Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge 3) - Page 29

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His fingers slid beneath the hem of her sweatshirt, settling against her bare midriff. They were long and callused and warm. She could feel the latent, easy strength of him, at rest now, but she was very aware that beneath his surface was a power she didn’t understand and wasn’t sure she could handle.

She could also feel his palms just beneath the curve of her breasts. He was waiting for something. He was waiting on her, she realized. This big, alpha guy wasn’t going to make a move unless she gave him a sign that she wanted him to.

And oh, she wanted. That wasn’t the question. The question was…did she trust her own judgment right now? Honestly, she didn’t know, which must have shown in her eyes, because with a small, wry smile, he pulled free. “Looks like you have yet another choice to make,” he said. “You’ll let me know when.”

“When what?” she asked, her voice raspy.

“When you’re ready for me.”

We’re ready. We’re ready, her good parts screamed.

But her brain wouldn’t shut up. It’s too fast. You don’t want to be just a hookup.

But why not? her good parts argued. You tried love and got kicked in the teeth! Let’s try something new. Let’s try him.

She was still just staring up at him when he playfully tugged a strand of her untamed morning hair and said, “We’ll have to play another round of three truths and a lie sometime.” He smiled. “Unless you’d rather play Fifty Shades.”

“Seriously,” she said, even as she felt the heat of her blush rush up her face. And if she was being honest, other parts too. “Walking funny for a very, very long time.”

He grinned.

She pointed to the food she’d given him. “Consider that payment for today’s parking pass. I’m going to want a receipt.”

He laughed and surprised her by hauling her to him again. She hadn’t realized she was chilled, but at the way he touched her, something deep inside her warmed. Then her thought process derailed completely, when he kissed her again, slow, deep, hot. She felt immersed in him, in his scent, the feel of his hard body against hers, the sound of his breathing…the feel of his heartbeat beneath her hands.

“Receipt received,” she murmured, dizzy with desire, so much desire. She licked her lips, wanting a last taste of him, though it wasn’t enough.

Not even close.

It’d been so long since someone had touched her like she was so sexy he could do nothing else, like she was worth something, like she meant something to him. She knew there was more to life than a sexual connection, but sometimes a sexual connection was good, really good. God, she needed this, needed him, and she decided right then and there not to let herself worry about what-ifs or later or anything but now. Especially because now was all she had. The rest of her life was in complete flux. And Jacob…well, he was here for his family and that was it. He too had only the now. It was perfect. And how often had anything in her life been perfect? “Jacob?”


“When,” she whispered.

He stilled for a beat, searching her expression. She hoped he found everything he needed to know there, because she’d lost her words. All she had was that hunger and need burning her up from the inside out.

Holding her gaze, he took her hand in his and brushed his mouth over her palm.

Her thighs quivered.

His fingers squeezed hers. “Be sure, Soph.”

“I’m the one who said ‘when,’” she reminded him, and then paused. “Are you sure?”

He hauled her against him, wrapping her up tight in his warm, strong arms and then rocked his hips to hers.

He was hard.

Yep, he was sure.

“I told you I wanted this,” he said. “That I wanted you.”

“Yes, but you were under the influence.” She stared into his eyes. “Maybe I wasn’t sure you meant it.”

“I mean everything I say.” His voice rumbled quietly in his chest, vibrating against hers. “Always.”

She shook her head in automatic denial. “I don’t buy into promises. I don’t want anything like that from you. From anyone.”

“We’ll circle back to that later.”

“No,” she said. “We won’t. No need. I know what this is, and I especially know what this isn’t.”

“So you have a crystal ball, then,” he said.

Stepping back, she crossed her arms over her chest. “This isn’t going exactly the way I expected.”

“You expected what, a quick fuck, no words?”

Tags: Jill Shalvis Cedar Ridge Romance