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Page 63

Author: Kirsty Moseley

Within minutes, it was broken up and two drunks were thrown out of the bar. Ashton turned to face me, cupping my face in his hands as he bent and planted a sweet kiss on my forehead. “I’m not having a drink. Now don’t ask me again,” he said sternly. His tone told me that this was the end of the conversation. I nodded in agreement, knowing he wouldn’t change his mind now. That little fight had spiked his protective instincts, he wouldn’t waver again.

When we got back to the table, he took a seat and gripped my waist, pulling me down onto his lap. Nate shook his head and laughed. “Bud, talk about overreaction. That fight was never coming over here,” he mocked.

“I don’t care. I’m not having Anna near anything like that,” Ashton replied, shrugging.

Reaching out, I picked up one of the shots, pushing another towards Nate. “Cheers.” I chinked my glass against his and then knocked back the shot.

Nate smiled and downed the drink at the same time I did. “Is it after midnight already?” he asked, grinning as he rolled his eyes at Ashton. “I can’t believe you blew your chance.”

“Maybe another night then,” I said shrugging. I hadn’t ruled out the possibility of giving him one anyway if he asked me nicely. After what he was doing for me, I owed him something. If I wasn’t here with him tonight, he would be drinking with his friends, instead of working. I was ruining his birthday celebrations. Ashton looked like he wanted to say something. His mouth opened, but nothing came out. “Cat got your tongue, Pretty Boy?” I teased, looking into his beautiful green eyes.

He nodded. “I guess. It’s just… what’s got into you today?”

I smiled and shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m just having a great time here in LA with you.”

He grinned at me happily. “Well I’m having a great time here in LA with you too,” he replied, kissing my cheek.

“Hotties at three o’clock!” Nate announced, nudging Seth in the side.

“I call the redhead!” Seth said quickly.

“Damn it! I was gonna call the red!” Nate grumbled, clearly annoyed. I laughed and shook my head as they stood up and walked over to the girls with their game smiles plastered on their faces.

“Wanna dance?” Ashton offered, nodding at the busy dance floor. His hand traced my back slowly, causing my skin to break out in goosebumps. I nodded in agreement, and we wove through the crowd.

Dancing with Ashton seemed to spark something in me every time it happened. Maybe it was just the way that his body fitted so perfectly against mine, or maybe it was the close proximity, or maybe it was that his hands rested firmly on my ass. Whatever it was, it seemed to send my body into a frenzy of excitement.

As we swayed to the heavy beat of the song, his eyes never left mine. Everything around us faded into insignificance as I lost myself in his gaze. My heart was racing in my chest as my stomach fluttered with excitement and longing. Raw passion was building inside me, and this time I wouldn’t be able to contain it or stop it. Tonight I was giving him the best birthday ever, and at the same time I was going to allow myself to be happy for once. I wanted one night of pure, unadulterated bliss in his arms, with no guilt about it after, and no regrets. Tonight I was thinking of myself and putting aside what always held me captive to my emotions. Tonight I was going to pretend that what Ashton and I had was real, instead of just being for his job. If we made some rules, and agreed on one night, tomorrow we could pretend this never happened and we could both move on from it.

When the song changed to a slow one, he pulled me closer to him. His eyes didn’t leave mine as the desire raged inside me. My heart clenched as a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. He really had the most incredible smile I’d ever seen. Dancing with him in the semi-darkness, with his body pressed against me and his face inches from mine was easily the most romantic moment of my life and my whole body was tingling.

I gulped, swallowing the lust that made my mouth dry. “Ashton, will you take me home please?” I tangled my fingers into the back of his hair and pulled his forehead against mine.

He nodded, kissing the tip of my nose before pulling back and taking my hand. He led us back to the table, smiling at Wayne and Ryan. “We’re leaving, see you tomorrow. Tell Nate and Seth we said bye,” he said. I waved and let him lead me out of the bar. As we walked the short distance to his place, neither of us spoke, but it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence.

Once we got back to his apartment building and climbed the stairs to his door, he fumbled in his pocket for his keys. I couldn’t wait any longer. The ache for him was actually painful, and I felt like I was trapped inside my own body and I needed to get out. Stepping between his body and the door, I went up on tiptoes and pressed my lips to his. His body stiffened, but he kissed me back immediately, pushing me against the door, pinning me there with his body. I moaned into his mouth as the kiss deepened. My whole body was throbbing with excitement.

When his hands slid down to my rump, lifting me off my feet, I wrapped my legs around his waist and kissed him passionately, releasing all of the feelings that had been trapped inside me since this happened two months ago. He fumbled with his keys and then we were inside the apartment. He kicked the door closed behind us and carried me to his bedroom, never once breaking the kiss as he pressed me into the soft mattress.

