dropped flat onto the sofa with a groan. “There you go again. Jesus, Deacon,
you gotta stop doing that.” Her voice was muffled since her face was buried in
what?” I asked in bewilderment. “What did I do now?”
something sweet. And you called me babe.” She turned her head to look at me.
“When you do that, I forget all the reasons we can’t be together. I start to
think of all the reasons we could work, instead. And that’s not safe. Not at
was pounding now. “What are the reasons we can’t be together . . . babe?”
moaned this time. “You did it again. Okay.” She flipped onto her back. Now her
boobs were practically falling out of her tight camisole top. I wasn’t planning
to point that out to her.
“One . . .
we work together.”
“We do.” I
nodded. “But plenty of doctors and other professionals both work together and
have relationships. All you have to do is watch medical dramas on television to
She shot me
a withering glare. “Two . . . you don’t really even like me. We argue all the
“I like you
immensely, Emma. You’re one of my favorite people in the entire world. As for
the arguing . . .maybe we did once, but not so much anymore,” I argued. “And I
have a theory that for us, all that verbal sparring isn’t really a bad thing.
It’s foreplay.” I wagged my eyebrows. “I know it gets me hot and bothered.”
Emma made a
noise that might have been frustration or defeat. I wasn’t sure. She lifted her
hand one more time. “Four . . .”
She closed her eyes. “You’re killing me.”
want that. Go on, then. You were saying . . . three.”
She nodded. “Three is that . . .” She stopped speaking, and I saw that her lips
were trembling. Her chest rose as she inhaled. “You left me, Deacon. I trusted
you. I was with you—we were together.” She let her head loll to the side so
that she was gazing into my eyes. “I loved you. And you walked away from
everything. From me. You ran away, and I was here alone, and I . . .” She
swallowed. “It hurt, Deacon. It crushed me. I can’t go through that again.”
I let my
eyes drift shut, blocking out the raw proof of her pain—pain that I had caused.
“I told you the other day, Emma—last week. I’ll tell you again. I’m not going
anywhere. I’m not going to leave you again. I promise you, I won’t. You can
trust me.” I opened my eyes again. “I’ll tell you that every day, if that’s
what it takes for you to believe me. I’ll repeat those words every single
fucking day for the rest of our lives until you know that they’re true.”
herself up to a sitting position, swinging her legs to the floor. Her gaze
never left my face. I watched as she rose slowly and carefully skirted the
coffee table until she stood in front of me. When she dropped to kneel at my
feet, I thought my heart was going to thunder out of my body.
her face with one hand. “I’m not going to leave you.”
lowered, and her tongue slipped out to swipe over her lips. “Again.”
staying here. With you. For you,
Emma. I’m not going to run away again, babe.”
her face. “Now tell me again . . . but don’t use words this time.”
have to be asked twice. Reaching down, I lifted Emma up to my lap, angling her
head so that it rested in the crook of my elbow. With my fingers on her chin, I
coaxed her to tip her mouth to me.
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