I dug my fingers into his hair the way I had imagined. It was soft and thick. Scratching his scalp, I returned his kiss. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, but it didn’t seem to matter. It felt right. And Adam wasn’t complaining. His palm landed heavy on my ass and he lifted my thigh to his hip. My skirt rode up and I felt his erection press against my core. Instinct took over.
I sucked his tongue.
I bit his lip.
He pressed me further against the wall. “I knew you’d be like this,” he said between laps at my mouth. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you since I saw you on the street.”
He trailed his free hand up my inner thigh, pausing to gently snap the laces of my garter. He looked down, our breaths mingling.
“Sexy,” he whispered.
For the briefest moment that his mouth wasn’t on me, clarity pierced my brain. I was in the dim hallway of a restaurant, and Adam was against me. The cloud lifted and I fully realized that he was touching me. And I had allowed it.
I was already losing my sense of self-preservation.
“I—I can’t do this.”
He frowned when I lowered my foot back to the floor and began adjusting my skirt.
“You say that a lot. It’s a terrible word.”
“What word do you prefer, then?”
He backed away, running both hands through his hair. No one would ever know I had gripped him there. His composure was back in place and I instantly felt a loss. Cold crept over my body as he eyed me. A few feet away, after what had just happened, seemed like miles.
“Do you have any idea what you do?” His voice was laced with heat and malice.
“Other than almost walking into cars?”
“You command a presence.”
“Says the CEO of all that’s rich and powerful.”
“That mouth…” He looked like he was about to throttle me, in a wicked way that had my heart jumping and my already aching clit throbbing harder.
“You give off this essence. Like you need a man. Like whoever gets to possess you will reap the benefits of your entire body.”
“And you think I radiate this?”
He stepped closer to me. His jaw flexed as though he was gritting his teeth. “I can f**king smell it.”
I licked my bottom lip and tasted him. If I didn’t get out of there now, I’d give in to anything he wanted.
“Well, that’s the sourest face I think I’ve ever seen on you,” Megan said when I walked through the front door. “I take it the date didn’t go well.”
I shrugged out of my coat. “It wasn’t a date. It was a proposition. Thanks for throwing me to the wolves, by the way.”
“Wolves? Wasn’t there just one wolf? One hot, sexy wolf?”
But a wolf all the same. “Is Brian here? He looked about ready to punch Adam in the face.”
“Brian will get over it. You know how boys get when their schedules get changed.”
No, I didn’t. Because Brian generally didn’t care about much beyond his motorcycle shop.
“So what did the big, bad Mr. Kinkade proposition you for? The man already owns most of Chicago.”
Don’t remind me. “He wanted a hook-up.”
“What!” Megan was on her feet. “And?”
“I asked him to bring me home.”
She frowned. “Is that all?” She shook her head. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just…I saw how he looked at you, and how you looked at him.”
“What? How did I look at him?”
“Kate, you just perked up. It was like you were calm and excited at the same time.”
Lots of words have been used to describe me. Excited was a rarity, but calm was never used. Maybe the effect Adam had on me was more apparent than I realized.
“Do you like him?”
A smiled tugged at my lips. “I think I do—well—kind of. He irritates me. But there’s something about him that makes me feel all…”
Megan’s eye went wide and she cupped her hands in front of her chest. “This is great, Katelyn.”
“How is this great? The man basically asked for a one-nighter.”
“No, not that. I mean it’s great that you’re feeling!”
“You make it sound like I’m devoid of all human emotions.”
“Well, you do go out of your way to avoid them.”
That was true. This whole thing didn’t make sense. Megan was beyond supportive. She knew what had happened to me when I was younger. Knew the kind of abuse my mother dished out. Which was why maintaining a distance from others was second nature. Megan was my best friend, and yet, she never made a move to hug me or get too close. I appreciated that she understood my hang-ups and worked around them. But somehow, I felt lacking in her presence.
Adam didn’t skate around his point or walk gingerly around me. He was in my face, demanding, and treated me like I could handle not only myself, but him as well. He brought out the person I wanted to be. Confidence trickled out whenever I was near him. Just a moment in his presence and he drowned out the darkness of the past, allowing strength to rise. And damn it, I wanted that strength.
“I know it’s hard for you to open up after what you lived through…” Megan’s face changed and she gave me that look. I hated that look. “Whatever you decide with Adam is your choice. But feeling wanted—it’s a good feeling. I want you to have that.”
It was a good feeling. Despite the lack of anything else Adam had offered, I had never felt more desired in my life. He had kissed me like he couldn’t get enough. The passion was out of this world. Which was what I was afraid of. A man like Adam could get a girl addicted to him, then leave her jonesing for a fix he’d never again deliver.
“Meg, I was with him only an hour and I already feel it coming on.”
“Feel what coming on?”
She gave me that look again. “I love you, Kate. But honey, you’ve been fighting something that doesn’t exist.”
“Oh, it exists.”
“Not in you. You are not your mother. Just because she’s a raging psycho, doesn’t mean you are, too.”
“Well forgive me, but I’d rather not find out.”
“So you just want to never feel anything? Too scared that you might—what? Do what she did?”
I absently ran my fingers along my jaw where the scars were.