Legend (Page 49)

I open my legs to fit him against the part of me that aches and I slant my head, sliding my hands into his hair.

We kiss for a long, long while, and I can feel how much he wants me in every kiss, in the tension coming off his body. He’s holding back, and knowing he’s doing it for me makes me weak inside.

“I feel like I’m on top of a mountain with you,” I whisper, as he kisses my neck. “Let’s never come down.”

Looking at me, he spreads my arms up over my head. “I want to make you feel like you’re on another level, and I’m going to do everything I can to put you there.” Determination shines in his eyes as he smiles down at me. “I want to show you how I see you. Everything about you drives me crazy. You’re irresistible on every level, Reese. The way you talk, move, the way you taste.” He presses his face to mine, tasting my lips briefly, then he melts me with his metal eyes again. “You’re incredible, Reese.” He wraps his arms around my torso and lifts me up for his kiss.

And our mouths mesh again, and I feel incredible.

Incredible.

♥ ♥ ♥

WE MAKE OUT in the dark, on the grass. No more talking. Only whispering. Only knowing each other. Touching each other. Kissing each other.

♥ ♥ ♥

WE’RE HEADING BACK two hours later. I’m fixing my clothes and he’s zipping up his hoodie as we walk to the hotel.

He takes my hand on our way there, and we walk instead of run. Prolonging the moment we leave each other.

“I fight tomorrow, Reese,” he says when we reach the corner of the hotel driveway.

“I know.”

“My kiss,” he demands.

I grab his hand and open it, then meet his smoldering silver gaze as I kiss his palm. He curls his hand again, and he grins.

“Reese. Tell me how to help Oz,” he says softly.

My eyes widen, and my heart starts aching for him and Oz. “Does he want to get better?” I ask.

“I don’t know.” He shakes his head, drags his hand over it, his expression tightening with frustration.

“Do you want me to talk to him?”

“No,” he says with sudden protectiveness, but a flash of determination crosses his face. “You’re done with that. But I’ll do everything I can to help him.”

“You won’t be able to if he doesn’t help himself though. Oz needs to believe he’s better off without it. He needs to believe he can overcome it.”

He nods, smiles one of his slow thank-you smiles, and heads away.

“Maverick.”

He turns.

“The fight is tomorrow night, right?”

He nods. I walk up to him, raise on my toes, and quickly kiss his lips. “The other kiss was for fun. This is for luck.”

Then he grabs my hips and pulls me to him and kisses me a little harder. Deep, possessive, and wet. And he says, “I’m in love with you, Reese.”

And he walks away, pulling his hoodie over his head.

THIRTY

UNSENT

Reese

Miles: So we’ve got our plane tickets to the Boston semis. Gabe, Avery and moi

Me: That’s great.

Miles: That’s all? Hmm. I’m gonna need to wrangle some more words out of you when we get there.

Miles: Were you able to get us tickets to the fight?

Me: Pete has you three in second row

Miles: Who’s Pete?

Me: Remy’s PA.

Miles: Cool. Can’t wait. Wait, you’re not coming to the fight w/us?

Me: No. But see you all in Boston

Unsent text message to Maverick Cage, 3:02 a.m.: I’m in love with you too

THIRTY-ONE

FASTER

Maverick

I’m getting faster.

Getting better at predicting my opponent’s moves. I got to fight Tate again in the ring, and I lasted double the rounds. He knocked me out but hardly cut me this time around. He went to the body and wore me down.

We’re training too.

He’s a f*****g beast, but I’m determined to put him to the ground.

I get a call from his people during our stay in Miami. “Maverick, Riley here. You up for training with Rem this afternoon?”

“I’m up. I’ve got some steam to burn off.” I glance at the chair where Oz is snoozing again. I’ve tagged on to Oz for the past three days, trying to keep him from drinking. He still finds a way to drink behind my back: in the bathroom, when he says he’s taking a nap or is fixing us a meal.

I shove my gloves into my duffel bag, change into a new T-shirt, and head off to the gym.

Tate likes to work out alone. It keeps his opponents from studying him too much and it also keeps him focused. Most fighters don’t like to allow the competition a glimpse into their training routine. But training with a worthy opponent makes you better, and both Tate and I know it. One day, I’m not only going to train with my worthiest opponents. I’m going to train on my own with an entire gym surrounding me. Just me, the bags, the rings, my coach, and the few sparring partners they toss my way.

Tate’s warming up with the rope. “Avenger,” he says, dropping the rope at his feet.

“Tate.”

Pete picks the rope back up and hangs it on the wall.

“Where’s Oz?” Tate demands, frowning.

I drop my duffel bag on a bench and then nod at Riley so he can tape up my hands. “Helping plan your funeral. Thought your team could use the help since you keep them so absorbed.”

He cuts me a look as his coach laughs under his breath and tapes up Tate’s hands. “Your coach is your second pair of eyes,” Tate tells me, shooting me a meaningful look. As if I should know better. “It’s a team sport. Your coach is your team. Your extra eyes. If your coach isn’t helping, then you’re up there alone. Do you want to be alone?”