She was perfect, and gorgeous, and wild—hands on my face, thumb in my mouth, begging me with little noises and her wide, pleading eyes.

But when those eyes rolled closed I stopped, groaning loudly and rasped, “Watch me. I’m not going to be gentle tonight.”

She looked up at my face—not down at my cock—so I let her see every single sensation as it passed over me: the way it wasn’t enough even with my punishing thrusts and savage hands rasping over every inch of her skin; the way I relished how she began to jut up into me, and it started to be just right, just f**king right, and I laughed through a growl, watching her chest flush and her first orgasm sneak up on her, tearing from her screaming and frenzied; the way I wanted to slow down, enjoy the long drag of my c**k in her, the warm, perfect hum in my blood, run my finger between her br**sts and feel her sweat, slow down enough to make her beg again.

She pulled at my shoulders, begging for faster.

“So demanding,” I whispered, pulling out and flipping her over to lick down her back, bite her ass, her thighs. I left a pattern of red marks across her skin.

I pulled her down to the edge of the bed, bending her over the mattress, and sank back into her, so goddamn deep it made us both cry out. I closed my eyes, needing that sense of distance. Before, with every woman, I had watched everything. I’d needed that layer of visual stimulation when I was ready to come. But with Hanna, it was too much. She was too much. I couldn’t watch her when I was close like this, the way her spine arched, or how she’d look at me over her shoulder, eyes full of question and hope and that sweet adoration that spiked me right between my ribs.

I felt her begin to tighten around me, and lost myself in the way she got even wetter when I gripped her hair, roughly gripped her br**sts in my hungry hands, and smacked her ass to hear a sharp crack, which was followed by her eager moan. Her sounds morphed from sharp cries to tiny gasps of breath as I bit her shoulder and told her to f**king come, Plum. And when she started to, I tried to hold on, tried to block out the image of us together, the way we must look. My hand tightened on her hip, the other on her shoulder as I pulled her forcibly onto me with every thrust until I was so close, could feel it barreling down my spine.

She said my name, pushed back into me and suddenly it felt like I was falling, spinning into darkness. My eyes flew open, both my hands gripping her tightly for support as I came, filling the condom with a groan. I continued to thrust into her, f**king her through her orgasm as my head swam, my legs on fire. I felt like I was made of rubber and could barely hold myself up.

I pulled out and discarded the condom, watched as she slid down onto the mattress. She looked so f**king perfect in my bed, her hair a mess, her skin bite-marked and flushed and sweaty, a glint here and there from the honey that still clung to her. I climbed on the bed, collapsing behind her and wrapping my arms around her waist. There was something so familiar about this. It was the first time she’d slept in my bed and yet it felt like she’d always been there.

I woke the next morning to the feel of unfamiliar sheets and the smell of Will still clinging to my skin. The bed was a disaster. The sheets were dislocated from the mattress and twisted around my body; the pillows had been shoved to the floor. My skin was covered in bite marks and fingertip bruises, and I had no idea where my clothes were.

A glance at the clock told me it was just after five, and I rolled over, pushing the tangled hair from my face and blinking into the dim light. The other side of the bed was empty and bore only the telltale indentation of Will’s body. I looked up at the sound of footsteps to see him walking toward me, smiling and shirtless, carrying a steaming mug in each hand.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” he said, setting the drinks on the bedside table. The mattress dipped as he sat next to me. “You feel okay? Not too sore?” His expression was tender, a smile curving the corners of his mouth, and I wondered if I’d ever get used to the reality of him looking at me so intimately. “I wasn’t particularly easy on you last night.”

I took the mental inventory: in addition to the marks he’d left all over my body, my legs were weak, my abdomen felt like I’d done a hundred sit-ups, and, between my legs, I could still feel the echo of his h*ps pounding into me. “Sore in all the right places.”

He scratched his jaw, letting his eyes move over my face before dropping to my chest. Predictably. “That is now my favorite thing you’ve ever said. Maybe you could text that to me later tonight. If you’re feeling generous, you could include a picture of your tits.”

I laughed, and he reached for a mug, handing it to me. “Someone forgot their tea last night.”

“Hmmm. Someone was distracted.” I shook my head, motioning for him to put it back down. I wanted both hands free. Will was predatory and seductive every minute of the day; but in the morning, he should be illegal.

He grinned in understanding, slowly brushing his hands through the ends of my hair, smoothing it down my spine. I shivered at the emotion in his eyes, how his fingers set off sparks that settled warm and heavy between my thighs. I wished I knew what exactly it was I saw there: friendship, fondness, something more? I bit back the question that continued to rise up in the back of my throat, not sure either of us was ready to have an honest conversation so soon after the last, disastrous one.

The sky that peeked through the window was still purple and hazy, making each inked line across his skin seem sharper, each tattoo stark against his skin. The bluebird looked almost black; the words that wrapped around his ribs seemed as if they’d been carved there in delicate script. I reached to touch them, to press my thumb into the groove formed by his obliques, the flat planes of his stomach and lower. He hissed in a breath when I slipped a finger just under the waistband of his boxers.

“I want to draw on you,” I said, and blinked quickly back to his face to gauge his reaction. He looked surprised, but more than that, he looked hungry, his blue eyes heavy and hidden in shadow.

He must have agreed, because he leaned over to search the small table next to the bed, and returned with a black marker. He climbed over me and lay down on his back, stretching out long and sculpted in the middle of his bed.

I sat up, feeling the sheet slip down my body, the cool air reminding me just how completely na**d I was. I gave myself no time to think about what I was doing or how I looked as I crawled over and straddled him, my thighs bracketing his hips.

The air in the room seemed to condense, and Will swallowed, eyes wide as I took the marker from him and removed the cap. I could feel the length of him starting to harden against my backside. I bit back a moan at the way he flexed his thighs and rocked his h*ps upward the tiniest bit in an attempt to rub against me.

