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A stirring of longing took hold of him. He cupped her face in his palms. “God, how I missed you.”
She gripped his T-shirt in her fists and raised her tear-stained face to his.
He couldn’t help himself. He lowered his head, slowly, giving her a chance to say no, to push him away.
She did neither. Instead, she rose on her toes, her fists still gripping his T-shirt, and brushed his lips with hers.
The groan that rose inside him came from missing her for what seemed like a lifetime. He took her mouth, kissing her with an intensity that he’d never felt before. Her lips were so soft, and when he slid his tongue into her mouth and tasted her, it was like going back all of those years and tasting her again for the first time.
The intensity of her kiss matched his own and a low groan escaped him. She was so soft in his arms, a memory come to life. He wanted to take her to bed and make up for all of the loving they had missed.
He struggled to think clearly as need and desire burned bright. She moved her palms up his T-shirt to his shoulders and slid her fingers into his hair, knocking off his Stetson. It hit the floor with a soft thump.
Each movement she made seemed as urgent as his, if not more so. It was as if she’d been craving this ever since she’d left and she wanted to make up for lost time. Just like he did.
Her low purr vibrated through him. He remembered her making that sound every time they’d made love and he almost followed through with his desire to sweep her into his arms, lay her on the bed, and cover her body with his.
She had filled out, and no longer had a girlish figure but the real curves of a grown woman. He wanted to explore those curves with his hands, his mouth, his tongue. He wanted to taste her again, to hold her, to make love to her.
It might have been the hardest thing he’d ever done, but he took her by the shoulders and put just enough space between them so that their bodies weren’t plastered together. But he continued to keep a grip on her, their gaze holding and not breaking.
God, she was beautiful. He’d always thought she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever known. From childhood through high school he’d been in love with everything about her. He didn’t think she’d known it until their freshman year in high school, when he’d taken her for a walk under the bleachers at a football game.
Her chest rose and fell, clearly breathing as hard as he was. She swallowed. “That was probably not a good idea.”
He studied her for a long moment. “You’re going through a lot. I can see it in your eyes.”
She looked down before meeting his gaze again. “Thank you.”
Despite the fact that he wouldn’t take advantage of her when she was so vulnerable, he couldn’t help the disappointment that swelled within him when she’d agreed. He moved his thumb to her cheek. “I missed you.”
Her eyes glittered and he thought for a moment that she would cry again. “I missed you, too.”
He pressed a kiss to her forehead. He had to change the subject or he’d take her in his arms again and this time he wouldn’t let go.
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