Love doesn't have to be perfect to be true...Years ago, Tanner Green loved Sunny Letman. She was meant to be his first kiss, first love, firsteverything. Then their world spun upside-down and out of control. Free-spirited Sunny doesn't do commitment. Sure, guys are great for a night or a week, but shealways leaves first. That is, until professional skateboarder and town golden boy, Tanner Green, unexpectedly walks back into her life.Despite their broken history, a fragile and undeniably electric connection still holds them together. Now Tanner has to convince Sunny that even though love isn't always perfect, it's worth sticking around for. . .
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Tanner is in the shower when I let myself inside. There’s a wooden rocking chair in the corner. I walk over, sit and close my eyes. He’s naked, soapy, skin flushed from the hot spray. I could join him. He wants me. The space between my legs throbs to the beat of my heart. What’s set in motion between us isn’t going to stop.
I rock, straighten my backbone and focus my attentions. Imagine each breath spiraling through the open door, to the sky, leaving the atmosphere. A quiet prayer. Please. Please don’t let me fuck this up. My hands grip the rocking chair sides hard, hands that ache to touch his wet skin.
The water turns off and he’s out, rubbing a towel over his body.
I’m going for it, can’t help myself.
I tried my best to be my own island.
Turns out my best isn’t nearly good enough.
The door opens and he stands, backlit in a tight white t-shirt and pair of low slung jeans. His mop of hair is wet, slicked back from his striking face.
“Good, you’re back,” he says. “I didn’t like you out there alone.”
“I was fine, nothing scary outside.”
He frowns, catching my double meaning. “I decided to sleep in the back of my car.”
“No, it’s fine.”
“I don’t mind.”
Of course he doesn’t. He’d sleep on bare concrete if he thought it would be easier for me.
“I get it.” He backs toward the door. “Tonight’s been extreme. You want space. I’ll go--”
“Stop.” I’m in the darkest corner, in this rocking chair throne, the Queen of the Shadows. There’s a great mystery at work. How can my heart be chained to this guy and still feel free?
A bead of water drops from his thick hair and falls to his shoulder. Then another. Tiny wet patches appear on his shirt each time one makes impact. The way he watches me, his gaze writes a secret poem on my skin. “Tell me you don’t want me,” he says. “Say you’re not interested and nothing will happen.”
I want to curl in a ball. Instead, I stand up.
“Sunny,” he whispers, and it’s hard to know if he intends my name as a question or an answer. Funny, the way it sounds like both.
My lids flutter closed of their own volition as he closes the distance. He’s tall enough that when he bends, his face buries into the top of my head. He inhales as if I’m a secret flower. I wish I only ever bloomed for him. A stupid notion. This moment would be perfect if it wasn’t us. If we were other people.
I hook my fingers into his belt loops and do an uncharacteristic fumble, aim too high and brush his stomach instead. His abdominal muscles flex and there’s my cue to explore. I can’t help but inch under the cotton, trace the thick muscles that make up his defined V-line. My nails gently cut to the top of his jeans. His groan vibrates into my skull.
He’s slipping, less careful with every ragged breath. His skin heats under my fingertips. There’s no choice. There’s never been with him.
I rock into him, hard, and his mouth explodes on mine like a wet, hot grenade. He bites my lower lip and even though I’m scared, I’m not scared of him anymore.
Lia Riley writes offbeat romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling XXXX with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.
A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn't mind. Much. When not torturing heroes (because c'mon, who doesn't love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound pretty sweet.
She and her family live in Northern California.