Ethan looks away from me and out over the water. He doesn’t ask me where Emily and I lived after our parents died—that’s usually the next question people ask. But I’m learning quickly that Ethan is different from most people.
We both stare at the ocean for a minute. Finally, he says in a voice so low I have to strain to hear it: “You asked me how I was tempted here. The truth is, doing this…crossing this ocean…it’s something I need to do.”
I nod but gaze at him questioningly, wondering what he means by that. His expression has closed and turned remote, and he doesn’t meet my eyes. There’s definitely a lot more behind that statement than he’s letting on. I open my mouth to ask him, but the shuttered look on his face makes me close it again. Shyness ultimately prevents me from prying further.
We sit in silence, gazing out over the open ocean. I struggle against this craving, this pull to move closer to him. I haven’t felt this drawn to someone since…well, ever.
Every single one of my senses is attuned to him. The nerves on my skin buzz with awareness. My every breath is full of him. His body is solid next to mine, and his heat washes over me. I remember the way his fingers pressed against my lower back yesterday, and I hold my muscles tight to keep from leaning toward him.
Taking a strand of my hair that the rising breeze has made flutter over my cheek, he pushes it aside and tucks it behind my ear. I shudder as his fingers brush over the shell of my ear, then I turn to him.
The softness of his expression fades and warms until there’s undeniable heat in his blue eyes. Scorching heat that burns in places inside me I never knew could feel so hot.
I gaze at him, spellbound, trying to figure him out, trying to glean some understanding from his body language. He keeps giving me these clues that he finds me attractive, but no one ever sees me that way, much less guys as insanely appealing as Ethan, so my mind tries to deny the possibility. My brain frantically scrambles, thinking of other reasons a man might look at me like he wants to devour me whole—but it comes up with nothing.
Unbidden, my gaze moves from his eyes to his lips. They’re slightly parted. His lips are so plump, so kissable.
I want to kiss him. I want him to kiss me. Desperately. My tongue flicks out and swipes over my top lip. His gaze flickers to my mouth.
I can’t tell if it’s a question or a statement, but I answer him.
“Yes.” The word doesn’t sound like it came out of me—it emerges low and sultry, full of longing and heat.
He flattens his hand on the deck behind me, bracing himself, his arm a solid length of muscle along my back. My lips part, releasing a sigh of anticipation.
And then he leans down to kiss me.