Home > Damaged (Damaged #1)(4)

Damaged (Damaged #1)(4)
Author: H.M. Ward

I make myself comfortable on his couch, kick off my heels, pull my feet under me, and curl into the arm of the couch. It smells like him. I rest my face against the soft suede and breathe the scent in. It’s musky and masculine. God, he smells good. If couches were sexy, this one would be a cover model. Pressing my nose to the arm, I inhale deeply.

Peter chooses that moment to reappear, plate in hand, and stops. He’s staring at me with an amusedly shocked expression on his face. “Are you sniffing my couch?”

“No!” I sit up fast, too fast. I panic. He’s staring at me like I’m a freak. I probably am, I mean I was snorting the guy’s couch. I need a diversion. Anything. I reach into my brain and pull out the only thing that’s there.

Using my best bedroom voice, I wink at him and ask “Can I distract you with some coffee?”

Peter’s face glows when he laughs. He takes the few steps forward and hands me the plate. I gratefully take it. For a brief moment, I consider pulling the sandwich apart and hiding behind the bread. The way Peter is looking at me doesn’t help the rosy glow on my face. I got caught sniffing his couch. God, I can’t think of anything worse than that. He probably thinks I escaped from the asylum.

We stay quiet too long, which makes me nervous. Between bites, I ask him the basics. “So, you don’t sound like a hick, but I can’t tell where you’re from.”

“Connecticut. Yankee-ville, same as you, little Miss Jersey.”

“You moved down here for work?”

Peter nods. “Yeah. It was time for a change of pace.” He looks away from me when he says it, his eyes dropping to the floor. There’s more there, something heavy, but I don’t press him. “This place came up on the grid, and I thought Texas would be different, so I went for it and managed to piss off my entire family. That was a bonus.” He tilts his head at me before sitting down on the couch.

“Yeah, my family was mad when I came down here, too. They gave me the old Italian guilt about abandoning my family... Like they can’t function without me?” I bite my sandwich and shake my head. “My family is so tight that none of us can breathe without someone else knowing about it. I was glad to get out of there. I needed space.” I finish the sandwich and look for a spot to put the plate.

“I know what you mean.” Peter smiles at me and takes the plate from my hand. “Honestly, you’re the first person I’ve spoken to down here that I get along with. Everyone else seems as if they escaped from a movie set.”

“I know, right? I said that to Millie when I first moved down here. Actually, I said it to a group of people. Millie was the only one who laughed, which made her quality friend material. The rest of the people scowled at me.”

“Millie is the girl that came to get you from my table?” Peter asks, before he goes into the kitchen to grab the coffee.

I nod. When he walks back out of the kitchen, I ask, “Hey, what were you planning on doing when I figured out that you weren’t my blind date?”

Peter brings me a cup of coffee and sits down next to me again. “I didn’t know you thought you were on a blind date. I figured it out when you did, maybe a second sooner. The look on your face was so adorable. I’m glad you stopped and said something when you came outside.” Peter looks at me over the top of his mug as he sips his coffee. Those blue eyes are intoxicating. I can’t stop staring at him.

We talk about nothing for a while longer, until I put my cup down on a box next to me. The entire time we chat, I feel pulled to him. There’s something there, something about him that holds onto me and connects deeper than I’ve connected with anyone—and for some reason I’m not afraid. I don’t know what it is, exactly.

Peter has an easy way about him. That smile lights up his entire face when he flashes it at me. Yet, there’s a haunted look behind his eyes, like his life has been harder than he lets on. I sense it in him. Like calls to like and my life has been anything but easy. When I find another person who has that fragile, battered, spirit, I instantly relate. The thing is, there aren’t that many of them. I don’t know if other people lay down and die when things go wrong or they harden so much they’re no longer alive. I refuse to bend, refuse to turn to stone. The pain in my life won’t destroy me. I won’t let it. I see the same conviction in his eyes and hear it in his voice. There’s something he left behind, someone who scarred him. The pleasantries, that cocky grin and those dazzling eyes, try to hide it from me, but I know it’s there. He’s damaged like me. It pulls me to him in a way that’s too powerful to ignore.

Peter reaches past me and sets his empty cup on the same box. His arm brushes against mine as he does. I breathe him in. God, he smells good. That pull between us gets even stronger. When he straightens, we’re sitting very close. Peter’s sapphire eyes lock with mine and my stomach goes into a free fall. This is it. I can feel it. I can sleep with this guy and erase the last one. I’ve already come this far. It’s a few more steps, a few more minutes. I can do this. I can.

Besides, the guy makes me feel as though I can actually be with him. I want to touch him, which is so strange. I haven’t felt like this in a really long time. It’s as if he brought me back to life. And right now, it’s all I can do to sit here and not thrust my fingers into his hair. I want to feel him against me. I want that kiss on his lips, the one that he’s been teasing me with all night. Peter’s breath crosses my cheek when he exhales. It’s warm and perfect. My heart races faster as he moves closer to me. His eyes study my face, taking in every detail. Nerves twist my stomach in giddy anticipation.

