The doors closed, I hit the button for the twenty-third floor, and the lift jerked with the initial ascent. Hanna settled into the same corner she’d been in the last time we were in here together.

She nodded, and everything we’d said right here two nights ago filled the elevator car like smoke rising from the floor. You go down on me. You do it until I come.

“Can you move your ankle?” I asked in a rush, my chest tightening with how much I wanted to step closer, kiss her.

She nodded again, eyes locked to mine. “It’s sore, but I think it’s okay.”

The gears of the elevator creaked; something just above us in the elevator shaft slid into place with a loud thunk.

You lean over me on the couch, jerking off, and come on my chest.

I licked my lips, finally letting my eyes move to her mouth, my mind wander to the memory of how it felt to kiss her. The echo of her words was loud enough in my head that it was as good as if she’d said them aloud: Sex in all kind of places on my body. How you like me to bite you, and how good it feels to do it.

I stepped closer, wondering if she remembered saying, We’re ha**g s*x and I’m doing everything you want and it isn’t just good for me, it’s good for you, too. And, if she did, I wondered if she could see in my eyes that it had been good, so good for me; it was making me want to kneel at her feet right now.

We arrived at her floor and I relented as she insisted on limping down the hall, needing to break the tension somehow. Inside her apartment, I grabbed a bag of frozen peas from the freezer and guided her to the bathroom, making her sit down on the toilet seat while I dug around under her sink for Bactine or some type of antiseptic. I settled for water and hydrogen peroxide.

Her pants were only ripped on one knee, but the other was scuffed enough to tell me that both knees were probably pretty scraped. I rolled up each pant leg, ignoring the way she swatted my hands away at the sight of the mild stubble on her legs.

“I didn’t know you would be touching my legs today,” she said, laughing a little.

Dabbing at the cuts with a wet cotton ball, I was relieved to see they weren’t too bad. They were bleeding, but there wasn’t anything that wouldn’t heal in a few days, and without stitches.

Finally, she looked down, straightening one leg as I cleaned up the other. “I look like I was walking around on my knees. I’m a mess.”

I grabbed a couple of clean cotton balls and dabbed her cuts with hydrogen peroxide, trying—but failing—to tamp down a smile.

She leaned down to get a better look at my face. “You are such a pervert, smiling at my scraped knees.”

“You like the idea of getting my knees all scraped up?” she asked with a growing smile of her own.

“I’m sorry,” I said, shaking my head with absolute insincerity. “I really do.”

Her smile dissolved slowly and she ran a finger over my chin, studying the little scar there. “How did you get this?”

“Happened in college. A woman was giving me head and freaked out and bit down on my dick. I slammed my face into the headboard.”

Her eyes widened in horror: her worst o**l s*x nightmare realized. “Really?”

I burst out laughing, unable to keep up the story any longer. “No, not really. I was hit in the face with a lacrosse stick in the tenth grade.”

She closed her eyes, pretending she wasn’t amused, but I could see her swallow a laugh. Finally, she looked back down at me. “Will?”

“Mmm?” I put down the last cotton ball and screwed the cap back on the hydrogen peroxide bottle as I blew gently across the cuts. Once I had it all clean, I didn’t even think she would need a Band-Aid.

“I heard what you said about wanting to be careful because of our history. And I’m sorry that I came off as too casual.”

I smiled at her, absently running my hand slowly down her calf, before realizing how familiar that was.

She sucked on her bottom lip for a beat before whispering, “I’ve thought about Saturday night almost constantly since.”

Outside a horn blared, cars sped down 101st, and people rushed off to work. But in Hanna’s apartment it fell completely silent. She and I just stared at each other. Her eyes grew anxious and wide, and I realized she was getting embarrassed the longer I took to reply.

I couldn’t push any air past the tangle in my throat. Finally, I managed, “Me, too.”

“I never thought it could be like that.”

I hesitated, worrying she wouldn’t believe me when I said, “Me, either.”

Her hand lifted at her side, pausing before reaching out. Sliding her fingers into my hair, she followed forward with her body, eyes wide open as she slid her mouth over mine.

I groaned, and my heart slammed against my sternum, skin growing hot as my c**k lengthened; every part of me felt tight and stiff.

I wanted her so fiercely I was worried I wouldn’t be able to be gentle. “Fuck yes, it’s okay. I was worried I wouldn’t ever have you again.”

She stood on wobbly legs, reaching for the hem of her shirt and pulling it up and over her head. Her skin shone with a thin sheen of sweat, and her hair was a mess, but I wanted nothing else than to bury myself in her and feel her give in to me for hours.

“You’re going to be late to work,” I whispered, watching as she pulled off her sports bra.

She shimmied out of her pants. With a little ass wiggle, she turned and hopped on one foot to her bedroom.

I stripped as I walked, pulling off my shirt, kicking off my pants—and leaving it all in piles in the hallway. I found Hanna on her bed, lying on top of the covers.

“Do you need more first aid?” I asked, smiling as I climbed over her, kissing my way up her belly to her breasts. “Does anything else hurt?”

“One guess,” she said on an exhale.

Without needing to ask, I stretched, reaching for the drawer where she’d kept her condoms. Wordlessly, I tore one from the pack and handed it to her. Her hand was already extended expectantly.

“Fuck. We should fool around a little first,” I said into her neck even as I felt her begin to roll the condom down my length.

“We’ve been fooling around in my head since Sunday morning,” she whispered. “I don’t think I need more warm-up.”

She was right. When she positioned me and then reached for my hips, pulling me deep in one, slow move, she was wet and ready, quickly pulling on my ass to get me moving fast, and hard.

