I Love How You Love Me (The Sullivans #13)(14)


by Bella Andre

“Oh.” Her voice was flat, heavy with disappointment she couldn’t figure out how to hold back. “Thanks. I would have been in trouble without this tomorrow.”

“It doesn’t feel right to me, either,” he said softly.

Doesn’t feel right? “You don’t want to work with me on this story?”

“No, the story is fine. Leaving like this, like you don’t mean anything more to me than just some journalist, that’s what feels wrong.” He reached for her hand with his free one, just that one simple touch sending heat searing through her. “I was trying so hard tonight to play it cool, to not scare you away by coming on too strong. But all I’ve ended up feeling like is a liar. And I can’t stomach the thought of lying to you, Grace.” He stroked a thumb across her palm, making her shiver despite the heat swamping her system. “So here’s the truth—I’ve wanted to kiss you from the first moment I set eyes on you, and every moment we’re together, I only want it more. But, damn it, I won’t do anything to hurt you when I know someone else already has. So if you don’t want to me to kiss you, and if I’ve somehow read everything wrong since Tuesday when I could have sworn we already had a connection, tell me now…and I’ll make myself go without learning if your mouth tastes as good as it looks.”

His touch, his good looks, even her intense attraction to him hadn’t been enough to send her over the edge. But when he told her he wouldn’t steal a kiss that might hurt her—that was when her defenses fell all the way. Especially when she was still flying from the beautiful wedding at his parents’ house.

He was making this her choice. Not one that came from guilt. Or because she felt like she owed him a kiss after the evening they’d just shared. But simply because she wanted to know his taste, too.

One kiss with Dylan didn’t have to mean forever. It didn’t even have to be a promise of more. And maybe if they kissed now, it would keep them from blowing it out of proportion during the rest of their interview.

So instead of grabbing her bag, she grabbed him.

Sliding her hands into his dark hair, she pulled his mouth down to hers and poured all of her pent-up hunger, and need, and wonder at the beauty of the wedding she’d been a part of tonight into the kiss. For a few precious moments, she let herself give in to the madness, to the fiercest, sweetest desire she’d ever known as she nipped at his lower lip with her teeth, then met his tongue with the wet slick of her own. He moved close enough that she could feel the heat and the strength of him all along the front of her body. She drank in his groan, breathed in his clean masculine scent, gloried in his hard muscles pressed against the length of her.

Her head spun with the taste of him, her blood heated with desire, and her chest clenched with desperate need. She wanted more—so much more that she was flat-out stunned by her need for him—and, just for a few moments more, couldn’t stop herself from taking their kiss even deeper as a low hum of pleasure sounded in her throat.

Both of them were breathing hard by the time she managed to get a tenuous grip on herself and draw back. She’d never seen eyes so dark, so filled with desire. Eyes that watched her so carefully, as if he was afraid she’d spook. But after all she’d been through over the past couple of years, she decided she would let herself have this one perfect kiss. And she wouldn’t regret it.

Even if they could never have a second.

Desperate not to make a big deal out of it, she tried to joke, “If you sail as well as you kiss, no wonder you’re a boating legend.”

His hands were still on her hips as he said, “You’ll find out soon.”

“You want to take me sailing?” The thought thrilled and worried her in equal measure. She knew he was right, that she should experience for herself being on one of his boats with him. Unfortunately, something told her that it was going to be really, really difficult to keep her secrets—and Mason’s—their own while out on the ocean with Dylan.

“You can’t write this story without sailing with me at least once.”

“Once I understand more about what you do and about your boats, I’ll join you for a sail. But it would probably be best if it took place as our final interview.” That way she’d have plenty of time to brace herself against the power of the cockpit confessional.

“Would that really be best?” he asked. “To wait that long?”

She knew he wasn’t just talking about sailing anymore, even as she said, “I really think it would.” The easiest thing would have been to lean in for another kiss. Easy and oh so good. But she’d stopped being able to take the easy road a year and a half ago. “Good night, Dylan.”

His hands tightened on her hips for a split second, sending shivers through her entire body before he finally let her go. “Good night.”

And the craziest thing of all was that, despite knowing she needed to keep a tight rein on her heart, Grace couldn’t remember ever having had a better one.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Few things, few places, were better than a sunny Saturday morning at the harbor. Families gathered to take out the boats that had been docked all week, dogs barked and played, people’s laughter skipped along the glassy surface of the water.

Dylan was back from a quick sail around the Sound by nine and had been working since then on the twenty-four-foot sloop. All the boats he’d built had been a labor of love, but none more than this one. He’d told his family the boat was for a buyer out of San Francisco. But it was actually a surprise for his brothers, his sister, their mates and their kids. He was more than happy to have them use his boats any time they wanted to, but he wanted them to have a sailboat of their own. One where he’d personally laid every plank, pounded every nail. He’d turned down several lucrative boatbuilding contracts in the past couple of months and would happily have turned down more if he hadn’t been at the tail end of the build now.

He had rock ’n’ roll blasting—courtesy of his new brother-in-law, Ford Vincent—while the sun streamed in through the boathouse doors and the open skylights overhead. Today was especially sweaty work. Sweaty and satisfying. Just like sex, he thought with a grin as he wiped his face dry with the T-shirt he’d taken off a while ago.

Man, that kiss last night...

Dylan had to stop and take a few seconds to relive the moment when Grace’s lips had touched his. Everything had gone so hot so fast that he’d had to scramble to catch up. He’d wanted to possess, to brand, to never let go of her soft curves. If he could have lingered over their first kiss, he would have. Instead, as her body strained against his, with only his mouth on hers, he’d ravaged her.