With her warm body cradling his, welcoming his, AJ knew it was useless to resist anymore.
Even if he did resist her shy, soft invitation to give them both what they needed, he couldn’t dislodge her from his heart. And, dammit, he had tried.
For an entire week, he had pretended that she didn’t belong to him. He had treated her with a polite courtesy and, alternatively, with that artistic temperament that he didn’t change for anyone. He had tried to do the right thing. But the damn woman had only burrowed deeper into his heart.
She’d been sneaking into his bed at night while he processed his grief and guilt and so much more—sometimes in paralyzing silence and sometimes by pacing his room while yelling into the phone at either Papa or his sister—and she didn’t budge in her resolve to stay with him.
And when he had broken down for a mother he’d never known, one night after his father had finally revealed the truth of how he and his sisters had bullied his mother into leaving, she had held him as if he’d been a child.
AJ had no idea how he had resisted her for this long. And so he took what he wanted now, the final barrier crumbling into so much dust, light filling his chest.
Still, he wanted this to be her choice. He needed her to know that he could give this without any conditions. “Are you sure, Anna?” he whispered, licking at the madly fluttering pulse at her neck.
“Yes, please. Yes,” she said, trailing butterfly kisses on his jaw until she reached his mouth.
Pushing himself onto his side, he ran his broad palm from her neck to the valley between her breasts and lower. Her breath hitched in a loud gasp when he reached her lower belly. Slowly, he undid the buttons that held the dress that had been driving him crazy. He groaned when he found her warm, bare skin. “This doesn’t have to mean anything,” he said, even as he inched his fingers under the seam of her cotton panties.
Jerking her head back, she regarded him out of eyes that were dark with desire. “Are you still testing me?”
He shook his head and undid a couple more buttons. Her lacy white bra had a front clasp that he tackled next. Her brown nipples were already plump and hard. He filled his palm with her small breast, his own pleasure tightening as her hands reached his crotch. A groan ripped through him as she deftly undid his trousers and took his hard length in her palm.
And then she was turning to her side. Large eyes held his, every emotion open for him to read. She kissed him so gently that he felt a prickle at the back of his eyes. “This, you and me together, means everything in the world to me. To be here with you, in this moment, whether there is a future for us or not, whether you will allow yourself to trust me and yourself again, whether you will let yourself to love me again or not… It doesn’t matter.”
She scooted closer, her hands drawing mindless paths over his chest, claiming him with every touch and every kiss she gave. AJ took her mouth again in a rough, needy tangle, because he was afraid of what else she would say.
“Raise your leg,” he commanded with little patience.
She followed with a smile.
And then there was nothing but the warm, welcoming heat of her body. He took her with fast, rough strokes, all his control and finesse disappearing in a blind haze of desire and possession.
As he had taught her once, she moved her hand down to her sex. But she didn’t let him be, even in this moment of carnal need.
“I love you, Ajay. I will love you for the rest of my life, whether you want me in yours or not. So it’s all up to you. But don’t doubt for a minute that I’m here—” she pressed her palm to his chest, a wild, fiery faith in her eyes “—that I’m already here.”
Then there was nothing but the groan of her climax, the needy grasp of her silken sheath, and Ajay was flying toward his own.
There was nothing but the truth left.
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