Ugly Love Book Chapter 17 Free Read Online

Full Read the Online Chapter 17 – TATE of the Ugly Love book PDF by Colleen Hoover for free.

Ugly Love book PDF by Colleen Hoover Chapter 17 Read Online – TATE

Corbin: Want to grab dinner? What time do you get off work?

Me: Ten minutes. Where at?

Corbin: We’re nearby. We’ll just meet you out front.


I can’t ignore the excitement that just flooded me with that text. Surely, we mean him and Miles. I can’t think of anyone else who would be coming with him, and I know Miles came home last night.

I finish up the last of my paperwork, then make a stop in the restroom to check my hair (I hate that I care) before heading outside to meet them.

The three of them are standing near the entrance when I walk outside. Ian and Miles are both with Corbin. Ian smiles when he sees me since he’s the only one facing me. Corbin spins around when I reach them.

“Ready? We’re going to Jack’s.”

They’re quite the team. All good-looking in their way but even more so when they’re sporting their pilot jackets and walking in a group like this. I can’t deny I feel somewhat underdressed, walking next to them in my scrubs. “Let’s do it,” I say. “I’m starving.”

I glance at Miles, and he gives me the slightest nod but no smile. His hands are planted finally in the pockets of his jacket, and he looks away as we all begin walking. He stays a step ahead of me the entire time, so I walk next to Corbin.

“What’s the occasion?” I ask as we head toward the restaurant. “Are we celebrating the fact that all three of you are off on the same night?”

A silent conversation passes around me. Ian looks at Miles. Corbin looks at Ian. Miles looks at no one. He keeps his eyes forward, focused on the sidewalk ahead of us.

“Remember when we were kids and Mom and Dad took us to La Caprese?” Corbin asks.

I remember that night. I’ve never seen my parents happier. I couldn’t have been older than five or six, but it’s one of the few memories I have from that young age. It was the day my father was made captain of his airline.

I stop in my tracks and immediately look at Corbin. “You made captain? You can’t get the captain. You’re too young.” I know for a fact how hard it is to make a captain and how many hours a pilot has to put in to be considered. Most pilots in their twenties are copilots.

Corbin shakes his head. “I didn’t get captain. I’ve changed airlines too much.” He cuts his eyes to Miles. “But Mr. Sign Me Up for More Hours over here got a nice little promotion today. Broke the company record.”

I turn to look at Miles, who is frowning at Corbin. Although he obviously feels humiliated that Corbin just called him out, I find his modesty to be just another quality I like in him. If their pal Dillon ever became captain, I have a hunch that he’d be using a megaphone to announce it to everyone from the top of some bar.

“It’s not that big a deal,” Miles says. “It’s a regional airline. Not many people to promote.”

Ian shakes his head. “I didn’t get promoted. Corbin didn’t get promoted. Dillon didn’t get promoted. You’ve been at this a year less than any of us, not to mention the fact that you’re only twenty-four.” He spins around and walks backward, facing all three of us. “Abandon the modesty for once, man. Rub it in our faces a little. We’d do it to you if the roles were reversed.”

I don’t know how long they’ve been friends, but I like Ian and I can tell he and Miles are close because Ian is genuinely proud of him and not at all jealous. I like that these are Corbin’s friends. It makes me happy for Corbin that he has this support. I’ve always pictured him living here, working too much, spending all his time alone and away from home. I don’t know why, though. Our father was a pilot, and he was home a fair amount of time, so I shouldn’t have misconceptions when it comes to Corbin’s life as a pilot.

I guess Corbin isn’t the only one to worry unnecessarily about his sibling.

We reach the restaurant, and Corbin holds the door open for us. Ian walks in first, and Miles steps back, allowing me to walk in ahead of him.

“I’m going to the restroom,” Ian says. “I’ll find you guys.”

Corbin walks to the hostess stand, and Miles and I are both behind him. I steal a glance in Miles’s direction. “Congratulations, Captain.”

I say it under my breath, but I don’t know why. It’s not as if Corbin would become suspicious if he heard me congratulating Miles. I guess I feel if I say it in a tone only Miles can hear, there’s more meaning behind it.

