“How’ve you been?” he asked, sounding as if he genuinely cared.
“Same old, same old. Currently nursing my melancholy with ice-cold vodka in the light of a full moon. Come back later and I’ll be howling at it.”
He laughed and turned my hand over, so he could read the words inked on my skin. Goosebumps pricked my arms and warmth spread through my body as he traced the letters with his fingertip like I’d done so many times. He was so close I could smell his subtle spicy scent. Something warm and woodsy. Cedar and citrus. Bergamot, maybe? It didn’t matter. He smelled good. So good that I wanted to burrow my face in his neck and breathe him in. As if reading my thoughts, he tugged me closer, his eyes flitting from my eyes to my mouth. Maybe he was remembering the feel of my lips against his.
I flattened my palms on his hard chest and leaned into him. I could feel the warmth of his skin through the fabric of his T-shirt, his heart beating a steady rhythm under my fingertips. Deacon was the calm to my storm. The kind of man you could rely on to be there for you, to keep you safe and protect you. It confused me that I’d want that from him when I’d never wanted it from anyone before.
I didn’t want to want him.
“I shouldn’t be here.” He wrapped his hands around my wrists. He had good hands. Strong and capable-looking with thick veins. I bet when he held a gun, they didn’t even tremble. I bet they were sure and steady, and he didn’t so much as break a sweat.
“And yet, here you are. Why are you here?”
“I’ve missed your funny face.” He made slow, lazy circles on my inner wrists with the pads of his thumbs. The softest touch was often the most powerful.
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“Miss me?” he teased.
More than I should have. “You never crossed my mind.”
“You crossed mine. Hundreds of times.” His voice was low and rough, seducing me with his raw honesty.
“Hundreds?” I laughed. “I didn’t take you for the kind of guy who uses hyperboles.”
Oh. Well. I looked down at his hands that were still wrapped around my wrists, my palms still pressed against his chest as if I was warding him off yet wanting to remain close enough to feel the beating of his heart.
“Hold Me Down” by Halsey blasted from my speakers, muting the sounds of the city, the hum of traffic on the street and the lonely wail of a siren in the distance. I stared at his slightly parted lips, the bottom lip fuller than the top and fought the urge to sink my teeth into it.
“What did you think of when you thought of me?”
He moved his hand to my neck and around to the back of it, threading his fingers through my hair until it was wrapped around his hand. His mouth moved close to the shell of my ear, his voice low. “How much I fucking love your hair.”