Reckless Love Page 57

I brushed a tear away from her cheek. “Kenzie, you don’t have to do everything by yourself.”

MacKenzie

“But I do,” I said. “All my life, whenever I’ve needed something, I had to take care of it myself. Otherwise, it wouldn’t happen. Besides, if I’d told you about Chris’s plan to pull you from the fight, you wouldn’t have let me do what needed to be done.”

“You’re right, I wouldn’t have let you stay with him,” Ian said. “Because it was the wrong thing to do.”

“What do you mean, the wrong thing to do? I did it so you could fight. It was the right call.” He was so infuriating. “I did it for you. But you know what, you don’t have to worry about me doing things for you anymore. I’m over it. I’m moving on.”

I stood up, and his arm gripped mine as I tried to pull away. He pulled me back down on the bed.

“Kenzie, wait, that’s not what I mean. The reason I don’t want you to do these things is that I care about you.”

I balled up my fists again. “Ian, you have to stop pulling me close like this.”

He moved closer and cupped my cheek, his eyes searching mine. “Why?”

“Because every time you do, it gets harder for me to pull away.”

“So, it’s true?”

I shook my head, not understanding what he was asking.

“Alexa, Cade, Jonah, and even Chris all think that you want to be with me. Do you?”

I shook my head. Not because I didn’t want to be with him, but admitting it would be like admitting defeat. “I don’t want to be a distraction. I don’t want to be a burden.”

“That is not what I asked. Kenzie, answer this. If I were someone else you couldn’t distract, if I were a lawyer or an engineer, would you want to be with me?”

I looked at my hands in my lap and nodded.

“Then stop this bullshit.”

I looked up at him, shocked at his tone.

His brow furrowed. “I’ve said it before. Being without you is the worst distraction ever. I almost lost the fight today when I didn’t see you in the audience. I couldn’t stop searching for you, I couldn’t focus until I knew where you were and that you were okay.”

He slid his hand around my neck and pulled our foreheads together. “If Cade hadn’t told me where you were, if he hadn’t pointed you out, I would have spent the entire fight looking for you.”

I took a deep breath as I absorbed what he was telling me. Had he really spent the first half of the fight looking for me?

His voice softened. “I broke my hand on Chris’s face. I did that for you. And if we’d been together, it never would have happened. Because when you’re with me, I won’t let anything happen to you.” His thumb lightly brushed the back of my neck, sending waves of heat through me. “I’ll never let anyone hurt you.”

I made a small murmuring sound. His words were the ones I’d longed for my entire life. I’d always had to be strong, to weather every up and down alone, but by the solemn way Ian’s eyes had latched onto mine and refused to let go, I knew he meant every word. He was here for the long haul, if I’d have him.

The thought was dizzying. I’d never had a forever person.

I could have just sat there looking into his eyes all night, but his lips were only inches from mine. With that realization, a need grew inside me. I had to taste him. I needed to kiss his lips and let him know that I was his. Slipping my arms around his neck, I closed the distance between us, gently kissing his bottom lip.

He grunted, and I pulled away.

“Did I hurt you?” I asked.

His mouth tugged up in a playful smirk. “Sweetheart, I hurt all over. But don’t ever stop kissing me. It’s worth the pain.”

His swollen eye grabbed my attention again. I brushed it lightly and then kissed his eyebrow and his swollen cheek. I wanted to kiss away all the hurt.

I pulled away and took his injured hand. “Ian, we need to—”

He didn’t let me finish, instead he pulled me into his arms and kissed me hard. I tasted metal and salt in his mouth; he tasted like a fighter. Brutal and powerful and strong. I wanted more. Even with his injured hand, he pulled me onto his lap so that I was straddling him.

“We need to take care of some unfinished business,” he grunted as he pressed my center into him. He was already hard, and my body ached for his.

“Ian,” I moaned. My body heated up, and I struggled to resist the urge to give in to him. I wanted this more than I wanted my next breath.

“Yes,” he whispered as he trailed kisses down my neck.

“What about Cade and Alexa?” I asked, breathless.

“They knew I came here to make you mine. They won’t be back for an hour.”

With that information, my heart rate sped up. He was making me his in every sense of the word. It was everything I wanted.

“I…”

At a loss for words, I struggled to pull off my shirt, and Ian helped me as much as he could with one hand. Once the shirt was on the floor, his eyes drank in my bare skin with a hungry look.

“Kenzie,” he growled, his gaze falling to my white lace bra. His eyes collided with mine, and seeing that I had no further protests, his fingers found the clasp and he unhooked it. He leaned back to look at me. “So fucking beautiful.”

“Touch me,” I whispered, and he palmed my breasts gently with both hands.

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