Miles cuts his eyes to mine and smiles, then glances at Corbin. When he sees Corbin’s back is still to us, he leans over and plants a quick kiss on the side of my head.

I should be ashamed of my weakness. A man should not be allowed to make me feel the way that stolen kiss just made me feel. It’s as if I’m suddenly floating or sinking or flying. Anything that doesn’t require support from my legs, because they’ve just become useless to me.

“Thank you,” he whispers, still sporting that gorgeous yet somehow modest grin. He nudges my shoulder with his and looks down at his feet. “You look pretty, Tate.”

I want to plaster those four words on a billboard and require myself to pass it on my drive to work every day. I would never take another day off work again.

As much as I want to believe he’s sincere with his compliment, I frown down at the scrubs I’ve been wearing for twelve hours straight. “I’m wearing Minnie Mouse scrubs.”

He leans into me again until our shoulders are touching. “I’ve kind of always had a thing for Minnie Mouse,” he says quietly.

Corbin turns around, so I immediately wipe the grin off my face. “Booth or table?”

Miles and I both shrug. “Either,” he says to Corbin.

Ian returns from the restroom just as the hostess begins to lead us to our seats. Corbin and Ian lead the way, and Miles follows close behind me. Close. His hand grips my waist as he leans forward toward my ear from behind me. “Kind of have a thing for nurses, too,” he whispers. I raise my shoulder to rub the ear he just whispered his admission into, because my entire neck is now covered in chills. He releases my waist and puts distance between us when we reach the booth. Corbin and Ian scoot into each side of the booth. Miles sits next to Ian, so I sit next to Corbin, directly across from Miles.

Miles and I both order sodas, compared with Ian and Corbin’s beer. His drink choice is just one more thing to mull over. Several weeks ago, he admitted he doesn’t usually drink, but considering he was beyond wasted the first night I met him, I figured he would at least have one drink tonight. He certainly has reason to celebrate. When the drinks are brought to the table, Ian raises his glass. “To show us up,” he says.

“Again,” Corbin adds.

“To work twice as many hours as either of you,” Miles says in mock defensiveness.

“Corbin and I have sex lives that interfere with working overtime,” Ian retorts.

Corbin shakes his head. “No discussing my sex life in front of my sister.”

“Why not?” I pipe up. “It’s not like I don’t notice all the random nights you spend away from the apartment when you aren’t working.”

Corbin groans. “I’m serious. Change of subject.”

I grant him his request gladly. “How long have the three of you known each other?” I ask the question to no one in particular, but I only care to hear the answers that involve Miles.

“Miles and I have known your brother since meeting him in flight school a few years back. I’ve known Miles since I was nine or ten,” Ian says.

“We were both eleven,” Miles corrects. “We met during fifth grade.”

I have no idea if this conversation is breaking rule one of not asking about the past, but Miles doesn’t seem uncomfortable talking about it.

The waitress brings us a complimentary basket of bread, but none of us has even opened a menu yet, so she tells us she’ll be back to take our order.

“I still can’t believe you’re not gay,” Corbin says to Miles, completely changing the subject again while he opens his menu.

Miles peers at him over his menu. “I thought we weren’t discussing sex lives.”

“No,” Corbin says. “I said we weren’t discussing my sex life. Besides, you don’t even have one to discuss.” Corbin lays his menu flat on the table and engages Miles directly. “Seriously, though. Why don’t you ever date?”

Miles shrugs, more interested in the drink between his hands than in having a stare-down with my brother. “Relationships aren’t worth the result to me.”

Something in my heart cracks, and I start to worry that one of the guys might hear it fragmenting over the silence. Corbin leans back in the seat.

“Damn. She must have been a serious bitch.”

My eyes are suddenly glued to Miles, waiting for his reaction to a possible revelation about his past. He gives his head a slight shake, silently dismissing Corbin’s assumption. Ian gently clears his throat, and his expression changes as he loses the smile normally affixed to his face. It’s obvious by Ian’s reaction that whatever issues Miles has from his past, Ian is aware of them.

