I kept my secrets, always. But tonight, this woman, her scars, they were tormenting me. I wanted to open up and bleed. I wanted her shelter. I wanted her acceptance. I didn’t want to be a broken ex-Marine with a dead wife. I wanted to be something different and I wanted that different to be something worthy of her. But I was pumped on adrenaline and drowning in regret and all I could think about was the feel of her body under mine. “I want to go to bed.” My hand shook with restraint as I stroked the side of her face. “With you.”
Her head turned away from me and I panicked. Then I said something to her I’d never said to another woman.
“I just wanna hold you in my arms and sleep next to you.” I needed her innocence. More than anything.
“Okay,” she whispered.
Taking her hand, I led her to my bedroom. I wanted to see her scar. I wanted to see her ink. I wanted to sink so deep inside her I forgot my name. But I wouldn’t. Not tonight. Maybe not ever. “Get in bed,” I demanded, my voice strained.
I pulled my shirt off and removed my 9mm from my back waistband as she crawled across my sheets. Drinking in the sight of her like a starved man, I unbuckled my belt, unlaced my boots, and stripped down to my boxers. My chest tight, I got in next to her.
The second I pulled her into my arms, my lungs filled with air. “Fuck, you feel good.” If there was a heaven in my fucked-up life, she was it.
Her hand settled on my arm. “Are you okay?”
I didn’t want to talk or think anymore. I just wanted to lose myself in jasmine innocence. “Go to sleep, beautiful.”
She turned her head just enough to meet my mouth with a tender touch of her lips. “Goodnight, Talon.”
Jesus, I didn’t deserve this. This girl was better than being my landing zone. I grabbed her face and slipped my tongue in her mouth to taste her sweetness, just once. Forcing myself to pull back, I tightened my arms and curved my body protectively around her. “Night, Siren.”
She settled into me like she belonged and minutes later her breathing evened out.
It was the fix I’d been looking for. I fell asleep.