Page 26

My mouth goes back to her neck, and I do this because it’s Vale’s weakness. It’s where she’s most sensitive, and there was a time in our lives where she could deny me nothing if I was kissing her there. The minute my lips slide along her soft flesh, I feel her body relax, although her grip on my wrist remains firm.

“Come on, Vale,” I whisper against her neck, and my cock thumps in my pants when she shivers. “Let me in.”

“I can’t…Todd,” she murmurs, but her grip loosens on my wrist. Her mind and body are warring, so I’m going to take advantage of her body’s weakness, not giving a fuck about her boyfriend.

I inchworm my fingers, pulling the material up by the handfuls until finally I feel the silky, smooth skin of her outer thigh. I nip at her neck with my teeth before leaning away from her. I have to see this.

Tilting my head to the side and down, I see that Vale’s creamy skin is bared to midthigh, her skirt bunched up in the palm of my hand. It’s overwhelming seeing her like this. I want to touch her, taste her…I want to go down on her until she forgets Todd’s name and she’s coming on my tongue.

But apparently, without my lips against her neck holding her hostage, some semblance of sanity returns to Vale and she pushes against my hand again. “Don’t,” she says firmly.


Absolutely, unequivocally not accepting that.

“Vale,” I cajole as I lean in toward the sweet spot just beneath her ear. “Let me touch you.”

Her fingers tighten on my wrist. “No, Hawke…I’m with Todd.”


“Not at this moment,” I tease her just before licking against her skin. I pull against her hold, trying to get her skirt higher. My fingers skim against the inner part of her thigh and she lets out another tiny moan.

“That’s it,” I praise her, layering my words in between kisses against her neck. “Just a little more.”

Vale tenses, relaxes, then tenses again. She’s conflicted but I’m winning.

“Come on, baby,” I murmur. Kiss…nip, then a lick. “Let me see that tattoo. Just a peek and I’ll let you go.”

She tenses again and my fingers brush against that spot on her inner thigh that I need to see. That area where she branded my name on her skin when she was eighteen.

“Hawke,” Vale says softly, and it’s not a plea this time. It sounds like a warning, but I choose not to heed it.

I have to see. I need to see that spot on the softest part of her body, right on her inner left thigh just a mere four or five inches from her pussy.

“Let me see it, Vale,” I say harshly.

See it. Lick it. Bite at it.

My head spins faster.

“No,” she says as she shakes her head.

I pull my face up and glare down at her. “What does your boyfriend think every time he goes down on you and sees my name staring at him? Does it piss him off? Has it dissuaded him from putting his face between those beautiful legs?”

Vale goes rock solid in my arms, her nails digging down into the skin of my wrist viciously. I know I’ve crossed the line as fury blazes from those fern-colored eyes and she hisses at me, “You want to see it?”

Her voice is so venomous I’m not sure that I do anymore, but I go ahead and nod. “Yeah…I want to see it.”

I need to see that tiny part of me that she was forced to keep after she abandoned me. It will be a victory of sorts, I tell myself.

“Fine,” she seethes, and wrenches her skirt out of my grasp, pulling it right up to her hips. I catch a flash of pale pink underwear as she tilts her leg, giving me the inside of her thigh. Her eyes are shooting daggers at me and she taunts me, “Go ahead, Hawke. You want to know what Todd thinks when he sees my tattoo? Go ahead…get your precious look.”

Dread fills me and now I most certainly don’t want to look. But I can’t fucking help myself. I’m a glutton for punishment.

My eyes slowly drag downward, barely heeding those pink panties made of flimsy lace, right down to where I should be seeing the word Hawke in capital Gothic lettering.

Instead, I’m greeted with a massive array of red roses and green leaves woven into latticework that curls around her leg. It’s stunning…darkly beautiful, and completely concealing. My name is simply…gone.

My head jerks up as I step back from Vale. “You covered it up?”

Her face flushes red and she looks at me with scorn. “Of course I did. What did you expect?”

I sure as fuck didn’t expect that.

Dragging a hand through my hair, I take two wobbly steps back and sit my ass on the edge of the sink counter. My gaze lowers to the floor and from my periphery, I see Vale drop her skirt, covering the offensive-to-me roses.

“I know you think I was disloyal to you, because of the way I—”

“Vale,” I say tiredly, my head pounding as my buzz starts to fade.

I don’t want to hear this. I thought I wanted answers, but now is not the time. Knowing she obliterated me from her body tears open old wounds that I’d rather she not pour salt into.

“And I was…no doubt,” she says, continuing. “I know the way I handled it, it was wrong.”

I want to clap my hands over my ears. I want to reverse time to just five minutes ago when I showed her the bathroom. Because that Hawke, the one that doesn’t want to hear this, would have hauled his ass down the stairs and rejoined his party, being none the wiser.

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