Home > Complete Me (Stark Trilogy #3)(7)

Complete Me (Stark Trilogy #3)(7)
Author: J. Kenner

“I’ve thought about it.” His voice is low and as serious as I’ve ever heard.

I freeze. I never knew that hope could feel so cold and lifeless, but it does. “Thought about what?” I ask cautiously.

He hesitates so long that I begin to think he’s not going to answer. When he speaks, the words come slowly. “I’ve wanted you for so long,” he says. “And now that I have you, I’m risking everything there is between us.”

Yes, I want to shout. Yes! I realize that I’m digging my fingernails into the soft, damp earth, and I force myself to relax as I try not to anticipate his next words. As I try not to get my hopes up.

“I’m not convinced that revealing what Richter did to me is the panacea you and Maynard and the rest of them think it is. But maybe I should try. If it means that the charges will go away, then maybe I should sacrifice the privacy that I’ve spent my whole life fighting to maintain.”

I hear the bitterness in his voice, and I want to reach for him and hold his hand tight in mine. I don’t, though. I stay absolutely, perfectly still.

“There is no shame in being a victim, right? So why should I care if the world knows the vile things he did to me? Why should it matter if the press writes about the dark nights in my dorm room. The debasing things he made me do. Things I haven’t even told you. Things that I wish I could forget.”

He meets my eyes, but I see only the hard lines and angles of his face. “If it means that I can walk to you as a free man, shouldn’t I want to shout that story from the rooftops? Shouldn’t I want it plastered everywhere? On television, on talk shows, on the front page of newspapers? Shouldn’t I want to make my personal hell fodder for the whole damn world?”

Something cool brushes my cheek, and I realize that I am crying.

“No,” I whisper, hating the truth even as I say it. But this is the heart of who Damien is. A man who lives by his own code, and it is that core of him that I fell in love with. “Not even for me,” I say. “Not even to stay out of prison.”

I squeeze my eyes shut, and fresh tears spill out over my lashes.

The pad of his thumb brushes my cheek.

“You understand?”

“No,” I say, but I mean yes, and when I open my eyes I can see that he knows it. He moves closer to me, and my breath hitches. I hiccup a little, tasting tears as his mouth closes over mine. The kiss is soft at first, gentle and sweet. Then his hand cups the back of my head even as his other arm snakes around my waist and tugs me onto his lap.

I gasp with surprise at the movement, and he takes advantage, his mouth hardening, his tongue finding mine, his kiss becoming deeper and more demanding. I twine my fingers through his silky hair and lose myself in the sensual firmness of his mouth. In the wildness of this kiss. Our tongues meeting, our teeth clashing. My mouth will be bruised in the morning, but I cannot resist this kiss that is setting us both on fire.

I am breathing hard when he finally pulls away. My lips feel swollen and used and spectacular. I wonder if I’ve ever truly been kissed before, even by Damien. And right then, all I want is more.

I lean toward him in silent demand, but he catches me with a firm hand under my chin. I stay there, my position awkward, my eyes lifted to his.

“You are my everything, Nikki. You have to know that. You have to believe it.”

“I do,” I whisper. I see the tremor run through his body, then the way his muscles tighten as he pulls me against him and holds me close. I melt into his arms, so in love with this man that it almost hurts.

“You are my everything,” he repeats. “But I can’t be true to you if I’m not true to myself.”

“I know,” I say, my lips against the cotton of his shirt. “I get it.” I tilt my head back and look up into his eyes. “That doesn’t mean it hurts any less.”

“Then let me try to make it better.” He eases me away from his body, then bends down to kiss the corner of my mouth. “Is that where it hurts?”

I shake my head as tears tease my eyes and a small smile tugs at the corner of my mouth.

“No? Then how about here?” His lips brush my jawline, and I suck in a breath, undone by the sweetness of his touch.

“No,” I say, and my smile is no longer tremulous.

This time, his lips find the indentation at the base of my throat. I tilt my head back, giving him better access, and feel my pulse beat wildly against his lips. “That’s not it, either,” I whisper.

“Tricky,” he says. “How can I kiss it and make it better if I can’t even find it?”

“Keep looking,” I say.

“I’ll never stop,” he promises. His lips drift down, pausing over my heart that is pounding in my chest. “Not here, surely,” he says, then moves on as I laugh, the sound cut off by a raw, sensual cry when his mouth closes suddenly over my breast.


His arms around my back support me as he suckles me through the silky material of this insanely expensive dress. His teeth graze my sensitive nipple, and I arch back, lost in a desperate haze of pleasure.

“Here?” he murmurs, his lips never fully releasing me.

“Yes,” I say. “Oh, God, yes.”

“I’m not so sure,” he says when he takes his mouth off me. “I’d better keep looking.”

He shifts me gently off his lap and lays me down on the soft grass, his legs straddling my waist.

“Damien,” I murmur. “What are you—”

He hushes me with a finger, then leans over me, his mouth on my breast again. I groan with pleasure. “I told you,” he says. “I’m going to kiss it and make it better.”

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