My hands wandered his back, pulling him impossibly closer as his mouth ravaged mine. Little sparks of pleasure were popping and fizzing inside me, his hands left a burning trail on my overheated skin as they slid down my bare legs, kneading my thighs.

Rules, Anna. Set the rules! My brain was screaming it at me, but my body was lost. My trembling fingers worked the buttons on his shirt, pushing it down over his shoulders as my eyes wandered down his chest and my mouth watered in anticipation.

My mind was whirling: Was it going to be as enjoyable as I remembered? Had I distorted the memory of it and I was thinking that this mind-blowing thing had happened to me, when in reality I was just setting myself up for disappointment? The real thing couldn’t have been as good as I remembered it.

He caught the bottom of my shirt, slowly pulling it up as if waiting for me to protest. I smiled reassuringly and arched my back to make it easier for him. There was no way I was stopping tonight. He groaned and pulled my shirt off, tossing it carelessly over his shoulder as his eyes dropped to my chest.

Wait, rules, sort the rules before this ruins everything!

“Ashton,” My voice was so thick with lust that it didn’t sound like mine at all.

“Mmm?” he murmured, dipping his head and licking the skin between my br**sts as his fingers went to the button of my shorts, tugging eagerly.

I gulped, swallowing my lust. “Ashton,” I repeated, trying to get his attention. I shook my head quickly, closing my hand over his and stopping him from unfastening my shorts. Once my shorts were off and his hands were there, I would surely forget what I needed to say.

He stopped immediately. His eyes widened in horror as he pushed himself up off me, rolling to his side, holding his hands up innocently. “Shit, I’m sorry! I got carried away. I didn’t mean to take it that far, I’m really sorry. Are you okay, Baby Girl?” he apologised, wincing.

I smiled reassuringly because he’d clearly jumped to the wrong conclusion about why I asked him to stop. I rolled to the side, pushing him onto his back before swinging my leg over his body, straddling him. As I looked down at him, I tried extremely hard not to notice how excited he was downstairs or how nice he felt between my thighs. I needed to concentrate, and that thought wouldn’t help at all.

“I need to talk to you,” I muttered.

“Okay,” he nodded, moving to sit up but I put my hands on his shoulders, pushing him back down onto the bed.

I took a deep breath to calm myself and my raging hormones. I silently prayed that he was agreeable because I needed him tonight. “I want you right now,” I admitted.

A breathtaking smile stretched across his face. “I want you right now too.”

He moved to sit up again, so I pushed him back down, leaving my hands on his shoulders. I needed to explain before this went any further, he needed to understand and agree to it before this could happen. “I just want you for tonight, that’s all. Tomorrow we pretend like this never happened,” I offered, biting my lip, begging him with my eyes to accept.

He frowned. His expression was like I’d just slapped him in the face. He looked both hurt and shocked. “Anna, what? I don’t want to pretend that it never happened.”

My heart sank. “Please?” I begged. “I need you. Ever since that first time we were together, I just can’t stop thinking about it. Sex, no strings, one night, I’ll do whatever you want. It’s your birthday, so you name it and I’ll do it,” I bargained as I ran my fingertips down his chest.

“Anna, I don’t just want you for one night.” His voice was a little strained and the sad tone of it made my heart ache.

“I just want to make myself happy, just for one night. I promise I won’t feel guilty about it tomorrow and get upset. I promise, please?” I leant down so our faces were inches apart. Indecision was clear across his face. “Please? I want you and I know you want me too. Just for tonight?”

“Tell me why you won’t let me in,” he said suddenly. “Try and explain it to me.” His eyes searched mine for answers that I myself didn’t even know.

I blinked, a little shocked at his request and the sudden change in conversation. I sighed, feeling dejected. Clearly my request was ruining the easy relationship we had. I shouldn’t have wished to be happy, even for one night, because I obviously didn’t deserve it.

“I just… can’t. I let Jack in and when he died, it killed me inside. I’m broken. I don’t have anything to give you. Jack took all of me when he died,” I whispered, closing my eyes. I knew that wasn’t true though, Jack didn’t take everything, I thought for the longest time that he had, but since I’d met Ashton, I’d started to feel again. I couldn’t be dead inside because I could feel the tug at my heart when Ashton looked at me just as he was looking at me now: pleading and hurt. I wanted to make him feel better; it was almost painful to see that look on his face. So that was how I knew that my heart didn’t die when Jack did. The trouble was, I couldn’t let Ashton have my heart. I couldn’t feel heartbreak again; I wouldn’t live through it a second time. I wasn’t strong enough to go through another man leaving me; I couldn’t open myself up like that again. But I could give myself to him physically and give us what we both wanted.

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