Shallow Page 30

“You were too young to understand.”

“Hell, I’m almost nineteen and I can’t understand it now, but I still deserved to know. You have no idea how I felt when I realized I was standing there looking at my mother. She has other kids. We have a brother and sister we didn’t even know existed.”

“I did it to protect you.”

“And you knew Payton was the link to exposing the truth. That’s why you didn’t want us to be together, but it’s all out in the open now. You don’t have a reason to not want us to be together unless there’s something else you’re not telling us?”

“I never had anything against Payton personally. She’s a very lovely girl, but I knew your being with her would come to this. I was scared for you. I didn’t know how you would handle it because you were always the one that took it the hardest. It did something to you when Mattie left and I’ve never known how to fix it.

“I’m okay, but I don’t think I would be if Payton wasn’t in my life. It’s weird how her presence in my life brought all this to the surface and yet she’s the only one that could bring me out of this dark world I fell into. I love her, Dad, and she’s the rock that will help me get through this.”

“Are are you going to tell Jake and Dallas about your mom?”

“I don’t know. At first, I was angry with you for not telling us, but I understand why you didn’t. No child needs to hear that his mom left because she chose to be with her lover, but we’re not little kids anymore. Jake would be fine, but Dallas is so tender hearted. I don’t know how she would react so I need to think about it. She has the right to know, but I’m not sure I can do it.”

“I’ll do it. You’re not the parent here and the responsibility shouldn’t fall onto your shoulders. You’ve carried too much on them for too many years already.”

≈ ≈ ≈

I tapped lightly on the door to room 329 and waited for Payton to answer. She opened the door and was wearing a plush, velour robe with the hotel emblem embroidered on the pocket. Her hair was slightly damp and hung in loose curls with the sides pulled away from her face. I immediately recognized her signature smell hanging in the air and I knew she had showered while she waited for me.

I stood in the doorway looking at her, realizing I was afraid to take a step inside without her invitation. She stepped back to make room for me in the doorway and I recognized it for what it was-her unspoken invitation to join her in our room.

My heart leapt with excitement of the unknown. I wasn’t sure what being alone with her in this room all day and night might bring, but I was content with just being with her if that’s what she wanted.

I walked into the room and she shut the door behind me. I hadn’t had time to come up to the room when I booked it the night before, so I looked around for the first time and took it all in, including the king size bed.

She came up from behind and hugged me with her head against my back. I reached for one of her hands on my chest and grasped it so I could bring it to my lips for a kiss.

She squeezed me tightly and sighed as if having me in her arms was a relief. “I’ve been worried about you. I know it has only been a couple of hours, but it seems like I’ve been in this room waiting on you forever.”

She let go of me and I took her hand as we moved to the bed to sit on the edge. “I’m sorry. I had to wait on my dad to get home from his run.”

She looked so nervous. “Did it go all right?”

I shrugged. “It went as well as it could considering the topic. He knew where she was all these years and I was pissed at first, but then he explained some things and I understand why he didn’t tell us when we were smaller. I still think he should have when we were older, but I see how it was easier for him to let sleeping dogs lie.”

“And you can’t forget that he was in pain as well. She was his wife and she left him, too.”

“It had to be terrible for him, but I don’t remember any kind of reaction out of him. He’s was there, but he wasn’t. It was almost like losing both of them.”

“I don’t understand how she did that. She’s always been so loving toward me, more so than my own mother. I’ve often thought of her as more of a mother to me.”

“Ironic, huh? She wouldn’t stay to be a mother to her own children, but she chose to mother you when you needed one.” I put my arm around her and pulled her close. “I guess I can’t hate her too much since she took care of my girl.”

“Your girl? I like that.”

“I like it, too.”

I kissed the top of her head and she tilted her face up to look at me. I couldn't resist putting my lips against hers, but our position wasn’t right. It felt awkward and uncomfortable.

She must have had the same thought because she slid off the edge of the bed and came to stand between my knees. She put her hands on my face as she looked in my eyes. “I want to take away all of your pain and show you how worthy you are of being loved.” She reached for the hem of my T-shirt and pulled it over my head. She tossed it over her shoulder to the floor and then ran her finger over the words inked across my skin. “This doesn’t have to be true.”

