Never Too Hot
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All the while knowing that it wasn't just giving, it was taking, that she was seeking her own pleasure too.
And then his hands were moving up from her hips to cup her br**sts and she didn't recognize herself anymore, this woman who was moaning as his fingertips brushed against her ni**les. His skin felt deliciously rough and jagged against her, and her sound of pleasure came straight from the center of her.
Oh yes, please, more. She hadn't been this close to coming apart in a man's arms in years and she wanted it so badly that when he abruptly cursed and pushed away from her, it came as a total shock.
She sat down hard on his bed. What had just happened? One minute his hands were everywhere, the next he didn't want to touch her.
It was so tempting to go to the place where her feelings were hurt, where she could tell herself that he didn't like big girls like her. Every last one of her instincts tried to take her there, but she fought hard against them all.
It just didn't make sense. He'd wanted her, she knew he did. What had been about to happen was elemental.
Completely out of control for both of them.
He couldn't have just up and changed his mind. Not without a damn good reason. So, for once, instead of running off with her tail between her legs, she wrapped her robe around her and stayed where she was.
“What happened? What's wrong?”
It was like looking at a rock, he was so devoid of emotion as he stood against the window. Almost as if he refused to let himself feel anything at all.
“I told myself I wasn't going to touch you. Jesus, I was completely out of control. I could have hurt you.”
It was scary, but she had to say it, had to tell him the truth. “I wanted it just as much as you did.” She'd been just as out of control as he had.
Giving in to her desire for Connor was the most reckless and impulsive thing she'd ever done. She knew she should be relieved that he'd stopped her, that they hadn't made any bigger of a mistake than this.
But she wasn't. She wasn't relieved at all.
He still wasn't looking at her. He continued staring at the wall behind her head as he said, “I couldn't feel you.”
He couldn't feel her?
“Of course you could. It was-” The word incredible was on the tip of her tongue, but before she could say anything more, his eyes locked onto hers.
“My hands. They went numb.”
There was so much darkness in his blue depths it took her breath away.
“I couldn't feel you.”
CONNOR COULDN'T believe he'd just told her that. No one knew about his hands going numb except for the doctors he'd secretly visited. He'd gotten so good at faking it these past couple of years, made sure not to grab anything if he wasn't absolutely certain he'd hang on to it, but just now, when he couldn't resist touching her bare skin, he'd lost all sensation.
He wanted to be left alone. To get the hell out of here. To find some alternate reality where this shit would stop happening. Where he'd be normal — hell, where he'd be sane — again.
“What were you dreaming about? When I came in?”
Shit. How could he have forgotten? That's why she was in his room in the first place. Because he'd been stuck in a flashback.
His pride pricked at his insides, made his words rough and mean. “You don't know me. I don't know you.”
He let his eyes move across her thighs peeking out from her robe, made damn sure she could see that he was still completely naked — and that his body still wanted her despite everything.
“Don't confuse wanting sex with something more.”
Okay. Any moment now she'd get off his bed and run back to her room. But as the seconds ticked down she stayed right where she was. Frustration ate away at him, even as sensation came back into his hands, the worst case of pins and needles he'd had yet.
“You need to leave. Now.”
But she didn't so much as flinch. Instead, her gaze was steady.
“If you're done with your whole big bad wolf thing, I really think you'll feel better if we talk about what just happened.”
She licked her lips. Her beautiful, full lips that had tasted like heaven.
“No one knows about your nightmares, do they?”
He didn't answer, but that was only because he knew he didn't need to. This woman sitting on his bed saw too much, her big green eyes taking in everything he didn't want her to. Everything other people didn't.
“You were dreaming about the fire, weren't you? The fire that did that to your hands.”
The next thing he knew, she was getting off the bed and coming over to him. She picked up one of his hands, turning it over in her own small hands.
“Are they still numb?” she asked softly. “Or can you feel this now?”
She ran her finger lightly down the worst of the scars, the one that cut his palm in two.
“I can feel that.”
Her smile was big. Beautiful. Like a ray of sunshine was shooting in through the roof.
She said, “Good. I'm glad,” and then, “What happened? Not tonight, but two years ago. When you got burned.”
There was no reason to tell her about the fire. For two years he'd kept the story tightly locked inside. Had told himself that talking about it wouldn't help a damn thing.
But no one else had ever witnessed one of his nightmares. Only Ginger. She'd seen him at his worst.
Fine. He'd give her the answers she was looking for. And he wouldn't bother to spare her the gory details. When he was done, she'd regret that she ever asked.
“Firefighters get burned all the time. Fire is a finicky bitch,” he said, not bothering to watch his mouth. If she didn't like it, she could leave.
“I wouldn't think that makes it hurt any less, though.”
A vision of the fire in Desolation rammed into him like an out of control train. Fire rolling over the mountain like a wave. Thick, dark smoke rising up into the sky, taking over the blue so completely that he could hardly see the narrow trail beneath his feet.
“We were out in Desolation Wilderness, where my crew is based. I've hiked that trail a hundred times. My brother and squad boss were out clearing brush. The fire was nothing. We wanted a real fire, something to really sink our axes into.”