Only with You (The Best Mistake #1) - Page 30

I think you’re mine.

She skidded to a halt as reality sunk in. “I need to go make sure clean up is under control.”

He turned around. “So make a phone call.”

She narrowed her eyes.

He narrowed his right back. A challenge.

“Okay, I’ll go with you, but I’m not helping you cook,” she said.

“As if I’d let you anywhere near a knife.”

“Is this like a…friends’ dinner?”

He signed and moved toward her. Leaning down, he stamped an impatient kiss on her lips. Pulled back. Did it again, lingering this time. Well, that answered that question.

Friends didn’t kiss like that.

“Okay?” he asked impatiently.

“Okay,” she said quietly.

“Excellent. Now let’s get going. I want to stop and get a first-aid kit on the way.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

I can’t believe you made me eat so much,” Sophie groaned as she curled up on Gray’s couch, pulling her bare feet beneath her.

“I can’t believe you made me start a fire,” he replied.

Sophie snorted. “By ‘start a fire,’ I suppose you mean flipping a switch and letting the gas flames roar to life?”

“Still, it’s May. You’re wearing shorts and sandals. A fire feels incongruous.”

“It’s cozy,” she corrected as she accepted the glass of dessert wine he handed her, loving the casual way he let his fingers brush hers as though they’d done this a thousand times before. As though they hadn’t spent the past months either ignoring each other or clawing at each other’s throats or tearing out each other’s hearts.

He settled on the couch next to her, not quite touching, but close enough for her to feel his body warmth. Sophie longed to lean against him, but as much progress as they’d made today, she wasn’t sure he was ready for companionable contact.

She’d never seen Gray like this. He was easy, comfortable. Perhaps not quite chatty, but he’d lost that wary, nervous look he’d always worn like a suit of armor.

Was this a date?

As with their first disastrous dinner, the food had been fabulous. He claimed that he would just “whip something up,” which, in the Wyatt home, apparently equated to veal carpaccio, beet and arugula salad, and some sort of delicate fish in a delicious vanilla-saffron sauce.

Sophie had been the one to keep the conversation light and easy, as was her expertise, but he’d more than held his own, even opening up about his hopes of improving his relationships with Jack and Jenna. They both stared quietly into the fire for a moment, and for the first time in longer than she could remember, Sophie felt content.

There was nobody she had to impress or comfort or appease. She could just be.

She realized it had always been that way with Gray. At first, she hadn’t bothered trying to impress him because the effort would be futile. He’d seemed determined to dislike her.

But then she’d quit trying to impress him for a different reason. Somewhere between typing up his reports and bowling with his family, Sophie realized that Gray didn’t want her to put on a show. In fact, the times when he seemed to withdraw the most were when she was at her most cute. The more she sparkled and charmed, the more sullen he’d gotten.

Gray had always seemed to want to see the real her. And somewhere along the line, she’d begun to let him.

She rotated her body slightly, and, resting her cheek against the back of the couch, she stared up at him. He glanced at her briefly, but turned away just as quickly.

“What now?” he asked. But his tone was without rancor or annoyance, and she smiled. When had his abrupt irritability started to make her grin like a fool?

“Tell me about Jessica,” she said, the words coming out in a rush. It was a risk, and she mentally crossed her fingers that he wouldn’t shut down.

He didn’t respond for several moments, and she panicked, realizing she’d pushed him too far and too fast. But Gray was full of surprises tonight, and although he wouldn’t look at her, he finally spoke.

“You mean Ashley and Jenna haven’t spilled the whole sad story?”

“No. They alluded to it being a Titanic-type situation, but both insisted that it wasn’t their story to tell.”

“It’s not really something I talk about.”

“Okay,” she said, not wanting to scare him off. “I didn’t mean to pry, it’s just so strange to think of you…”

He gave a sad smile. “Of course you mean to pry. And what, is it hard for you to imagine me on one knee pouring my heart out?”

