Home > Secrets Vol. 2 (Secrets #2)(12)

Secrets Vol. 2 (Secrets #2)(12)
Author: H.M. Ward

As he sets things up for the pose he wants, he says, "Why do you always offer an escape clause?" The sneer slides off my face and I look at him. His broad shoulders are reaching above his head as he moves the lights back away from the set.

"What are you talking about?"

Cole doesn't look at me when he replies. He continues moving around the set, putting things in place. "You ask these jarring, emotionally loaded questions that demand an honest answer, but you tack on these clauses that allow the person you're asking to back out and not answer."

"Again, what are you talking about? I'm tired of your games and you're PMS is giving me whiplash."

Cole stops and looks down at me. His eyes are glinting, brilliant blue. "It's amazing that you're that blind - that you can't see what you do to me. I swear, Anna..." his hands clench and he forces them open. His eyes shut tight and when he reopens them, he looks down at me shaking his head, "Deranged logic? Really? That's easier to believe than the truth?"

"Oh, please," I say, feeling too exposed. "Like you'd tell me the truth anyway." I avert my gaze, too upset to look at him, but Cole stands over me. He falls to his knees with the remote in his hand.

"I've told you things that I never told anyone. I'd tell you anything you have the guts to ask without adding those ridiculous clauses to at the end." He flicks the light and the room goes black.

My heart is racing and I twitch when I hear the camera shutter. It's a prolonged exposure and I know that I can't move or I'll mess up the image. A blue light appears and he starts to move around me, running the light up and down my sides quickly.

His voice fills the shadows, "If you asked, I'd tell you that you inspire me. Your passion ignited something within me, something that I thought was gone a long time ago. I'd tell you that I think you're too young for me. That I'll only hurt you if I act and do the things I want to do with you." The light is over my lips and they part. My gaze is on his face. He's close to me, kneeling, crawling around my nak*d body on the floor. "Stay like that. That's perfect, Anna."

The question I want to ask burns in my mind, but I don't move. Cole grows quiet as he crawls around me, covering my body in light, inch by inch. When the shutter clicks again, I know I can speak.

I start to sit up, but his hands are on my shoulders holding me down. "Don't move. Everything is perfect. I don't want to reset the pose." I still under his hands, and he releases me, saying, "Ask your question, Lamore."

"How do you feel about me?" Before I can say anything else, the shutter on the camera snaps open and I'm still again. Cole doesn't respond right away. His light is next to my hair, moving in rapid sweeps over the right side of my body.

Finally he says, "Too many things. I feel like I know you, but I'm not entirely sure I do." Moving to my breast, he waves the light close to my skin. I fight the urge to move, to speak. He continues, "I feel like I want to know you more. There is nothing about you that doesn't captivate me. You're addicting, and I can't help myself, Anna. I want things from you, things I can't have. I feel things I shouldn't feel." His voice trails off as he moves around me.

My body reacts to his words and it becomes harder and harder to stay still. He's so close. That light sweeping over my body puts his hand just above my skin. As it passes over, I wish he was really touching me. My mind is racing with thoughts. While I know the age difference is large, I don't know why he holds back.

When the shudder snaps, I ask him, "What do you feel, Cole?"

He presses the button almost immediately. I barely had time to ask. He speaks as he works. A dim blue glow outlines his face. He looks haunted, pained almost. His voice is a breath, barely a whisper. He doesn't move this time. The light doesn't flash, outlining my body. He just sits there next to me on his knees, staring into the darkness, "I feel like I'm falling in love with you Anna. And it doesn't matter what I do, I can't stop." He's breathing hard, looking down at me.

When he answers this time, I reach for him. I thread my fingers behind his neck and pull his lips down on mine. Cole tries to pull away, but I don't let him. I can feel him warring with himself. The tension in his back and the strength of his arms says he's trying to resist, but I hold him to me, gently stroking his lips with my tongue. When I push inside his mouth, when the kiss deepens, he melts into me. His body relaxes and Cole kisses me back, softly at first. His hands find my face and I hear the remote fall to the floor. His body lines up with mine, and I can feel his erection through his jeans. He presses against me and I moan, wanting to feel him inside of me. My hands drift down his sides, feeling the curve of his body beneath my hands.