“I like when you’re hungry like this,” I murmured into her skin. “I feel like I can’t get my fill of you. Just like this, against me, under me.”

“Will . . .” She pushed into me, sliding her hands over my shoulders.

I could hear the rustle of the sheets as we moved, the slick sounds of our lovemaking, and nothing else. The rest of the world seemed to have fallen away, been put on mute.

She was quiet, too, staring, fascinated, down at where I moved in and out of her.

I slid a hand between us, played with her body, loving the way her back arched off the bed, her hands reached above her head, seeking anchor on the headboard.

With my free hand, I reached up, pinning her wrists and letting myself dissolve into her, mindless and warm, the rhythm of our bodies working together, rolling and wet with sweat. I sucked and bit at her chest, pressing down on her wrists and feeling the familiar build of my orgasm grip me somewhere between my hips, low in my spine. I jerked over her, going faster and hard, relishing the sounds of my h*ps slapping her thighs.

Her eyes opened, burning with understanding and the wild thrill of seeing my pleasure unfolding.

I circled her cl*tfaster, three fingers flat and rubbing, her little hoarse cries growing louder and tighter, the telltale flush spreading up her neck. She struggled, pulling her wrists apart from my grip in abandon, and then she went off with a sharp cry, h*ps bucking wild and body coiling and sucking all around me.

I held on by a f**king thread, moving hard and fast until she went limp and soft, and then let go, rasping, “Coming . . .”

I pulled out, jerking the condom off and tossing it away before gripping my cock, squeezing as I stroked up my length.

Hanna’s eyes flamed with anticipation, and she propped herself on her elbows, staring intently down at where my hand flew over my length between us. Her attention, how much she clearly enjoyed watching . . . it overwhelmed me.

Heat burned up my legs and down my spine and my back arched in a sharp jerk. My orgasm pulsed through me unbelievably strong, tearing a loud groan from my throat as I came. Stuck in my head were images of Hanna, thighs spread under me, skin slick, her eyes open and telling me without words how good it felt. How good I made her feel.

Pulsing, pulsing, pulsing heat . . . and my entire body let go.

My hand slowed, and I opened my eyes, dizzy and breathless.

Her eyes burned, dark gray and fascinated as she ran her fingers over her stomach and stared at my orgasm on her skin.

“Will.” My name came out of her mouth in a purr. No way were we done here.

I propped one hand on the pillow beside her head, staring down at her. “Did you like that?”

She nodded, her bottom lip trapped viciously between her teeth.

“Show me. Touch yourself for me.”

She initially looked uncertain, but then it transformed into determination. I watched as she ran her hand down her torso, reaching briefly for my still-erect cock, her fingers first on me and then herself. She slid two fingers down over her clit, arching into her touch.

I ghosted my hand up her side and over her breast, bending to suck at the tight peak, before telling her, “Make yourself come.”

“I’m not there when you do this alone. Show me what you do. Maybe I like to watch, too.”

“I want you to watch while you help.”

She was still so warm from the friction of our sex; flesh soft and so f**king wet. With my fingers inside and hers out, we found a rhythm—she stroked up as I pushed in—and f**k if it wasn’t the most amazing thing to see her so unchained and intense, alternating between staring down at where I’d come on her and where I was growing hard again between us.

It didn’t take long to get here there, and soon she was pushing into my hand, her legs pulled up tight to her sides and lips parted as she grew tense, and then f**king exploded with a scream.

She was beautiful when she went off, skin flushing and ni**les tight; I couldn’t help but taste her skin, nibbling the underside of her breast and slowing my hand in her as she came down.

She took stock of our appearance: covered in sweat and, on her stomach, my orgasm.

“I think we need a shower.”

I laughed. “I think you may be right.”

But we didn’t. We started to get up, but then I would kiss her shoulder, or she would bite mine, and each time we would just slide back onto the mattress, until eventually it was nearly eleven in the morning, and we’d both long since given up on the idea of going in to work.

After the kissing escalated again, and I took her while she was bent over the edge of the bed, collapsing over her, she rolled onto her back and stared up at me, playing with my sweaty hair. “Are you hungry?”

She started to get up but I pushed her back down, kissing her stomach. “Not hungry enough to get up yet.” I spotted a pen on her bedside table and reached for it without thinking, murmuring, “Stay still,” as I pulled the cap off with my teeth and pressed the tip to her skin.

She’d left the window near her bed open a crack, and we listened to the sounds of the city outside as I drew on the smooth skin just beside her hip. She didn’t ask what I was doing, didn’t even really seem to care. Her hands slid through my hair, down over my shoulders, along my jaw. She carefully traced my lips, my eyebrows, down the bridge of my nose. It was the way she might touch me if she were blind, trying to learn how I fit together.

When I finished, I pulled back, admiring my handiwork. I’d written a fragment of my favorite quote in tiny script, from her hipbone to just above her bare pubic bone.

All that is rare for the rare.

I loved the dark ink on her. Loved seeing it in my handwriting even more. “I want to tattoo this on your skin.”

“?‘Actually’?” I repeated, rubbing my thumb over the unmarked skin below, considering all the things I could put there.

“He was a bit of a misogynist, but came out of it with a few decent aphorisms.”

Holy fuck, the brain on this woman.

“?‘Sensuality often hastens the growth of love so much that the roots remain weak and are easily torn up,’?” she quoted.

Well. I looked up in time to catch her teeth release her lip, her eyes shining with amusement. That was interesting. “What else?”

She ran a fingertip across the scar on my chin, and studied my face carefully. “?‘All that glitters is not gold. A soft sheen characterizes the most precious metal.’?”