“I was cold,” she explained at his and Marissa’s stares. Cole studied her for clues about how she felt about last night. He couldn’t believe he’d allowed things to go as far as they did. But Savannah’s smile as she flitted past him and into the kitchen calmed him ever-so-slightly. If she didn’t regret it, he wouldn’t either. Plus it was hard to regret the best sex of his life.
Cole escaped the kitchen, needing a cold shower and time to collect his thoughts.
He returned fifteen minutes later, no further along in understanding what was happening between him and Savannah. The scent of bacon frying quieted his worries for the moment.
As usual, Savannah had cooked enough to feed twenty people. She still didn’t have portion control mastered, having cooked for an entire compound of people in her past life. She arranged a platter of homemade blueberry muffins, a warming tray containing scrambled eggs, and a plate piled with crisp bacon on the center island, before turning to pour Cole’s coffee.
Cole’s gaze flashed to Marissa. Her eyes followed Savannah’s movements, watching her fuss over Cole, adding milk to his coffee, and setting his iPad on the counter next to him. And she’d been watching too when Cole had run point on morning duty, taking Cuddles outside to do her business, and then adding a scoop of food to her bowl in the kitchen. They moved about each other effortlessly, yet with obvious care and reverence.
“Cole, can I have a word?” Marissa asked.
He glanced up from his iPad, a strip of bacon halfway to his mouth, and sighed. “Sure.” His eyes travelled between Marissa and Liam’s form, stretched out on his couch, looking damn smug. He’d need to get to the bottom of that later. His sister was off-f**king-limits and Liam should have known better. But Cole stood and followed Marissa into the laundry off the kitchen. She slid the pocket door closed behind them.
“Do I want to know what happened between you and Liam last night?”
Her lips twitched as she fought a smile. “Probably not.”
“Fuck Rissa.” He crossed his arms over his chest and glared. “That’s not what I brought you in here to discuss.” Her hands flew to her hips. “I want to talk about what’s going on between you and Savannah.”
He shook his head. He wouldn’t go there with Marissa. He wouldn’t even go there in his own mind, and there was no point in talking about something he didn’t even understand. “Nothing to talk about. She needed a place to stay — I gave her one. You already know that. End of story.”
“Cole, you’ve never been good at relationships.”
“Exactly. So when are you going to stop trying to set me up?”
She shook her head. “That’s not what I’m talking about.”
He waited impatiently, tapping a bare foot against the wood floor.
“You can’t deny that you’re different with Savannah. You’re in tune with her emotions, her needs. I’ve never seen you like this.”
He opened his mouth to respond, but found himself speechless. He couldn’t deny he was in tune with Savannah; he knew her body’s yearnings, read her emotions better than his own. But it was only because she was in his care, and he took that responsibility seriously. Perhaps he’d softened these past few years watching his friends get married and have babies. And then having Savannah in his life had pushed him over the edge. He drew a deep breath. “Listen, Savannah has a job now, and she’s saving up for her own apartment. I’m helping her out, sure, but this is a temporary situation between us.” Even as he said the words, part of him hoped they weren’t true.
Marissa frowned and shook her head. “That’s what I was afraid of.” She patted his chest. “You, my brother, are an idiot.”
Cole remained speechless in the center of the laundry room as Marissa opened the door and strolled away. He shook his head and followed her back to the kitchen.
Cole had gotten rid of Marissa and Liam after breakfast, then he’d carried Savannah back to bed. She had begged him to let her shower first, and he’d finally released her. “Try and make it a quick one.”
As she stood in front of the large mirror waiting for the water to heat, Savannah looked at the nude reflection before her. Her chest was high and perky, her stomach soft, but mostly flat, her thighs a bit bigger than she would have liked, but she couldn’t deny that for the first time — maybe ever — she felt beautiful.