A mental image flashed through Sophie’s

mind, and she felt sucker punched. She could imagine it. Suddenly she longed for it. But it wasn’t Jessica that she pictured. It was herself. Smiling down at Gray. He wouldn’t be smiling, of course, but his eyes would be…loving.

She shook her head slightly to block out the painfully impossible image. Too fast, Sophie. The man is just now beginning to speak in full sentences. Let’s not rush him to the altar.

Taking a steadying breath, she smiled easily at him. “I just can’t picture a loner like yourself as the marrying kind,” she said teasingly.

Liar, her heart said.

“Yeah, neither could Jessica,” he said without expression.

“Tell me about her.”

“No.”

“Gray.”

“Sophie.”

“Did we not fight our way through a pile of plastic balls today? Did we not shimmy up a net like a couple of chimps?” Did you not kiss my brains out and tell me I was yours? she added silently.

His lips twitched. “That was different.”

“True, it was. Different in that there were about a billion people that could have seen and overheard. Here it’s just the two of us. Nobody but me, wanting to know about you.”

Take a chance on me.

He glanced at her briefly, then looked away. Glanced back again. “It’s not a good story, Sophie.”

“Breakups rarely are. C’mon, spill. I’ll tell you about all of my ex-boyfriends.”

“I don’t want to hear about ex-boyfriends.”

“Jealous?” she teased.

He didn’t respond, but she saw a little tic in his jaw.

Sophie sighed. “Okay, fine. We won’t talk about your precious Jessica. I’ll just ask your brother. Jack’s much more forthcoming. And friendly. And—”

“She left me,” he said sharply, staring down at his wineglass. “She’d been sleeping with a partner of mine for months. Someone I considered a friend. He got drunk at our engagement party and announced to two hundred people that he’d been f**king the bride-to-be.”

“My God,” Sophie said. She’d sort of suspected cheating, but not a public spectacle of it. “Did she try to deny it?”

Gray snorted. “Nope. Didn’t even blink in guilt. Just told me that I should have seen it coming. That someone like her couldn’t be expected to be satisfied by a mannequin. I think there was something in there about me not having a heart worth caring about.”

Sophie gasped, both at the cruel words and the carefully removed tone with which he said them. She felt waves of guilt. Hadn’t she been guilty of thinking the same thing about him since day one? She wondered how many of her careless observations about his lack of emotion must have reminded him of Jessica’s words.

“Gray,” she said, laying a hand on his arm.

He surprised her by turning his hand up to grasp hers, his thumb rubbing her knuckles as he looked down at their clasped hands.

“Don’t try to put a Band-Aid on this one, Sophie. Let it be.”

She swallowed, her heart hurting at his ragged expression and what it meant.

“You loved her,” she said with surprise.

She’d assumed that whatever he’d had with Jessica must have been a sterile, businesslike arrangement. A mutually beneficial convenience.

But the raw expression on his face said otherwise.

“I thought I did,” he said in answer to her question. “It felt something like that. She was friendly and pretty, and everyone liked her. She could make me laugh.”

“Like me,” she said, as he confirmed what she’d suspected. His initial dislike of her hadn’t just been because of her hooker boots. Everything about her had been like salt on his most painful wound.

“Are you calling yourself pretty?” he teased.

She smiled back. “Aren’t I?”

His eyes roamed over her face, warming every spot they touched. “You’re beautiful.”

She clucked her tongue. “Well played, Mr. Wyatt. Bet you’ve been practicing that delivery in the mirror—”

And then he kissed her. Really kissed her.

Not a kiss out of anger or frustration or an attempt to prove something. He was kissing her because he wanted to. And she was kissing him right back.

He set both of their wineglasses on the table, but before he could reach for her again, she’d launched herself at him, straddling his lap.

“I should have known it would only be a matter of time before you tried to take control,” he said.

“Tried to take control?” she asked. She ground her h*ps slightly against the bulge in his jeans. “Feels to me like I am in control.”

“Oh yeah?” He leaned forward and nipped at the tip of her breast. Even though it was through the layers of her shirt and bra, she gasped.

