Reckless In Love
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And, in that moment at least, it scared her. Scared her enough that she began to pull away.
Drew lifted his head to look down at her. “Ash?”
“I thought it would just be one kiss,” she blurted. “Just one quick kiss so that we would stop building the idea of it into this big thing. Just one kiss because we’re here at the ocean, beneath the moon, and you understand even more than I already thought you did just from listening to your songs.” She shook her head, her lips, her skin, still tingling from his kisses. “But I was wrong. It’s so much more than that. And I didn’t know.”
“I did. I knew better.” He looked as though he was warring with himself for a moment before he finally went up on his knees and brought her up, as well, so that they were facing each other on the sand. “I knew I would never be able to stop at one kiss. Even kissing every perfect inch of your body won’t be enough. I’ll only keep needing more, Ash. So much more.”
Her whole life, she’d been sensible. Careful. And her life had been fine. Good, even. There had been laughter. And happiness. But nothing she’d ever felt had been like this. Nothing had come anywhere close to the way she felt when Drew was kissing her. Not even listening to his music had taken her this high.
Coming on this tour with him was already a break from her normal life. What if she took the next step? One that suddenly seemed inevitable. Ashley’s choices had always been clear to her before: Get good grades. Be a good daughter. Carve out a place in the corporate world via Stanford Business School. And one day, she’d always assumed, she’d find someone just like herself to date and eventually marry.
But for the first time ever, she found herself wanting to make a different choice. A choice so wild, so crazy, that a truly rational person would have stepped back from it immediately. Only, maybe Drew was right and she was made up of more shades, more contours, more colors than just the “rational” ones.
“Maybe,” she said slowly, “maybe we shouldn’t stop.” It was so hard to get the words out that she couldn’t quite bring herself to look at his face. “When you were kissing me, I finally felt beautiful. And passionate.” Really passionate, as though she’d never be able to get enough of him.
“If I kiss you again,” he said in a low voice that caressed her skin just as wonderfully as his mouth had, “I won’t be able to stop.”
She’d never been so scared—or had such clarity—as when she finally looked him in the eye and said, “Don’t stop, Drew. I want this. I want you.” She put her hands flat on his broad chest, where his heart was beating hard and fast. As hard and fast as hers. “What if you and I did get together while I’m here on tour with you? I mean, we’re clearly doing a terrible job of pushing away our attraction to each other. No one needs to know. Just you and me there on the tour bus, having a good time for as long as we’re both enjoying ourselves.”
He was so close that she could feel the warmth of his breath on her lips, and she was trembling from wanting him so badly. This was it. She and Drew weren’t just going to kiss tonight. They were going to make love. It wouldn’t matter that it was her first time. She knew he would make it perfect. Because he thought she was beautiful and brainy. Passionate and exciting.
“Ashley—” His breath was coming fast, his chest rising and falling beneath her palms. “I can’t.”
What had he just said?
And what was he doing, moving away from her instead of closer? Why was he pacing on the sand and cursing instead of taking off her clothes and kissing every inch of her skin the way he’d just said he wanted to?
She got to her feet, too, her face so hot and tightly drawn that it was as though she’d been slapped instead of told, I can’t. She’d never been so embarrassed. And had never felt so rejected.
She could feel tears start to come, knew they’d be falling soon, and she didn’t want him to see that. Couldn’t let him see that. But even though she all but ran down the beach, Drew was fast. Faster than she was. And when she didn’t stop after he called her name, he passed her and made her stop with his own body.
“Ash, don’t run. Please don’t run from me.”
She kept her head down, but she knew what was coming. That he’d put his hand beneath her chin and make her look into his eyes. And when he did, the raw desire she still saw on his face shook her. And confused her like nothing else ever had.
“Do you actually think I don’t want you? Can’t you see that I haven’t been able to think about anything but you since you came into my life?” His words stunned her just as much as the look in his eyes did. “Damn it, I want you so badly I can’t see straight. Hell, I can barely remember the words to my songs when I’m on stage and I see you dancing, because just watching you move to the music gets me so turned on.”
“Then why?” The pain of his rejection made her question fierce. “Is it because I’m not like the other girls? The ones who whip off their shirts so that you can sign their big breasts?”