“Stop!” I shriek, thrashing on his lap like a fish out of water. “Ryder, stop!”
He digs at my hip again, sending me tumbling into an endless fit of laughter. My lungs burn because I can’t breathe and my sides ache from the exertion. I topple over and land on my side, and Ryder comes with me, sliding on top of me in one smooth, swift movement. “I think we’ve played enough games for today ,” he says, running the palms of his hands up the sides of my thighs. His thumbs roll slow, soothing circles into my skin before hooking into the sides of my panties to peel them down my legs. My laughter subsides and I look up at him, my chest heaving as I regain my breath. We lie there on the floor in a tangled heap of limbs, while the fire’s warmth gives Ryder’s face a soft glow.
Small pops crackle from the fire and gravitate toward us, saturating the silence.
Lowering his forehead to my shoulder, Ryder kisses the skin there. “Do you feel it yet?”
“Feel what?” Desolation? Helplessness? Excitement? I feel all of those things.
“This.” Ryder’s hand slides down my chest and torso like silk, slipping beneath my skirt, easy as breathing. I gasp as his fingers slip inside of me. “Desire. The same kind I feel for you.”
“You know I do.”
He strokes me for a moment then stops, leaving me panting while he reaches back to the couch to pick up the bowl of ice cream. It’s melted now, each color swirling together like mixed paint. “Feed me,” he whispers, lifting the bowl to me.
My dazed gaze drifts to the bowl. I hesitantly sit up on my elbows and cradle it, watching him curiously as I begin to spoon him the milky leftovers. He accepts a spoonful, then another, groaning in appreciation. He pushes the spoon away when he’s satisfied and I set the bowl down, watching as he brings my hand to his lips. Sucking one finger then the next, he moves slowly from tip to tip, drawing me farther and farther away from our question-and-answer session.
“Ryder,” I breathe.
He closes his lips over my right index finger and sucks, drawing it slowly from his mouth. The mixture of cool and warm coats my skin, and I wonder how I’ll ever enjoy ice cream without Ryder after tonight. “I really want this,” he says. “Us.”
I shut my eyes and he moves in, brushing his lips against mine. “You have us. Right here.”
My eyes drift open.
He deepens the kiss, murmuring against my mouth. “I’ll never just drive away, Elise Duchamp.”
The words zap me like a stun gun. My voice comes out in a light rasp. Small and breathless. “I’ve hurt people, Ryder.”
He studies me for a moment but doesn’t respond, only deepens his kiss. I cave into him, letting him devour me whole. I don’t know what I can give him. I don’t know if I have anything at all. But I do know that Ryder Jacobson is trouble.
The good kind.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachael Wade is the Amazon bestselling author of THE PRESERVATION SERIES, LOVE AND RELATIVITY, and the upcoming New Adult sci-fi series, THE KEEPERS TRILOGY. When she's not writing, she's busy going to concerts, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect animals and the environment. She's an avid Brandi Carlile fan and loves all things Tim Burton. Visit her at RachaelWade.com and LightsOnLove.com, and come chat with her on Twitter@RachaelWade.
Connect with Rachael:
Criminal – Fiona Apple
Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey (Theme Song)
Burning Desire – Lana Del Rey (Elise’s Song)
Off to the Races – Lana Del Rey (Masked Ball Scene)
Who Will Save Your Soul – Jewel
9 Crimes – Damien Rice
Breathe Me – Sia
Foolish Games – Jewel
These Boots Were Made for Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra
Just Give Me a Reason - Pink
Hole in My Hand - Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Hands – Jewel
Poison and Wine – The Civil Wars
Society – Eddie Vedder version (Ryder’s song)
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac (Thanksgiving Day Scene)
In the Sun – Joseph Arthur
Winter – Tori Amos
Born to Die – Lana Del Rey (Elise and Ryder’s Song)
Blue Jeans – Lana Del Rey (Elise’s song for Ryder)
Época – Gotan Project
Spark – Tori Amos
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Tori Amos version
Please Don’t Leave Me - Pink
Empty – Ray LaMontagne
Jolene – Ray LaMontagne
Thin Line - HoneyHoney
This Year’s Love - David Gray
House of the Rising Sun - Animals
Be Be Your Love – Rachael Yamagata
Secrets – OneRepublic
National Anthem (album version) – Lana Del Rey (Epilogue)
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