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Legend (Page 24)

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The weight of his gaze feels like sex on my face, then he dips his head and sinuously, heatedly, drags his lips along my temple, up to my forehead, where he sets a kiss there, his soft, firm lips pressing into my skin in a kiss that lasts for about ten perfect, frightening, thrilling seconds.

My throat is tight, and I want to beg him not to stop when he inches away and studies me with eyes that shine with jealousy and possessiveness. “Is it him?”

No. It’s you. You make me reckless.

I like it.

But I’m afraid.

“Maybe,” I say instead, swallowing. I’m leaning against the tree, struggling to get my knees to work.

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“What’s he like?”

I can’t even remember Miles, and it stresses me. I put even more distance between us as we start walking again. “He’s . . .” I search for words. Miles.

“This guy back home,” he says with a suddenly vicious, happy sparkle in his eyes.

“I know who we’re talking about, Mav.” I roll my eyes, and he laughs softly—happy that I don’t remember? “He’s . . . not like you.”

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When I met Miles, I was alone in the college cafeteria and saw this guy, clean and wholesome, call two guys and a girl, his friends, over to him. They followed him to my table. “Mind if we sit down?” he asked.

And I nodded, and when he said, “I’m Miles,” I thought that at last someone got me. Somehow someone wondered if there was more to me.

I’m ashamed to tell him I’m this easy. This charmed by something so simple. A name or a penny, or a look from silver eyes and a guy who’s so upfront he tells you he wanted you alone so he could kiss you.

He pulls off a leaf from a tree we pass, cuts it thoughtfully, and tosses it aside with a frown. “Meaning.”

“He’s more polished.”

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“You mean he has money.” Jaw visibly clamped now, he grabs another leaf and just tosses it completely aside.

“No. He’s . . . not primal. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a fight.”

“’Cause he’d lose.”

I smile and watch my feet as we take the trail down.

“Do you trust him? Does he care for you like you do?” he drills on.

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I look at him, wide-eyed. “What is this?”

“Just gauging competition,” he says simply.

“There’s no competition,” I lie. “I’ve known him forever and I just met you. I can’t like you more. I don’t love him, if that’s what you mean. But I’ve always thought that we could have more and it would work.”

“How often does he call?” He’s been frowning ever since I said there was no competition and I can’t believe how easily the lie slipped out since I’m so uneasy myself right now.

I stop in my tracks and face him as he—hot and big—turns and does the same.

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“He doesn’t call . . . often,” I admit.

Not ever. Only text, now that I think about it.

Maverick exhales, his eyes darkening even more, and then he starts forward, in three steps closing the distance between us. God.

His walk.

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His talk.

His stare.

“I think of you.” He reaches out with his bruised-knuckled right hand and touches my face. All of Maverick Cage’s fingers are on my face. “I think of you a lot.” He searches my face and his thumb caresses my chin so briefly, but so powerfully, my knees feel like overbaked cake. “I think of kissing you,” he says.

I feel like he’s kissing me now, with his metal eyes. Kissing me and making me fly.

His lips are so beautiful, I can’t take my eyes off them all of a sudden.

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I tremble, and when he notices and his eyes flash a little predatorily, I drop my gaze and then start taking the trail down with a vengeance.

We’re silent as we hit the end of the trail. All this time, Maverick has been smiling to himself. Did he dismiss Miles as competition? Why is he looking so smug? Because he saw me tremble?

“Maverick?”

“Reese?” His lips curl.

I want to erase his smirk of superiority against Miles. I lean up, resting my arms on his shoulders—hard as rocks—and kiss his jaw. “That’s all the kisses you’re going to get.” I punctuate my next words with a few more kisses. “On this . . . very hard . . . jaw.”

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I’ve never been so bold before. It took all of me to follow the impulse to do that, and I don’t have anything left to look back at him with as I walk away, but I stop and close my eyes when he calls my name.

“Reese?”

I pull myself together before I turn, and when I do, Maverick eye-fucks my lips. His eyes stroke them so leisurely, time stops. My breath catches. Maverick’s eyes wandering over my mouth, my lips, top to bottom, corner to corner. My knees feel wobbly by the time he looks smolderingly back into my eyes.

Holding my gaze with an intensity that makes my whole body shiver, he retraces the space between us in three long steps and ducks his head to me. “Give me a real kiss, for luck.”

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“What?”

He’s staring down at my lips again, fiercely so.

And he just spoke to me in the hottest voice anyone’s used with me.

He grabs my hips and pulls me close. “Kiss me for luck, Reese.” I watch his lips speak—nearly growl—the words, his beautiful, perfect bow lips that some a*****e can crack open tomorrow.

Feeling a huge anxiety settle in my gut, I stare at his mouth with a reckless urge to kiss him there. What will he taste like? Feel like? He’s got so much fire I’ll be in cinders upon contact alone.

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