Page 37

“Oh …” His forehead wrinkles. “Come,” he calls to my rats.

They scurry to their cage like Harry is their alpha. I ease Lady into the cage and give my guys all a quick pet before shutting the door.

“Come here, Harry.” I walk to my room and reach into my sock drawer, pulling out three one hundred dollar bills. “This is for taking really good care of my babies.”

His eyes bulge out. “Three hundred dollars?”

I rest my hand on the side of his face. He stiffens at first before relaxing a little. “Thank you, Harry.” I kiss the cheek opposite of my hand, and whisper in his ear, “I’m going to miss you so much.”

“You said we’d play guitars before you leave.”

Releasing his face, I smile. “We will. I promise. I’ll be here for a week, getting things packed.”

“K.” He nods. “Let’s go,” he says to Flint, who’s watching us from the doorway to my bedroom.

Flint hands him the key fob. “I’ll meet you in the car.”

We stare at each other until the door shuts behind Harry.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know you hadn’t told him.” I slip my fingers into the front pockets of my jeans and shrug. “I think he’s okay with it.”

“Lucky Harrison.” The muscles in his jaw tick.

“You’ve wanted me out of your life since day one.”

“I wanted you out of my office building.”

“Well…” I give him a tight-lipped smile “…I’m out.”

“I can’t fix this,” he says with his voice so tight it feels like an elastic band ready to snap.

I shake my head. “It’s not yours to fix.” Turning to the side, I squeeze past him to get my purse and phone from the floor by the front door.

Flint grabs my wrist and jerks my arm until I face him. So much anger distorts his face as he presses my hand to his sternum, jaw clenched.

Blood races through my veins and my pulse pounds in my ears.

“This,” he grits, pushing my hand harder against his chest like he’s using it to punctuate his words. “I can’t fix this.” He hammers my hand harder to his chest one more time.

My fingers curl into his shirt, like I can grab his heart and save it. “Life is so fucking cruel,” I whisper.

He cradles my head in his hands and presses his forehead to mine. “Stay.”

I don’t even have to blink. The tears come so fast. It’s like he snapped my heart in two and I can’t stop the bleeding.

“I can’t.” Those two words feel like razors slashing my already dying heart.

“I missed you.” He rolls his forehead back and forth against mine as his grip on me tightens.

“Flint …” I sob, gripping his shirt with my other hand too. I don’t want to ever let go.

“I love you,” he whispers a breath before his mouth takes mine.

I kiss him and I cry.

I kiss him and I break.

I kiss him and I pretend that it matters.

But … it doesn’t, so I just kiss him.

There’s never a Subaru Outback, a bag stuffed with a few wadded clothes, and a great adventure waiting when you need it the most.

He breaks the kiss, breathless, searching my eyes.

I open my mouth to say something … God, I don’t know what to say. The pain has swallowed me up and left me with nothing. Not. One. Single. Word.

Say something!

He casts his gaze to the ground for a few seconds, turns, and leaves my apartment.


I wait in my car until midnight; that’s when the lights shut off. Buttoning my wool coat, I jump out, run across the street and up the porch steps. I pull my phone out of my pocket.

ME: I can stay for a week

It’s windy and cold. I shiver, hugging myself while I wait for him to respond.

FLINT: I’ll take it

ME: Then come let me inside

I grin. This may be the most sadistic thing I have ever done to myself. It’s going to hurt so damn bad when I leave in a week, but I will regret it if I don’t seize this moment, no matter how quickly it may pass.

The door eases open. I step inside, shivering. Flint’s wearing only a pair of black briefs and a frown. I love every single one of his frowns. They’re a silent challenge. Can I take them away? Will he give me the smile behind it? Am I worthy?

After unbuttoning my jacket and hanging it on the coat tree, I press my cold hands against his warm chest. He doesn’t even flinch. Confusion etches his forehead, apprehension heavy in his eyes.

