Driven (Page 94)
Colton breaks through my thoughts. “We have a meeting in ten minutes,” he says turning to look at me. “Can you stay and then I’ll drive you home when it’s over?”
I twist the ring I’d put back on this morning around my finger—a tangible source of comfort to me—wanting desperately to say yes, but the mix of my responsibility with the boys and the self-preservation of my heart dictate a different response. “It’s probably not a good idea, Colton,” I shake my head, avoiding his gaze.
“For who?” he says turning and taking a step closer to me. His scent envelops me—the outdoorsy, clean scent of his cologne mixed with a trace of a man who has put in a hard day’s work.
I eye him warily, trying to keep him at arm’s length emotionally. “For both of us, Colton. You said so yourself the other night.” He takes a step closer to me and I can feel my pulse surge.
“But maybe I think something different today …”
I sigh deeply, telling myself that nothing’s changed since Saturday night. He is who he is, and he’s not going to change. That a few days away from each other has just made him horny, and he wants some relief. That’s all this is. I push his last comment out of my head and try to carry on like he never said it. “Besides, I have to get the boys home. They’re my responsibility.”
He takes another step toward me, and I put my hands up on his chest to prevent him from getting any closer. I don’t think I’d be able to bear the feeling of his body pressed against me. My hands pressing against the firm muscles of his chest makes it hard enough for me to resist him as it is.
Colton takes a hand and lifts my chin up. “What’s wrong, Ry?” His eyes search mine, trying to understand my hesitancy. How can he understand why his idea of a relationship is unacceptable to me when he’s admitted it’s the only thing he knows or will accept? How do I explain that him pushing me away one minute and then kissing me senseless the next is unraveling my grip on my own reality? Is making me question what I might concede in order to have him in my life?
“You,” I whisper.
“Me?” he mouths.
“You confuse me at every turn, Colton.” I shake my head softly and despite telling myself that touching him will only make walking away that much harder, I lift my finger and trace the hem of the neckline on his damp shirt. “One minute you tell me you can’t stay away and the next you tell me you have to keep me at arm’s length because you’re going to hurt me. On Saturday you told me whatever is between us will never work unless I agree to your terms and then today you kiss me breathless.” I step back from him, looking over at the boys getting a tour of some of the items in the garage to avoid having to meet Colton’s gaze. “I can’t give you what you want and you can’t give me what I need. That’s all I know. All I understand, Colton.”
He steps toward me again and tugs on my ponytail, forcing my head to lift and my eyes to meet his. And despite the chaos around us—the boys laughter echoing off the concrete walls, the clang of metal on metal as the car is worked on by mechanics, the sound of an air compressor in the distance—when his eyes hold mine, it all disappears. It’s just him and me. A guy way too irresistible for his own good and a girl in way over her head and heart.
“As much as I keep telling myself that this needs to be—should be—over, Rylee, for both our sakes … I still want you.” He cups the side of my face with his free hand and traces the pad of his thumb over my bottom lip. “Desperately,” he whispers. His words resonate into my heart. “I think about how soft your skin is. The feeling of your body against me. Of it under mine. How you tighten around me when I’m buried in you …” His words mixed with the intensity in his eyes leave me breathless. Has my body vibrating with a deep-seated need for him that I’m not sure will ever be sated. “Christ, Rylee, it … you … are consuming me.” He leans in and brushes a soft, momentary kiss on my lips. The innocence and vulnerability behind it beguiles me. “And I intend to have you again.”
I breathe in a sharp, audible intake of air that gives away what he does to me. I step back from him, holding his gaze for a second longer before looking around the garage to check on the boys. I notice we’ve had some more people join us while we were talking. The perplexed look that passes between Beckett and Quinlan in what I assume is response to our interaction does not go unnoticed by me. I see Davis rounding the boys up, and I know our time here is ending.
“I’m sure you’ll feel that way until you find someone else who fits your requirements,” I quip, fearing my words speak the truth. I turn back to Colton, still trying to recover from the impact of his confession and yet needing to show him that I have some semblance of resistance when it comes to him. A complete lie, but I have to try any way. “Why waste your time on me when you can have any other girl willing to give you exactly what you want?”
“But. I. Want. You. Rylee. No. One. Else,” he smirks, “and I told you, my mom taught me when I want something, I need to go after it until I get it.”
The man is relentless, but I still think he’s after the challenge when it comes to me. I shake my head at him. “You have a habit of telling me what you want, Ace, without asking me what I want.”
Colton takes the baseball hat in his hands and tugs it down over my head, a Cheshire cat grin spreading across his face and a sinful gleam in his eyes. “Oh, sweetheart,” he emits a low rumbling chuckle as he takes two steps back from me, “I know exactly what you want.” He holds his hand up to motion to Beckett that he’s coming when his name is called. His grin widens into one of the wickedest and most carnal smiles I have ever seen. My core coils and I tense to stifle the desire it creates. “And I have just the right tools to give it to you.” And with those parting words, he turns on his heel and walks over to Beckett, his laughter reverberating in the garage. Beckett eyes him up and down, a bemused look on his face as Colton says good-bye to the boys.