“Who are you? And I mean really. Who are you?”
My gut tells me that if I tell her right now, in this moment, it will not be well-received. “A friend,” I say, my gaze lowering to her lush mouth and lifting. “And the man who wants to kiss you. Really kiss you. Can I kiss you, Myla?”
“Yes. I’m asking. After all you’ve been through-”
“He hasn’t destroyed me. He hasn’t beaten me and I don’t like that you think he has.”
“I don’t think he’s beaten you.”
“He hasn’t,” she insists. “I’m not giving him that power and damn it, you better not either by treating me like I’m broken and fragile. So kiss me if you’re going to kiss me or let me go, if you don’t want-”
I cup the back of her head, and slant my mouth over hers, my tongue sliding against hers, stroking, caressing, and the taste of her, one part hunger I welcome, but the other part, the torment, I intend to drive away. I deepen the kiss, my hand pressing beneath her tank top, finding warm, soft skin. My fingers splay over her rib cage, while my mind reminds me that no matter how big she talks, she wants this escape for a reason. She has been abused, used, hurt.
I tear my mouth from hers, my breathing and hers ragged, my hands settling at her waist. “Myla-”
“Don’t do this,” she pleads, “Don’t be the kind of hero I don’t need. Give me something good to remember the next time he touches me, something that gets me through it.”
“I told you,” I grind out. “He will never touch you again.”
“You underestimate him.”
“You underestimate me,” I assure her. “You want to forget? Let’s forget.”
“Don’t treat me like-”
I tangle my fingers in her hair and drag her gaze to mine. “Is that too gentle?”
“It is until you kiss me again,” she challenges, and so I do, holding nothing back. My tongue stroking, taking, demanding, and she rewards me by giving me no fear, but rather a soft moan, and a whisper of “Kyle,” when I nip her lip.
“That’s what I want,” I say. “My name on your tongue, not his. My tongue on your body, not his.”
“That’s what I want too,” she dares, and when she adds, “very much,” there is this sense of her claiming something outside of a world she’d accepted but hated that empowers me, to help her go there, be there. I reach down and pull her tank top over her head, tossing it away. And she is not shy, timid or scared. She tugs my shirt up, but my shoulder strap and weapon, hold it in place. I’m far from detoured though, unhooking her sports bra and dragging it down her arms, my gaze raking over her high full breasts and pebbled pink nipples. And the minute our gazes collide, the fire between us ignites, and we are kissing again, my hand flattening over her back, melting her naked breasts to my chest.
She tries a new approach to getting me naked, shoving at my jacket and I shrug it over my shoulders, letting it fall to the ground, but when her hand goes for the clasp on my shoulder strap, my reaction is automatic. I grab her hand and stop her. “What are you doing?”
“I can’t get your shirt off while your gun is on,” she says, and then gives me an unhappy look. “Did you think that I was going for your weapon?”
“Programming,” I say. “Protect your weapon, always. And you aren’t the only one with a bad relationship baggage.”
“I can accept that and understand it, but now it’s my turn to say quid pro quo. I’m opening the door to trusting you. You need to do the same and trust me.”
She’s right. A hand for a hand. I let mine fall away now, leaving hers at my strap, a move from my gun. She closes her hand over the butt of my gun, daring me to challenge her, her chin lifting, gaze meeting mine as she says, “If you were him-”
My hands slide around her neck, dragging her mouth to mine. “Obviously I need to fuck you fast and hard before I go slow and sexy, just to get him the hell out of this room.” I kiss her, a deep, demanding, stroke of tongue on tongue, I end with a challenge. “Do you want me or my gun?”
“You,” she whispers, her hand sliding away from my weapon. “I want you.”