“It just took me a while to be able to get it out of my head. To not be mad, or feel betrayed. To not worry that every time I was with you I would need you to reassure me.”

He opened his mouth but I stopped his words with a finger to his lips. “I don’t need you to reassure me. You had a lot of history with her, and practically no history with me. I want to move on from that night.”

His voice came out thin and tight: “I wish I’d never gone there.”

He winced and bent to press his face to my neck. “Ruby, fuck, sorry . . . I know we’re talking . . . but I’m going to come if you don’t stop stroking my cock.”

I let go of him immediately, barking out a laugh. “Oh my God! Niall! I’ve been being all serious and expecting you to listen while I’m giving you a hand job and rubbing you all over my—”

He cut me off with a kiss that didn’t even start sweet at all. It was immediately deep, searching and the movement of his hips causing him to slide up and over my clit told me that the conversation was done.

I moved my hands up his stomach, to his chest, feeling the smooth, firm skin, the muscles tensing beneath as he rubbed over me, faster, with more pressure, until I felt the hint of sweat on his chest, the telltale tightness of his breath.

He looked down between us, feeding himself slowly into me and hissing out an “Oh, Christ. Oh, fuck,” when his hips were fully pressed to my thighs.

I’d forgotten how it felt, and held my hands on his waist, silently asking him to give my body a second to get used to him.

“All right?” he whispered, arms shaking where they were braced beside my head.

“Yeah.” I stretched to kiss his throat and then rolled my hips under him, feeling my heart take off in a sprint as he pulled back and then started to move. Slow at first, and then when he could tell I was okay, when he slid so easily out and back in, he sped up and his sounds . . . oh, the sounds. His quiet grunts and exhales, fragmented words that made me feel possessed and urgent.

His eyes moved over my face, and down to my chest to follow the movement of my breasts with every snap of his hips. “Ah, fuck, love.”

He bent, kissing me, but it wasn’t really a kiss. It was his mouth, soft and distracted, open and sliding over mine. It was his breath, warm across my lips, my tongue.

“I love you.” I was in so deep with him. I felt like I’d been destined to love Niall Stella.

His hand covered my breast, squeezing gently as he bent to suck before sliding his palm down my ribs to my hip, my ass, my thigh to pull my leg higher up his waist. He was impatient, clearly lost to sensation, with eyes open but so glazed over I felt high with the power of it.

I squeezed him and his eyes rolled closed as a deep groan fell from his lips.

“Tell me,” he gasped. “Tell me what to do.”

His hips pivoted with intent, hard snaps into me, his hand gripping the back of my knee so tightly I could feel the pressure of each fingertip.

Niall blinked, long dark lashes brushing against his cheeks before he looked up at me, pulling from me as soon as he understood. I felt every inch of him withdraw.

He was wet, so hard he was jutting straight out, and I reached between us to touch him, to bring the crown against my clit and use the thick edge of him to circle and circle and circle over me. I didn’t want his fingers or mouth. I wanted the soft skin, the rigid flesh of him to get me there.

At the edge, when sensation seemed to pool between my legs, waiting to overflow and pull me under, I slid him back inside and felt his groan, felt the frenzy of it. As soon as his hips met mine he lost it, pulling back and giving me exactly what I’d wanted: to be fucked—hard—in his bed.

It was several seconds before I realized the screaming I heard was me, that the skin I felt pinched beneath my nails was his and that he was moving so hard his bed was roughly cracking into the wall.

His back was slick with sweat and his teeth were bared, pressed to my shoulder as pleasure filled me, pushed deep with his body. Just as I started to come down, he began to come, his fingers digging into my thighs as he made a hoarse sound of relief I’d never heard from him before, and which I knew I would spend every night for the rest of our lives trying to elicit again.

Slowly, he caught his breath, sliding lazily in and out, his lips pressed to my jaw.

Blinking up to the ceiling, I asked, “What is?”

“My heart, of course, but also my body.” He struggled to catch his breath. “My hands, my lips, my cock. I trust you with all of it more than I even trust myself.”

My chest seemed to clench so tight I lost my breath. Even more intimate than the sound of his coming was the way he spoke so plainly, so crudely, after he’d already finished. “I liked when you used it to play with your body. The idea of you coming because you’re rubbing me all over you?”

“Fuck. I love it. And how you wanted it harder, too. I want you to push me to be a little filthy.”

He looked directly into my eyes, and I caught the vulnerability there. I knew this conversation felt like a completely new language to him.