Whenever Cole looked at her, a certain flush caused her cheeks to glow, her stomach to flutter, and she felt completely wanted and desirable. But last night was the first time he’d acted on the desire she’d sensed burned inside him too. She was happy and relieved to see that the harsh light of morning, and Marissa’s pointed stares, hadn’t done anything to dampen his interest. As soon as the front door had closed on their overnight guests, Cole had pulled her mouth to his, his hands settling on her hips. They’d kissed softly, deeply, unlike the frenzied storm of last night, while he walked her backwards down the hallway towards his bedroom. Then he’d lifted her as though she weighed nothing at all and placed her carefully in the center of the bed and just looked at her.
Savannah tucked away the memory of hunger burning in his dark gaze and stepped under the stream of water.
The blissfully hot spray cascaded down her body and, even though she wanted to stand there and enjoy the warmth, she found herself rushing, if only to get back Cole a little quicker. She lathered her hair with the pink grapefruit shampoo and then tipped her head to rinse the suds. After working the conditioner through her long strands, she stepped out of the direct spray of the water to soap up her body from head to toe. Once she was sure she was clean, she rinsed her hair and shut off the water. It was only then she noticed a large form on the other side of the glass. Her heart flew into her throat. “Cole!” She grabbed a towel from the hook and quickly wrapped it around herself. “You scared me. How long were you watching me?”
He looked down sheepishly. Savannah’s gaze followed his. Oh my. His large erection pressed against the thin cotton pants. “Long enough,” he muttered, his voice thick.
She smiled and her heart began to slow. She grabbed a second towel to wrap around her dripping hair.
“I’m just going to jump in quick.” Cole gave her a kiss and then stepped out of his pajama pants and into the shower.
The idea of watching Cole shower was more appealing than going to get dressed, and she stood there momentarily distracted by the streams of water running down his lean body, over the lines of his six-pack abs, and she shivered. Her gaze wandered lower. He was still half-hard and she felt herself growing warm all over.
Wanting to step under the water with him, she made herself flee the bathroom and darted to the guest room. She dressed in panties and a tank top and partially dried her hair so it didn’t turn into a crazy frizzy mess. Then she waited for him in his bed.
She pulled the sheets around her body and snuggled in to his pillow, inhaling his scent with each breath. Cole emerged a few minutes later, his skin still damp and glistening with tiny droplets of water, and a white towel fastened around his hips.
“You better not have gotten dressed under there,” he whispered, leaning down to plant a kiss on her mouth.
She swallowed. “You’ll just have to come find out.” If this is what flirting was like, sign her up. Cole made her feel alive and deliriously happy, like all her senses were heightened and she would never stop smiling. But she didn’t have much time to examine her feelings, because he let the towel drop from his h*ps and stood before her, fully hard and insanely hot. Savannah gave in, throwing back the blankets and crawling across the bed until she was face to face with his manhood. Kneeling on all fours, she aligned her mouth with his waiting cock. He looked down and stroked her jaw. Savannah placed sweet kisses along the head and shaft, but when her tongue darted out to taste the tip, his h*ps jerked forward and he let out a groan. Enjoying having him completely at her mercy, Savannah wrapped a hand around his base and slipped her mouth around him, sliding back and forth.
He cursed and buried his hands in her hair. She began losing herself in his pleasure, rocking her h*ps and adding little moans of her own.
Cole’s hand moved from her hair, trailing down her back and cupped her ass. His fingers found their way inside her panties to her damp center. He massaged that spot he seemed to instinctually know brought her pleasure. She gasped and rocked against his hand, while continuing to pleasure him with her mouth.
Savannah was soon soaking wet and ready, and Cole’s firm hand on her jaw brought her back to reality, if only for a second. She lifted her eyes to his, her mouth still full of him. “Fuck, that’s a pretty sight.” He stroked her cheek with his thumb, and watched in reverence as she continued her slow, steady movements. The desire etched into his features was about to undo her.
Cole suddenly lifted her, situating her so she was on her back so fast she wasn’t even sure what had happened. He peeled off her panties and then he was on top of her, pushing her tank top up to kiss her br**sts.
“Are you sure you’re not too sore?” His eyes flicked up to hers while he planted damp kisses all along her chest and in between her br**sts.
She knew what she wanted, and it wasn’t to discuss that. She wrapped a leg around his hip, pulling him in closer. “Cole. Condom. Now.”
