Legend (Page 36)


He unwinds and drops down beside me, lies on his back, and then stares at the tree branches and part of the sky. “I’ve been hitting a park every day. Didn’t know which one I’d find you in.”

“You have?”

He’s staring at the sky, jaw tight. “Yeah. I didn’t want to ask Tate.”

“He wouldn’t have told you if you’d asked. And I might have been hiding as I . . . processed.”

“Processed what?”

I set my book aside, my eyes gobbling him up like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then I glance at the blanket. “How intense it was.”


He shuts his eyes, exhaling and clenching his fingers.

“Do you want my number?”

He sits up and props his elbows on his knees. He nods. “I don’t have my phone on me.”

I search Racer’s bag for one of my lipsticks and then I look at Maverick for permission.

He looks back at me, watching as I curl my hand around his wrist. It’s thick and strong. I press the tip of the lipstick to his arm and write my number down. In coral lipstick, on his forearm. And it’s the most erotic thing I’ve ever done.


He watches me tuck the lipstick back into the bag, then remains without touching me for a moment.

He stares down at his arm. Then he turns his face away, exhales, and turns back to me. “Reese,” he whispers mournfully. “I lost control that night.” He looks at my mouth, as if he wants it. And I want him to take it.

I shouldn’t want him to but I do.

“I liked it,” I say. And I liked sleeping in your arms, if only for a second.

I hold my breath, realizing what I just admitted—no, Reese, take it back!—and I don’t move when he reaches out.

“Me too,” he says.


And god, I want Maverick’s lips again.

Hot and strong, waking me up from whatever sleep spell I’ve been in.

It won’t go anywhere, Reese!

He slips his hand under my hair and his fingertips caress my scalp. “You totally bailed on me.”

“You knew I had to leave.”


“Yeah, I knew, but you have a blanking effect on my head. I’m sure you know this because you’re smiling that crooked smile of yours right now.”


He smiles a little, cups the back of my neck, and draws me closer as he lies back on the blanket.

“Maverick . . . what happened . . .” I begin.

He pulls me a little closer. I put my hands on his chest to push myself back but end up just leaving them there, feeling the flat planes of his chest underneath as he murmurs, “What happened what?”



“Are you going to tell me how mind-blowing it was or are you going to let me kiss you?”

One more kiss . . . oh god, I’m going to hell. I’m the worst person I know. The most reckless. The most intoxicated by Maverick Cage.

It’s pure impulse. I’m burning and aching and I want to be close. Closer than close. I want to be his tattoo and the woman in his bed and the thing in his thoughts he can’t quite force out and this girl, with him, kissing in the park.

“What happened . . .” I begin, was wonderful and impulsive and frightening and reckless, and I lean over, and I press my lips to his tentatively. He cups the back of my head, his tongue sliding into my mouth.


He groans softly and pulls me above him, grabs my a*s. And I love his hands, squeezing, as our tongues start sparring, and I know I can’t keep doing this, that this won’t go anywhere, and it just makes me hungrier, my fingers fisting his shirt, my tongue pushing his, a moan leaving me.

His tongue, slow and leisurely, tastes me. There’s a dog barking nearby, and people passing by the walkway, and when I make an effort to pull away, Maverick just holds my head and angles his, devouring me harder.

His hand slips under the back of my T-shirt. His fingers skim my skin, they’re hot, calloused, and so perfect, I’m a whole shiver.

He rolls us around and sets me down on the grass, kissing me some more and slipping his hand down to encompass my waist, his thumb stroking my abdomen. “Reese.” He breathes against my skin.

I blink up at the sky, then let my eyelids flutter shut as the feel of his lips trailing my neck overcomes reason.


“I don’t take what you gave to me lightly. I don’t want you to think that I did.”

“I wanted to.”

“And I want you.” Maverick’s voice is extremely thick right now. “The guy back home. He kiss you like that?”


And he just grins. He looks down at me.

“But . . .” I sit up then. Reese, stop this. “But we can’t . . . you know. Do that again.”


His eyes darken. “I think we should do it more often.” He stares at me, waiting for me to say something, and I can only swallow nervously.

He signals to my book. “What are you reading?” He puts his arm around my shoulders. I stiffen them but somehow melt inside.

“A book.”

“Really?” He lifts his brows, and I laugh and tentatively tuck a loose strand that came undone from my ponytail behind my ear.

“I’ve been hearing a lot about you,” I say.


“All lies.” He cracks a smile.

“You’re kicking a*s.”

His expression loses its humor, and he stares straight ahead, thoughtful. “I’m going to kick Tate’s a*s, Reese.”

I sit up, staring away. “I don’t like to think about it.”

“You root for him out of principle, I don’t expect you to root for me.”