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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
While Allison’s eyes bulged at my profession, I wasn’t finished yet. “During those two weeks in Savannah, I grew to love you more and more. You made me feel important…like I really mattered. And despite all my bullshit hang-ups, you wanted to be with me. I know that after the way I’ve treated you, I don’t deserve a second chance. I callously pushed you too far and for too long, and I regret my f**king abhorrent behavior. But I would give anything in the world if you would let me prove that I’m worthy of you. That I’m not worthless and that I can do right by you.”
Allison’s dark eyes widened at my words. “You really mean that? No more just being friends or ignoring how good we can be together?”
I shook my head. “No, never again.”
“What about Jake?”
With a shrug, I replied, “Well, he’ll just have to deal with it.”
“Really?” she asked, incredulously.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe you’re standing in front of me right now, telling me this.”
“Believe it, Allison, because every word I say is the truth. I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make you happy and trying to make up for hurting you so much.”
Her lip trembled. “I want to believe you—I really do—it’s just I’m scared.” She hiccupped a sob. “You gutted me, Rhys. You shattered my heart so deeply that I don’t know if I can love you again. I ache, Rhys. I ache inside so bad.”
Desperation filled me. I hadn’t planned for this. I thought I could just apologize and everything would be all right. I’d been a damned fool. “What can I do to change your mind?”
“Give me time.” She wiped her eyes. “Let’s take things slow. As much as I want to, I can’t just run back into your arms today because you said some nice things. I need actions this time. Changed and consistent behavior—no more whiplash from your emotions.”
“Then I’ll give you actions—I’ll give you anything in the world. Somehow and someway I’ll prove to you that I’m the right man for you.”
“Oh Rhys,” she murmured before she threw her arms around my neck. Closing my eyes, I reveled in the feel of her pressed against me. She felt so warm, so soft, and so comforting. Her body was like home—the first one I’d ever truly had. God, this felt so right. This felt so complete—I felt so complete.
Tears stung my eyes when I realized how stupid I’d been and how close I’d come to losing her. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” I murmured over and over in her ear.
When her hand came to rub wide circles across my back, I lost it. The fact that she could still show me compassion and care after all I’d done to hurt her was too much. I sank to my knees under the strain of the emotions. Although I was mortified at my behavior, I couldn’t help it.
“Rhys?” Allison questioned, her voice ringing with concern.
“Fucking hell, I’ve been so stupid for so long,” I moaned, my head pitching forward onto the floor. The harsh carpet fibers scratched along my cheeks, and I welcomed the pain.
I felt Allison kneel down beside me. “Oh Rhys, it’s okay…it’s going to be okay.”
Raising my head up, I stared into her beautiful face. When it came down to it, I couldn’t believe such a sweet spirit like Allison actually cared for me…loved me even. “I think about how much I hurt you…” My eyes closed in agony. “You shouldn’t forgive me, Allison.”
Her tender hands cupped my face. “You let me decide about that one.”
“You’re too good to me,” I argued.
“I know,” she said, a teasing grin lighting up her features.
I couldn’t help laughing at her comment. “You are going to make me work for your love, right?”
Smiling, she said, “Oh yes, very much so. Don’t think you’re getting any make-up sex either.”
Groaning, I replied, “You are cruel.” But then I gave her a small smile. “But I understand, and I’ll take whatever you give me.
Allison smiled as she leaned in to bring her lips to mine. It was a soft, almost chaste, kiss. When she started to pull away, I felt desperate to have her close—to feel her skin beneath my fingers, to taste her soft, warm lips. My hand came to the back of her head, keeping her locked firmly in place. My tongue ran across her lips, urging her to open for me, and when she graciously did, I shuddered at the contact. I’d needed to taste her more than anything. The hand that once held Allison’s head in place came around to cup her face. My fingers ran over her soft cheeks as our tongues slowly swirled with each other. Although I would had given anything to run my hands all over Allison’s body, I reined myself in to respect her and acknowledge the fact we were rebuilding our relationship.
The door flew open, causing me to jerk away from Allison. Eli arched his brows at us from his spot in the doorway. “Just thought you’d like to know that Jake is looking for you.”
“T-Thanks,” Allison replied, as she pulled herself off the floor. I followed close behind her.
When Eli turned to go, I said, “Wait.”
He stared expectantly at me. “I’m sorry, man. I never meant for this to happen. I didn’t—”
Eli held up one of his hands to silence me. “After the other night, I knew exactly what I was up against when it came to Allison. I simply wasn’t the guy for her.”