The truth is, Idowant Salvatore—no other man has ever looked me in the eye and made me feel understood on such a level it’s like finding the peace that’s eluded me my entire life.
No masks. No pretending. No need to be perfect.
Salvatore has seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and he’s worshiped me because of it. Not in spite of it.
I trust him explicitly with every part of myself… except my heart.
Three times was enough.
Salvatore says I’m his. But what does that mean when he’s never told me how he feels?
Sometimes, it feels as if my importance lies in his possession of me—I’m a game piece on a board for him. I’m a means to an end for him.
I blink out of my deep thoughts and leap off my bed to catch him. He’s made it into the hall, his t-shirt clenched in one hand as he zips up his jeans. I come up from behind with Salt and Pepa flanking me.
“It doesn’t matter what I want,” I say. “You were right about one thing last night. I’m running for district attorney. I can’t go hunting down criminals like some vigilante. But I also can’t have a mafia boss as my boyfriend. I’ve made enough mistakes already.”
And I’m exhausted from heartbreak. It’s safer this way…
“That’s never stopped us before.”
“It’s also never been good for me.”
“And what you’re doing now is?”
I take half an uncertain step back, suddenly feeling exposed. This is what I mean when I say he sees right through me—one glance is all it takes. He knows me as well as I know myself.
“You do what you want,” he says, slipping his shirt over his head. “But stop pretending this is about right versus wrong. What have I always told you?”
My eyes close. “Things aren’t that simple.”
“You keep trying so hard to be what everybody else wants you’re going to drive yourself crazy, Phi.”
“I feel like I already am,” I say with a short, blunt laugh. “Have you missed the part where I’ve started hunting down criminals in the middle of the night?”
“Still extremely pissed about it. Probably not smart of you to remind me.”
I blow out a breath and then lean against the wall. Pepa and Salt purr and circle our ankles in hopes they can gain our attention and alert us to the very important fact they’ve yet to receive their morning chow.
“I don’t regret asking you to stay,” I confess. “And I’m glad you found me last night. I’ve had close calls, but last night was too damn close.”
“If it makes you feel better, you were impressive.”
“Little had almost a foot on you. A hundred pounds, easily. You still gave him a hard time. When you’re determined to do something, you give it your all. It’s impressive.”
“I told you,” I say with a slow smirk. “I wasn’t going to let him win.”
He steps to me, his hands sliding up the sides of my neck, drawing me toward him. “That close of a call was enough. Scum like that shouldn’t even get to breathe the same air as you let alone put his hands on you.”
We come together in a kiss that feels spur-of-the-moment but right at the same time. I rise up to kiss him harder, taste more of him, and he retaliates by pushing me down, easing me back against the wall. He dips his head, kissing my lips, his tongue flicking to mine. He can’t help himself and neither can I.
Salvatore traps me where I am, slamming his hands to the wall on either side of me. His mouth travels, burning hot kisses across my skin. I shudder against the hardness of his body as he tastes my throat and makes wetness pool between my thighs.
The deep, unending need I have for him throbs to life.