“Are you sure we should do this?” she asked breathlessly.

“No. I’m never sure of anything with you.”

They stared at each other, both aware that they were on a ledge from which there was no turning back. She willed him to make the first move. Without breaking eye contact, he slid his hand behind her neck, then his fingers tangled roughly in her hair. He pulled her close but didn’t kiss her again. He seemed to be waiting for her permission.

Lost in the storm of his eyes, she felt herself leaning forward slightly, her lips parting.

He needed no further invitation. His arm slid around her lower back, pulling her toward him as his other hand tugged her face roughly down to his. If the kiss in the park today had been unexpectedly steamy, she went into this kiss fully expecting the rush. And it delivered.

Gray may have initiated the kiss, but Sophie took it over, rubbing her body against his in blatant want, even as she kept her mouth light and teasing. She wouldn’t let him take the kiss as deep as he wanted, and she loved the growing tension in his body. Finally he simply clamped his hands on her h*ps and held her against him, allowing her full reign over him. She tasted everything she could reach.

The kiss was every bit as hot as the one earlier in The Castle, but this one had an extra layer of emotion. Somewhere under the burning haze of sexual desire she felt the pull of something else.

This kiss wasn’t just about this moment. It held the promise of something more. Much more.

Pushing the thought out of her mind, she bit his bottom lip. Gray growled, and had apparently reached his limit in allowing control to someone else because he pulled back and took over. Suddenly, she was her back on his leather couch, staring up into eyes that had gone nearly black. His hands slid to her waist and held her still.

They were both breathing heavily, and she tried to resist the urge to say something witty. It wasn’t exactly a moment for talking, but she saw the same confused emotion in his eyes that she was feeling, and she longed to say something to lighten the mood.

They weren’t ready for this kind of intensity. She opened her mouth to make a joke, but Gray set two fingers over it, brushing her lips softly. He tore his gaze away from her face, and his eyes roamed over her body, leaving a trail of fire everywhere he looked.

Touch me, she thought.

As if hearing her plea, his hand slowly began stroking along her side, his fingertips just barely brushing the undersides of her br**sts before they swept idly back down to her waist. She let her hands do some exploring of their own, learning the shape of his shoulders and the slope of his chest. He’d changed into a casual white button-down when they’d gotten back to his house, and her fingers toyed with the buttons, searching his eyes for any indication that he was going to back out.

Then his hands slid back up over her br**sts and squeezed softly. Nope, he definitely didn’t want to stop. She closed her eyes and arched her back as his thumbs began brushing against the tight peaks of her breasts. Sophie wanted his mouth there, but he continued toying with her, alternating with playful tweaks and slow caresses.

Her fingers resumed their mission of unbuttoning his shirt, loving each inch of skin she revealed. She raked her nails slightly down his chest and he sucked in a breath before pulling her into a sitting position. All pretense of patience gone, she tore at his shirt as he tugged awkwardly at her cardigan.

When he roughly pulled her shirt over her head, he groaned at the sight of her in a bra and jeans. She wasn’t exactly wearing her sexiest lingerie, but luckily she’d skipped the ugly nude-colored bargain bra this morning and had settled on a very respectable baby-blue demi-cup.

He looked at her nearly exposed br**sts as though he wanted to devour her. She wanted him to devour her. Instead he merely ran one finger along the top slope of her right breast.

“Pretty,” he whispered.

Sophie wasn’t sure what caused her to melt more, the feel of his lips pressing soft kisses all over her exposed chest or the whispered compliments. When he reached behind her to unhook her bra she could do little more than sigh his name.

His mouth wrapped around her nipple as his hand slid down her stomach to the button of her jeans. For a man so restrained in other areas of his life, he was surprisingly aggressive in this one. He knew just went to suck, when to lightly lick, when to tease, and when to gently rake his teeth over the sensitive tip. Sophie barely registered her jeans being removed, but she suddenly became very aware of the warm hand sliding into her panties.