When the warmth of his chest and abs returned to my back, it nearly sent me over the edge. He reached beneath me, lifted my hips to prop up my backside a few inches, and guided himself inside me, slow, and controlled. We both groaned, and I arched my back and bucked my hips up to his, allowing him to go deeper.

As he began to rock against me, I gripped the sheets. When he reached down to touch me with his fingers again, I cried out. The feel of his hips and thighs against my bare ass was incredible, and I just wanted him deeper, closer, harder.

Trenton raked the strands of hair away from my face and out of my eyes. My entire body was overwhelmed by the most wonderful intensity. It enveloped me, and I cried out as it traveled like electricity throughout my body.

“Goddamn, keep making that sound,” he said, breathless.

I wasn’t even sure what sound I was making, I was so lost in the moment, lost in him. He rocked against me harder, each thrust sending shock waves from my pelvis to my toes. He bit my ear, firm and gentle, exactly how he was f**king me. His teeth set my ear free, and his fingers dug deep into my hips. He growled as he drove himself into me one last time, his body twitching as he moaned.

He collapsed beside me, breathless and smiling, his skin glistening with sweat. I know I had the same flushed, satisfied expression on my face.

Trenton gently brushed my damp hair from my face. “You’re f**king amazing.”

“Maybe. But I’m definitely in love with you.”

Trenton laughed once. “It’s crazy feeling this happy . . . are you as happy as I am?”

And that’s when it all came crashing down.


Landen Freeman made a few squiggles on each line, and then leaned against the counter, onto his elbows. I’d seen him around Eastern State’s tiny campus when I was taking more classes, but I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and it wasn’t surprising that he didn’t recognize me.

“What time does this place close?” He stared straight into my eyes, flashing a sexy smile that I imagined he had been perfecting in a mirror since puberty.

I pointed to the writing on the door with the pen, and then purposefully busied myself with his paperwork. “Eleven.”

“Mind if I stop by? I’d love to take you to the Red Door. Have you been there?”

“Once in a while. I’m loaded down with twenty hours a semester. Trying to finish and get the hell out of here as quick as I can.”

“I know the feeling,” I said.

“So . . . what about that drink?”

Trenton appeared beside me, picked up the papers, and began looking through them. “If you’re wanting this freehanded, Calvin’s your guy, and he’s not working today.”

Landen shrugged. “I’m cool with whoever. It doesn’t have to be freehand.”

“You want me to do it?” Trenton asked.

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen your work on the website. It’s badass.”

“I’ll do it, but you’re going to have to stop staring at my girl’s tits.”

I craned my neck at him. I hadn’t caught Landen staring at my chest once.

“On second thought, you better call and make an appointment with Cal. I’m busy.” Trenton tossed the waivers, and they rained down around us. He turned his hat to sit off center, and I watched, unimpressed, as Trenton strolled back to his station. He walked with an arrogant swagger—the way he did before beating someone down.

Landen looked at me, then down the hall, and then back at me.

“I’m . . . I’m so sorry,” I said, handing him our card. “Here’s the number for the shop. Calvin works on Wednesdays and Thursdays, by appointment only.”

Landen took the card. “I didn’t know,” he said, smiling sheepishly. The door chimed when he left, and I turned on my heels, stomping down the hall into Trenton’s room.

“So? I should have beat his ass!”

I sighed and closed my eyes. “Trent, I handled it. You can’t run customers off every time they flirt with me. That’s what Cal hired me for.”

“He did not hire you to be flirted with. He hired—”

“A hot piece of ass to work the counter. A job you offered me, don’t forget.”

“He didn’t even ask you if you were single, first! At least the douche nozzle could have started with that.”

“I didn’t hear you turn him down . . .”

My nose wrinkled. “I was dodging his question! I can’t just shut him down while he’s out here in the waiting area! It’s called professionalism.”

“Oh, is that what it’s called?”

I narrowed my eyes at him.

“You could have told him you have a boyfriend.”

“Is that what this is? That I’m not holding up my new label like a picket sign? What if I just tattoo TRENTON’S GIRL across my forehead?”

His face softened, and he chuckled. “I will gladly tat that somewhere else.”

I growled in frustration and walked back to the front. Trenton jogged after me.

“It’s not a horrible idea,” he said, only half teasing.

“I am not tatting your name on me,” I said, disgusted that he was even entertaining the idea. Trenton had already filled in the poppies the first week of Christmas break with a striking cherry red, and then two days before Christmas, he’d added some tribal art and black and bright green swirling clouds to the same arm. A week after New Year’s, I had a gorgeous blooming red rose with yellow accents. I was on my way to an intricate, badass sleeve. We had begun to refer to our sessions as pain therapy. I would talk, and Trenton would draw and listen. I loved sharing that time with him, and knowing that I carried his beautiful pieces of art with me everywhere.

He sat on the counter, his palms planted flat against the Formica. “Maybe I’ll hide it in one of your tattoos one of these days.”

“Maybe I’ll break your machine into a million pieces,” I said.

“Whoa. Shit just got real,” he said, hopping down to stand next to me. “I’m sorry you’re angry that I ran the guy off. I’m not sorry for running him off, but I am sorry I made you mad. Think about it, though. I wasn’t going to tat him up after he hit on my girl. Trust me. It was best for everyone.”

Trenton wrapped his arms around me from behind, and then buried his face in my neck. “I’m almost not sorry for making you mad. You’re f**king hot when you’re angry.”

I playfully elbowed him in the ribs, and the door chimed again. Colin and Chase walked toward the counter, and Chase crossed his arms over his chest.

Trenton’s grip relaxed. “How can we help you, guys?”

Colin frowned. “We need to talk to Camille. Alone.”

Chase narrowed his eyes and leaned toward us. “She’s our f**king family. We’re not asking for your permission, Maddox.”