“Katelyn,” he whispered. His hands on my shoulders slowly turned me to face him. Those tears I had been fighting slid down my cheeks.
I looked up at him, face to face, while water continued to trickle down my brow.
His jaw tightened and his eyes blazed with fury. My heart struggled to beat. He looked angry and shocked. I knew what he was seeing. I watched his eyes track from the hairline at my temple down my jaw, to my neck. My bottom lip trembled and I thought my knees were going to give out. He took my chin between his first finger and thumb and tilted my head, examining me.
The tears came quicker. My anxiety should be flaring, but it wasn’t. Adam didn’t make me feel nervous or afraid, he made me feel vulnerable. I was stripped bare—straight to my soul—completely naked.
I squeezed my eyes shut. I knew the image he was seeing. Pink scars littered my skin, trailing from my temple to my jaw and down my neck like a pathway.
He traced a finger along the line of scarring and I fused my eyelids together harder. I wanted this to be over. He had seen me now. All of me. Scarred and completely terrified.
“What is this, Katelyn?” His voice was laced with anger. He must be upset that, like my virginity, I hadn’t told him about this, either.
“Scars.” I hung my head.
“I can see that. Scars from what?”
I risked a look at him, expecting to find disgust in his expression. Instead, he looked like he’d just been kicked in the stomach.
“Someone clawed at your face?” His voice was deadly quiet.
“Who? Because these aren’t scratches. These are deep. Old. Like they were trying to—” He caught himself. His temper was obviously coming out and his tone was growing harsher.
“Like they were trying to rip my face off,” I finished for him. “Please don’t be mad that I didn’t tell you. I just—”
“You think I’m mad at you?” He cupped my face in his palms. “I’m ready to kill the bastard who did this. Don’t ever, ever think for a moment that this affects my feelings toward you.” He kissed my cheeks, my eyes, my tears. I sobbed and he pulled me into his arms. “Is this why you flinch when people get too close?” He tucked a lock of damp hair behind my ear. “Why you remained a virgin?”
I nodded. “You’re the only person who’s gotten this close to me without being violent.”
Adam tensed. His grip on me tightened. I pressed my cheek further into his chest and wrapped my arms around his middle. His lips trailed along the top of my head.
“I would never put my hands on you with the intention to hurt you.”
“I know.” Since the day I’d met him, that had never been a doubt in my mind.
“I’m glad you showed me.”
I looked up at him. “Do you think I’m weak now?”
He scowled as though I had slapped him in the face. “I think you’re strong.” He ran his fingertip down my jaw. “You’re kind, vibrant, beautiful. And you survived.” He skimmed my forehead with his lips. “Whatever I have to do to make you realize this, I will.”
Adam’s endearments sounded like a threat I desperately wanted him to follow through on. He was changing me, flooding me with his will and might.
He stood there and held me, skin to skin, as the water beat down on us. With one palm on the back of my head and the other tightly around my back, he clung to me and I felt like I could melt right into him. Leave this world and live out my existence as a puddle surrounding Adam Kinkade.
And nothing sounded more peaceful.
“Sure you don’t mind me borrowing your shirt?” I asked, strutting from Adam’s walk-in closet in only a white tee.
He was lying on the bed, long legs stretched out and hands folded behind his head. He was in a pair of navy blue pajama bottoms and nothing else. Hot damn, the man was mouthwatering.
“It’s a shame to cover up that body of yours.” He raked his gaze up and down as I came to the edge of the bed. “But seeing you in one of my shirts is f**king sexy as hell.”
It had been weeks since we’d shared our first shower, and every day seemed better than the last. Adam had tried several times to get me to talk about my past. How I got the scars and more important, who had given them to me. I refused to go into it. Which led to an argument. But the argument led to make-up sex and in the end, the secret was still mine.
I didn’t want to think about the past or taint Adam with any of the bad memories from it. I was happy to be moving on.
I crawled on my knees atop the bed and wiggled my eyebrows at him. His arm shot out and wrapped around my waist. In my squeal of delight, he pinned me on the mattress and hovered over me. He tickled my sides and I burst into laughter.
“I see you have a weak spot.” He smiled.
I begged for mercy and he relented. He eased himself down on me, his face a few inches from mine, and brushed a lock of hair from my brow.
“You’re so beautiful.” He trailed his finger along my jaw and the scars that marred it. “All of you.” He kissed my neck. “Especially when you laugh.”
I smiled up at him. “You realize how unfair this is, right? You’ve found my tickling weakness. I have yet to find a single weakness of yours.”
He looked at my face as though he was staring at Utopia. “You’re closer to my weakness than you think.”
He kissed me and I melted for him. Lifting my shirt up and exposing my bare thighs, he shoved his bottoms down and was inside me instantly. There, surrounded by Adam Kinkade in every possible way, I let myself fall even further into the abyss.
“Thanks for coming to get Simon today,” Tim said as he rummaged through the papers on his desk. “I need to close this sale and Grace is out shopping. She’ll pick him up in about an hour.”
“It’s no problem.” I ruffled Simon’s hair and tried to keep the distaste out of my voice. I loved spending time with Simon, but hated conversing with the man in front of me.
“Simon, go see if Sue has some candy.” Tim motioned to his secretary and Simon went running.
My uncle’s dark gaze landed on me. I balled my fingers into fists at my sides and focused on keeping the anxiety from rising. I wasn’t surprised he’d figured out a way to get me alone. He knew I’d come. All he had to do was say, “Simon,” and I’d be there.
“What is the situation with you and Adam Kinkade?”