“Stop frowning, Mr. Hopkins. I’m going to fulfill all of your sexual fantasies over the next seven days.”

The corner of his mouth curls into the tiniest of smiles.


He smiles for me.

I make him happy.

Another overlooked wonder of the world: bringing someone complete, intoxicating happiness. I lift onto my toes to capture those pouty lips. He picks me up, wrapping my legs around his waist, and he carries me upstairs.

“Shhh …” he says, pressing his lips to my ear as he carries me down the hall to his room. “If you don’t stop humming, I’m going to have to gag you. Child in the house.”

I kiss his neck.

“I feel your grin against my neck,” he whispers, easing the bedroom door shut behind us and locking it.

“You love me.” I smile as he lowers me to my feet.

“Lotta good it does me.” Another frown.

I inch my scarf off, letting it float to the ground. “Never regret loving someone. Do it for you, not for them.”

His gaze eats me up one inch at a time. And there it is … the lazy swipe of his tongue over his bottom lip. It’s so fucking sexy. He’s so fucking sexy.

I take a step back, giving him a better view as I shrug off my shirt, revealing my favorite black lace bra. “If you want to do something for the person you love…” I slide down my leggings “…open your heart to let them love you back.” My hand reaches for his.

He takes it, letting me pull him to his bed.

“Sit,” I whisper.

After a long look at my sexiest panties and bra, he folds his tall body to sit on the edge of the bed. I step between his legs. His hands inch up the back of my legs, taking their time memorizing the curve of my ass. I press my palms to his cheeks, brushing the pad of my thumb over his lower lip.

“Will you open your heart to me?”

His hands move to the clasp of my bra while his gaze remains locked to mine. “Yes.”

“Good.” I kiss his forehead, down his nose, and along his cheekbones. “Because I’m going to love you so hard, time won’t matter.” I kiss one side of his mouth as he eases my bra off. “Distance won’t matter.” I kiss the other side of his mouth. “All you’ll feel when you take each breath…” my lips hover over his “…is my love.”

For the rest of the night we pay homage to each other—physically, emotionally, spiritually. I refuse to stop until my mouth and hands have touched him everywhere and his have possessed every inch of me. I memorize the look he gets at the exact moment he loses himself to me. His back arches. My hand splays over his taut stomach muscles; my fingers curl into his tight flesh like I’m claiming him—Every. Single. Piece.

It’s sensual.

It’s vulnerable.

It’s beautiful.

It’s mine. I want that look to be mine and only mine forever.

I want to be his greatest strength—and his greatest weakness.

I want to be where he hides his lies and finds his truth.



“You have to leave.” I begrudgingly attempt to dress the naked woman sprawled out on my bed. There’s bedding everywhere—pillows half on the bed, half on my night stand, my comforter on the floor at the end of the bed, blankets wadded up beside the bed, the fitted sheet pulled off two of the corners of the mattress, and the top sheet woven around said naked woman passed out on her stomach. Sweat, sex, and her fruity shampoo fight to be the dominant smell in the room.

“Elle …” I tug at the sheet, but it’s all knotted. How did this happen? I grin. I know how it happened.

Her arms break free, reaching to the top of the mattress like she’s getting a good stretch. But instead of relaxing, her fingers curl into the edge of my mattress like she’s dangling from the roof of a tall building.


“I’m not leaving,” she mumbles into the mattress.

“You can’t stay.”

“What time is it?” She keeps her head buried.


She grunts. “Wake me in two hours.”

I sigh, running my hands through my hair that’s been thoroughly yanked and pulled over the past four hours. “Harry gets up at six.”

“Great. I’ll make everyone breakfast.”

I growl in frustration. “I told him we wouldn’t have sex.”

“Then shame on you.” Her sexy little body shakes with silent laughter.

I want to sink my teeth into the exposed curve of her ass and fuck her senseless for being so stubborn and laughing at my predicament. I squint, leaning a bit closer. Those might already be my teeth marks on her ass. Serves her right.

“Ellen …”