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We’re both panting as we come up for air, our mouths still pressed tightly against each other. Neither one of us willing to release the other first. “Mine,” Nico repeats the word with a growl. The words vibrate on my lips and I feel it shoot all the way down to the already swollen flesh between my legs.

“Yours.” I respond breathlessly.

And then it’s a frantic race to get our clothes off. Nico lifts his hips only enough to somehow maneuver his pants off. Mine he has even less trouble dispensing with. I feel the thick, hard length of him against my bare skin and it makes me shiver with anticipation. I feel my own wetness between my legs, my body ready to take him in even before my mind catches up to it.

Pushing up from the bed at the hips, I tilt upwards the little bit that I can move underneath him, silently urging him to take me. I need him now. Right now.

“Say it again.”

I know what he wants to hear. “Yours.” I whisper quietly as I take his face in my hands and he responds by pushing inside of me. Hard. And deep. His mouth covers mine again, as he stifles my moan with a gentle kiss that contradicts the harshness of his thrust.

He releases my mouth as he stills deep inside of me. “Again.”


Nico pulls his hips back and thrusts into me again even harder. He stretches me wide and again settles between my legs. He doesn’t say anything when he stills, but there’s no doubt what he’s waiting for.


After a few more deep thrusts that are rewarded with the word he needs to hear, Nico takes my hands and clasps them together, bringing them up and over my head. He holds both my hands in one of his and pulls almost all the way out from inside of me, lifting his body off of mine. I watch as he stops to look down at me. He’s positioned me how he wants me and now he’s admiring his work. My hands secured tightly over my head and my legs spread wide for him, I’m completely and utterly exposed. He doesn’t ask me to say the word again. He doesn’t need too. He sees it laying out before his eyes.

He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. For a second he looks peaceful. But then he begins to pound into me. Each thrust deeper and faster than the one before. Our bodies are covered in sweat and each thrust down makes a smacking noise as our bodies slap against each other in fury.

Nico grunts on every plunge down and I cry out on every slippery stroke upward as we find our rhythm together. Instinctively, I try to move to reach out and touch him, but his grip holding my hands above my head tightens, keeping me in place. I feel possessed, completely and totally possessed by this man. And it’s that feeling that sends me over the edge.

I moan through my orgasm, unashamed by what I feel. What he makes me feel. Nico’s body tightens in response to my orgasm and the heat of his se**n pouring into me extends my own release. Together we furiously give ourselves over to the pleasures of our bodies; loud, obscene sounds coming from both of us as we both realize we are climaxing together.


I wake in the morning to a warm hand tracing the curve of my spine up my back slowly as I lie naked on my stomach. I wiggle a bit as he reaches the top of my ass, his thick fingers halting only for a second before they continue their assault downward, gently pushing their way in between my ass cheeks, tracing the outline of my most private areas. A little giggle comes out when he continues his tracing underneath me, finding my still swollen clit.

“Shh.” Nico’s voice is gentle now. So different from the demanding man who came to me in the middle of the night to stake his claim. He leans over my back and gently kisses the back of my neck, leaving a sweet trail of wet from the nape of my neck up to my ear. “I want you.” His voice is low and throaty in my ear and it sounds incredibly erotic.

“So take me.” I whisper on a small moan as his teeth sink into my ear.

“No. I want you to give yourself to me. I want you, Elle. All of you.”

I turn over to face him and it’s like the first time I’ve ever seen him, even though we only fell asleep a few hours ago. His hair is disheveled and he has the start of a five o’clock shadow on his masculine jaw. The vision steals my breath away. I reach up and cup his jaw in my hand, my thumb stroking his cheek where I know a dimple hides just beneath the surface.

Our eyes meet and I realize he’s serious. He’s not being playful. He wants me to give myself to him and not just in the bed right now. “I want to… but I’m not sure I can.” I respond with honesty.

Nico shuts his eyes and I think I’ve hurt him again. I can’t stand to hurt this man anymore. But then he opens them and surprises me. “We’ll work on it. Together.”

A lone tear escapes my eye and Nico brushes it away before I give myself to him, in the only way I can at the moment. And he takes what I give him, making love to me sweetly when I need it most.


We don’t get out of bed all day, making up for lost time. I missed these quiet moments when we just lay in bed, my head tucked into the crook of his broad shoulder, him stroking my hair with his big hand so gently. I run my finger up and down his breastbone, mindlessly feeling the bumps and curves of the walls of his thick muscles along the way. I’m happy, but there’s a gnawing feeling lurking just beneath my contentment. I know there are things we have to talk about, things that will ruin everything. But I just want to stay in the here and now for a little while longer. I love the way he looks at me, selfishly I don’t want it to change. But I know it will when he finds out.

Sensing my distance, Nico lifts my chin upward to look at him in the eyes. “I’m sorry, Babe. I know we still need to talk.”

I panic, desperate to just be us a while longer. “You need to feed me first.” I give him a wry grin. As if on cue, Nico’s stomach growls, and just like that I get a reprieve. At least for a little while.


