Bursting With Love

By: Melissa Foster

Savannah lifted her head from his shoulder, and when she looked up at him with those gorgeous damp eyes and he saw the fear that filled them, he didn’t think, could barely breathe. He simply lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her, wanting to take that fear from her body and breathe new, safe air into her lungs. She kissed him tentatively at first, and then as passionately as he kissed her. His tongue swept the roof of her mouth, along her teeth, learning every groove and reveling in every stroke of her delicious tongue. His body hungered for more, and as her hands slipped beneath his shirt and her fingers crawled along his waist to the center of his back, then moved slowly over the scars that peppered his skin, Jack flinched. He’d spent years hiding behind the cause of them, and now, damn it, as much as he didn’t want to hide anymore, he was nervous as hell. She pressed her hips into his, and it was all he could do to stifle a groan like a teenager with his first hard-on.

When they finally drew apart, reality came rushing at him like a barrage of fractured thoughts. Savannah didn’t need a broken man like him, and he sure as hell didn’t need to try to fill the hole in his heart the size of Mount Everest—a hole he’d just gotten used to ignoring.

“I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.” He hated how cold he sounded, but he knew it was for the best. Jack took a step backward, trying to rationalize the ache in his gut to doing the right thing—even if it felt so damn wrong that he wanted to punch a freaking tree.

Savannah stepped backward, shaking her head. “Why?”

“This isn’t what you’re here for, and it’s sure as hell not what I’m here for,” he snapped.

“But maybe it’s what we both needed,” she said.

How many times had Linda said something similar to him? Stop working and come to bed. You need me tonight. Jack clenched his jaw against the anger that mounted within him. He’d fucked up, and the hope in Savannah’s eyes nearly sent his lips right back to hers. He had to shut her down or he’d never forgive himself.

“Savannah, stop,” he said. “It was a kiss. You were scared, and I got carried away. Chalk it up to the heat of the moment. Aftershock.” He reached for her arm in spite of himself and she pulled away.

“Aftershock?” she spat. “I saw the way you looked at me down by the water and again right before you kissed me, and what I saw wasn’t a man who was carried away.”

Damn it. What the hell did she want from him? He wasn’t a fling kind of guy, and a woman like Savannah probably had men lined up around the corner. He wasn’t ready to deal with the surge of emotion that scared the shit out of him when they’d kissed, and he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be ready again.

“I’m sorry,” was all he could muster.

Savannah narrowed her eyes like the angry bobcat that had just run off. “What were you doing out here anyway?” she asked. “Spying on me?” She cocked her head and looked at him out of the corner of her eye.

Jack wasn’t about to tell her that he spent most nights lying awake, too anxious to sleep, swimming in and out of fitful sleep, or that he often spent several hours sitting beneath the stars, replaying that fateful night of the accident in his mind like a bad rerun.

He dropped his eyes, thinking about how tonight he’d been on the verge of tears out of sheer frustration when he’d spotted Savannah walking into the woods, her eyes wide, her slim fingers trailing from tree to tree, and how seeing her had quelled his tears. Just as meeting her had given life to stirrings he hadn’t felt in years. He’d almost been glad to spot the bobcat because it gave him a reason to be closer to her.

“Jack?” she said just above a whisper. “Is this about your wife?”

How the hell do you know? Anger twisted in his gut. “No, this is not about my wife.” He pushed past her. “It was a fucking mistake, okay?”

She grabbed his arm. “Hey, wait a second, please.”

He spun around. He felt his chest heaving, his nostrils flaring. He looked down at Savannah. The eight inches between them seemed like a foot. She looked fragile and scared, but not half as scared as he felt at that moment as his anger shifted and swirled through his stomach to his chest and burned a path to his heart.

“Sorry. I didn’t…”

He closed the distance between them and put his hands on her arms. She was so soft and so damn sexy, even now, scared and trembling. Every nerve in his body cried out for her touch, and his heart—his stupid goddamn heart—wanted to kiss that fear away, and so did he. He was so turned on, it took all his focus not to lean forward and taste her lips again.

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