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Legend (Page 33)

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I’m writhing for him, dying for him. “Oh god, more than okay.”

He’s taking me now, deep and powerful. “Am I hurting you?”

Maverick Cage. The Avenger.

We’re a part of each other. No teams, no past, no future.

I rasp out, “Only in the best ways.”

He increases speed, stroking his hand over my breasts greedily. I feel his thighs flex as he moves, his biceps, slowing down into a powerful rhythm that pushes me over the edge.

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I come. It’s violent and fast, taking over me. Causing me to make a sound—a gasp—and to twist beneath him, and to clench and relax, and to lose my vision as stars flicker behind my eyes. And I realize he slowed down to watch me, then he hungrily kisses my ear, presses his nose to the back of it, and comes with a soft growl, his body jerking over me. He exhales and presses a kiss to the side of my neck, then the top of my head, and when he inches back, we stare at each other.

I don’t know who looks more intensely at the other.

And he smiles at me. His kiss is wet, hungered, as if I didn’t just come in his arms. As if he wants to encompass as much of my mouth as possible. He raises his head and looks down at me.

“How long do you have until you need to get back?”

“A few more hours.”

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He unwinds one muscle at a time from my deliciously relaxed body, rolls to his back, and then stares at the ceiling.

“Did you know who I was?” He’s staring at the ceiling, a muscle in his jaw working fast.

“No. Did you?”

“No,” he says.

I swallow. “But you know now,” I whisper.

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“A part of me wishes I didn’t.”

I roll to my side to look at him and then slowly lift my leg, and entwine it over his.

He turns his face away as if to get some semblance of control back, exhales, and then pulls me to his side and rubs his jaw against the top of my head. “Reese,” he whispers in my ear. “You shouldn’t be here with me right now.” And then he squeezes me, as if he wants me to be his and is frustrated that I’m not.

“I like it here.”

It’s raining outside, the sound soothing on the windows and hitting the street and the rooftops.

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I want to say something. What are we doing?

Do we know?

I think we don’t.

I think we’re here because it feels right. Because we are impossibly, irreparably drawn to each other.

I think it won’t last.

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So I just lie here and make this one moment last.

On impulse, I reach down to my jeans on the floor and pull out the penny, showing it to him.

He looks at it in my palm.

Why haven’t you cashed it in? his silver eyes seem to ask as he takes it between his thumb and forefinger.

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Because it feels like that’s all I’ll get from you, this unspoken promise, this blank check, and I don’t want to give up all I’ll get from you, I think.

I just take it from his hand and tuck it into my pocket, saying silently, I won’t give this back to you. I’m keeping this.

♥ ♥ ♥

MAVERICK LOOKS LIKE a gourmet meal on the bed, all male, testosterone-laden, dark, and tattooed. And asleep. I watch him, trying not to make noise as I quietly get dressed—and I try not to remember how good it was. How f*****g great it was. I am simply doing my best to get dressed and get out of his personal space and back into the safety of mine. Where I’m not the one dating a fighter, sleeping with a fighter, dangerously close to being in love with a fighter. The one fighter I can’t have.

I’m acting recklessly. The other times in my life I’ve been reckless, I’ve paid such a huge price, I’m still recovering.

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I shouldn’t have admitted I wanted this.

I shouldn’t have followed him out.

I shouldn’t be here at all.

But at the same time, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be but here.

I look at the tattoo on his back as he sleeps prostrate on the bed, one arm haphazardly stuck under the pillow, his a*s hard and muscled, the backs of his legs dusted with hairs. And my eyes go back to the tattoo, the most beautiful tattoo I’ve ever seen.

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It’s a burning phoenix, I now realize, with a black scorpion riding on its back. It almost feels as if the weight of the scorpion is dragging the phoenix into the flames, or maybe the phoenix is the one lifting the scorpion from the fire. Reviving it.

I watch the tattoo and the way it moves, like the feathers of the phoenix, rippling as he seems to sense my gaze and props up on one arm and turns. I step back into the shadows and see him groggily drop his head down, and quietly I tiptoe to the door, making sure I have my penny in my pocket.

♥ ♥ ♥

A HALF HOUR later, I tiptoe into the Tates’ three-bedroom suite and make my way through the darkness into my room. I lock the door to keep Racer from coming in without notice, strip to my panties, and slip into bed, sighing as I hug my pillow. I shove it under my head and stare up at the ceiling, reliving every moment and every kiss and the way his body moved above me.

Did we just do it?

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Did he love it as much as I think he did?

I stare at the ceiling, smiling like a dope.

I dream of the phoenix in flames, burning me, and I wake up, sweating, to the buzzing of my phone. Maverick doesn’t have my number, but I’m still breathless when I pick it up because he’s the first thing I thought of. “Hello?” I ask hopefully.

“I thought of texting, but I really wanted to hear your voice,” I hear on the other end.

“Oh, hi,” I say, leaning back on my pillow as the reality of the reckless hot sex I had last night comes crashing in when I recognize the voice.

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