Peter lifts his hands and strokes his fingers along one side of my face, gently caressing my cheek. My eyes close in response, and I lean into his hand. Every part of me flutters to life. My voice is caught in my throat. I can’t speak. I feel the tension building between us and I’m going to melt. I want to melt. I want to stop thinking for a while, I want to move on with my life and lose myself in his kiss. This is so weird for me, but I don’t pull away. I force myself forward.

Heat shoots through my body and I feel myself inching toward him, wanting to taste his kiss, wanting to hold him against me. Peter’s fingers brush my hair away from my face, and he dips his head and covers my lips with his. I suck in a jagged breath, unable to hide how much he affects me. Peter’s bottom lip brushes against mine. He kisses me softly, hesitantly at first. Each kiss is slow and tentative, wanting to know if I want more. Nipping my bottom lip with his teeth, Peter kisses me and I respond. I lean into him and press my mouth roughly against his. I feel his tongue brush the seam of my lips, asking for them to part. He sweeps against them lightly once, twice, and I open my mouth. Brushing his tongue along the curves of my mouth, Peter kisses me deeper. I moan, leaning into him, not wanting it to stop. Every part of my body is burning up. Every bit of me is hyper-sensitive to his touch. As his hands touch my skin, I feel lighter, like I’m floating.

I press myself closer to Peter, and trail my fingers up his back, feeling the curves of his toned body. Peter’s hands respond by drifting lower to my waist and slipping under the hem of my shirt. When he touches me, it feels good. My pulse races. I can’t slow it. I can’t hide my rapid breaths or what he’s doing to me. Peter’s touch sets me on fire. I pull him down on top of me, and we lay back on his couch. His lips don’t stop and neither do mine.

I’ve never responded this way before. I’ve had hot kisses before, but this isn’t the same. This is a connection that runs deeper. His kiss shoots through me like an arrow, catching on the anchor that weighs down my soul. There are few times that I’m certain of anything, and now is one of them. Peter Granz is different. Everything from his touch to his voice draws me to him.

My fingers work at the buttons on his shirt. When I push back the fabric, it falls to the floor to reveal a chiseled chest and rock hard abs. I gasp, and run my fingers over the contours of his body. Peter watches me as I slide my hand across his chest and trail my fingers down to his stomach. When I hit his waistband, I slow my hand and glance at his eyes.

“You’re beautiful,” he breathes. Lowering his head, Peter dips and presses a slow kiss to my neck. I close my eyes and enjoy the sensations shooting through my body. His hands move over the bodice of my dress, slowly testing how far he can go. When his palm brushes over my breast, I moan into his ear. My h*ps push into his and I can feel how hard he is, how much he wants me.

Peter’s kisses trail down my neck, leaving a hot wake behind. His mouth is so hot. Every time he presses a kiss to my skin, my back lifts off the couch. I can’t stay still. Everything he does makes me respond. My hands find his back and sweep over his muscles. They’re so tense, so hard. Peter shifts his weight, moving one leg to the side. Watching me, he touches the neckline of my dress, slowly pushing the shoulder strap down. Breathing slow and deep, I watch him. His eyes darken as he looks at me. His fingers gently pull the other strap until it comes loose. I feel his eyes on me. I know that I want this. Peter slips down the top of my dress.

I’m wearing a sheer black bra. He can see everything. Peter’s eyes drink me in as though he could never get enough, before lowering his head to my breast. His lips move over the fabric at first, teasing me, making my n**ples so hard that they ache. Rational thought has left my body. I’m moaning beneath him, pressing myself against him. This feels right and I want this. I want to feel his lips on me. I want to feel his tongue flick against me. I moan and tangle my hands in his dark hair. My back arches and thrusts me harder against his mouth. Peter’s hands move to my straps. He slips off one strap and exposes the soft skin beneath.

Peter kisses my bare shoulder. His mouth drifts lower, burning a path of hot kisses to my breast. I feel his hand, hot and heavy, pass over the curves. He holds me for a moment, feeling me against his hand. Peter’s thumb brushes my nipple making my h*ps move on their own. Breathing hard, I say his name, begging him to kiss me, to touch me there. His lips brush against my skin and I melt. My entire body responds to him. Every inch of me is on fire, hot, wanting—no needing—him. Peter kisses and nips me until I’m lost in a thick haze of lust. My h*ps rock against his, wanting more.

That’s when he lowers a hand to my leg and traces his finger slowly up my inner thigh. My legs fall open. I suck in a breath, wanting his hand to slip under my dress, to that hot spot between my legs. Peter moves slowly, watching me. His hand brushes over the outside of my panties, touching me lightly. The movement makes me crazy. I can’t stand the way Peter teases me, how he watches me like he knows what he’s doing to me. My nails find his forearms and scratch. It’s as if that action breaks what’s left of Peter’s self-control, and in seconds he’s on top of me, pressing me harder into the couch. His hand is between my legs and his lips are on my breast. I writhe against his hand, with a thousand different sensations shooting through my body.

Everything is perfect until a startlingly loud sound breaks the spell. The phone in the kitchen rings, echoing in the empty apartment. Peter stops moving. The jarring noise won’t end. It keeps ringing and ringing. Peter sighs into my shoulder. We’re both still for a moment, until he pushes up.

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