‘Come on...’ I growl the words. ‘Be reasonable. We made this deal when we hardly knew each other. Are you telling me nothing’s changed for you in the last two weeks?’
Her eyes flash with more anger and her cheeks drain of colour. ‘Of course things have changed! I’m not an idiot! But nothing important has changed. What I want is still the same.’
‘And that’s for this to end when I leave?’
‘So if I’m back in New York you really don’t want me to call you?’
She frowns, and that little divot forms between her brows. I ache to lift a finger to it and touch it, touch her. But I don’t.
A laugh escapes my mouth. A sound of disbelief. ‘I’m not ready to walk away from you.’
‘This isn’t about you.’
Her eyes hold mine for a moment and then drop.
‘What is it about, then?’
‘It’s about knowing we need to let this go.’
‘Why? You don’t think there’s something here worth keeping hold of?’
Hell, is she crying? I can handle almost anything, but not Ally’s tears. I feel like my chest has been ripped open and someone is reaching in and squeezing my organs in a fist.
I wait for her to answer, my question sitting between us like an enormous, impossible-to-navigate boulder.
‘Ally?’ I prompt gruffly when she doesn’t answer.
‘I’ll admit,’ she says shakily, ‘that things between us are kind of amazing—’
‘“Kind of amazing”?’ I interrupt, running a hand through my hair.
‘But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to be in a relationship. I don’t want a boyfriend. I don’t want to live with the risks that are bound up in loving someone.’
‘So you’re—what? Going to stay single for ever? Run through a succession of fuck buddies for the rest of your life?’
The very idea is curdling my blood.
She looks away from me and my stomach drops. Good job, jackass. Bully and berate her into a relationship. That’s a great idea.
‘I don’t know.’
Her whisper is a plaintive cry. I can’t help it. I cover the distance between us, my stride long. I press my body to hers, trapping her with my legs as my hands reach up and lock her face between them. I drag her up as I push my head down, finding her lips as though the survival of humanity will be ensured by this kiss.
‘I know enough for both of us.’
She shakes her head, and I can taste her tears, and it makes me want to fuck her so much more. It’s the only way we can communicate without doubts.
I push at her negligee, my hands demanding, my need raw. I rip it from her body and she moans into my mouth. I drop my lips to her shoulder and taste her flesh with my tongue, then press my teeth into her. She arches her back and, fuck, I need her more than I ever have.
I push at her bra—it’s just a scrap of lace that barely holds her in place. I drop it with an equal mix of contempt and admiration, and then I take a breast into my mouth with a primal moan of need.
I cannot function without her.
I lift her, wrapping her legs around me, and she is running her hands through my hair, tasting me, kissing my cheek, my jaw, her hands touching every square inch of me as she goes. I ache to possess her, but this torturous lead-up is heaven on earth.
I drop her onto the bed. I’m not gentle. She bounces as she lands and her eyes contain the same rush of fury as they meet mine.
I don’t care.
I’m furious as well. I’m furious with her for sticking to some stupid rules we agreed to way back when we hardly knew each other. But her crying... Her crying damned near breaks my heart.
I don’t think she even realises she’s doing it, but I run my tongue along her cheek, catching a tear, tasting her salt and her sadness, and then I kiss her.
I drop my mouth to her chest, running my tongue over her, and my fingers brush her sides, pausing at her hips to hold her as I take my tongue to her clit and torment her in the way I know she loves. Her fingers are tearing through my hair. She lifts her legs and I grip her ankles, holding her there, making her fall apart.
And she does.
She cries out as the rapture of her orgasm drops over us both and then I move, stepping out of my jeans, hovering over her. I stretch across and grab a condom from my side of the bed. My fingers are shaking as I stretch it over me. Need is like a spring, coiled tight in my chest.