Cole's fingers tangle in my hair. As his hands slide down my face, he touches my neck, skimming my br**sts until they land on my hips. He pulls me tighter to his body and kisses me harder, sweeping the inside of my mouth with his tongue. Every kiss grows hotter, making my heart pound harder. His hands on my bare skin are sending currents through my body and I can't ignore them. I realize that I don't want to. The room is so hot that Cole's body slides against me. Running my hands under his shirt, I place my palms on his back. When Cole holds me tighter I feel safe and wanted. His fingers find my n**ples and he teases me, holding them between his fingers, kissing me gently.

I gasp as he does it and arch my back to thrust my breast toward his mouth. I want him to kiss me, to taste me. There's nothing in this moment besides me and him. The lostness, the longing I've felt for so long, fades away as I feel my body growing hotter in Cole's arms. I want to feel his body moving with mine. I want to know every inch of him. I want to slide my tongue over his beautiful body and make him scream my name. Cole's kisses explode with passion. He moves like this isn't real, like I'll suddenly tell him to get off of me. His warm kisses trail my neck as his breathing increases. Another hard breath rushes from my lungs. Every muscle in my body is tense, crying out for release.

Cole shifts his weight so that one of his legs is between mine, and the other is off to the side. The muscles in his arms are corded tight as he holds himself up to keep from crushing me. I take his hand in mine and lower it slowly. His fingers are beneath mine. As I move his hand, I feel his palm slide over my stomach and down to my thigh. Cole lifts his lips from my neck. He breathes hard, watching me, feeling my skin. His palm is hot as his hand moves lower and lower.

Our eyes lock. This is more than kisses, more than lust. I feel it. I know he feels it. As his hand slides over the crystals on my lower lips, I look into his eyes. He doesn't breathe. My mouth is parted, waiting for him to reach his fingers between my legs and stroke me. My knees part and as I move his hand there, but he stops. The sound of my pulse roars in my ears. Cole breathes slowly, stilling his hand. It rests just a little too high. His thumb rubs one of the stones on my skin, hesitating.

Breathless, Cole pulls his hand away and sits up. "I'm sorry, Anna."

I don't know what happened. Sitting up, I try to take his arm, but he's already pushing off the floor. I can see him in the dim blue glow of the light he was using. I roll onto my side and grab his wrist before he can walk away. Just as I grab him, the blue light flickers once and dies. There is nothing but touch and shadows.

We are disembodied voices in the dark. I can't see him. I can only sense where he is. I swear that I can hear his heart pounding in his chest. My hands search for his face. I find his cheeks and slide my hands across his strong jaw, feeling the stubble beneath my fingers. "Cole, stop. I want this as much as you do..." He's quiet. The tension grows between us. I lean forward until I can feel his breath on my lips. "Cole?"

"Anna, I - "

I breathe, "Do you want me?"

He says nothing, but he doesn't pull away. Every inch of my skin is prickling. I can't release him. Not until he says it'll never happen. The longer the silence stretches, the more my heart sinks. I finally add, "If you don't, I'll never mention this again, but if you do... if you really think you're falling in love with me - "

He pulls away and rips my heart out of my chest. I'm shaking, and I can't stop. I hear his footfalls cross the room. The light flips on. He tosses me my robe. It falls on the floor next to me. He doesn't turn back.

Facing away from me like I'm too difficult to look at, Cole says, "Get dressed. I got what I needed."

The way his voice carries across the room makes me shudder. It's like part of him is locked away and I'll never get it. As he hurries away from me, I'm shocked into silence. I don't understand what's happening, why Cole shuts downs like this. Sitting nak*d on the floor, I realize that the only time Cole behaves like this is when he acts on his feelings.

Chapter 12

By the time I pull on my robe, Cole is nowhere to be found. I walk to my room and shower, washing off the rest of the adhesive that clings to my skin. I want to know why Cole ran. How could he say he's falling in love with me, and then refuse to touch me? For a moment, I feel sick, like maybe he didn't want me, that he just said those things to touch me - but that isn't like him. I've seen him shoot other women. Cole isn't that guy. He doesn't give or take affection lightly. The water pelts me in the face and I realize that I can't rationalize what happened. I can't make it go away.

By the time I get dressed, it's midafternoon. I pull my hair into a high ponytail and go to search for Regina. As mortifying as it is, I have to smooth things over with her. When I find her, she's in the storage area sorting through old backdrops. Her red hair is draped over her shoulders as she hunches over boxes, unpacking them one by one. Regina glances up at me as I enter the doorway and quickly averts her eyes.

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