Also in the Laundry Family series...
Our breathing quickens, the blues of his eyes growing stormy. A chill tears through me as he accidentally-on-purpose brushes his arm against mine. It’s like muscle memory, my body remembering exactly what to do around his.
My knees dip, my mouth waters, and I fight the ache in between my thighs as he looks down at me like it’s me he wants for dinner.
“What if I throw breakfast in afterwards?” he prods. “Does that make me, I mean it, more appetizing?”
That’s all it takes, that one little hint of arrogance, that brings me back to reality.
I flip him a smile. “It makes it less, actually.”
His own smile wavers. “I get that you probably hate me.”
“You’re right. I do.”
“I want the chance to explain.”
“You have the same chances of getting the chance to explain as I do of getting what every woman wants.”
I lean in, like I’m going to tell him a secret. Whispering, I say, “Being able to eat all the pizza and not gain an ounce.”
Turning on my heel, I head to the back as his chuckle fills the room. “That was good. I’ll give you that.”
I shrug and keep walking.
“You can at least let me apologize.”
The authority in his tone, like I owe him something, stops me in my tracks. I whirl around to face him. “You don’t deserve a chance to apologize to me.”
“I didn’t say I deserved it,” he says earnestly. “But I would love the opportunity to do so.” He forces a swallow, my eyes glued to his lips. “I would appreciate the chance to get to see you again.”
The snicker that comes from me is unexpected by both of us. “So charming. I forgot how good you are with words.”
“Does that mean that’s a yes?”
“That means that’s a no,” I smile. “That means I’m not about to let you come in here and look at me with those bright blue eyes and make me forget what it felt like to have you rip my heart out.”
He flinches. “I didn’t mean to do that, Ellie.”
“Don’t act surprised,” I laugh angrily. “There’s no way you thought I just went on with my life after you left. I dated you for four years, Ford. And after what we went through …”
It’s me gulping now, the anger so palpable that I almost have tears in my eyes. My hands shake as I remember the fight that ensued after he told me he was enlisting.
“You left me,” I repeat, shaking my head. “So leave me again. There’s the door. Should I hold it open for you this time?”
It’s impossible not to smile that he remembered my drink of choice. It’s also hopeless to pretend that the boyish grin he’s flipping me doesn’t melt away some of the ice around my heart.
Still, I don’t want to play nice.
“I already had coffee today. But thank you,” I say politely.
“No offense, but you are kind of irritable this morning. Maybe you could use another shot of caffeine.”
“You think I’m irritable now? Keep it up.”
“You never were a morning person,” he laughs. “Some things never change.”
“And some things do,” I point out, giving him a look. “Seriously, why are you here?”
“I have business with Violet. Remember?”
“That’s bullshit anyway, but she’s not here. You’ll have to come back later.”
“Is that an invitation?” he laughs.
“Did it sound like one?” My arms cross over my chest and I’m aware it makes my boobs look bigger. As his eyes drop and catch the top of my cleavage, his gaze burns a trail on the ascent back up to my eyes.
Satisfaction paints a smug look on my face and desire burns in the apex of my thighs. As discreetly as possible, I clench my legs together to quell a bit of the ache that’s beginning to throb under his observation.
When our gazes meet, his is crackling. He lifts a single brow. “I damn sure hope that’s an offer to come. If it’s not, we have a problem on our hands.”
“No, you have a problem on your hands,” I say, shrugging. “It has nothing to do with me.”
“Are you saying I’m not glamorous?” I tease.
“Your sneakers with paint splattered over them are so, so glamorous, Ellie.”
He laughs, a warm, rich, captivating sound that feels like a balm to so many of my wounds. It doesn’t fix anything, obviously, but it does soothe me somehow.
“You always did have a way with words,” I joke, sighing for dramatic effect.
“You should give me a chance to show you how much better I’ve gotten with words.” He shoots me a smile so sinful I have to look away.
“I bet you have.”
“I’ve gotten better at a lot of things,” he whispers.
He searches my eyes as if he’s asking for permission and in my amped-up state, I’m not thinking clearly … because I smile. It’s a tiny fissure in my persona that he takes full advantage of.
My back suctions against the paint behind it as Ford cages me in. One foot on the outside of each of mine, a hand planted on the wall on both sides of my face. My knees wobble the slightest bit as he leans down and feathers his lips over mine.
They’re as soft as I remember and my eyes flutter closed as my chin angles towards him, wanting more. We move together effortlessly, like there hasn’t been a decade since the last time we kissed.
USA Today Bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.
She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather's nice and there's always a piece of candy in her pocket.
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