“I’m going after what I want.”
“You’re strong-arming me.”
This was another moment where I knew that Adam was trying to do something nice—sort of—but going about it the wrong way. He wanted me to move in. It was a big step. Part of me loved that he felt something for me. Something strong enough that it would enable him to share his space with me. But this wasn’t how a normal couple approached things.
“You seem to have a fancy for kicking Gunn women out of their homes,” I snapped.
He stood up quickly and rounded the desk, walking toward me. “I’m not tearing down that complex. You mother can stay. Though everything in my being says I should throw her ass on the street. I don’t want you to ever have to deal with her again. Her rent is taken care of. She can live there indefinitely without a single bill as long as she stays away from you.”
“Are you serious?”
He nodded. “It is not my intention to burden you. Ever. I want you happy. And I want you with me.” He cupped my chin. “What is keeping you from giving in? Why do you choose to fight me on everything?”
“Because you can’t force someone to feel something they don’t.”
He took a step back. “So you feel nothing for me?”
Heat left my cheeks. What I felt for Adam was not nothing, it was everything. I didn’t know if it was the headache or the bombardment of all this new information, but I was exasperated.
“Adam, you drive me nuts, but you’ve also helped me realize that while I have these crazy emotions, it doesn’t make me crazy. I crave you in a way that borders on unhealthy. You know me. You force me to deal with things. You know my secrets, my weaknesses, but I know nothing about you.”
“You know me,” he argued.
I shook my head. “You close yourself off. I don’t know what causes you pain. I don’t know about your past. You demand all this from me, yet keep half of yourself hidden. It’s like walking along a cliff. Any moment you have the power to throw me over and I’ll be left shattered and broken while you escape without a scratch.”
He stared at me for a long moment. “You bring me to my knees, Katelyn. Every damn day you have me ready to beg.”
His words hit my heart. He hadn’t said he loved me. Hadn’t admitted to anything deep or personal, but it was a start. Admitting he was off kilter just as badly as I was.
He swept me up into his arms. I locked my legs around his waist and kissed him with all the breath in me.
I woke up in Adam’s bed. I’d agreed to stay with him while “renovations” were being done on my apartment. My only other option was to go to my aunt and uncle’s—which would never happen—or use the money Adam had given me to stay at a hotel. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to spend it.
So far, things were going well. We woke up, had coffee and breakfast together. Drove into work together. Convenient, since we worked down the block from each other. He always dropped me off first and kissed me good-bye. A few times we snuck in a quickie in the backseat and I walked around the rest of the day with my skin tingling and smelling like his cologne.
I was happy. Deliriously so. And if it was a dream, I didn’t want to wake up.
“How’s domestication treating you?” Megan asked. Her anger had ebbed over the last couple of weeks when she’d put the check from Adam to good use. She was living it up and I was happy because she had seemed a little down lately.
“Pretty good. How’s staying with Brian?”
“I’ve only stayed there a couple of nights.” Megan looked down. She and Brian had been together a lot longer than Adam and I, yet he’d made no move to take their relationship to the next level.
“You okay?” I asked.
Her head snapped up and she waved away whatever sad thoughts had obviously been churning. “I’m great. I took a peek at our apartment the other day—state-of-the-art alarm system, new fixtures and appliances. It’s looking really good.”
I liked that Adam had left me the choice to move back, though secretly, I didn’t think it was a choice. He had been doing his damnedest to convince me to stay with him permanently. And I just might be caving.
“So, you were saying that Mr. Moneybags has a birthday tomorrow, right?”
“What are you supposed to get a man who has everything?”
I groaned. “My thoughts exactly.”
“Well, did you ask him?”
I smiled. “Yeah. He said for his birthday, he wanted me.”
Megan rolled her eyes. “I don’t know exactly what to make of you two, but it kind of grosses me out.” She winked at me. “Besides, he already has you.”
Yes, he did, but I knew what he was really getting at. He wanted total control. No more running or questioning. Giving myself over to him would require my soul.
He made me feel beautiful. Cherished. And completely crazy. When was the last time someone had told Adam how amazing he was? I did my best to tell him, show him, every day, the same way he showed me.
An idea hit me.
Adam wanted my heart for his birthday? He just might get it.
“Good morning, birthday boy,” I whispered, and kissed his lips.
He smiled. He was doing more of that lately and I never tired of the sight.
“Best birthday ever,” he said, cupping my ass. He rolled me over and parted my thighs with his knees.
“No, wait, you have to open your present first.”
He frowned down at me. “Aren’t you my present?”
I laughed like a fool, but the man made me so damn giddy sometimes. “Of course, but there’s more.”
We had dinner reservations tonight, but I couldn’t wait to give him his gift. I moved him to a sitting position on the bed. I was in one of his shirts and it glided around me when I reached under the bed and brought up his present.
“Happy birthday, Adam.”
He looked at me as he untied the ribbon. The tissue paper fell away, leaving him with a mason jar in his hands.
He examined it. “What’s it filled with?”
“Open it and find out.”
He did, and when he reached in, he pulled out one of the hundreds of small red paper hearts I had cut out.
He looked at the paper. His eyes darkened to a fierce blue.
“See, each heart has a different reason I love you written on it—” My voice cracked. I was so nervous.