I stood up and moved behind him. The heat from his body warmed mine, even without touching. His smell was fresh and clean with only a hint of cologne. “Am I?” My voice was whisper soft, and he turned around; one step closer and our bodies would touch. I willed him to take that step. “A game to you? Is that what this is? You said it’s not pity or worry, so what is it?”
He took that step, his hand reaching to cup my jaw. My body tingled, charged with the nearness of him. “Attraction, Red. Not a game. Not pity. I don’t feel bad for you. You’re one of the toughest people I know. I want to know more. I want to be near you.”
As soon as the noise escaped from my lips, I closed my eyes. Shut up, Grace. So much time had passed since I’d allowed a man to get close enough to truly want me. I nearly forgot the power behind that sentiment.
My knees weakened, and I trembled. His hand remained on my face, and when he felt me tremble, heard my whimper, registered that my eyes were closed— he reacted.
I didn’t see his lips come closer to mine, but I knew it was happening. Every other sense was magnified. I heard the sound of his breathing increase in speed. The smell of his cologne became intoxicating, and I felt the warmth of his chest as it pressed against me when he pulled me closer. Then his lips found mine, and he held them there, almost as if he was asking permission. My eyes fluttered open and I shifted, fisting his shirt in my hands, holding him to me.
I opened my mouth, and our tongues met, sliding together, exploring and tasting. I released his shirt and brought my hands up and around his neck. A moan erupted, and it took a few seconds before I realized it came from me. Dean groaned in answer, running his hands down my sides and along my back.
Neither of us would break the kiss. We moved, Dean pulling on my lower lip, biting gently. I ran my tongue along the edge of his lips, teasing and coaxing them back open. Then our mouths were fused together. The kiss became desperate. We communicated words we had never spoken to the other through that kiss. This was real. This was different. I knew enough from what I was feeling to be scared, but I was still not willing to stop. I held myself back from climbing his body, the ache inside me growing like a wildfire.
“Grace,” Dean pulled back, resting his forehead against mine as he gasped for air. “You feel that, right? It’s not just me?”
I laughed softly, kissing the corner of his mouth. “I feel it.”
He placed his hands on my hips, shifting me so he could look into my eyes. His blue eyes sparkled, and something inside me melted. “Let me get to know you. Let me in.”
He already was in he just didn’t know it. “Yes. I want to know you, too.”
His lips tilted up, and he kissed my lips softly. “Lock up behind me, Red.”
And he was gone. Out the door and into the night, but slowly making his way into my heart.