Tempt Me Like This
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“Sorry? For what?”
“You once said I would never hurt anyone, but I hurt you when I wasn’t brave enough to tell you that I loved you, too. I do, so much. I just thought we could never make things work because we’re so different. And it was easier to tell myself I was holding back because of my dad and his relationship with my mom than it was to face the truth. You’re the brightest light I’ve ever known—one of the brightest lights on the planet. And I thought I wasn’t exciting enough or strong enough to be, well, enough for you.”
“You aren’t just enough, you’re my heart. My soul. I love you, Ash. The brainy side of you. The wild side of you. I love all of you, exactly the way you are. And even though I’ll always miss my mom, every day of my life, it feels now like the wounds are finally starting to heal.”
Just as she’d held him in the desert, she simply pulled him close now and laid her cheek against his chest. He didn’t know how long they stood holding each other, just that music played inside of him the entire time. Music he needed her to hear.
“I know you just listened to me play for over two hours, but there’s a song I’d really like to play for you.”
Without saying a word, she slid her hands from around his back, picked up his acoustic guitar, and handed it to him. As soon as she was on the bed in front of him, sitting cross-legged so their knees were touching, he began to play and sing.
* * *
Drew had never looked so serious, or quite so shy, as he did just then. He should have been a world away from the larger-than-life star she watched perform on stage every night. And yet, with just his guitar and his voice, he was even more powerful.
Especially when she realized where his lyrics had come from.
You’re inside of me.
Every second of every day.
I was lost until you found me.
I was hurt until you healed me.
Until you took me all the way
She’d said the words while they were making love—I want you inside of me every second of every day—and though it might have sounded like nothing more than desire, Drew had known the truth all along.
That she was saying she loved him the only way she could.
Tears streamed down her face as he played, but they were happy tears this time. Tears of wonder. No, she and Drew weren’t exactly the same, but where they didn’t overlap, they filled each other’s gaps and made each other whole.
When he was done playing, he put his guitar down, then took her face in his hands and kissed her. So sweetly that her heart flipped over in her chest at the same time that her body ached for him to take the kiss deeper. Neither of them spoke as he slowly, silently stripped away her clothes—every caress awestruck, every kiss he pressed to her soft skin reverent—and she did the same for him and then slid on protection.
And then there was no more patience for either of them as they fell onto the bed in each other’s arms. Their hungry mouths wrote the melody, their desperate hands played the rhythm, and their breathless gasps of pleasure sang the lyrics for the beautiful new song they were writing together.
“I can’t believe we have front-row tickets to this show.” Taylor turned to look behind her at the thirty thousand screaming fans who had come to hear Nicola Sullivan and Drew Morrison do the kickoff show for their fully acoustic combined tour. “I heard it sold out in seconds.”
“Perks of being related to one of the people on stage,” Justin Morrison said as he grinned back at one of his favorite people.
Justin and Taylor had been friends from their first class at Stanford, a bio lab where they’d been partnered up. He’d never met anyone as smart. Or as beautiful. But she’d had a boyfriend from high school, and even though he was all the way back in Rochester, New York—and sounded like he didn’t come anywhere close to being worthy of her—Taylor had remained faithful. From everything she’d told him, though, it sounded like her parents had set the whole thing up as some sort of modern-day arranged marriage. The guy never called, and Justin had wondered more than once if Taylor’s boyfriend was as faithful to her as she was to him.
They’d been platonic friends for more than three years. Three years in which Justin had tried like hell not to step over the line with her. But damned if it wasn’t getting harder by the second. Especially when she was wearing a tank top and jean shorts due to the heat at the outdoor summer concert. Her clothes were downright demure compared to some of Drew’s fans, but he still thought she was the sexiest woman he’d ever set eyes on.