I looked down, not even sure where to start. “I love your collarbones,” I said, brushing my fingers along them to the little hollow below his throat.

“Collarbones, huh?” he asked, voice warm and still raspy.

I ran my fingers down his chest, biting back a triumphant smile over the way his breathing spiked, jagged and excited, under my touch.

His was perfect, though. Defined, but not bulky. His chest was broad, with smooth skin leading from his muscular shoulders to his pectorals. I traced a line with my index finger. He didn’t shave or wax his chest like the men in magazines or on my rare night zoning out in front of mindless television. Will was a man, with a smattering of dark hair on his chest, smooth bare stomach, and the soft trail leading from his navel to his . . .

I bent down, dragging my tongue down his happy trail.

“And I love this spot right here,” I said, veering my mouth away from where he wanted me and over to his hip. Pulling his boxers down just an inch, I drew an H just inside his hipbone, a B below. I sat back to examine it, smiling wide. “I like that.”

He lifted his head to see where I’d written my initials on his skin and blinked up to me. “Likewise.”

I remembered the smudged words and drawings I’d scrubbed from my body the other day, and brought the marker to my thumb, scribbling across the pad until it was wet with ink. I pressed it to his skin, right below where his hipbone jutted out, pushing hard enough that he sucked in a breath, and then pulled my hand away, leaving my thumbprint.

“Fuck,” he hissed, eyes fixed on that black mark. “That’s probably the hottest thing anyone’s ever done to me, Hanna.”

His words plucked at something raw inside my chest, a resurfacing of the knowledge that there were others: others who had done hot things, others who made him feel good.

I blinked away from his pressing gaze, not wanting him to see the thoughts that simmered steadily in the back of my mind—the nongirlfriend thoughts. Will had been good for me. I felt sexy and fun; I felt wanted. I wouldn’t bog it down with worries of what happened before me, or inevitably, what would happen after. Hell, what probably happened on those days we weren’t together. He’d never said anything about ending things with the other women. I saw him most nights of the week, but not every night. If I knew anything about Will, it was that he valued variety, and was pragmatic enough to always have a backup plan.

Distance, I reminded myself. Secret agent. In and out, unharmed.

Will sat up beneath me, sucking on my neck before moving his mouth to the shell of my ear. “I need to f**k you.”

I let my head fall back. “Didn’t you do that last night?”

Goose bumps exploded across my body, and my tea was forgotten again.The air was still cool but it was starting to feel like spring. There were leaves and blossoms, birds chattering in trees, and the blue-skied promise of better weather to come. Central Park in the spring always rocked me; it was amazing how a city of such size and industry could hide a jewel of color, water, and wildlife in its very heart.

I wanted to think about what I had to do that day, or the upcoming Easter weekend, but I was sore, and tired, and having Will running beside me was proving only more distracting with time.

The rhythm of his feet on the pavement, the cadence of his breath . . . all I could think about was sex. I could remember the hard bunch of muscle beneath my hands, the quiet teasing way he asked me to bite him, as if he was doing it for me, knowing I needed to tear something loose in him, too, and that maybe I’d find it buried beneath his skin. I could remember how he breathed near my ear in the middle of the night, in a rhythm, holding himself back for what felt like hours as he made me come, and then again, and again.

He lifted his shirt and wiped his forehead as he continued to run, and my mind flashed hot and sharp back to the way his sweat felt on my stomach, his come on my hip at the party.

He dropped his shirt, but I couldn’t seem to tear my eyes from where he’d just exposed his stomach. “Hanna.”

“Hmm?” Finally, I managed to snap my eyes to the trail in front of us.

“What’s up? You have this sort of glazed look on your face.”

I took a gulping breath and squeezed my eyes shut for only a beat. “Nothing.”

His feet stopped, and the cadence of sex and his h*ps thrusting over and into me halted abruptly. But the tenderness between my legs didn’t go away at all when he bent to meet my gaze. “Don’t do that.”

I filled my lungs, the words escaping with my exhale, “Fine, I was thinking about you.”

Blue eyes scanned my face before taking stock of the rest of me: ni**les pebbled beneath his too-big T-shirt I wore, stomach in tangles, legs on the verge of collapsing and, between them, muscles coiled so tight, I clenched harder just to relieve the ache.

A tiny smile skittered across his face. “Thinking of me how?”

This time, when I closed my eyes, I kept them closed. He said my strength was in my honesty, but it was really in how he made me feel when I told him everything. “I’ve never been distracted by someone like this before.” I’d always only been drive. Right now, I was lust, want, desire, insatiable student.

He was quiet for too long and when I looked again, I found him watching me, considering. I needed him to joke or tease, to say something filthy and bring us back to the baseline of Hanna and Will. “Tell me more,” he whispered, finally.

I opened my eyes, looked up at him. “I’ve never had a hard time focusing before, staying on task. But . . . I think about you—” I stopped abruptly. “Sex with you all the time.”

Never before had my heart felt like such a thick organ, beating with heavy, squeezing pulses. I loved these reminders he gave me that my heart was a muscle and my body was made, in part, for being raw and animalistic, f**king. But not emotions. Definitely not those.

“Because you’re my friend . . . you’ve become my best friend.”

“I don’t have a lot of friends and I don’t want to screw things up with you. It’s important.”

He smiled, brushing a strand of hair away from where it clung to my sweaty cheek. “It is.”

“I’m scared that this whole friends-who-bang thing will, as Max says, ‘go tits up.’?”

He laughed, but didn’t say anything in response to this.

“Not for the same reasons you are, I don’t think.”

What did that even mean? I loved Will’s ability to remain contained, but right now I wanted to throttle him.