Ian sits up straight in his seat and raises his glass, pasting a forced grin onto his lips. “Miles doesn’t have time for girls. He’s too busy breaking company records by becoming the youngest captain our airline has ever seen.”

We take Ian’s interruption for what it is and raise our glasses. We clink them together, and everyone takes a drink.

The appreciative look Miles shoots in Ian’s direction doesn’t go unnoticed by me, although Corbin seems to be clueless. Now I’m even more curious about Miles. And equally concerned that I’m getting in over my head, because the more time I spend with him, the more I want to know everything there is to know about him.

“We should celebrate,” Corbin says.

Miles moves his menu down. “I thought that’s what we were doing.” “I mean after this. We’re going out tonight. We need to find a girl to put an end to your dry spell,” Corbin says.

I almost spit my drink out, but luckily, I’m able to contain my laugh. Miles notices my reaction and taps my ankle under the table with his foot. But he leaves his foot right next to mine.

“I’ll be fine,” Miles says. “Besides, the captain needs his rest.”

All the letters on the menu begin to blur as my mind replaces them with words like ending dry spell and rest.

Ian looks at Corbin and nods. “I’ll go. Let the captain go back to his apartment and sleep off the effects of his cola.”

Miles pegs me with his eyes and adjusts slightly in his seat so that our knees touch. He wraps his foot around the back of my ankle. “Sleep sounds good,” he says. He trades my stare for the menu in front of him. “Let’s hurry up and order so I can go back to my apartment and sleep. It feels like I haven’t slept in more than nine days, and it’s all I’ve been able to think about.”

My cheeks are on fire, along with several other areas of my body.

” I kind of have the urge to fall asleep right now,” Miles says.

He lifts his eyes to meet mine. “Right here at the table.”

Now the temperature in the rest of my body matches the heat in my cheeks.

“God, you’re lame,” Corbin says, laughing. “We should have brought Dillon instead.”

“No, we should not have,” Ian immediately says with an exaggerated roll of his eyes.

“What’s the deal with Dillon?” I ask. “Why do you all hate him so much?”

Corbin shrugs. “It’s not that we hate him. We just can’t stand him, and none of us realized it until after we had already invited him to our game nights. He’s a prick.” Corbin shoots me that all-too-familiar glare. “And I don’t ever want you alone with him. Being married doesn’t stop him from being an asshole.”

And there’s that possessive, brotherly love I’ve been missing all these years.

“Is he dangerous?”

“No,” Corbin says. “I just know how he treats his marriage, and I don’t want you getting involved with that. But I’ve already made it clear to him that you’re off limits.”

I laugh at his absurdity. “I’m twenty-three, Corbin. You can stop acting like Dad now.”

His face pinches together, and for a second, he even starts resembling our dad. “The hell I will,” Corbin growls. “You’re my little sister. I have standards for you, and Dillon doesn’t come close to meeting even one of them.”

He hasn’t changed a bit. As annoying as it was in high school, and still kind of is, I do love that he wants the best for me. I’m just afraid his version of what’s best for me doesn’t exist.

“Corbin, no guy will ever come close to the standards you’ve set for me.”

He nods, getting all righteous. “Damn right.”

If he warned Dillon to stay away from me, it makes me wonder if he warned Miles and Ian, too. Then again, he did think Miles was gay, so he probably didn’t see a possibility there.

I wonder if Miles would meet Corbin’s standards.

My eyes want to look at Miles so incredibly much right now, but I’m afraid I’d be too obvious. Instead, I force a smile and shake my head. “Why couldn’t I have been born first?”

“Wouldn’t have made a difference,” Corbin replies.


Ian smiles at the waitress and motions for the check. “It’s on me tonight.” He lays down enough cash to cover the bill and tip, and we all stand and stretch.

“So who’s going where?” Miles asks.

“Bar,” Corbin replies immediately, blurting it out like he’s calling dibs.

“I just got off a twelve-hour shift,” I say. “I’m beat.”

