Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(11) by Abbi Glines

“Are you . . . are you going to kiss me again?” she asked, as I ran my nose up her neck, soaking in her scent. Damn smell was intoxicating.

“I want to. I want to so f**king bad, but I’m trying to be good,” I admitted.

“Could you not be good for just one kiss? Please?” she asked, moving closer to me. Her legs pressed up against mine. One more inch, and she’d be in my lap.

“Sweet Blaire, so incredibly sweet.” I was losing it. My lips were touching every smooth inch of skin they could as I fought with myself not to touch her. She was innocent. She was too good for me. This was wrong.

I tasted her skin with the tip of my tongue, and my c**k throbbed. She was delicious. Everything about her. I kissed a trail up her neck, and when I reached her lips, I stopped. I wanted them. I wanted her. More. Always more. But she was my . . . friend. I had caused her pain, and she didn’t even know it. I had to stop this.

“Blaire, I’m not a romantic guy. I don’t kiss and cuddle. It’s all about the sex for me. You deserve someone who kisses and cuddles. Not me. I just fuck, baby. You aren’t meant for someone like me. I’ve never denied myself something I want. But you’re too sweet. This time, I have to tell myself no,” I said, more to myself than to her. I needed to remind myself just how out of my league she was.

She whimpered, and I jumped up, moving to the door. I wouldn’t do this to her. I couldn’t.

“I can’t talk anymore. Not tonight. Not alone in here with you,” I said, and left before I lost myself with her. I could never have Blaire.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

I stalked past the few people in the kitchen and headed for the front door. I needed to go outside and calm down. Fresh air with no one around to see me lose my shit. Telling Blaire no had just about killed me. Turning down those sweet, willing lips . . . Holy hell, no man should be put through this torture.

“Want to talk about it?” Grant asked, as the door behind me closed.

“I need to be alone,” I told him. I gripped the porch railing and kept my eyes focused on the driveway full of cars.

“You aren’t gonna be able to keep this up. She’s under your skin now,” Grant said, coming to stand beside me. I should have known he’d ignore my request for him to leave me to my thoughts.

“I won’t hurt her,” I told him.

Grant sighed and turned to lean against the railing and face me while crossing his hands over his chest. “As sweet as Blaire is, I’m not worried about her. I’m more worried about you,” he said.

“I got this.”

“No. You don’t. You’re keeping your hands off her when it’s obvious to anyone who sees her look at you that she would let you touch her any way you wanted to. But you’re not touching her. I’ve never—and I mean f**king never—seen you turn that down from someone who looks like Blaire. Which means . . . you’ve got feelings for her. That’s why I’m worried about you. She’s gonna find out about her dad and about Nan, and when she does, she’ll run like hell. She’ll hate all of you. I don’t want to see you hurt.”

“I know,” I said. I f**king knew that. It was why I wasn’t hauling her up to my room and locking her there with me. I couldn’t go there with her.

“She’s outside in the back with Woods,” Grant said.

Standing up straight, I let go of the railing and looked back at the door. “How do you know?”

“Saw her walk out there before I came after you,” he replied.

I wasn’t letting Woods near her, either. He would hurt her. He’d use her, and no one was going to use Blaire. No one. Ever. I would f**king make sure of it. “I gotta go get her. I upset her,” I said, heading for the door.

“He knows she’s innocent. Woods isn’t an asshole. He’s a good guy. Stop acting like he’s a f**king horndog.”

I tightened my grip on the door handle and took a deep breath. “Don’t tell me what to do, Grant.”

He let out a short laugh. “Never, brother. Never.”

I jerked the door open and stepped back inside, intent on finding Blaire and sending Woods home.

“Heeey Ruuush!” a female slurred excitedly and she latched on to my arm. I glanced down to see one of Nan’s friends whose name I couldn’t remember holding on to me.

“No,” I replied, and I kept walking. She didn’t let go. Instead, she kept giggling and talking about her wet panties. This shit used to turn me on, but the smell of Blaire and the thought of her big eyes as she crawled closer to me so she could study my tongue made everything else seem cheap.

“I’m Babs. Remember? I used to stay the night with your sister in high school,” she said, pressing against me.

“Not interested,” I told her, trying to jerk free when we stepped into the kitchen and my eyes locked on Blaire. She was alone. No Woods. And she was watching me. With . . . Babs, or whoever this was on my arm. Shit.

“But you said,” Babs started to argue. I had no idea what she thought I said. Then she kissed my arm. Fuck. “I’ll take off my panties down here if you will,” the girl continued, not taking no for an answer. She was wobbling on her heels and clinging to me even more now.

“Babs, I’ve already told you no. I’m not interested,” I repeated loudly, keeping my eyes locked on Blaire’s. I wanted her to hear me. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted. Who I wanted.

“It’ll be naughty,” she promised me, then started laughing. Nothing about her was appealing.

“No, it will be annoying. You’re drunk, and your cackling is giving me a headache,” I said, still looking at Blaire. She had to believe me.

Blaire dropped her eyes from mine and turned to go to the pantry. Good. She was safe in there, and she needed sleep.

“Hey, that girl is going to steal your food,” Babs whispered loudly.

Blaire’s face turned bright red, and I threw Babs off my arm, letting her stumble to catch herself. “She lives here; she can have whatever she wants,” I informed anyone else who might say something to embarrass her.

Blaire’s eyes swung back to meet mine again.

“She lives here?” Babs asked.

The hurt in Blaire’s eyes burned a hole in my chest. I couldn’t take it.

