Tied (Page 45)


I run my hands from his stomach up to his shoulders, my fingers gliding over the damaged yet incredibly sexy mix of muscle, ink, and scars.

He leans down, his hair falling into my face. “Don’t stop touching me…” he begs before his lips cover mine again.

I don’t think I can.

We kiss until I feel I can no longer breathe, and then he moves farther down my body, kissing all the way down past my tummy to my most horrible scars. He holds me down, his hands pinning mine above my head, when I try to squirm away, afraid he will be disgusted by me. But he keeps raining kisses across my skin, whispering how beautiful I am.

He releases my hands and his fingers work the button and zipper of my jeans, pulling them down in a quick, determined motion and throwing them aside. He comes back up to caress my cheek and kiss my lips, so softly and lovingly in contrast to how wild he was a moment ago, and I wrap my arms around him, trying to quell the voices in my head.

Pulling away, he brings his fingers to his lips, and I watch in fascination and curiosity as he licks them then reaches down between us and slides his fingers between my legs.

I gasp at the sensation his slow circles bring and grip his shoulders tightly, which only makes him kiss me deeper with guttural moans against my mouth. He coaxes my thighs to spread apart, and his fingers caress me there, in the apex of soft wetness. This is new, so very new. Never was I touched there. The feeling is completely indescribable.

My mind begins to float, to a dreamy place, as his fingers stroke that special spot I didn’t know existed. I kiss him like my life depends on it, like I might die if I stop and, after a few minutes of this exquisite torture, I explode into a wave of insane ecstasy. His other hand tangles up in my hair, pulling my head up to meet his fevered kisses, like he can’t get enough of me either. I don’t want him to stop. Ever. My entire body quivers and shakes, and he continues to kiss me as I cling to him, afraid of what this feeling is doing to me, that I may never recover. As the euphoria of that moment subsides, a shudder overcomes me, and I start to cry uncontrollably into his chest.

He tugs the magic blanket up over us and pulls me into an embrace. “It’s okay,” he soothes, kissing me whispery soft, stroking my cheek. “You’re okay.” He tilts my head up again to look into my eyes. “I’m right here with you, everything’s okay,” he says softly.

I continue to sob, without any comprehensible reason, and hang on to him for dear life. I’m petrified. I’m exhausted. I feel as if some massive energy just possessed me, stirred up every fear, every wish, every pain, every desire, every memory…and swept it all into a ball and forced me to swallow it, digest it, and then cough it out.

I feel reborn.

My body and mind sink into an utterly exhausted jelly-like mode, and I drift off to sleep in his arms.

When I wake, he’s asleep, his arms still around me. His body is warm and comforting against mine, and for maybe the hundredth time, I feel the deep pull of never wanting to leave him. I kiss his cheek, and he opens his eyes.

“Hey,” he says, pulling me even closer.


“You okay, sugar?”

I nod and move my hand slowly across his chest, over the deep, healed gashes. “I’m sorry I cried…” I say, hoping I didn’t ruin another moment between us. “I’m not sure…”

His hand moves up to caress the back of my head. “Don’t apologize. It’s normal.”

“It is?”

“Yup. I read about it. It’s like a release of feelings.”

Yes. That’s exactly what it felt like.

“Everything is good, Holly. I told you we’d get through everything together, and I meant it.”

I lean up on my arm so I can see his face better. “I’m so lucky to have you,” I say softly, loving how his eyes change color as I talk.

“I’m the lucky one.” He pulls me down to meet his lips, and that special place between my thighs starts to quiver again.

He makes us tea and toast, and then we take Boomer and Poppy for a walk to the river. We hold hands, and he stops every so often to pull me into his arms, backing me up against the nearest tree to kiss me.

“I’ve never seen you look so happy,” I comment as we walk.

He takes a moment to reply, then glances at me sideways. “It’s been a long time.”

“I know the feeling.”

He winks at me. “I know you do.”

On our walk back to the house, my cell phone vibrates in my pocket, and I take it out to see a text from Feather.

Feather: Hi…where are you?

