Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons Page 53

I stared into his face then turned my gaze to his chest, my hand following the path of my eyes. “How was I lucky enough to get you?” I whispered.

“I could ask the same thing,” he said, breathless. His hands gently pushed my spaghetti straps over my shoulders, sliding down my arms and tugging the fabric to my sides, until my shirt puddled around my waist.

We sat on my kitchen chair, me straddling Joe’s lap, both naked from the waist up, staring into each other’s eyes. He lifted a hand to my cheek, caressing lightly as a smile touched the corners of his lips.

Neither of us said anything, but I’d never felt closer to anyone in my whole life.

Joe pulled my mouth to his, capturing my bottom lip between his and working his usual magic, leaving me lightheaded and senseless.

I moved my hands to either side of his head. The need to be as close to him as possible overpowered every sense.

His hand tangled in my hair and he kissed me with more intensity than usual, his other hand cupping my face. He pulled back, his eyes dark with passion and something else. Fear.

“You scared the hell out me today, Rose. When Neely Kate called me and told me something bad had happened to you…I almost lost it right there in my office.”

“I’m sorry.”

“I don’t think you realize how much you mean to me.”

My thumb traced his cheekbone and I looked deep into his eyes. “I think I know.”

“I don’t want to lose you.”

My gaze dropped to his mouth as I brushed my thumb across his lips. “I’m not goin’ anywhere.”

“I love you, Rose.”

I shouldn’t have been surprised, he showed me how much he loved me all the time, but this was the first time he’d said it. I looked up, amazed to see insecurity in his eyes. I smiled and placed a gentle kiss on his lips. “I love you too.”

For the next hour, I forgot about dinner. I forgot about Violet and her problems. I forgot about the innocent Bruce Decker sitting in a jail cell. I forgot about everything but the man in my arms and how I was the luckiest woman alive.

Chapter Sixteen

Joe and I lay in bed, his arm lying over my stomach, our legs still tangled. He brushed a strand of hair from my face. “We have to talk about what happened today.”

“When a man and a woman love each other, they—”

He placed a finger on my lips and his eyes grew serious. “You know what I’m talking about.”

My tongue darted out and licked the pad of his finger.

His eyes closed and he chuckled. “That’s not going to work.”

“What’s not goin’ to work?”

“Two can play at that game.” He leaned over me and kissed me until I was breathless. “Now we’re goin’ to talk about what happened.” And to make sure he had me weak and defenseless, he kissed me again.

Damn him.

He rolled me to my side so we were chest to chest. His arm curled around my waist. His other hand stroked my neck lightly as he kissed the corner of my mouth. “Now where were we? Oh, yes.” His mouth trailed down my neck. “What happened to land you in jail today?”

“This isn’t fair.” I gasped, my stomach tightening as his mouth sent tingles from my neck to my core.

“Nothing’s fair in love and war.”

His hand found my breast and I gasped. “And which one is this?”

“Both.”

His mouth followed his hand and I wrapped my leg around his. “I can’t think straight when you do that.”

“That’s the point, darlin’.”

I pushed against him, my traitorous fingers wanting to explore his chest more. “Stop. I’ll tell you want you want to know.”

He rolled me on my back and straddled me, pinning my arms over my head. “We’ll try it your way and if it doesn’t work, we’ll try it mine.”

It was a win-win situation for me. “Okay.”

“Why did you go to Frank Mitchell’s house?”

“How do you know the murder victim’s name?”

Joe rolled his eyes. “I spent the better part of an hour with the ADA trying to get you out of the mess you dug yourself into. Plus, I’ve been lookin’ into it, remember? I’ve become very acquainted with many details of the case.”

“Oh.”

A wicked gleam lit up his eyes. “You didn’t answer my question. Why were you at his house?”

“I didn’t mean to stop and get out. I just planned to drive by. That’s all. I promise.”

“But you did get out?”

“Yeah.”

“And did you find out anything?”

My eyes widened. “Are you seriously askin’ me what I found out?”

“I thought I made that pretty clear.”

“Someone had been harassin’ Frank to sell his house, but he refused to sell. His neighbor didn’t know who was coercing him.”

“Anything else?”

“Yeah, Bruce lived on the corner across from Frank Mitchell until a couple of months before Frank was killed. His parents kicked him out. Mr. Burnett—his neighbor—claimed it was because they got tired of him moochin’ off them and getting into trouble.”

“And did you go see his parents?”

“I most certainly did not.” I mustered up the best indignant attitude I could, not an easy task when your boyfriend had you pinned to the bed, naked.

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