“Avett.” I said her name because there weren’t any other words that mattered as much in that moment. I felt my cock twitch and my heart start to thunder.
Her eyes locked on mine and she moved her other leg up around my waist and pulled her arm out from between the two of us and curled it around my shoulders so that she was wrapped entirely around me. “Quaid.”
My name on her lips as she broke apart underneath me whispered across me at the same time an inferno of pleasure ripped through my insides. I came in a rush that followed hers. I came in a blaze that burned away any memory of any girl that was before. I erupted in a stream of satisfaction and completion that left me empty and drained as I collapsed on top of her.
That hadn’t been an orgasm. That had been a reckoning.
I felt the barely there brush of her lips against the side of my face as she breathed into my ear. “I guess at the end of the day it’s better to have nothing with the right person than to have everything with the wrong person, isn’t it?”
She was absolutely right about that.
I still can’t believe you have such a giant tattoo.” A tattoo that was currently flanked on either side of his flexing and rippling chest by his unbuttoned shirt. He was pulling up a pair of light gray pants, and I wanted to sigh in disappointment when they covered up what was one world-class ass. The man looked phenomenal in a suit and I really appreciated how he looked rough and ready in jeans and leather, but where he really shined was when he had nothing on at all.
Without clothes to conceal him or to define him, the real Quaid Jackson couldn’t hide. The tattoo that covered up most of his torso stood out bold and defiant on his lightly tanned skin. I grew up around inked men and had always appreciated a well-done piece. His was something special, maybe because it was so unexpected. I think I liked that he had something so outrageously and undeniably traditional marked on him. It made me feel like maybe there was hope for him not to sink even farther into the designer labels and shiny baubles that consumed his life and his space. I also liked that he had a wicked-looking scar that sat right above his hip and another one that ran lengthwise down his ribs and across his hip. The big one on his side was about twelve inches long, raggedly healed, and made his otherwise perfect body look more normal. He had a flaw, which made me like him even more than I already did. I asked if he got it when he was overseas and all I got was a grunt and a muttered, “I’ve had it since I was a kid.” With the scar and the massive amount of ink, Quaid could easily pass for one of those Instagram guys that had a million followers and had a zillion likes on every image they posted. That much perfection was intimidating, so I was glad that when he was naked every single thing that made him both beautiful and imperfect was on display. And those abs and that ass didn’t hurt anything either.
Currently, I was hating that he was covering it all up. All I could do was forlornly watch as he put what I was starting to consider his lawyer costume back on, while I sat on the edge of his bed wearing nothing but his ARMY T-shirt and some seriously tousled-sex hair. He looked down at his bare chest after my outburst and then looked back up at me and shrugged.
“When I was in law school I did an internship for the state attorney general’s office. There was this guy there named Alexander Carsten. He had a bunch of tattoo work done that was really impressive. When I passed the bar, I decided I needed to do something to commemorate my life finally going in the direction I wanted it to.”
I lifted my eyebrows at him. “The tattoo was your big rebellion before you decided to grow up?”
He shook his head sharply and that wayward lock of blond hair that refused to be tamed fell into his pale blue gaze. “No, my act of rebellion was joining the Army. It was the last thing my folks expected me to do.” I opened my mouth to ask him what had happened in his family because it was the second time he mentioned them being disappointed in his choice to enlist but he kept going, apparently not wanting to talk about his bitter break from his past. “I made an appointment with Alex’s guy, a kid with a purple Mohawk and a pierced lip named Rule Archer. I told him I wanted something that represented where I had been and where I was going. He knocked the design out of the park, so I didn’t care that it was this big. Very few people ever see it.”
I laughed a little and reached out to pull him closer to me by the belt buckle he had fastened. I started to work on closing the buttons on his shirt, but I may have spent more time petting his seriously defined stomach muscles than I did actually helping him get ready. “I actually know Rule pretty well. His older brother, Rome, is the guy my dad sold the bar to. Rome’s the guy that had to fire me for stealing from the register.” I made a face as I got halfway done with the buttons. “He’s the guy that’s still pretty pissed at me and that I need to apologize to. If there’s any way I can make it up to him, I need to figure out how to do that. Rome is like the son my dad never had. I can’t have him hating me forever.”
I sighed and rose to my feet in front of him so I could finish closing the buttons. When I got to the ones at the base of his throat I lifted up onto my tiptoes so I could press my lips to the strong cords of his neck before buttoning him all the way up. I really did like the suit, but I definitely liked him better out of it.
I tilted my face up towards him as he put his hands on either side of my face and used his thumbs to caress my cheeks. We had weathered the emotional storm that pounded against us yesterday, and the calm and quiet of the aftermath was something entirely new to me. I wanted to bask in it, absorb it, and let some of that tranquillity that had sunk into my bones calm the chaos that always seemed to rage and collide inside of me.
“I doubt he hates you. You need to give people the chance to forgive you, Avett. You screw up, but then you throw up a wall and wallow in the blame, so deep and thick that you never give anyone the opportunity to tell you that yes, you made a mistake but that’s not the be-all and end-all of things.” His fingers moved to my jaw and I wanted to rub my face against his warm hand and gentle touch like a cat. “You accept the consequences of your actions like a champ, now you need to learn to accept the exoneration as well.” He was sexy when he spoke lawyer to me.
I’d never thought I deserved to be forgiven, so it never occurred to me that anyone besides my father, the one person that had always loved me unconditionally, would be waiting with a pardon and an open heart after all the damage I was capable of creating. I cleared my throat and forced a weak smile. “What I need to do is let you finish getting ready for work. Are you sure you have time to drop me off at my mom’s on your way to court?”