Home > Secrets Vol. 3 (Secrets #3)(2)

Secrets Vol. 3 (Secrets #3)(2)
Author: H.M. Ward

“Tell me,” he says gently, taking my shoulders in his hands. His fingers swirl little circles on my smooth skin. He swallows hard, waiting.

Butterflies fill my body, making me giddy. His hands are strong and warm. I feel them pressing against my skin and I wish they were on my face, cupping my cheeks. As if he heard me, Cole lifts his hands and splays them on the sides of my face. His thumbs stroke my skin as his fingers slide back into my hair.

“It sounds silly, like nothing.” My voice is light as a caress, barely audible. I watch Cole’s lips as I say it. I can’t look him in the eye and take the full on heat of his gaze. “I wanted him to kiss me between my legs where no one has, taste me, swallow, and ask for more.” Fear twists my stomach, sending a series of shivers cascading over my skin. I’m clutching the sheet, strangling it. Whenever I brought up or*l s*x with my previous boyfriends they were ecstatic that I wanted to do that with them, but they felt no desire to reciprocate. It made me feel like wanting them to want it was dirty.

Cole releases my face a beat after I say it. He remains in front of me, but looks away. “There’s nothing freaky about that, Anna. It’s a normal sexual act and I’m sorry he deprived you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re into kinky things.” He looks up at me, his expression soft and kind.

“Ah, that’s just an example, Cole. The thing I wanted most that he wouldn’t do. I didn’t say it was the kinkiest. That’s the tip of the unfulfilled, sexually frustrated iceberg.” My voice is husky and I can’t look away.

Cole stares at me like he’s never seen me before. The rosy glow that was limited to my cheeks now sears my entire body and he grins. “So, you’re telling me—let me make sure I got this right—that a kinky sex goddess has been laying in my bed every night for the past few weeks?”

Smiling, I nod once. The way Cole looks at me makes me think it’s okay, that things will be all right. He lowers his dark lashes and releases a breath slowly. His hands run through his hair tousling it even more. When he looks up at me, I can’t breathe. Everything about him tempts me beyond control. I want to tangle my fingers in his hair and pull his mouth down on mine.

Cole shakes his head like he can’t believe it and then sits back in the chair. It’s my turn to ask a question. Internally, I’m fighting over what to ask—about the ring in the safe or why he won’t touch me. Every inch of my skin prickles as I think about his hands on me. I wish he were close. I wish so much that he’d tell me. While I want to know about the ring, I want to know this more.

“Why won’t you touch me?” My voice is a whisper. I don’t look at him. I expect his answer to punch me in the gut. I expect to hear, because he doesn’t think of me that way, that I’m too young, too inexperienced to be with him like that.

“Anna,” he breathes my name like it haunts him. When I steal a glance, his eyes are closed and his face is in his hands. I turn away before he says it. I don’t want to hear the reason. I’m sorry I asked. As Cole opens his mouth to speak, I cut him off.

Raising a hand, I reach it out in front of me, holding up my hand and say, “Stop. Wait.” Breathing hard, I look into his face. Remorse consumes him. I wish I could fix it. I wish he’d let me hold him and take away whatever sins haunt his memory. Cole’s lips remain parted, but he doesn’t speak. He waits for me to finish. I sit up in the bed and pull my feet under me. “I don’t want know.”

It’s quiet for a moment and the only sounds I hear are my racing heart and my ragged breaths. Then Cole says, “The answer isn’t just one thing. I can’t dismiss you Anna, but I can’t make this more than it already is.”

“What is it, Cole? Are we friends? This feels like more to me, but I can’t wrap my mind around it. I don’t understand how you can lay next to me at night without touching me.” I feel the panic in my voice and try to shove it back down, but it won’t recede. “Don’t lead me on. Don’t make me think one thing and then do another. I—”

Cole crosses the room in two steps and scoops me up in his arms. He sits down on the bed with me in his lap and I rest my head against his bare chest. His heart is racing. His arms tighten around me before he kisses my hair gently. “It wasn’t my intention to lead you on.”

“Then what is your intention?”