He chuckled against her throat and released her only long enough to fumble at the nightstand. She heard the sound of a package crinkling and then he was back to kissing her. Their mouths moved together in a frantic collision of gliding tongues and subtle moans.
Cole lifted himself off of her just enough to reach between them. His eyes stayed locked on hers as he positioned himself at her entrance and gently pushed forward. She wrapped both legs around his back, locking her ankles and angled up to meet his careful thrusts.
He planted a soft kiss on her mouth and pushed forward again, slipping inside her in a blinding sensation of heat and fullness. Her back arched from the bed and he tucked his face in against her throat, kissing and murmuring sweet things … how good she felt … how beautiful she was.
Savannah squeezed her eyes closed and matched his pace, forcing her h*ps up off the bed to angle towards his.
His mouth was everywhere—near her ear so she could hear his throaty gasps, on her neck, kissing and nibbling against her tender flesh, covering hers in a scorching hot kiss. She writhed underneath him, heading closer and closer to ecstasy with every brutal thrust, each sweet kiss. “Cole,” she moaned, lifting her h*ps to his one final time as wave after wave of pleasure rocketed through her core.
He slowed his pace, seeming to understand her need to ride out the intense burst of pleasure for as long as she possibly could. She released a final groan and scraped her nails down his back as she grasped at something to hold onto, something to ground her.
Cole took her hands, pinning them above her head and increased his rhythm, pounding into her at a steady pace until she felt his entire body stiffen and jerk, and she knew he had found his release, too.
He collapsed next to her in a heap, pulling her body to his so that her back was pressed to his front. He draped a heavy arm around her waist, anchoring her to his chest. Savannah closed her eyes and released a soft sigh, feeling safe and happier than she ever remembered.
Cole’s phone chimed with a new message. He untangled his arm from around Savannah and punched in his security code to unlock it. Shit. It was a text from Sali.
Up for hanging out later?
Savannah lifted her head from his chest and he dropped the phone onto the coffee table in front of them. When he dared a glance down at Savannah, he could have sworn he saw tears swimming in her eyes, but she blinked and the effect was gone, making him wonder if he’d only imagined the tears. They’d been in a state of bliss for weeks—having regular sex and sleeping together in Cole’s bed every night. Damned if he’d let Sali ruin it.
He cupped her cheek in his palm. “Hey, I’m staying in tonight. Just you and me.”
She managed a smile and he leaned in to kiss her. “Okay,” she breathed.
He guided her head back to its spot in the crook between his shoulder and neck. Sali had texted him a few times over the past couple of weeks, and he’d tried to let her down gently, but apparently it was time for brutal honesty. He wasn’t interested. But he didn’t want to respond right now. Seeing the hurt in Savannah’s eyes was too much.
He still didn’t know what this thing was with Savannah, but he knew these past few weeks with her had changed him. She’d given herself up so willingly; she was so vulnerable and giving, it tore him open. He was just waiting for her to see through him. There were times when she looked at him, really looked at him, and he wondered if she saw his need to keep everyone at arm’s length, unable to love after so much loss. They had yet to have any sort of relationship discussion, but Cole had no intentions of dating anyone else right now. And though his head continued to be at war with his heart, he justified his relationship with Abbie. It wasn’t really cheating since he wasn’t sleeping with her. Was it? Fuck.
He knew Savannah was too young for him, that she’d need to spread her wings and explore, but for now, he was happy that he was part of the growth. And more than that, when he got too close, he hurt people. Abbie was the perfect example of that. He couldn’t live with himself if he did to Savannah what he did to Abbie. He would do everything in his power to shield Savannah from his past, even if it meant concealing the truth from her. For now. He also didn’t know how Abbie would react to him having someone else in his life, and he wasn’t looking forward to having that particular conversation. When had his life gotten so complicated?
He pulled Savannah closer and tried to push everything else from his mind. Lingering fears over that weirdo Dillon kept him on edge, but Savannah’s sweet presence in his life eased some of his tension. He didn’t want to worry just now. He smoothed a hand over Savannah’s arms, caressing her lightly. He would handle it and keep her safe one way or another. He had to.