Page 27

That statement was swimming around in my head, but I couldn’t. Not right now.

I focused on what I could process. “There’s a big fucking debate that could be had for your last statement, so I’m not sure I’d be all high and mighty over that comment.”

“I am trying to make up for that.”

Low and quiet and controlled by him. I’d pushed a button and he was reacting, but he was trying to contain it. And I knew that was just another extension of the whole ‘I’m trying to make up for that’ part.

But still.

I wanted to clip out, wanted to throw it in his face by saying, ‘Do better.’

I didn’t, but I wanted to. “A movie. A blanket. We shared snacks. Then the next day, I was a stranger to you.”

He sighed, his shoulders falling down. “Dusty.”

“That was years ago.” It was pent-up, and I had to get this out. “You were my best friend growing up. I loved your dog like he was mine. I know you were hurt when you walked away from me. I know you missed my mom, but since then, during those years, I lost my best friend. I lost my mom. I lost my childhood home.” I had to skip a beat. He didn’t need to know what else I lost before coming here. “And I have now lost my father, my stepmother, my car, and the second home that was never really a home to me. But I got you back? Is that the takeaway for me? The consolation prize?”

He cursed silently under his breath, hitting the turn signal and easing onto the interstate ramp.

“I would give you up in a heartbeat to get them back.”

Still, he remained silent. A beat. Then, “So would I.”

Oh. Damn.


That broke the wall. I felt it crack in two, heard it even, and everything I’d been stuffing away and suppressing, I had a second’s notice before I turned to him. I knew the tears were already shining in my eyes.

He saw, and his jaw firmed as he reached over for my hand. He kept a death grip on me. “Just let it out. You have to let it out.”

The hole inside me was there. His words, my words, had punched a fucking fist through it and I felt as if the roof was caving in. The entire building in me was crashing. I was demolished inside and I’d been holding onto a thin fucking frame to keep me upright. That was gone now, and I was crumbling.

No. It was worse than that.

I couldn’t keep it together.


His hand tightened on mine. “Just hold on. I promise.”

I tried. I did. I was failing.

But then we were pausing. The gate was opening. And we pulled into his garage.

I didn’t have to think about moving. Stone was out of his door and mine was thrown open in a flash. His arms went under me, and he scooped me out. Cradled to his chest, he maneuvered us through the house. Me, I was useless. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t hear what he was doing until we were in a room, on a bed.

A phone was ringing.

It was silenced.

He moved us both back so he was sitting against the headboard. It was similar to the other night, but this time, crying wasn’t enough. My insides were being ripped out. One organ at a time. One tendon being slowly pulled from inside, shredding and being dropped on the floor.

I couldn’t handle it.

My dad.


All her texts. Her calls. She just wanted to be helpful and I thought she’d been annoying, and now there’d be no more calls. No more texts.


I couldn’t… I screamed, the sobs choking me.

A rough hand brushed down my face and I felt Stone’s forehead to mine. “What do you need? What do you need right now?” He was breathing so hard. “Dusty. Please. I can’t take hearing this from you. What do you need?”


Not to feel.

I couldn’t think. Feel. I couldn’t live. I didn’t want to live. I needed to go, but I didn’t dare say those words. Another scream came out, tearing out of me of its own volition.

I couldn’t handle any of this. It was too much.

“Stone,” I was sobbing, my hand on his chest. “Stone. I can’t!”

I was clawing at his chest.

An invisible hand took a knife and was sheathing at my skin, but it wasn’t working. It wasn’t a clean cut. And that hand just kept going, digging in, trying to tear me open, and the more it wasn’t working, the harder that hand was stabbing me. Twisting.

I was being tortured.

He adjusted me, throwing me up in his arms. A firm arm clamped around my back and his other hand was behind my head. “Dusty. What. Do. You. Need?!”

Finally. His words pierced through and I opened my eyes, to see his. They were wild. He was almost manic, desperate, but the hunger. I saw it in there. It was covered by something else, fear, maybe? Horror, more likely.