“Don’t let him lie to you,” Blaire said. “I’m the unwelcome guest living under his stairs. I’ve wanted a few things, and he keeps telling me no.”

Fuck.

She slammed the door behind her. I wanted to go after her, but I knew if I went in there, I wasn’t coming out. I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands and mouth off her.

Woods walked into the kitchen and swung his gaze to me. “You don’t deserve her,” he said coldly.

“Neither do you,” I replied, then turned and headed for the stairs. I had to get away from these people.

Grant met me in the hallway.

“Make sure Woods leaves. If Blaire comes out of her room, come get me,” I said, without stopping to look at him. Then I headed for my room. So I could remind myself, yet again, why I couldn’t touch Blaire.

Could you not be good for just one kiss? Please ? Those words had kept me up all damn night. How the hell I’d walked out of that little room I had no idea. I had to stop this. I couldn’t let her in anymore. She didn’t know the truth. I had to protect her. My feelings for her were already too dangerous.

As much as I wanted to tell her about Nan, I couldn’t. She’d hate me, and I was too far gone now. I couldn’t live with Blaire hating me. At least not this soon. I wasn’t ready for her to leave me. I glanced back over my shoulder at the closed pantry door. Last night, Blaire’s parting comments about her being the unwelcome guest had pissed me off. I was changing that. Maybe I wasn’t ready to move her upstairs yet, but I would feed her. I wasn’t sure what she was eating in the mornings, but since she was sleeping in late today, I had time to make her breakfast.

The pantry door opened behind me, and I glanced back again to see Blaire staring at me with a surprised look on her face. We hadn’t ended things well last night. This morning, I was going to change that.

“Good morning. Must be your day off.”

She didn’t move and gave me a forced smile. “Smells good.”

“Get out two plates. I make some killer bacon.” I was going to soften her up. I knew she was still mad at me for leaving her last night, but dammit, I had done it for her. Not me.

“I’ve already eaten, but thank you,” she said, then bit down on her lower lip as she looked longingly at the bacon. What the hell was that all about? And when had she eaten? I’d been up for two hours, and she hadn’t been out of her room.

I set down the fork I was using and focused on her instead of the bacon. “How have you already eaten? You just woke up.” I watched her carefully in case she decided not to tell me the complete truth. If this was about her not wanting to eat in front of me or some ridiculous girl issue like that, she was going to have to get over it.

“I keep peanut butter and bread in my room. I had some before I came out.”

What the hell did she just say? “Why do you keep peanut butter and bread in your room?” I asked.

She nibbled nervously on her lip a moment, then let out a sigh. “This isn’t my kitchen. I keep all my things in my room.”

She kept all her things in her room? Wait . . . what? “Are you telling me that you only eat peanut butter and bread when you’re here? That’s it? You buy it and keep it in your room, and that is all you eat?” A sick knot had formed in my stomach that I hadn’t felt since I was a kid. If she told me all she ate was f**king peanut-butter sandwiches, I was going to lose it. Had I made her think she couldn’t eat my food? Fuck!

She nodded slowly. Those big eyes of hers were even bigger now. I was an asshole. No . . . I was worse than an asshole.

I slammed my hand against the counter and focused on the bacon while I tried like hell to get control of myself.

This was my fault. Fuck me, this was all my fault. She never complained when any other woman on the planet would have. And she was eating motherfucking peanut-butter sandwiches every day. My chest hurt. I couldn’t do this anymore. I’d tried. I was done keeping her at a distance.

“Go get your stuff and move upstairs. Take any room on the left side of the hall you want. Throw that damn peanut butter away, and eat whatever the hell you want in this kitchen,” I told her.

She remained frozen in her spot. Why wasn’t she listening to me?

“If you want to stay here, Blaire, move your ass upstairs now. Then come down here and eat something out of my motherfucking fridge while I watch,” I growled. She stiffened at my response. I needed to calm down. I didn’t want to scare her; I just wanted her to move upstairs, dammit. And eat some bacon!

“Why do you want me to move upstairs?” she asked softly.

I moved the last piece of bacon to the paper towel before looking at her again. Seeing her hurt me physically. Knowing that I’d treated her so poorly and that she’d taken it was making it hard to f**king breathe. “Because I want you to. I hate going to bed at night and thinking about you asleep under my stairs. Now I have the image of you eating those damn peanutbutter sandwiches all alone in there, and it’s a little more than I can deal with.” There, I’d said it.

She didn’t argue this time. She turned around and walked back into the pantry. I stood there and waited until she walked back out, carrying her suitcase in one hand and a jar of peanut butter and some bread in the other. She put the jar and the bread on the counter without looking at me and walked toward the hallway.

I was working to hold on to the edge of the counter to keep from grabbing the jar of peanut butter and smashing it against the wall. I wanted to hit something. The ache inside was taking over, and I needed to hurt something to ease the anger. Anger that was directed completely at myself for being a self-absorbed ass. I had been so f**king worried about not touching her that I’d neglected her in other ways. She was living off f**king peanut butter.

“I don’t have to move upstairs. I like that room.” Blaire’s soft voice broke into my thoughts, and I had to grip the counter even tighter. I’d mistreated her. Neglected her needs. All I wanted was to touch her and f**king smell her and hold her, but I’d let her down. I wasn’t going to be able to forgive myself for this.

“You belong in one of the rooms upstairs. You don’t belong under the stairs. You never did,” I said, without looking at her.

“Would you at least tell me which room to take? I don’t feel right picking one out. This isn’t my house.”

I was scaring her. One more thing she didn’t deserve. I let go of my grip on the counter and looked over at her. She seemed ready to bolt back to the pantry at any minute.

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