Page 47

“Get my jeans undone,” he says in a guttural voice rippling with urgency.

I don’t think to question. My hands pop the button with ease, slide the zipper with practiced efficiency. I push the denim easily off his hips with no constraining underwear beneath. My name flashes almost as if it’s drawn in neon ink, cursively written over his right hip bone. I wonder what it says about this man—who I hurt so badly that he wouldn’t give me the courtesy of talking to me again—that he kept that tattoo visible. Why not eradicate it? Why not cover it? Why leave it there for other women to see?

I banish those thoughts because there’s no room in my head for them at this moment. I take his erection in hand, feeling its steely warmth pulsing with need.

Need to be inside of me. I know this is what Hawke wants, and God help me, I want it too. I want it more than anything, consequences be damned, and knowing full well that the moment of truth lays just on the other side of an orgasm.

I rub the tip of him up against me. He groans when he feels my wetness.

I position him just so and—


All the way in, to the root. My back arches off the bed and I cry out with a mix of pleasure and pain.

“Fuck me,” he whispers for a third time as he lowers his forehead to rest against mine. “You didn’t cover my name.”

“I couldn’t,” I whisper back to him, my hands coming tentatively to his shoulders.

He needed to hear that. Not only did he need to see it, but he needed to hear the truth of my limits. That I couldn’t get rid of something that held such meaning. While I’m sure this provided much confusion to his mind, because let’s face it—I cut him loose but kept his name on my skin—he didn’t let that stop him from fucking me swiftly and with purpose.

Hawke pounds my body, eerily reminiscent of the way in which he fucked me when I first got that tattoo. Raw power, domination, and unadulterated emotion flowing from hips to cock to deep within me. For the second time, we have sex without protection. Like we’ve done oh so many times in the past, our orgasms slam into us with a brutal honesty attesting to the affinity we have for each other, completely shattering every last bit of resistance within us.

If I expected Hawke to let his blood cool and his ardor to soften, I would have been mistaken. He places elbows to mattress and grinds his pelvis against me. He looks at me soberly. “Tell me the truth. I want to know why you did it.”

My face tilts to the side, my eyes drop down to the mattress as I try to collect my thoughts. But Hawke is having none of that. As swift as a snake striking, his hand grabs my jaw and swings my face so I’m forced to look at him.

“Eyes on me, Vale,” he commands. “And tell me all of it.”

I know it’s time for us to put all the cards on the table, but I’m still irritated with the lack of respect he’s giving me. I intend to tell him and I don’t need to be forced.

My hands come to his chest and I give a mighty heave. I try to make my words calm but they still come out gritted and angry. “I’ll tell you what you want to know but get off me. Give me some space.”

Hawke looks slightly chastened but doesn’t make a move. So I push harder against his chest and reiterate. “Get off. Let me sit up.”

With a frustrated sad sigh, Hawke pushes off, slides his half-hard dick out of me, and drops to the side of the bed on his back. Digging his feet into the mattress, he lifts his hips and pulls his jeans up, tugging the zipper into place but not bothering with the button. While I scramble up to sit cross-legged, he merely rolls to his side, head cushioned in the palm of his hand with his elbow on the mattress. I self-consciously pull the sheet up over my lap now that the glow of lust and intimacy is gone, particularly now that Hawke is fully dressed. Hawke reaches out and pulls it off me, murmuring, “Don’t. Nothing between us right now.”

My cheeks flame a little, but I don’t fight him on this. The sooner we have this conversation, the sooner the fallout can occur. I know I’ve been putting this off, but it can’t be hidden any longer. I’m tired of carrying the burden of what I did to him, and while I have no clue where he and I stand in the long term, I know that nothing good will ever happen to us if we continue to let this fester.

Turning to face him, I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. His face tilts, eyes pinned to mine with naked expectation to finally hear the truth.

“That night of the party,” I say quietly, refusing to drop my gaze from his. “I wasn’t feeling well.”

“Period cramps,” he supplies, letting me know exactly what he remembered from that night.

“Not period cramps,” I tell him bluntly. This surprises Hawke and he pushes up, tense and alert. His hand now presses into the mattress, supporting his weight. His gaze is now looking at me with trepidation but still a need to know. “I was pregnant. Six weeks. And I miscarried that night. It started not long after you left with everyone to get more beer.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t what I got.

Hawke lets out a pained moan and rolls off the bed away from me. His eyes are filled with grief and regret. He brings his hands to the sides of his head, grasps his hair, and pulls on it. He starts pacing up and down beside his bed, eyes to me, then dropping to the floor.

Back to me again as he halts, this time pleading for me to tell him it was a lie. I just shake my head and drop my own gaze to the sheet resting near my crossed knees. I now pull it up again over my lap, feeling completely uncomfortable in my nakedness.

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