Home > Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(7)

Shattered (The Secret Life of Trystan Scott #4)(7)
Author: H.M. Ward

Mari releases his hand and turns suddenly, pushing him into the wall. She leans into him and presses her body against his. Mari's pink lips linger so close, but she doesn't close the distance between them. The sudden action makes his heart lurch. Her hand presses into his chest and remains there with her fingers splayed. Her breath is warm and sweet. Trystan wants to taste her so badly, but Mari doesn't kiss him. Her eyes only sweep over his face, and then land on his lips.

When she speaks, he thinks he might die and tumble down the stairs. "I admit it. I like you this way. I expect you to say the unexpected, to do things to knock me off balance and make me drop my guard. I know you do it on purpose, but for the longest time I didn't know why. Now I do, and I think things are going to get very interesting between us. Don't you think?" She smiles the sexiest smile he's ever seen and traces the tips of her finger along his jaw, barely touching his skin.

Breathless, Trystan says, "You know me so well." He tries hard to hide it, but he can't. His body hums when she touches him. Those perfectly pink lips are so close. When Mari spoke, they touched his mouth with a light brush. The sensation is still shooting through him. It makes him want more. "So, are you planning on having your way with me on the stairs?"

Mari's face flames red. She laughs. "You're such an ass." Mari releases him and walks up a step.

Trystan repeats her swift movement and pins her to the wall. His h*ps press into hers and she gasps. There's no question about what she does to him. His eyes meet hers. His heart pounds harder. He leans in and brushes his lips across hers so lightly. It's a ghost of a kiss, as subtle as a whisper. He pulls back and Mari gasps and grabs her heart. The smirk on Trystan's face says he's playing, toying with her, but he's not. He'd kiss her like that all night, if he could.

Mari's knees are shaky after that. She tries to push off the wall and stand, but one leg doesn't cooperate and she falls into him. Trystan holds her arm and grins. "Took your breath away, did I?"

"You're evil," she says, smiling, still breathless. "We seriously need to get you a long black cloak and a helmet."

"We could, but I think that'd just turn you on." Trystan laughs as they walk up the stairs together and reach the upper landing. He follows Mari into her room. On her bed are some towels and a pair of jeans and a shirt, folded and stacked into a neat pile.

The smile fades from Trystan's lips. "What's this?"

Mari walks over to the pile and thrusts it at Trystan before she turns to the little bathroom in her room. "I thought you'd want to shower and change." She's opening the bathroom door and flicks on the lights. "I can reapply the make up around your neck in the morning. I'm guessing the bruise is an awesome shade of green now. Mine is." She lifts the hem of her shirt. The bruise on her belly is purple with green tinges around the edges. She lifts her gaze and looks at him, still holding onto her shirt.

Trystan's mouth has gone dry. He steps toward her and sets the clothes and towels down on the counter before slipping his hand around her middle. "I'm so sorry for this. So sorry." His voice is soft, barely audible. Something creeps up his throat and chokes him.

Trystan's fingers trace the bruise slowly, gently. Mari takes a slow breath, but exhales jaggedly. When he looks up, he sees her eyes and realizes what his touch did. While he was mourning his previous actions, she was frozen by his touch. Mari closes her eyes and blinks slowly, like she's trying to snap out of it. But she can't. Not as long as he's touching her like this.

Trystan withdraws his touch and runs his hand through his hair. Mari's chest swells as she breathes in. It draws attention to her br**sts. It makes him wonder what it would feel like to hold them in his hands. Trystan tears his gaze away. Although Mari said she changed her mind that one time, she hasn't mentioned sex again. Trystan already decided that he won't pressure her. He won't sleep with her no matter what happens tonight.

Trystan gathers his wits and picks up the clothes and towels. "Thank you for this. I won't be long." Trystan slips past her into the bathroom and closes the door. For a moment, all he does it stare at the knob. He wants her so badly. He can't stand it. Every thought that fills his head is more forbidden than the last. The way Mari pressed him into the wall before set him on fire. Trystan knows he needs to calm down and put some distance between them or they'll end up tangled in her sheets faster than he can blink.

Trystan turns on the shower, making it as cold as he can tolerate.



My heart is racing too hard. I didn't think that I could feel more attracted to Trystan than I already did, but when he touched me like that - oh my God. It was like every inch of my body was burning. I couldn't stop staring at his hands, willing them to touch me. I still haven't moved. I'm leaning against the wall, and finally hear the shower turn on. I wonder what Trystan looks like in there with the water running over his body. I think about how much I'd like to run my hands over him. I don't even realize that's what I'm thinking. I just feel the palm of my hand grow hotter and more sensitive. I think about his bare skin and the water. I blink hard, trying to free the thoughts from my mind.

Scolding myself, I push off the wall. What's the matter with me? When did I become this hornball who only thinks about sex? I pad across the room and grab a pair of sweats from my dresser. I strip quickly with my back to the bathroom door in case Trystan walks out. The water is still running, but I'm too nervous to think.

I'm mad at myself for acting like this, for melting so fast. He barely touched me and I'm falling to pieces. I tug my sweatshirt over my head and pull on a pair of fuzzy socks. This is the least sexy outfit I own. The sweatshirt is way too big. It swims on me. I yank my hair into a ponytail and jump up on the bed and flick on the TV. I try to stop thinking about him, but I can't. I watch a show without really seeing it.

