Taken, Not Spurred (Page 31)

Taken, Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn #1)(31)
Author: Ruth Cardello

“Go to sleep, Sarah.”

She leaned up and kissed his jaw. “Okay, but think about what I said.”

He did.

Long after she fell asleep again, he stared into the darkness and thought about what she had shared and why hearing it had touched him so deeply.

Chapter Twelve

Sarah woke up in Tony’s arms and froze. Her cheeks warmed as she remembered the drive to the cabin. Normally, she would have said that most displays of affection were best kept private. She and Doug had shared quick public kisses at the beginning or end of a date, but they’d both agreed that more than that was inappropriate.

She and Tony had no such agreement.

In fact, it was a little unsettling to consider what she’d agreed to by coming with him to his cabin. All or nothing.

I agreed to “all” without reading the fine print. What if “all” exceeds my temporary throw-caution-to-the-wind-to-discover-the-real-me comfort zone? Desire sliced through her as she remembered how good it had felt to feel so out of control and safe at the same time.

She ran her hand over Tony’s chest and followed the trail of hair to his navel. She and Doug had always gotten dressed after sex, perhaps a habit left over from a lack of privacy in college. They’d never slept nude together.

Funny thing to be sad about. I hope he finds someone who shows him all the joys that neither of us thought to try. There was something wonderfully innocent about sleeping together in this natural state. No barriers. Trust in its most elemental form.

I do trust you, Tony. I don’t care what you did, I know you’re a good man. What happened to you? What can’t you forgive yourself for?

She cringed when she remembered how she’d blurted out what had happened to her younger brother. None of her friends knew. No one in her family spoke of it after that summer. None of the family photos included Phil, and there were times when she tried to conjure his face and couldn’t. That was when she felt the most guilt, when she could almost forget.

Denial, even when unanimously adopted, never cured the heartache—it only hid it. And pain that is not faced festers, just as Tony’s had. I was living a lie. I needed to come here to see why I’m so unhappy. I don’t want the perfect life they crafted for me. I don’t want to forget it happened. I want to carry a photo of Phil in my pocket. I want to remember him on his birthdays. I want to apologize to him for not understanding how quickly a life can be lost.

All because I’m a daydreamer with stories in my head as vivid as reality sometimes. Characters who feel like friends. Worlds I build whether I write them down or not. Is that why I couldn’t write? Was I holding myself back because I blamed my stories for Phil’s death?

That’s not what he would want.

I’m so sorry, Phil. Sorry that it was you and not me. Sorry that we moved on like you didn’t matter. Sorry that I’m so tired of being sorry.

Some say that nothing is random. People come into our lives for a reason. Maybe Tony and I need to learn the same lesson. He shut himself away from the world so he wouldn’t feel the pain. My family stayed in the world, but locked the pain away.

We’ve all been hiding.

I don’t want to hide anymore.

She would never forget feeling tears on Tony’s cheek. She wanted to hug him again as she remembered how he’d turned away from her, not wanting her to see them. Did he fear she’d think less of him?

If so, he couldn’t be more wrong.

That glimpse past his tough exterior proved what I’ve been afraid to admit to myself.

I could love this man—no matter how many times he warns me not to.

Tony held himself immobile beneath the soft caress of Sarah’s hand on his chest. As soon as he opened his eyes, he’d have to face what he’d prefer to pretend had only been an extension of his reoccurring nightmare. This was the reason he never stayed overnight with a woman.

Women tended to romanticize shit like this. She’d confuse his subconscious weakness with feelings he simply didn’t have. I haven’t felt anything in a long, long time.

Liar, an inner voice countered. His mind spun with images of the woman beside him. Sarah smiling at him in just a towel. Sarah laughing up at him in triumph when she’d beaten him in a race on her horse. The wonder of watching her orgasm for the first time. The image of her taking him into her mouth on the side of the road, oblivious to everything but them.

That’s just sex.

The best sex I’ve ever had, but not more than that.

Too vividly, he remembered her naked body pressed to his back as she’d wrapped her arms around him after he’d turned away from her. Her gentle embrace had confused and shaken him. He’d wanted to push her away even as he fought the urge to turn around and lose himself in her kisses.

He didn’t want to know about her brother or her past. She was under the misconception that sharing would get him to open up to her. He was angry.

She’s a good fuck, not a therapist. Want to make me feel better? Talk less, suck more.

Cuddled to his side, Sarah kissed his shoulder lightly, and Tony’s dick sprang to life, tenting the sheet. His heart thudded wildly in his chest. I need to regain control of this situation, of myself.

He rolled on top of her, pinning her hands beneath his on either side of her head. Her eyes widened with surprise and pleasure. “I’ve been thinking about how I want to spend the day with you.” He spread her legs beneath him and loved how wet she instantly became against his seeking cock. Her breaths increased as her arousal intensified. He rubbed himself against her outer lips and said, “And none of it includes speaking.”

Sarah opened her mouth to say something, and he covered it with one hand. “I’ll tie and gag you if I have to. Or is that what you want? You want me to find some rope and restrain you on this bed? Have you ever done that before, been laid out spread-eagle for a man’s pleasure whenever he wanted?” She didn’t try to speak, but they both knew the answer. He kissed her neck and whispered, “Face up or down, both have benefits.” A look of apprehension entered Sarah’s eyes and she shook her head. “You may find that you enjoy it more than you think.”

She shook her head again and he smiled in concession. “Understood.” Those beautiful brown eyes stared up at him, desire overtaking her fear, and he felt bad for teasing her. “I don’t need more than you willingly give, angel. Today is about pleasure, for both of us. That’s why you’re not allowed to speak.”