Sometimes all it takes is a kiss to understand who someone is and what they might mean to you. If it’s a good kiss, that flash of knowing may seem like a flood rushing over you, making you think it might be okay to drown this way. If it’s a great kiss, well, it’s enough to wipe away even the most annoying male behavior in a flood of feel good tingles and hopeful wishes. 

“Come on, lil’ bit,” he urged, his deep rumble sending shivers down her back. “Kiss me back,” and he pulled her into his arms.

She did, and it was wonderful. Like riding a bike. Something else she hadn’t done in forever, but had once enjoyed immeasurably, and it felt just like that kiss. Kind of free. Weird. But wonderful all the same.

It was an oddly sweet kiss to be coming from such a big, imposing man. She could still feel his power, well leashed but still there, seething beneath the surface, sending little electric currents of excitement and warning shooting through her body wherever they touched.

His hands felt hot. She felt each finger wrapped around her arms, not because he was hurting her but because she could feel what he wanted, what he intended to get. But somehow it didn’t scare her. It should have. She’d known more hurt from a man’s hands than anything, but his touch didn’t feel like someone who planned to take something from her. She knew that touch. She’d run from it damn near her whole life.

This felt like someone had returned something that she’d lost. Something precious that she’d never expected to see again. Something she’d cried over. Something scary and wonderful and sensuous and soft. His mouth was all of those things, and she was like putty as he pulled her close, and those big, capable paws began to roam.

They slid easily over her silky top, readily beneath its hem to stroke her back and make her shiver. She sighed into that kiss, unable to stop herself from taking a nip out of that full lower lip. In response one of those hands skimmed her butt and gripped its curve gently before returning to palm her entre back. His hands were so big, one easily spanned its width, but even that didn’t scare her. She wanted to feel those hands cover her everywhere.

“I want to watch you paint,” he whispered.

She broke away to stare at him. That was new. It made her suspicious. “I work alone.” She did everything alone. She looked around, startled to realize they’d been standing in her doorway this whole time. She opened the door and would have turned to say goodbye, but he gave her another hard kiss, and by the time he’d set her back on her feet they were inside with the door closed.

“Not anymore.”

“Huh?”

“You said you work alone,” he repeated. “And I said, not anymore.”

“How do you figure that?” She watched him walk around, picking up this and that. “Make yourself at home.”

He eyed her, laughed softly. “Don’t mind if I do. And I’m not sure,” he said.

There was an unfamiliar note of uncertainty in his voice. She sat down on the couch to remove her boots and act like she wasn’t hanging onto his every word.

“It’s just a feeling I have,” he said, absently straightening the mail on an end table. “But I think we’re supposed to be together.”

She froze, and he grinned at her. Shit, she thought. He’s crazy. What had she done? She wondered if she had a chance in hell of making it out the front door if she ran.

He laughed, louder this time, shaking his head and his finger. “Were you thinking of running from me? Good Lord, girl. Calm down. I’m not going to hurt you. I told you that. You need to believe me.”

He gave her a strong look, and she stared back, blinking like an owl, and wanting to believe him even though her mind told her to stop being stupid and kick his ass out.

“I suppose I can understand why you don’t believe me. You haven’t had the easiest time.”

“How the hell would you know?”

“Well, you forget, honey,” he said in a gentle voice. “I run a security company. Background checks are a dime a dozen to me. And I did one on you. Not that you had anything to hide exactly,” he said, ignoring the angry way she’d jumped to her feet. “I’d say it was a long run of bad luck, more than anything. But far as I could tell, nothing you brought on yourself. I can’t blame you for being young and beautiful, and attracting the wrong kind of man, now can I?”

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