When I Break Page 21

Finally finding my words, I said, “That was amazing. Thank you for talking to him about that.”

She looked up at me in silent gratitude and nodded once.

Reluctantly, I let my hand fall away and took a much-needed step back, trying to put some distance between the heat of her body and mine. Having her around, in my space, in these close quarters day after day was starting to become a challenge. I wanted her, but it was more than that—I didn’t want to f**k her and move on like I normally did.

This was all uncharted territory for me, and I sensed it was for McKenna too. I needed to proceed with caution if I wanted to have a chance in hell with her. So I took another step back, watching her like she was an unpredictable wild animal I had no clue what to do with.

“What should we do now?” she asked, still looking up at me.

“Help me take down the fort?” I suggested.

I needed to do something to busy my hands before I disappeared into my room to jerk off. The box of tissues beside my bed was getting plenty of action lately.

McKenna’s gaze wandered to the tent that was set up in the middle of the den. “Why is there a tent there?”

I shook my head. “Tucker. Bailee was over today and he thought she’d like it, but anytime he put her in there, she cried.”

“Gotcha. Well, taking one down is easier than setting it up, right?”

“Right. Come on.”

Watching the sway of her ass as she stood and crossed the room did nothing to help clean up my thoughts. I needed to relieve this sexual tension. If not with McKenna, then with someone else. And soon.

We sat side by side, collapsing poles and folding the tent while I thought about what to say to fill the silence that stretched between us. McKenna was concentrating on fitting the tent back into the bag, her tongue pressed into her lower lip as she worked. When she look up and caught me watching, her tongue darted back inside her mouth. I couldn’t help but smirk.

When she looked at me, she didn’t just look at me. She looked straight into me, like she could see into my soul. I liked being seen for the man I was on the inside, not just the f**k-up everyone saw on the outside. And since McKenna was here, it meant she wasn’t judging me based on what she saw.

“Are you going out after this?” she asked, fiddling with the tie on the bag, deliberately avoiding looking at me while she waited for my answer.

“Why? Do you want to be my sponsor? Keep me on the straight and narrow?”

Her eyes met mine. “If that’s what it takes.”

“I wasn’t planning on going out, no.” I hadn’t done that lately, and I intended to try to keep that record going. Actually, I hadn’t done that in a while, despite what I let McKenna believe.

“That’s really good, Knox.”

Time for a new topic. I wasn’t okay sitting here with a beautiful girl calmly discussing my last f**k.

I cleared my throat. “So, what’s your story? Don’t you have someplace you need to be?”

She flinched at my words.


“That’s not what I meant,” I said quickly. “I’m sorry.”

She shrugged, then looked away. “I heard what you said to your brothers. That I’m just your counselor. I’m sorry I keep showing up here.”

“You are my counselor, but I shouldn’t have said that.”

She looked down, her confidence fading at my admission. Using two fingers, I lifted her chin. Her gaze slid intimately from my eyes to my mouth, and a warm feeling burned in my chest.

“What’s that look for?” I asked, my voice coming out too thick. Her gaze slipped away from mine until once again my fingers under her chin reminded her not to hide from me. “You’re beautiful,” I whispered.

“Knox,” she murmured, her voice a tiny plea. “I wish we’d met under different circumstances. My being your addiction counselor complicates things.”

“Why can’t I just be a man, and you just be a woman?”

“You’re in recovery. I can’t be a temptation to you.”

I swallowed heavily. Too late for that. My balls were aching with the need to sink inside her.

“We all have certain wants and desires, McKenna. It doesn’t make them wrong. We’re only human.”

Indecision flashed in her eyes and her gaze zeroed in on my mouth. If I had to guess, I’d say she was thinking about what it would be like to kiss me. It seemed that good-girl McKenna had a naughty side to her. Every ounce of her wanted that kiss. I could read it all over her, from her flushed chest to the thrumming pulse in her neck. I’d be willing to bet it had been a long time since a man touched her. Her body’s responses were too obvious, and I could read the want and curiosity all over her.

I leaned forward just slightly, wetting my lips. She swallowed, her eyes tracking the movements. Angling my head to hers, I paused, stopping myself. Why? To prove a point. We were mammals, we reacted to the opposite sex. It was biology. We were born to breed, to reproduce. Men especially—to spread around our seed. Just the fact that I stopped myself proved that I didn’t have a problem. Only I wasn’t sure if I was trying to convince McKenna or myself.

She pulled back, just the slightest bit. “This can’t happen, Knox.”

“Then let me go about things the correct way then. Let me take you out. A proper date.” As soon as I’d blurted it, I had no idea where that came from.

“I can’t,” she whispered, looking down at her hands in her lap.

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