“Mind if I catch a ride with you?” Miles asks as we all make our way outside. “I don’t feel like going out tonight just wanted to sleep.”

I like how he doesn’t disguise the emphasis in front of Corbin when he says sleep. It’s like he wants to ensure that I’m aware he has no intentions of actually sleeping.

“Yeah, my car is back at the hospital,” I say, pointing in that general direction.

“All right, then,” Corbin says, clasping his hands together. “You lame asses go sleep. Ian and I are going out.” Corbin turns, and he and Ian waste no time heading in the other direction. Corbin spins around, walking backward in pace with Ian. “We’ll drink a shot in your honor, El Capitan!”

Miles and I remain motionless, boxed into a circle of light cascading down from a streetlamp as we watch them walk away. I look down at the sidewalk below us and scoot one of my shoes to the edge of the circle of light, watching as it disappears into the darkness. I look up at the streetlamp, wondering why it’s shining down on us with the intensity of a spotlight.

“Feels like we’re on a stage,” I say, still looking up at the light.

He tilts his head back and joins my inspection of the odd lighting. “The English Patient,” he says. I look at him questioningly. He gestures to the streetlamp above our heads. “If we were on a stage, it would probably be a production of The English Patient.” He flicks his hand back and forth between us. “We’re already dressed the part. A nurse and a pilot.”

I mull over what he says, probably a little too much. I know he says he’s the pilot, but if this were a stage production of The English Patient, I think he would be the soldier rather than the pilot. The soldier is the character who is sexually involved with the nurse. Not the pilot.

But the pilot is the one with the secretive past …

“‘That movie is the reason I became a nurse,” I say, looking at him with a straight face.

He returns his hands to his pockets, shifting his gaze from the light overhead back to me. “For real?”

My laugh escapes. “No.” Miles smiles.

That rhymes.

We both turn at the same time to head back toward the hospital. I find myself using the lull in our conversation to construct a really bad poem in my head.

Miles smiles For no one else Miles only smiles For me.

“Why are you grinning?” he asks.

Because I’m reciting embarrassing third-grade-level rhymes about you.

I pin my lips together, forcing my smile away. When I know it’s gone for good, I answer him. “Just thinking about how tired I am. Looking forward to a good”-I cut my eyes to his-“sleep tonight.”

He’s the one smiling now. “I know what you mean. Don’t think I’ve ever been this tired. I might even sleep as soon as we’re inside your car.”

That would be nice.

I smile but bow out of the metaphor-laden conversation. It’s been a long day, and I am tired. We walk in silence, and I can’t help but notice that his hands are shoved firmly into his jacket pockets as if he’s protecting me from them. Or maybe he’s protecting them from me.

We’re only a block away from the parking lot when his footsteps slow and then stop completely. Naturally, I stopped walking and turned around to see what caught his attention. He’s looking up at the sky, and my eyes focus on the scar that runs the length of his jaw. I want to question him about it and I have a ton of questions for him to ask , starting with his birthday and what his first kiss was like. After that, I want to ask him about his parents his entire childhood, and his first love.

I want to ask him about Rachel. I want to know what happened with them and why whatever happened caused him to want to avoid any form of intimacy for more than six years.

Most of all, I want to know what it was about me that finally put an end to it.

“Miles,” I say, each question wanting to dive off the tip of my tongue. “I felt a raindrop,” he says.

Before the sentence leaves his mouth, I feel one, too. We’re both looking up at the sky now, and I’m swallowing all the questions along with the lump in my throat. The drops begin to fall faster, but we continue to stand there with our faces tilted up toward the sky. The sporadic drops turn into sprinkles, which then turn into full-on rain, but neither of us has moved. Neither of us is making a mad dash for the car. The rain is sliding down my skin, down my neck, into my hair, and soaking my shirt. My face is still tilted toward the sky, but my eyes are closed now.

There’s nothing in the world that compares to the feel and smell of brand-new rain.