“To protect you. To keep you from getting hurt. I thought that this was better, but it’s not. I should have kept my distance, but I didn’t. I can’t reverse this Anna. I can’t undo weeks of you sleeping in my bed and seeing your face every morning.”

I glance up at him. Fear pinches my throat tight. “Do you want to?”

His blue eyes are crystal clear and lock onto mine. I start to look away, but Cole gently pulls my chin back to meet his gaze. “No. Every memory of you, every moment was—” he presses his lips together and stops speaking for a minute. Finally, he breathes deeply and sets me down on the bed. “I have to maintain my original boundaries, otherwise this won’t work and I’m not ready to say good-bye yet. It’s utterly selfish, but it’s the best I can offer.”

I don’t understand, but I don’t say so. Dejected, I slide back into the bed away from him. What is this? Why won’t he let me get closer? I lay my head back onto my pillow and stare at the ceiling.

There’s nothing more to say.


Early the next morning, I slip away to the parking garage across the street to get my bike. It’s safe, well, as safe as a parking garage can be. It’s well lit and has a guard booth at the front, but it still makes Cole uneasy. If I park in one of his slots, below his building, he knows nothing will happen to me or my bike. After last night, though, I don’t want to bring up anything that might torch our already precarious relationship.

Pressing my eyes closed as I reach the bike I sigh and press my fingers to my eyes. What relationship, Anna? There is no relationship. Correction, there is no sexual relationship. Somehow I’ve ended up in the same goddamn boat I had been in with Edward. With that thought, the skin on the back of my neck begins to prickle, making me glance around, but I can’t see anything except parked cars.

I reach for my helmet and unlock it, pocketing the keys as I slip it onto my head. I fish a ponytail holder from my other pocket and work my hair back to the base of my neck and twist the piece of elastic in place. As I’m fastening my helmet, I feel like someone is watching me. My skin prickles all over and my heart starts to race. I turn and look around, but I still don’t see anyone. A car drives by and heads toward the exit. I can see the street from where I stand. The early morning traffic catches my attention with glittering red taillights and raucous horns blaring. Then I see him on the sidewalk. Edward. He sees me, waves and approaches me from the street.

Jogging over, he says, “Anna, good to see you.” Edward looks perfect. His jeans hug his slender h*ps and his long-sleeved pale-blue shirt brings out his eyes. But something puts me on edge. I can’t say what, I just feel uneasy around him and want to get away as quickly as possible. But I can’t seem to get my helmet strap tightened. Apparently, it twisted when I pulled it through the metal loops. I try to fix it without taking it off. I want to leave.

I nod and smile even though I don’t feel like it. “Good morning, Edward.” I can be civil. There’s nothing wrong. The fluttering in my heart and the panicked feeling telling me something isn’t right is insane. This is Edward. “What are you doing over here so early in the morning?” I glance up, wondering where the security guard is. His booth is empty, and a car that’s waiting for him decides to bypass payment and darts out into the street. It’s quiet again. No car engines rumbling inside the sunken cement, no exhaust fumes clinging to the ceiling.

He shrugs and slips his hands into his pockets, “On my way to an interview up the street.”

I arch a brow at him, “Who’s over here? I thought all these buildings were residential?” The helmet isn’t cooperating. I can’t seem to get it untwisted. I undo the chin strap completely, pull it, and start over.

Edward’s eyes fixate on my hands fumbling the helmet strap. “It is, but there’s a—” he stops talking and steps toward me. He reaches for the black straps and says, “Here, let me do that. You seem shaken up.”

I want to jerk my head back, but I don’t. Instead I stand there like an idiot and let him strap my helmet on. His fingers push the black strap through the metal loops and he pulls, tightening it. I grip my hands in front of my waist and try to slow my pulse.

When he finishes, he grins at me. When I don’t smile back, he asks, “What’s wrong? You seem out of sorts.”

I want to say only around you, but I don’t want him to think that he affects me. Besides, this doesn’t make sense, any of it. Why is he here? What are the odds that he’d walk in front of this garage at this time? Is he following me? I think I’m being paranoid, but the feeling doesn’t fade.

I turn away from him, smiling nervously and reach for the bike. “Nothing’s wrong. I’m just jacked up on caffeine. You know me.” I lie and swing my leg over the motorcycle.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)