on the end of the bed, he looks down at me.
His green eyes are hooded with hunger. They devour me with promises of all the things he wants to do to me. They tell me all his wants, and I’m desperate for him to do just that.
“Are you sure?”
“I want you to—”
“Jax, I need this. Please. Make me forget everything. Make me feel. I have felt nothing but sadness for so long. Make me feel.”
His head inclines into a nod, and I know my speech worked. He knows that there is no dissuading me. This is what I want.
I watch from where I’m perched as he undresses. Then when he’s standing in only boxers, he removes my clothes.
When I’m fully naked, he lets his gaze pore over me, before he smirks. The longer he looks at me, the more on fire I become, I’m a raging inferno, reading to combust.
“I’ve been waiting for forever to taste you.” Then Jaxson Price drops to his knees in front of me.
My heart flutters and my skin tingles. Butterflies fly in my belly. It feels like an eternity as I wait, but this moment has been brewing for weeks, and I can’t wait any longer. I’m shaking all over until he finally rewards me by lowering his head and answering my secret prayer.