I couldn’t stop my lips from following him, but he stayed out of reach of my kiss. Instead he groaned, ducked his head, and placed a hot kiss on my neck.

My brain was definitely dialed down. I was all body in that moment, and God, it felt good. I was only the sum of my nerve endings, which were going crazy. He exhaled heavily, and it scorched my skin. His voice was raspy when he spoke, “Sorry. Got carried away.”

Those were exactly the right words. Carried away. I had never been so caught up in another person before. I’d never been so… out of control. It at once excited and terrified me.

His face appeared before mine, and I tried to keep my expression neutral. His hand slid out of my shirt, and I shivered, my skin mourning the loss.

He took a step back. “Right. Might be time for a little more reason, little less passion.”

I laughed, but inside I was giving the middle finger to reason. It had ruled me long enough.

Chapter Three

“You’re kidding me, right?”

I stared at him, wondering if my control freak side could handle this.

His hand skimmed my jaw. “I promise I’ll go slow.”

I shook my head, and his hand dropped. “I don’t think I can do this.”

“Just hold on to me. I promise… you’ll have fun.”


“Bliss, just trust me.”

I took a deep breath. I could do this. I just had to dial down my brain like Kelsey said.

“Okay, but hurry… before I change my mind.”

His face split in a smile, and he placed a quick kiss on my temple. “That a girl.”

Then he carefully fixed the helmet over my hair, threw a leg over his motorcycle, and offered me a hand. I pushed down my reservations, and slipped my hand into his. The seat was curved so that even though I tried to sit a few inches back, I slid until my body was pressed right up against his.

His hand settled on my knee, his fingers curving until they tickled at the sensitive area at the back.

“Hold on to me.”

I did as I was told, and nearly had an aneurism when I could feel the ridges of his abs through his shirt. Suddenly I was uber-conscious of the little pudge that rested just above my jeans. He was going to take one look at my body and know that I wasn’t good enough for him. Hell, he could probably feel that pudge against his back now, and was already regretting this. Then the hand around my knee gave a quick tug, and even though I didn’t think we could get any closer, we did.

I wasn’t just pressed against him. I was plastered.

My pelvis was so tight against him that a dizzy spell tore through me. And at that same moment, we took off. I dug my hands into his middle, and he jumped, the whole motorcycle swerving to the side.

I screamed. Well, more like shrieked. Right in his ear.

He straightened us out, and then slowed to a stop at the stop sign.

“All right?”

My face buried against his shoulder, I managed to squeak out, “Yeah.”

“Sorry, love, I’m just a wee bit ticklish is all.”

“Oh.” I loosened the fingers that were practically gouging into his sides. Thank God he couldn’t see my face right now. Red was not a good look on me.

He took my hands, and pulled so that my forearms were across his middle, and my arms were wrapped completely around him.

“That’s better. Let’s give it another go.”

This time when he took off, I didn’t scream. He gained speed slowly, and I kept my cheek flat against his back with my eyes closed.

Shakespeare was stuck in my head from our earlier conversation, so I recited everything I knew to keep my mind busy. I started with Hamlet’s soliloquy. Then moved on to the St. Crispin’s Day Speech from Henry V. I was finishing up Macbeth’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow monologue when Garrick interrupted.

“You really do love the Bard.”

Mortification was becoming my default emotion. Guess I wasn’t reciting those in my head like I thought I was.

“Oh, I, um, just memorize really easily.”

My cheek still against his back, I tried to calm my sprinting heart. Now that the motorcycle wasn’t moving, my brain was free to fear that other thing that I had been actively not thinking about.


I was going to have sex.

With a boy.

A hot boy.

A hot BRITISH boy.

Or maybe I was going to throw up.

What if I threw up on the hot British boy?

What if I threw up on the hot British boy DURING SEX?


I jerked back, horrified and wondering if I accidentally spoke aloud again.


“We can get off the bike anytime.”

“Oh.” I pulled my arms back so quickly that I nearly lost my balance and fell off the bike. Luckily, with only a minor squeak, I managed to stabilize myself, and slowly slide off the bike.

Then my calf grazed a pipe on the side of the bike, and I was screaming again.

It was hot. So FREAKING hot. And now my skin was stinging.


I had limped several feet away from the bike by the time Garrick caught up to me. Despite my clenched fists, and the way I was biting down on my lip to hold in the pain, my eyes were tearing up.

His hands cupped my face first, and then he glanced down at my leg where a red welt was shining about an inch below the bottom of my capris.

“Oh bugger.”

I kept my lips clamped shut, uncertain if I could open my mouth without crying. Garrick slipped an arm around my waist, and I threw one over his shoulder.

“Come on, love. Let’s hope that locksmith has already arrived.”

For the first time, I looked around and realized where we were.

We were in my apartment complex.

We lived in the same apartment complex!