I put my hand on top of hers over my heart. “This was the only truth I’d ever known until I met you. My dad told me I didn’t know the power you had over me, but he was wrong. I know you have the power to heal this and make me whole again.”

“I want to start right now.” She untied the knot of the belt holding the hotel robe around her and allowed it to slide down her arms to a puddle on the floor. Beneath it, she was wearing a short, cream nightgown with layers of black lace ruffles. It was sexy, yet somehow innocent, and no one had ever worn anything like it for me.

I put my finger under one of the slim straps and ran it up to her shoulder and back down again. “When did you get this little number?”

“I swung by to get it on my way here. Do you like it?”

“Hell, yeah! I freakin’ love it.”

“Good. I was hoping you would. I sort of had you in mind when I bought it.”

I grabbed her by the waist and pulled her closer between my legs. “I better be the only somebody you had on your mind when you bought it.”

“You’re the only somebody ever on my mind.”


She pushed me backwards on the bed and took off my socks and shoes before she crawled up my body and straddled me. I put my hands on her waist and guided her to the spot where I needed to feel the pressure of her body against my groin. She put her palms flat on my chest and slowly slid them up until she reached my shoulders. On the way back down, she used her perfectly manicured nails to scratch my skin with just enough pressure to make me groan.

When she finished raking her nails down my chest, she surprised me by reaching for the button on my jeans. “Someone is very frisky today.”

“You have no idea.”

She never took her eyes from mine as she popped the button on my jeans loose and then slid my zipper down. She dipped her fingers into my waistband and pulled downward, so I lifted my hips and she had me out of my jeans, leaving me down to my black and white boxer briefs.

She dropped her mouth to my chest and pressed her body against me as she slid down to kiss my ink. She didn’t linger there long before she moved lower to just above my waistband. It was one of the teasers I had performed on her and to have her do it to me in return was sweet torture.

She was driving me insane and I couldn’t stand the teasing any longer. If I couldn’t be inside her, I needed to at least be on top of her. I grabbed her waist and flipped her onto her back so I could press my body against hers in hopes of a little relief.

She bent her knees and they fell apart to kindly accommodate me. I propped on my elbows and held her face in my palms so I could memorize it. It was foolish to think her mother might not keep us apart, so I had to be honest with myself about where we were going and the truth was...I had no idea.

Her honey colored eyes stared up at my chocolate ones and she saw the uncertainty in them. “It’s gonna work out. It has to.”

I closed my eyes and pressed my forehead to hers. “I can’t lose you, Doll Face.”

Things suddenly felt too serious and I needed to lighten the mood. I lifted my head from hers and pulled on her bottom lip with my mouth. “I couldn’t stand to never be shocked by this delicate mouth again. Come on, shock me. I’m dying to hear some new material.”

She reached up and put her palms on my face. “I love you.”

Of all the things I had imagined happening between us, I had highly underestimated the way I would feel hearing her tell me she loved me for the first time. My heart felt like it was swelling and about to burst with the love I had for her.

“I love you, too, Payton Archer.” I rubbed my thumb over her lips. “I think I did the moment you opened this smart ass mouth of yours.”

“Shut up and kiss this smart ass mouth.”

I did as I was told and then I trailed my mouth down her throat to her breasts. I reached under her sexy gown to see what kind of surprise I could find underneath. I got up on my knees and lifted her gown to find matching lace panties. Damn, they looked so hot on her.

I hooked my fingers in the sides and tugged a little, testing her to see if was okay to take them off. “Business as usual, ma'am? Everything with the exception of the deed itself?”

She shook her head at me. “No, not this time. I want everything plus the deed itself.”

“Are you sure? I don’t want you to look back on this and regret it.”

“I love you and I could never regret you making love to me. Not in a million years.” She lifted her hips off the bed, my cue to slip her panties down and this thing I had done so many times suddenly felt like something I had never done before.

I tossed them to the floor next to my clothes and she hooked her thumbs in the elastic waistband of my boxer briefs and pushed down. She caught my underwear with her toes once they were below my hips and pushed them down to the foot of the bed under the sheets.

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