In this scene Anna has been living with Nic for 6 weeks now. He’s been kind and generous to her and her daughter, and he’s starting to awaken passions in her she didn’t think were possible to feel again. In this scene, she’s been having nightmares about her abusive ex-husband, and Nic’s presence soothes her, so he spends the night in her bed. When she wakes the next morning, she finds herself drawn to him and kisses while he sleeps. He wakes and catches her, then suggests she try again while he’s awake.
His gaze dipped for a moment before meeting hers again. “Kiss me, and I’ll show you what it’s like.” Her heart launched itself into her throat and beat like a hummingbird’s wings. Oh God. She jerked her gaze to the windows lining the wall, focused on the bits of sunlight peeking through the mini blinds, and shook her head. Every inch of her trembled.
“I’m not seducing you, Anna. You want to know. I’m willing to be your guinea pig.”
God, she loved the way he said her name ….
She looked back at him. “Why?” He lifted a hand, his thumb stroking her chin.
His gaze followed for a moment before finally returning to hers. “Because I hate that you have the need. You should know what it feels like to be treated with kindness, with compassion, to know what it’s like for a man to kiss you because he can’t help himself.”
The intensity in his words, in his burning gaze, shook her. She looked at her lap, afraid to know what else played in his eyes. “Do you?”
He dropped his hand. “That’s a question I’m afraid to answer. I’m very aware right now I ride a line with you. If I tell you yes, that I think I’m attracted to you and I’d like very much to kiss you, will you bolt?”
The meaning behind his words rang loud and clear. Anna’s heart sank into her toes. “Because you’re not sure your ego could take it.”
He let out a quiet laugh. “Sweetheart, my ego’s taken bigger hits than you deciding you don’t want to kiss me. I don’t want you to get the impression I’m attempting to manipulate you.”
“Are you? Attracted to me, I mean?” She couldn’t be sure if she wanted him to say yes, or if she’d be more relieved to hear him say no.
His fingers stroked hers, where they rested on the bed between them. “I think you’re beautiful. You have the most incredible eyes, and I’m dying to see you smile. Just once. You’ve been here six weeks now, and I have yet to see you do it, outside of the polite smiles you give the customers at work. I’m willing to bet it lights up your whole face.”
She jerked her gaze to the bed, before his sweet words made her wish for things she shouldn’t. Or doing things she shouldn’t. Like kissing him again. “That’s not the same thing.”
He beat around the bush, answering her question without really answering it, and the lack of response drove her mad. Something inside insisted she had to know. “Answer the question.”
“All right. Yes. I am attracted to you. But the last thing I want is to prove I’m exactly like your ex-husband. Right now, what matters is making you a safe place in the world, and this,” he gestured with his hand, indicating the space between them, “is one of those places. I won’t ever push you for more than you’re willing to give. So, if you really want to know what it feels like to kiss a man who won’t hurt you, I’ll admit I’m a willing participant, whether I like it or not, but you’re going to have to kiss me.”