I warred over whether I should say something as he steered me toward his apartment. I almost mentioned it when we walked past my own car, but then I reminded myself that this was supposed to be a one-night thing. He was one building over from me. Thank God. What if he had lived right beside me, and I had to see him every day after the no doubt terrible sex I was about to try to have with him?

We got to his door.

No locksmith.

The skin on my calf felt hot, like I was standing right next to an open flame.

He shot me a worried look, and then pulled out his phone.

He hit the call button twice, redialing the last number he called.

He stepped away from me to talk, and I leaned heavily against the wall beside his door. Clearly, I was not meant to have sex. This was God telling me that I was meant to be a nun. Get thee to a nunnery, and all that crap.

I was so delirious I was confusing God and Shakespeare.

Garrick came back, and even his frown was gorgeous.

“Bad news. The locksmith got held up, and won’t be here for another hour.”

I tried not to cringe. I failed.

He knelt, and his fingers ran up my shin, stopping a few inches to the right of my burn. Thank God I’d shaved. He took a deep breath, and released it slowly through his nose. He closed his eyes for a moment, and then nodded.

“Right. Well, in that case, we should maybe take you to the Emergency Room.”

“What? No!”

What would Kelsey say? I went out aiming to have sex, and instead I ended up in the Emergency Room. FML.

“Bliss, the burn isn’t too bad, but if you don’t start treating it, it’s going to hurt like hell.”

I tipped my head back against the wall, and blew a stray hair out of my face. “ I don’t live far. We can just go to my place.”

“Oh. Okay.”

His grin eased back on to his face, and for a brief second I was too awash in other feelings to remember the pain. He continued, “We’ll have to be careful putting you back on the motorcycle. Wouldn’t want you to burn yourself again.”

I bit down on my bottom lip. “We don’t actually have to get on the bike.”

He gracefully arched one eyebrow.

“When I say I don’t live far. I mean that I live in the next building over.”

Both eyebrows jumped up then. His surprise only lasted a second before a different expression crossed his face—one harder to pinpoint that made the butterflies in my stomach start having seizures.

“Let’s go to your flat, then…neighbor.”

I felt weak in the knees, and not just because of the pain.

I swallowed, but my mouth still felt dry. He didn’t put his arm around me again, but his fingers touched my back lightly, and then stayed there as we walked. We arrived at my apartment in less than a minute. His hand dropped to my lower back as I rummaged for my keys, and for a second, I forgot what I was searching for.

Keys. To my apartment.

Which he was about to enter.

With me.


To have sex.




My fingers felt broken as I tried and failed to insert the key into the lock. He didn’t say anything. Nor did he take the keys from me—which was good, because that would have totally pissed me off. I may have been a mental, emotional, and physical wreck, but I didn’t need a guy to turn a key for me. His hand stayed calmly, gently, patiently against my back until I managed to force the door open.

When I stepped forward into the dark hallway, his hand didn’t follow. I looked back at him, standing on my porch, his hand now tucked casually into his pockets. His smile was crooked, endearing, and heart-stoppingly gorgeous. But he looked like he didn’t plan to come inside. This was it. He had changed his mind. Because I was a complete mess. Why wouldn’t he?

I took a breath, reminding myself that I was awesome. I was not insecure or shy. I was just a virgin. No big deal. And if I ever wanted to not be a virgin, I was going to have to have sex. Time to man, um… woman, up.

“Are you waiting for an invitation?” I asked, eyeing him standing carefully outside my door. “Is this the part where you tell me you’re a vampire?”

He chuckled. “No, I promise the paleness is only because I’m British.”

“Then what are you waiting for? What happened to the guy who made me sit to find out his name and made it abundantly clear that he didn’t want me going back to my friend?” What happened to the guy who was bold in ways I could only pretend to be?

He took one step, so that he stood in the doorframe, and leaned against the jamb. “That guy is trying to be a gentleman, because as much as he wanted you to come back to his place and as much as he wants to kiss you—you’re hurt, and I’m afraid you don’t actually want me here.”

“You mean he’s afraid.”


“You were speaking in the third person, and then switched to first…” And I was rambling.

“So I was.” He was still smiling. What did that mean? “It was nice to meet you, Bliss.”

This was the easy out if I didn’t want to go through with this. If I wanted my virginity to see the light of day… again. He was turning away. All I had to do was let him go.


He smiled a small, concealed smile, and raised that one eyebrow again.

I breathed through my fear. “If he’s trying to be a gentleman, shouldn’t he stay and try to help the injured girl who knows nothing about treating motorcycle burns?”

His eyes left mine to glance at my calf, and when he looked up again, his eyes found my lips instead.

“The injured girl is right. It would be the gentlemanly thing to do.”

Then he stepped inside my apartment and closed the door.

The light from the streetlamps outside disappeared, and we stood in the darkened hallway because my overhead light had been burnt out for weeks, and I still hadn’t replaced it.

I could feel the heat radiating off of him as he stepped closer. His hand once again settled in the small of my back, and he whispered in the dark, “Lead the way, love.”

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