Moonlight Sins (de Vincent 1) - Page 60

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Her hands rubbed over her bent knees. “Do you always work in your studio here?”

“Mostly.” Placing their glasses on the coffee table, he stepped around it and knelt down directly in front of her so they were eye level.

Julia drew back, her eyes flaring wide.

He rested his hands on her knees as he met her gaze. “I know why you came to me.”

Her breath caught.

“And I’m going to spend hours, maybe even the rest of the night, making damn sure you don’t regret this,” he said, meaning every single word. “But nothing, absolutely nothing will happen that you do not want. Do you understand?”

Swallowing, she nodded.

“You can walk out that door at any moment and we . . . we can try again later.” He really hoped that wouldn’t happen, but he wouldn’t stop. “Or you can choose to stay and let the night take us wherever it does. Okay?”

She wet her lips, the small act sending a bolt of lust through him. “Okay.”

“Good.” He smiled and then rose, reaching behind him. He picked up her glass and then handled it over to her. “So, why couldn’t you sleep?”

She took a sip as he sat beside her. “I’ve always had trouble sleeping. It’s not serious like it is for some people, but it’s annoying.”

“I know the feeling.” His gaze coasted over her profile. He wanted to touch her. “If you can’t sleep, don’t forget I have options for you. I’m here to help, at your disposal.”

A brief smile appeared on her face as she lowered the glass. “That tea was amazing.”

“It is.” He watched her over the rim of his glass. “But the other option is so much better.”

That sweet pink returned to her face. “So, I . . . I, um, I was exploring a little this morning, before Daniel came over. I went up on the roof.”

He leaned into the cushions, throwing his arm along the back of the couch. “You shouldn’t be up there. It’s not the safest place.”

“Because there are no guardrails?”

Lucian didn’t respond.

She peeked over at him through thick lashes. “It looked like the roof was used often.”

“My mother did. She liked it up there, night or day. Probably because no one else liked to go up there.”

She ran her fingers along the rim of the glass. “Well, someone goes up there. I saw the flowers. They looked fresh. Is that you?”

He shook his head. “Believe it or not, that’s Dev.”

“Oh.” She blinked. “That’s a surprise.”

“Right,” he agreed. “But seriously, please don’t go up there. The last thing I’d want is for an accident to happen.”

She let out a shaky breath. “Do accidents happen up there often?”

“Accidents happen often everywhere in this house. Remember the bathroom?”

“Oh God. You had to remind me of that.” She pressed her palm to her face, squeezing her eyes shut. “I was trying to scrub that from my memory.”

“You and me both.”

She lowered her hand and looked at him strangely.

“What? Finding you naked in my brother’s arms wasn’t exactly something I wanted to see.”

“Something you didn’t want to see? Try being in my place.” She laughed, and Lucian’s lips twitched at the soft sound. “I can’t believe the first time I met Gabe was like that.”

“Don’t think he minded,” Lucian replied dryly.

“I don’t even want to think about that.” She sipped her drink.

Lucian leaned over, placing his drink on the end table Gabe had built. A moment passed and Julia looked over at him. Their gazes locked, and damn if he didn’t feel like there was some kind of flutter in his chest.

“Are you ready to tell me about yourself, Ms. Hughes?”

She held his gaze. “You know a lot about me. You have since the beginning, before I even met you.”

“Not true.”

Julia shook her head. “What do you want to know?”

“You were married. What happened?”

She looked away as her shoulders tensed. “Of course, you have to ask that question.”

“I want to know.”

“Maybe I don’t want to tell you.”

“Come on.” He moved his hand off the back of the couch and tapped his fingers off those tight shoulders. “I’ll tell you about my relationships.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“I think it is.” He kept his fingers on her shoulders. “I’ve never actually been in a serious long-term relationship.”

“What?” Her gaze flew to his. “Are you serious?”

“Yep. Just never wanted to be. Normally I’m not with the same woman more than once.”

Her mouth dropped open.

“There’s the rare, very rare, exception, but it’s usually a rule of mine. Don’t go back for seconds.”

“I cannot believe you just said that.”

“Just being honest.”

“Yet again, maybe tone back on the honestly,” she said. “Are you some kind of commitment phobe?”

He chuckled. “I think it’s just that I haven’t met someone I wanted to commit to.”

Her brows rose. “Wow. I don’t even know what to say about that.”

“I think the longest was a couple of years ago. We lasted about six months.”

“Why’d it end?”

He raised a shoulder. “She wanted more. I didn’t have more to give.”

Julia stared at him. “Do you ever . . . want to give more?”

Lucian thought about the question, really did. “Yeah, I do.”

She looked away again. “Well, I guess then that’s not as bad as not wanting to.” She wrinkled her nose. “I can’t believe you’ve never been engaged or something.”

“Nope.” He worked his fingers into the taut muscles along her shoulders. “So what is your ex-husband’s name?”

Julia lowered her chin and blew out a heavy breath. “Adam.”

“Do you two still talk?” He worked his fingers along her neck.

“No.” She took a drink, and he felt the muscles along her neck tensing. “He . . . he calls every so often, but I don’t talk to him. Well, that’s not exactly true. He called earlier today actually, but I think . . . I think that’s the last I’ll be hearing from him.”

His attention sharpened as he recalled her ignoring a phone call and acting straight-up bizarre about it. “So it wasn’t a happy breakup?”

“Nope.” She smiled faintly as she looked over at him. “He was my first serious boyfriend. We got together in college and getting married just seemed like the next step.” She laughed then. “I mean, I did love him. I did.”

“Then what happened?”

She seemed to consider what to say next. “Love just wasn’t enough to make him—to make him happy.”

His fingers stilled. Everything about him stilled. “What do you mean, Julia?”

“He . . . wasn’t the nicest guy toward the end.” She leaned forward, so that he wasn’t touching her. “God, I can’t believe I’m talking about this.”

“Please don’t stop,” he said, at the same time almost wishing that she would, because he wasn’t sure what he would do if he found out that her ex had hurt her.

She sat her glass down on the coffee table and then tugged her sweater together. “He wasn’t always like that. It’s just—he was difficult. Like at some point in our marriage, everything just stopped making him happy. He was overly critical of everything—how many hours I worked, how the house looked when he got home, to how dinner was cooked—how I looked. There was nothing I could do, you know? Like I tried. I really did.”

Julia laughed again, this time the sound less shaky. “No one could fault me for not trying. Just nothing worked. Every conversation turned into an argument. Every compliment became snide.”

Lucian forced himself to remain quiet.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout de Vincent Romance