His hand dropped to my hip and he was kneading into my skin.

That other hand, the invisible hand, was trying to pry me open. I felt every inch, centimeter, millimeter, and I couldn’t live through this.

I just knew it.

I gasped out, “Please. I can’t feel. Not this.”

“What do you want?” He was almost shaking me from the force of his own need. Savage. His eyes were filling with rage, but he was blanketing it. He was containing it. “Drugs? Alcohol? What do you need from me?”

I stopped just as the invisible hand opened me enough and was reaching in, all over again.

“I can’t feel what I’m feeling—”

His mouth was on mine.

Hot. Hungry. Angry.

I gasped, and everything stilled. The world paused and I sat back, dragging in oxygen. A moment of peace, but the hand was coming back for more destruction. I could feel its impending reach and I acted, not thinking. I couldn’t do that either, and I almost launched myself at him.

My mouth was on his. Desperate and starving.

He paused, pulling back. “Are you sure about this?”

I crawled up on his lap, my hands going right to his pants and I was frenzied in my movements. That was my response, and he took it as such. His arms swept me up again, he rolled us so he was on top and he paused above me, his eyes on mine.

Blind desire was in there, and I closed my eyes, my mouth searching for his again.

This wasn’t gentle. This wasn’t romantic. This was an escape and it was ugly and ragged. We were animalistic. There was no foreplay. God. I couldn’t have handled that type of touch right now.

I wanted rough. Hard. Almost punishing.

He sat up, his eyes stormy and wild on me, and his hands finished undoing his pants.

I raced him.

I unzipped my pants, lifting my hips and shoving them down. My underwear, too. He leaned down, his hand coming to my thigh, and he helped me pull the rest free. He jumped off the bed, tossing both our pants to the ground, and he went to his nightstand. A condom was pulled out, then he was back.

I didn’t give a fuck if both our shirts were still on.

That wasn’t the goddamn point of this, but he was back. Condom on. And I reached down to wrap my hand around his dick. He was big and hard, and exactly what I needed to make me not feel. I guided him, almost like his cock was my personal dildo. I caught his grin, but I didn’t give a fuck about that either. I was in control of this situation and he was giving me that.

Then, poised at my entrance, we both paused.

His eyes went to mine again. I bit my lip, and he sheathed himself inside.

I lifted, and he pushed, going even deeper, all the way in. Then his body enveloped me. My arms were around him. His around me, his hands sliding down to cup my ass and he lifted me up to him for better access.

Then, so fucking amazingly then, he began to move. And I felt it all. Every movement he made. Everything that I didn’t want to feel was gone, suffocated by the enormity of him.

I cried out from the sensations. That peace, it was back. It fell on me, replacing the storm inside me, and I would literally come apart if he pulled away and stopped touching me, but then he began to move harder and faster.

His hand came up, grabbing my hair, and he yanked.

My eyes opened. His face was right there. I should’ve felt his breath, but he was watching me. His hips surged against mine again. So fucking forceful. So wild and out of control. Exactly like how I needed this to be.

“What do you want?”

I knew what he was asking.

“I need you to fuck me.”

His eyes shuddered, but I wasn’t done.

I added, “I need you to do it again, and again, and again. You got me?” My words were clipped and to the point. I wanted to pass out from fucking, not from the agony I knew was just waiting to claim me again. This was a Band-Aid. My wounds wouldn’t be repaired by a simple fix. He knew that and I knew that, and then he nodded, and we were both agreeing to whatever it was that we were doing right now.

His mouth caught mine again. I allowed it. The sensations were hurtling through me and his tongue in my mouth was helping, but I reached down, took hold of his hips, and I reared to go back against him.

We fucked that night.

There were no nice words. No loving touches.

After the first round, he lay still inside of me. We didn’t have to wait long. I waited. He waited. Maybe it was minutes. Maybe it was longer. I was a complete vacuum of nothing until I felt him start to harden again.

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