When the water turns off, my heart beats faster. I wish I were a sane person. I wish for a lot of things that I can't have. I decide that I'm not doing anything with him tonight. I want more time. Plus, the bruises on my stomach and the way it aches, I just would rather he saw me the way I usually am. I realize what I'm thinking and feel the heat burn across my cheeks.

Trystan pulls open the bathroom door. He's bare-chested, wearing the new jeans around his hips, with no shoes. His hair is so dark and still dripping. There's a towel in his hand. Trystan wraps it around his shoulders. He notices my blush and says, "I love it when you do that." He smiles at me, winks, and then runs the towel over his head.

"I hate it when I do that, which seems to be all the time. It's not becoming at all." I realize I sound like my mother and flinch.

But Trystan doesn't care. He steps toward me with that sexy smile he always wears. "It's sexy as hell." He tugs at the towel and adds, "I can't say the same for this, and unless I wear a towel all night, you're going to see bruises. The thing is..." he looks down for a second. When his blue eyes lift, he meets my gaze. "I don't want you to fuss about it all night. The past is the past. I can't fix it. I would, if I could." Trystan's breathing hard, his chest is rising and falling too quickly. It pains me to see him like this.

"You can leave the towel on, if you want. Or..." I smile. I have an idea. I jump off my bed and cross the room. My dresser drawer has exactly what I need. Without thinking twice about it, I grab a pair of scissors and slice through the bottom of my sweatshirt. Trystan looks at me like I'm crazy. He flinches, his hands lifting until he realizes what I'm doing. I cut off the front bottom half of the shirt. It reveals my rainbow bruises as if they were framed. The scrap of fabric falls to the floor. I put the sheers down and turn back to him. "Better?"

Trystan grins. It makes those beautiful eyes sparkle like the sea in the afternoon sun. "Is there any other circumstance where you'd cut your clothes off like that? No? Are you sure." He looks at the floor and then back up at my face. He finally answers, "Yes, it's better."

I nod toward his towel. "Good, then drop it."

Trystan glances at me from the corner of his eye. He pulls the towel away. The angry marks around his neck look worse than last night. I try not to react. I lift my eyes to his. I step across the room and slip my arms around his waist. Trystan's eyes lock on mine, but there's something there, like he has to protect himself from me.

My fingers trace the warm, smooth skin at his waist. I say softly, "We're the same. You know that, right?"

Trystan's gaze remains locked with mine. He inhales sharply as my fingers move around to his back. There's a small space between us, both physical and mental. "Mari, don't..." It's all he can manage. His jaw is tight, locked shut. The muscles in his neck are corded like he can barely swallow.

I want him to relax, to feel safe for once. My godforsaken parents won't show up until dawn. There's no one to hurt him here. I have a sinking feeling in my stomach. Maybe he thinks that I'll hurt him. My eyes lower. My gaze traces the curves of the muscles on his chest, but I'm not brave enough to lift my hand. My heart beats harder. I want him to understand. I feel the pull to him, like we're two sides of the same coin. The fact that I'm shiny and he's not doesn't matter. We're connected. We're the same.

I don't look into his eyes again. I know what I want to do. Tugging his arm, I pull him toward my bed. I flick out the lights as I pass them. We're encased in darkness. Trystan doesn't move easily. It's like he's holding back. I finally say, "I just want to hold you. I want to sleep with your arms around me. No sex."

Trystan's voice catches when he speaks, "Mari, I don't know. I don't want to do anything you'll regret - "

"I won't regret this. I'll never regret this." I slip back on my bed, but he won't sit. His eyes pierce through me like a sword.

"You said this was something that was reserved for marriage." He's still looking at me. I smile softly. It turns out that all those times I scolded him for taking sex so lightly, he was listening. I almost wish he wasn't. He runs his hands through his hair and looks at me. "I don't think this is a good idea. I don't want you to resent me. These aren't whims with you. It's part of who you are. I can't do this to you."

I'm kneeling on the bed, looking at him. My eyes sweep over his face. He means well. Trystan wants to protect me. I understand, and I know he won't change his mind. "You're too good for me."

He laughs. It sounds so haunted and bitter that it kills me. "I doubt it. I heard I'm made of snails and puppy dog tails." Trystan grins at me and winks, quickly covering the emotions that played across his face seconds ago.

I lay back in my bed and he pulls up my blankets and tucks me in. Then, he settles on my floor at the foot of my bed. The clock ticks off the minutes, but I can't sleep. My eyes are wide open. After what feels like forever, I say, "Trystan?"


My throat is tight. "How do you manage everything? I mean, no one has any idea and you never give the slightest indication that anything is wrong.

"Some days I feel like I'm going to fall apart. You never seem weak like that. How do you do it? How do you brush off the fact that the people who are supposed to love you the most, don't love you at all?" My lip is quivering. Although I've thought it, I never had the guts to say it before. "I know they don't love me. I know they resent me, but I still can't accept it. I keep hoping that one day they'll really see me and love me for who I am, but that day never comes."

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