Holly: Walking the dogs with Tyler

Feather: Steve and I are doing dinner and a movie tonight in town. You two want to come? I thought a double date would be fun and we could get to know Ty.

Holly: Ooh I’m not sure

Feather: Come on! It will be fun. It’s just us.

And everyone in the restaurant. And the theater.

Holly: Let me ask him

I look up to find Ty leaning against a tree, smoking, looking all rough and sexy and so…just perfect.

“What’s up?” he asks.

“It was a text from Feather.”

He flicks some ashes onto the ground. “Everything okay?”

“She and her boyfriend are going to dinner and a movie tonight. She wants to know if we want go too.”

He takes a long drag on his cigarette, holds it in his lungs for an extended amount of time, then exhales. His eyes, crystal blue a few minutes ago, darken as he stares off into the trees, then takes another aggressive drag on the cigarette. His mouth opens, but no words come. Instead he puts the cigarette to his mouth again, and lets it hang from his lips, its smoke billowing up into his face as he hangs his head down, his hair falling over his face, perfectly trained to hide him.

I see the retreat, the abandoned smile, the door closing. His discomfort is palpable, and such a mirror to my own.

I wish Feather had suggested we all meet at our apartment, in private, instead.

“Holly…” He kicks at a rock with his shoe.

“I don’t think I want to go out,” I say, saving him from having to say it. I think we both see the same scenario in our heads: people staring, whispering, and asking questions. Feather and Steve being put in that same awkward space with us. A double date sounds like fun, but that doesn’t seem like the best way for all of us to get to know each other first.

He comes closer, and hesitantly touches my cheek. “Maybe…” he starts, and coughs.

I stare up into his eyes. “Maybe another time. Here…or at my apartment…” I finish for him.

He nods, and a faint smile touches his lips. “I can make us dinner tonight. We can watch a movie on my iPad. Just me and you.”

“I would really like that,” I answer softly, and pull out my phone to text Feather back that we won’t be joining them this time. He holds my hand tightly as we walk back toward the house. “I’ll make popcorn, too. It’ll be even better than going out.”

Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t. But for now, his fingers linked through mine, his smile, and the lingering bliss of the morning we had has made me happier than I’ve ever been. I have no complaints or regrets.



Our dinner and movie were cozy and perfect. We didn’t miss anything not going with Feather and Steve. Everything we need and want is right here.

After the movie, Tyler lights a small fire in a pit in his backyard, and we roast marshmallows while sitting on a blanket, holding hands. His lips kiss my ear and linger there. “Stay,” he whispers. I turn to him, and his lips find mine. “Stay here tonight,” he says against my lips.

He watches me as I let his words sink in. His eyes darken and his breathing deepens, and it hits me that I’ve seen this excited, lusty look in him before.

I nod slowly, agreeing, but also accepting. Some truths sink in slower than others. My hesitations…my surprise…my panic…my fear…my needs…my happiness… it ignites him. He feeds on it, like an emotional sponge.

And I have to admit, I like seeing him hungry for me.

“Okay,” I reply softly. “I’ll stay with you.”

My head spins with the possibilities of what an entire night in bed with him could bring, but I count in my head and shut those worries down before they spiral out of control. I won’t let any more moments with him get destroyed. Instead, I revel in the way his smile reaches right into me and flips a switch of happiness.

“We can watch the sky together through the ceiling window,” he teases, poking at the fire. Then he throws in some sort of sand, which earlier he told me was fairy dust that makes the flames a rainbow of colors. The fire becomes pretty with its blue, green, and purple hues, and I wonder if the colors ease his memories.

“Does the fire bother you?” I ask with caution.

The flames reflect in his eyes as he ponders the question and his answer.

“Sometimes,” he replies. “I guess I learned to respect it. It’s like anything else. If you’re not careful around things that can hurt you…they probably will.”

I wonder if, someday, Tyler will hurt me. Maybe Zac is right and I might get my heart broken. I close my eyes, feel the heat of the flame against my cheeks, and try to picture life without Ty.