She kissed me.
Or did I kiss her?
It was a whirlwind when the door clicked shut behind us. Hands were everywhere. Clothes went flying. I barely remember lifting her into my arms and carrying her to the edge of my bed where I carefully laid her against my comforter, admiring the way her dirty blond locks stood out against the black material.
It doesn’t matter who started it. She’s in my arms. In my bed. Finally, after all the years I’ve spent dreaming about her. About how soft her bare skin would feel beneath my fingertips.
So fucking soft.
The way my name would sound leaving her lips on a breath.
But now that I have her here, behind closed doors, where no one – especially Max – can witness the naughty things I’m going to do to her, panic is setting in.
This is Willow. My best friend’s little sister.
She’s also the love of my life. The only person I can envision by my side when I think about where my future is headed. My wife. My heart. The mother of my unborn children.
Reaching into my nightstand, I refuse to break eye contact with her as I blindly search for the foil packet. I don’t want to let go of this feeling. Because if she slips through my fingers tonight, there’s a damn good chance I’ll never get her back. And that thought alone has the panic in my chest building.
“Finn,” she purrs. “Please.”
Willow lifts her hips, thrusting against me, the head of my cock sliding between her slick folds, and I almost lose my balance. She wants this as much as I do. Is as impatient as I am to finally have what we’ve both desired and kept hidden for years.
When my fingers finally land on the condom, I waste no time sheathing myself, but before I slide deep inside her, I pause.
“Willow, there’s no going back after this. You’ll be mine for the rest of your life. For the rest of our life. This is going to complicate things. Your brother-“
My words fade away when she lifts her hand to cup my cheek. “For the rest of my life,” she echoes, a clear sign that she’s ready for the rough road that lays ahead. Because we’ll face it together. Hand in hand. Side by side.
I can’t stop my eyes from falling closed as I slide deep inside the only woman I’ve ever loved. She owns my heart. The whole damn thing. And I never want to ask for it back.
“What the hell is up with you today?” Max asks as I tip back the glass of lemonade his mom brought me a few minutes ago.
I don’t want to be here right now I think to myself. Willow could walk through that door any second and I’d feel the loss of her all over again.
Waking up with her in my arms felt like a dream. Like I was walking on cloud nine. The smile on my face felt permanently etched in my features as I quickly dressed and headed out to grab us breakfast. The plan was to bring her breakfast in bed. To feed her and then ravish her again. To hide away in my room from the outside world for the entire day.
Only she was gone when I came back.
No note. No text. Not a spec of evidence left behind that she’d ever been there.
My dream turned into a nightmare when she refused to answer my calls and messages.
Did she regret it? Being with me? Us?
She’d been drinking a little but she was far from inebriated. I made sure of it. But everything that’s happened since waking up that morning has led me to a different conclusion. I haven’t laid eyes on her, heard her voice, and even spoken her name in weeks.
And my heart… she took it with her. My chest feels hollow without her in my life. So if she were to walk in right now-
“Asshole. What the hell is wrong with you?” Max asks through gritted teeth. “You’ve been moody as fuck. You need to get laid.”
Ha! If he only knew that was why I was in this predicament in the first place. Not that I can tell him now. Coming clean with Max after fucking things up with Willow is the worst idea on the planet.
If I thought he was going to be upset finding out that we were together, I can’t even imagine how upset he’s going to be to find out I fucked her – well, made love, but I really can’t use those words – and she ran away. A one-night stand with his sister is going to send him into a fit of rage and I’d let him hit me. Beat me into the ground.
Because at least I’d feel something.
“Hey, Finn,” Mr. Palmer calls through the open sliding glass door. “Can you help me with something?”
Nodding at him over my shoulder, I avert my eyes from Max and say, “I’m fine. Just exhausted and classes haven’t even started yet.”
“That’s why we decided to relax by the pool today and all you’ve done is sulk.”
He’s right. I’ve been sulking today. And yesterday. Every day since she walked away from me. From us. From the future I thought we both wanted.
I don’t say any of that to Max, though. Instead, I walk into the Palmer’s house and find Willow’s dad waiting for me in the living room. He motions for me to take a seat across from him and when I do, I’m unable to stop my knee from bouncing, my nerves suddenly on edge.
I love this man. He’s like a second father to me. But the look on his face tells me that whatever he’s about to ask me is serious and I’m not going to like this conversation.
“What’s up?” I try to sound casual, but my voice cracks the way it used to when I was going through puberty almost a decade ago.
“What happened between you and Willow?”
Straight to the point. He knows something and he’s letting me know he knows. Does Max know, too?
“What do you mean?”
“She showed up an hour ago with Kendall. Was going to hang out by the pool and then suddenly didn’t feel well. She ran out of here so fast she didn’t even bother to hug her mother. Kendall seemed confused but confirmed Lo wasn’t fighting with Max so that leaves you.”
In all the years I’ve known Mr. Palmer, he’s never once scared me as much as he’s scaring me right now. Max is overprotective of his sisters and isn’t afraid to show it. And I now know where he gets it. Because I have a feeling if I’m honest with Mr. Palmer, his fists might fly.
“Nothing. We…” We what?
The words die on my lips as I stare into the eyes of the man I was one day hoping to call my father-in-law. My knee continues to bounce as I wait for him to force me to talk but when his lips lift into a smile, I feel my jaw drop open.
“She’s loved you since before she understood what that word meant. And you’ve loved her just as long. Whatever happened, fix it. Find a way. Because a love like that only comes along once in a lifetime.”
“I, uh, um, okay.” I’m stumbling over my words, unsure how to answer him. Because this man just gave me permission to be with his daughter. Even though he knows she’s hurting right now. Even though he knows I’m the reason for that pain.
Still caught in the fog, I say the first thing that pops in my head, and I immediately regret it.
“I’m going to marry her one day, sir.”
“I know you are, son. I’ve known for years. When she’s ready.”
With that, he pushes out of the chair he’s sitting in and leaves me to wrap my head around everything he said, and the things he didn’t.
He gave me permission to marry his daughter. One day. When the time is right. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To marry Willow. To create a future with her. To fall asleep and wake up with her in my arms.
And I know she wants that too.
Now to find a way to prove to her that it’s possible. Because even though her father has given me permission, there’s still one person standing between us and our happily ever after.
My best friend. Her brother.
GAH! I love Finn and Willow. I love the way they love each other. And I LOVED writing this scene as a way to incorporate Mr. Palmer since his death played such a large part in bringing them back together.
But what about the rest of the crew? They’re all looking for their HEA, too. And the next book in the series, Tempting Little Tease, is available now! Snag your copy today to learn more about Kendall’s secret love affair.