He’s my brother’s best friend.
Which makes me off limits.
My brother made that clear to all his friends the summer I turned fourteen.
That didn’t stop me from falling in love with him. From dreaming about sharing my future with him. From wondering what it would be like to be with him.
It didn’t stop the heated looks he’d send me when no one was paying attention. Or how he always found a way to be near me, to touch me. To protect me.
For six years we fought against the waves of desire, but the current kept pushing us toward one another.
Then I had him.
We collided with hurricane force. Our connection… explosive. It felt right, being with him. With the first kiss, I gave him my heart. With the first touch, I gave him my body. When I saw the love in his eyes, I handed over my soul.
I should have known it was too good to last, though. The next morning, he was gone, and my heart shattered. I left it on his bedroom floor as I did the walk of shame.
It’s been nine months since I laid eyes on him.
Yes, I’ve been avoiding this moment. But I can do this. I can fight my attraction for one night. Even if the moment I see him again, I know that night is going to come rushing back to me, along with the days and weeks of agony that followed.
Because he still owns every piece of me.
The moment I met him I knew I was screwed.
It started with a sext.
An extremely hot, highly inappropriate sext during the wake for my best friend’s dad. That didn’t stop me from replying. From sneaking off to the bathroom, secretly hoping he would follow me.
And he did.
He staked his claim on me against the bathroom wall. Captured my moans with his kisses. And when it was over, I walked away knowing two things.
One – I wanted more.
Two – I couldn’t get involved with him.
He was dangerous to my heart. It was still healing from being destroyed two years earlier. And this man has the power to shatter it completely.
Still, I couldn’t stop myself from playing the game he started. Every sext was hotter than the last, tempting me to act on my desires. The first time we were alone, clothes went flying. There was no denying our chemistry as we collided. And in the heat of the moment, nothing else mattered.
Not my broken heart.
Not his reputation as a player.
Then the front door to my apartment opened… we were caught in the act. My roommate screamed. Her boyfriend growled. I cried. And he… he begged for more.
We needed to stop. One of us was going to get hurt – me! I was going to get hurt.
I should have known I couldn’t walk away from him. His promises sparked my curiosity. My body craved his attention.
It was his words that held me captive. They had the power to not only break my heart, but destroy my soul if I let him in.
A one-night stand.
That’s all I wanted. All I could handle.
I had enough on my plate. Getting involved with a notorious playboy was not on my agenda. Which is why he was perfect. He didn’t do relationships and I didn’t have time for one.
He’d been stoking my fire all weekend. Whispering dirty promises in my ear. Weaseling his way under my skin. And I was ready to combust.
He agreed to my terms. Probably because I was naked, he was caught off guard, and judging by the tent in his shorts, thinking with the wrong head.
I should have known better than to take him at his word.
Two days. That’s all he lasted before he showed up at my door begging for more.
More than I had to give. More than I was willing to part with.
My time. My body.
Most importantly, my heart.
And when I said no, he persisted until I caved. Not that he had to work very hard to wear me down. He was too tempting to ignore, and I craved another taste.
The only way to protect myself from getting hurt… rules. Some to keep him at a distance, others to keep him close.
Like rule number eight… no other sexual partners. The only dorm room I wanted him sneaking in and out of was mine.
I knew I was in over my head. That what we were doing was going to blow up in our faces as soon as our friends found out. But in the moment, I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of it.
Consequences be damned.