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It’s soft and over all too quickly, and I sense a world of gratitude within it. I expect her to drop down to her heels, but she continues to stare at me.

Then she kisses me again.

I hold absolutely still, shocked by this move, because as she presses her mouth to mine, I think that this is something definitely more than just gratitude.

I’m sure of it when her tongue tentatively pushes past my lips and brushes against the tip of mine.

My body reacts swiftly, completely independent of my brain. My arms tighten around her and I angle my face, pushing back against her…pushing my tongue against hers.

She purrs deep in her throat and the rumble slips into me, rolling down my body, which starts to tighten with need.

For a brief moment, I consider all the ways in which this is wrong.

She’s vulnerable.


Not thinking straight.

I would be taking advantage of her if I let this go on.

But then I think of other things.

Like her breasts pressed into my lower chest, and how soft her lips feel against mine. The warmth of her body, the swell of her ass just three inches below my hands that are clasped at her lower back. The little moaning sound she makes as our kiss enters erotic territory. The utter and irrefutable knowledge of just how fucking good it feels to be buried deep inside of her. I’ve never had better, and now that I’ve gotten a reminding taste of her, I want to feel it again. It’s at this point that my cock starts to outwit my brain.

I spin both of us around until her back is resting against the refrigerator. She gasps but never moves her mouth from mine. I nip at her lower lip and then pull back slightly to look down at her.

She’s glorious. Chest rising and falling with faltering breath, eyes at half-mast but heated through with need, lips wet and puffy from our kiss.

“Vale,” I say warningly. “We’re getting past the point of no return.”

She shivers over the tone of my voice, presses into me. Her voice quakes when she asks, “Is it wrong of us to want this?”

My heart thuds loudly, maybe even stutters, and I grit my teeth over the way in which my body and mind are warring. So fucking dangerous to go where I want to go, but ultimately, it’s a prize I want too much, damn the consequences.

“It’s totally wrong,” I tell her as my hand comes up to her face. I rub my thumb over her lower lip, letting my gaze drop briefly to watch. When I look back up at her, it’s with naked honesty that I tell her, “So goddamn wrong, but I don’t give a fuck.”

And I kiss her again.

Chapter 14


So goddamn wrong, but I don’t give a fuck.

That’s what he said, and I’m rolling with it.

I’m stretched beyond capacity for reason, completely exhausted in my mind and spirit, and Hawke stands before me like an anchor in the storm. I clutch on to him hard, accepting his continued offer of comfort, and if he’s the same old Hawke that possessed me all those years ago, I know he’ll make me forget all of the bad in my life right now. I’m actually counting on him to do just that.

Am I using him?

Even as his mouth descends back onto mine and my hands inch their way up into his long hair, I know the answer to this is yes. Guilt and remorse flood through me, but I push in closer to him rather than pull away.

He told me he didn’t give a fuck, and so neither do I. He had the chance to bolt and he didn’t, so that has to say something, right?

“Where’d your head go, Vale?” Hawke mumbles before moving his lips from mine, down and over to my jaw. My head drops back and my head goes fuzzy. “You tensed up. Want me to stop?”

My head snaps back up and my fingers grip his hair tight. I go to my tiptoes again, push my nose almost against his. “Please don’t stop, okay?”

His eyes flare with relief, a tiny smile forming on his lips, but his voice is gruff…strained. “I don’t think I can.”

“Good,” I say with equal relief.


“Bedroom. Now,” I prod him along.

Hawke leans his head down and runs his nose along my jaw. “Still sassy,” he murmurs, his breath causing prickles to break out on my neck. “But you’ve forgotten the way it is between us.”

“And what’s that,” I gasp as his teeth scrape against my skin.

“That I’m in charge, and we’ll get to your bedroom when I’m good and ready.”

And just like that…I melt. Completely sag against him, letting the weight of the world roll right off my shoulders. I let my worries go and trust that my needs will be taken care of. I gladly and most willingly hand over the control to him.

It’s one of the things I loved most about him in the past…his self-awareness and confidence that he would always get the job done no matter what. Ironic, that when I needed that most from him, I refused to let him have the chance to prove himself.

Hawke’s mouth returns to mine and we kiss slowly but no less deeply than before. The passion is there, simmering below the surface, yet any sense of urgency is gone now. He knows I’m not going to call a halt to him this time. I know he can’t walk away. His hands slide up my rib cage just under the hem of my shirt, pushing it up along the way. I almost let out a sob from that simple touch, because it’s so electric it borders on painful. How had I forgotten what this felt like? How could I ever let anything like this go?

With one hand resting on my ribs, he inches the other higher and turns inward, finally coming to rest over my breast. His fingers dip into the cup of my bra and pull the fabric down, scraping my nipple with his nails. My entire back arches and my pelvis knocks against him. I feel the briefest measure of his erection before I pull my hips back, shocked at my own brazen bodily response.

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