As usual, Nico lifts me and seats me on the counter while he cooks. I’m wearing his shirt and watching the sinfully sexy man walk around my kitchen in only his jeans, the top button of which is still open. He’s a walking paradox with the ripped muscles of his chest exposed as he moves around the kitchen barefoot, almost gracefully, tossing eggs into a bowl to whip with some other stuff I didn’t even know I had in my fridge. He passes me on his way to the stove and plants a chaste kiss on my lips. Delicious.

We both devour everything on our plates. I hadn’t really even realized how hungry I was until the food was right in front of me. Everything Nico has cooked me has been better than a restaurant would serve. I’m really not quite sure if my opinion is just that biased about anything related to Nico Hunter, or if he’s that great of a cook. But I don’t really care. I’d take the sight of him cooking with no shirt on in my kitchen every day, even if the food tasted putrid.

I tell Nico to relax and begin to clear our plates and load the dishwasher, but he helps me anyway. “You cooked, you don’t have to help me clean up.” I smile at him. “Besides, it’s the only thing I’m good at in the kitchen.”

Nico comes behind me as I load our plates into the dishwasher and bends down to kiss the back of my neck softly. “But the sooner we get cleaned up.” His words trail off as he runs kisses down my neck and over to my left shoulder. I let my eyes drift closed and enjoy the moment. When he finally continues his thought his voice is lower and velvety. “The sooner we can get our talk over with and get back into bed.”

My eyes flash back open and reality comes crashing in as my stomach drops. There have been days, even months, filled with regret over the sins of my past, but I’ve never hated the man that ruined my life more than I do right at this moment. I don’t blame myself anymore. I blame him. Blame him for everything that happened before and the years he took from me as I struggled to get my life back after. But I’ve never hated him more than I hate him right now, because he is about to take yet another part of my life away. The way that Nico looks at me.

I can’t stall any longer. I think of what my therapist would tell me to do if she was sitting right next to me, watching me act like a coward. She’d say rip the Band-Aid off. Allow the wound to heal itself. The worst part is the anticipation of the tear, not the tear itself.

So I take a deep breath and quietly lead Nico to the couch. He sits and pulls me on top of him, one leg on each side of his thighs, straddling him on his lap. I can’t have this conversation while I’m this close. I need distance. I begin to lift onto one leg, attempting to reposition myself off of him, but Nico firms his grip on my hips.

I look up at him confused. “I…I’m just moving…”

“I know what you’re doing.”

My face must show my confusion, because Nico doesn’t wait for me to respond.

“I want to talk right here.”

“Why?” Truly, I’m confused by his action…refusing to allow me to put space between us.

“Because it’s harder for you to avoid me when I’m right in your face.”

And I thought I was doing such a good job of ducking our conversation.

I shut my eyes and take a long deep breath in. When I open them, Nico’s watching me intently and it makes it that much harder. But I need to do it. I rip the Band-Aid off and show him my wounds. The horrific wounds I’ve been carrying around, alone, for more than half of my life.

“My father was abusive.” My words are low, but I’m steady. I can do this. I look down at Nico’s bare chest as I speak and find a tiny dot of a freckle just to the right of his belly button. It’s so small I hadn’t noticed it before. But now it’s all I can focus on. My eyes are glued to it. Nico’s hands on my hips grow tighter. I’m not sure if he thinks I’m going to bolt or if he unconsciously does it in response to the start of my story, but either way somehow it helps me. Just knowing he is holding me tight gives me the strength to continue.

“Not me. Just my mother. It went on for years. Sometimes we would leave, but he would find us and everything would be okay for a little while. But then it would start again.” I rub my pointer finger over the little freckle, the slow back and forth motion soothes me. When I was a kid and my father would start in on my mother, I would sit on my bed and rock. Rock back and forth. Somehow it calmed me.

Nico doesn’t say anything, he just keeps his strong hold on me and sits quietly. Waiting and listening. “It got bad. One night he beat her so bad that she didn’t get out of bed for more than three weeks. Her nose was broken and both eyes were so swollen shut that she would flinch when I would come into her bedroom, because she couldn’t be sure if it was me or if it was him.” My voice cracks, but I don’t cry. I just wish I could tell the story without reliving the picture in my head. The few times I’ve told the story out loud, it’s always the same. I’m back there and I’m narrating what I see in my head, giving the play-by-play, as if the little girl isn’t even me.

“On the twenty-third day, she got out of bed. The bruises were starting to heal and her face was mostly grey and yellow. The swelling had gone down too. She stood in the kitchen and made me a can of soup. It was Campbell’s. Chicken and Rice. She put it in the brown and white striped croc bowl that I loved to eat out of. I remember thinking it was the best thing I ever ate.”

I quiet for a minute as I watch my mother and I sit at the table and eat soup together. It plays out in my head as if it was really right in front of me. She smiled at me and I smiled back. It didn’t make things all better, but I remember thinking we were going to be okay. I had a strange feeling of relief as we sat there and ate in silence. For three weeks I must have been walking around with my shoulders feeling tense, but I didn’t realize it until I felt them ease as we finished our soup.

My shoulders relax a little. Then I take a deep breath, knowing what would come next. “Then he came home. We were still sitting at the table, our soup bowls still in front of us when he stumbled in. Drunk. He was always drunk. And angry.”