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|Throttle Me(Men of Inked #1) by Chelle Bliss|
“Depends. You mad at me?” I asked, praying he said no.
“I’m not mad. We gotta talk, Suzy.” His eyes begged me to let him in as his brows furrowed together.
“Okay.” I rested my head against his hard chest and rubbed my palm against his pec.
I handed him the keys as we approached the door. Anger was no longer visible, but the tilted grin I’d grown accustomed had vanished. He kicked off his boots before he walked across my white carpet, placing me on the couch. The couch dipped from his weight, but I couldn’t look him in the eye. I fiddled with my fingers as the silence became deafening. The alcohol-induced haze had started to wear off and I felt a small buzz.
“Why the hell didn’t you call me today? I thought we made plans. What the f**k did I do wrong?” His words made me cringe; sadness was evident in his voice.
“I wanted to put distance between us. You didn’t do anything wrong.” I shook my head meeting his eyes.
“Distance? What for?” The space between his eyebrows drew together as the skin wrinkled in between.
“I just don’t think we’ll work out” I shrugged.
“Woman, you think too damn much and it’s f**ked up. Blew my ass off for that douchebag tonight and how’d that shit turn out for you?” He paused before continuing. “What makes you think we don’t have a shot?”
I looked away from him, unable to look him in the eyes. “We’re just so different, City. I don’t see a future between us and at my age, I’m looking forward. I don’t live life by the seat of my pants like you. We have nothing in common and we run in different worlds.” Water clouded my vision as I stared at the wall across the room. I blinked trying to clear the tears from my eyes.
Sighing he reached for my face, touching my cheek and pulling my face to look in his directions. “Look at me, sugar.” His eyes moved around my face. “I don’t know how you think I live and you sure as hell don’t know who I am. We’re getting to know each other, but you shut me out without a reason. You said it yourself, Sophia and Kayden are opposites but they work. Why couldn’t we?”
I drew in a shaky breath his words making my heartache. “I know I said that, but I don’t know, City.”
“What don’t you know? Talk to me.” His hand closed over my fist in my lap as he stroked his thumb across my sensitive skin.
“I like you a lot. So much that it scares me and I don’t know if I could deal with the heart break when you walk out of my life.” The tear slid down my cheek as I spoke.
“You never gave us a chance to see if we could work.” His finger slid across my skin, wiping the tear away.
“You’re not a one-woman man. I could tell that about you and I don’t work that way. I don’t want to share you.”
“Suzy, I’m not a whore. Since I met you last week I haven’t been with anyone else. I don’t want anyone else, just you.”
“I’d like to believe that, but you looked a little too cozy with Karen tonight.”
“Kaylee, not Karen. I’ll be totally honest with you about her. I had sex with her twice in my life. Not my proudest moment, but she offered and I accepted. She wants to be my girlfriend and I’ve told her no. I’m very clear with her that she and I are nothing and never will be. Should I have pushed her ass on the floor when she sat on my lap?”
“No, I guess not.” I didn’t want to think about the visual I had of another woman sitting on him and fawning.
“I wanted to be with you tonight. You blew me off. We had such a nice time last night and as soon as I brought you home, you shut down.”
“I don’t know, City,” I said.
“Joey,” he interrupted.
“Joey, I watched Kayden and Sophia all night. They reminded me of what I want someday. I want someone that’s going to love me and be mine alone. I want to be important to someone,” I said staring into his eyes without blinking, worried another tear would slip down my cheek.
“It’s what everyone wants…” he started to say.
“Let me finish.” I shook my head. “I like you, Joey. No one has ever made me feel the way you do, but I can’t risk falling for you. I can’t have my heart broken.” I bit my lip trying to focus on pain instead of sadness. I didn’t want tears to flow freely. “I think it’s best if we stop now. The time we’ve spent together has been amazing, but I can’t do it anymore. I can’t lie to myself.”
“May I speak now?” he smiled at me, but it was a sad smile.
“Do you think I’m incapable of love?” he stared at me waiting for an answer, his mouth was set in a firm line as waited for my answer.
“No, I just don’t think it’s who you are now and I can’t wait around for that part of you. It wouldn’t be fair to either of us.”
“Suzette.” Formal names always meant something serious. “I never allowed myself to think of a future with anyone, but last night I saw a world of possibilities. I realized what I was missing out on – I want what Kayden and Sophia have.” He squeezed my fingers and I watched his thumb rub the back of my hand. “Look at me. I’ve never allowed myself to get close to anyone in years, but your innocence and sweetness have pierced my heart.”
“Oh,” I said my eyes growing wide with surprise.
“I didn’t want to rush into anything with you. I don’t want to ruin anything, but you need to understand where I’m coming from. You need to know my past.” His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat as he swallowed before continuing. “I have been in love before. I had a fiancé and I thought my entire life was made. Plans don’t always work out exactly as we think.”