119,300
07.03.2019

Even though it feels like my jaw is going to splinter off at any moment, I smile. It’s impossible not to.

My hand slides to the back of Delores’s neck and I bring her forward. My mouth brushes hers—lightly at first—then deeper, with more meaning. I pull her across me, full into my arms. Our tongues touch and taste, slow and unrushed, with the promise of more to come.

Dee sighs and rests her forehead against mine. “I didn’t imagine telling you I loved you, like this.”

“Me, neither. But . . . it’s something we’ll remember, right? It works for us.”

“It sure f**king does.” Then Dee hops to her feet and holds out her hand to me. “Why are we still here?”

I’m able to get up without her help. But once I’m standing, I remember what brought us to this moment in the first place. “Dee, about Drew and Kate . . .”

She puts her finger over my lips. “No. We’re not talking about them. Ever. You’re not your bastard best friend—I know that. I don’t want him coming between us.”

She’s right. This isn’t about Drew or Kate or Rosaline or any of the douche bags from her past. They shouldn’t affect us—can’t touch us.

This is about me and Dee.

As we make our way out of the ring, I ask, “Did you take a cab here?”

“Yeah—why?”

I grin. “I drove the Ducati.”

Dee’s pleased. “I’ve missed feeling the power between my legs.”

I throw my arm around her shoulders. “Oh, you’ll feel the power—after I get you back to my place.”

Delores loops her arm around my waist and shakes her head. “So cheesy.” Then her voice becomes firmer, more insistent. “But we’re both going to have to wait to feel the power, because before we go home, we’re taking a cab to the emergency room to get you checked out.”

“What? No, I’m fine, really.” I whine like a six year old who doesn’t want to go to the dentist.

Dee shakes her head. “Don’t want to hear it—you’re going. Concussions are nothing to fool around with. I just got you back, I’m not taking any chances on losing you now.”

I open my mouth to argue—because I really am fine—and I’ll be f**king fantastic as soon as I get Dee back in my bed. Or, on my kitchen counter, the dining room table, the living room wall—you get the point.

But before I can disagree, she adds, “Besides, for what I have planned for you? We’re going to need medical clearance.”

Well, when she puts it that way . . .

Our trip to the hospital was relatively short—a little over three hours. After a bunch of questions and a few tests, the doctor diagnosed me with a minor concussion.

Frigging Shawnasee.

Payback is a bitch—and you can bet your ass I’ll be driving that point home the next time I’m at the gym.

The doctor told me to watch out for nausea, blurry vision, blah, blah, blah. At the same time Dee and I asked if sex was okay.

He said it was.

Which is why the moment my apartment door closes, Dee and I are kissing, tearing at clothes, mauling each other—with six days of desire and want driving us on. My clothes are easier to get off than Dee’s, so by the time we step over the threshold of my bedroom, I’m completely naked.

Hard, hot, and thick, I need to be inside her more than I need to take my next f**king breath.

Dee’s shirt? Gone.

Her bra? On the pool table in my dining room.

I touch her, hold her against me—drowning in the sensation of our bare chests pressing and the velvet texture of her perfect skin. My fingers work on the button of her jeans. But Dee stops me. Her hands cover mine and she backs up a step. Her chest rises and falls rapidly as she tries to catch her breath. “Matthew . . . there’s something I have to tell you. I . . . did something. Last night.”

Fuck. Me. Hard.

Last night was Saturday. My first thought is, “Dee screwed another guy last night,” and I almost double over from the sheer agony of it. And the rage.

I know, technically, we weren’t together. We were broken up. I can’t get mad.

Fuck that—I’m going to lose it.

I’ll forgive her. I’ll get over it . . . after I smash something into a thousand pieces and pound on the walls like a gorilla on crack cocaine.

I sit down on the bed. “What’d you do? Whatever it is I’ll . . . f**k, just tell me what it is.”

And then she does the strangest thing. She smiles. And unbuttons her own pants, sliding them down her legs as she talks. “I thought all week about what you said. How I was scared, how I didn’t want to take a chance . . .”

“I was angry when I said that, Delores.”

“But you were also right. So I wanted to do something, to show you, to prove that I do trust you. That I want this, and you—permanently.”

She slips her panties off, and I’m momentarily hypnotized by the sight of her stunningly smooth pu**y. Until I notice the white bandage covering a small patch of skin below her pelvic bone.

She peels it off, revealing the bright blue tattoo emblazoned on her skin underneath. A tattoo of my name.

MATTHEW

I’m speechless—can only stare. Then I drop to my knees in front of her and kiss the soft, still-tender flesh beside my name.

“I f**king love it. I love you.” I dust my fingers over it, very gently. “Now you’re really stuck with me.”

Delores tilts my face up and runs her hands through my hair. “Yeah, I really am.”

I stand, swing her around, and toss her on the bed. Then I jump in after her.

Chapter 20

Later, when the sun has gone down and the sheets on my bed are fantastically rumpled, after fevered “I love you”s and “I missed you”s and “Don’t ever leave me”s are whispered between desperate touches and gratified moans, I force myself to get up.

It’s not easy. Dee lays naked in my bed, her lips swollen and well used, her hair alluringly tousled. I stand for a moment—pants in hand—just looking at her.

“God, you’re beautiful.”

This time, she smiles. And I know it’s because she believes me.

She reaches out her hand. “Then don’t go. Come back to bed, Matthew.”

I groan—’cause getting back in bed is all I really want to do. But I shake my head. “I won’t be gone long. I just have to check on Drew real quick—it’s a guy-code thing. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t make sure he hasn’t hung himself in his walk-in closet?”

❮❯