As soon as that thought crosses my mind, warm hands meet my cheeks and slide to the nape of my neck, stealing the strength from my knees and the air from my lungs. Currently, his height is protecting me from the majority of the rain, but I still keep my eyes closed and angled upward. I find myself comparing the sensation and fragrance of freshly fallen rain to his kiss as his lips gradually descend over mine.

His kiss is much, much better.

His lips are wet from the rain, and they’re a little bit cold, but he counterbalances that with the warm caress of his tongue against mine. The falling rain, the darkness surrounding us, and being kissed like this make it feel like we really are on a stage and our story has just reached its climax. It feels as if my heart my stomach and my soul are all scrambling to get out of me and into him. If all my twenty-three years were laid on a graph, this moment would be the crest in my bell curve.

I should probably be a little bit sad and disappointed about this realization. I’ve had a few serious relationships in the past, but I can’t recall a single kiss with any of those guys where I felt this much. The fact that I’m not even in a relationship with Miles and I feel this affected by him should tell me something, but I’m too invested in his mouth to scrutinize that thought.

The rain has turned into a downpour, but neither of us seems to be affected by it. His hands drop to my lower back, and I fist his shirt in my hands, pulling him closer. His mouth fits mine as if we’re two pieces of the same puzzle.

The only thing that could separate me from him right now would be a bolt of lightning.

Or the fact that it’s raining so hard I can’t breathe. My clothes are stuck to parts of me I didn’t even know clothes could stick to. My hair is so saturated it can’t absorb another drop of water.

I push against him until he releases my mouth from his, and then I bury my head under his chin and look down so I can take a breath without drowning. He wraps his arm around my shoulders and ushers me toward the parking lot, lifting his jacket over my head. He picks up his pace, and I match him step for step until we’re both running.

We finally reach my car, and he approaches the driver’s door with me, still shielding me from the rain. Once I’m inside the car, he rushes around to the passenger side. When both of our doors are shut, the silence inside the car magnifies the intensity of our heavy breathing. I reach my hands behind my head and gather my hair, then squeeze the excess water from it. It runs down my neck, my back, and my seat. It’s the first time I’m relieved to have leather seats in California.

I drop my head back and sigh heavily, then steal a glance in his direction. “Don’t think I’ve ever been this wet in my life.”

I watch as a slow grin spreads across his face. His thoughts plummet into the gutter with that statement.

“Pervert,” I whisper playfully.

He cocks his eyebrow and smirks. “Your fault.” He reaches across the seat and wraps his fingers around my wrist, pulling me toward him. “Come here.”

I make a quick inventory of our surroundings, but the rain is falling so hard I can’t even see outside. Which means no one can see in.

I adjust myself on top of him and straddle his lap as he scoots the seat as far back as it goes. He doesn’t kiss me, though. His hands slide down my arms and come to rest on my hips.

“I’ve never had sex in a car before,” he says with a little bit of hope in his confession.

“I’ve never had sex with a captain before,” I offer.

He runs his hands under my scrub top, sliding them up my stomach until they meet my bra. He cups both breasts, then leans forward and kisses me. His kiss doesn’t last long, because he breaks it to speak again. “I’ve never had sex as a captain before.”

I smile. “I’ve never had sex in scrubs before.”

His hands slide around to my back, and he dips them inside my waistband. He pulls my hips toward him at the same time as he lifts himself ever so slightly, immediately causing my grip to tighten around his shoulders and a gasp to pass my lips. His mouth moves to my ear as his hands re-create the sensual rhythm between us by pulling my hips forward again. “As hot as you look in uniform, I’d much rather have sex with you in nothing at all.”

I’m embarrassed at how easily his words alone can make me moan. I’m also embarrassed at how quickly his voice can undo me, to the point where I probably want my clothes to come off more than he does.

“Please tell me you came prepared,” I say, my voice already heavy with want.

He shakes his head. “Just because I knew I would see you tonight doesn’t mean I came with expectations.” I’m immediately filled with disappointment. He lifts himself off the seat and slides his hand into his back pocket. “I did, however, come with a hell of a lot of hope.” He pulls the condom out of his wallet with a grin, and we both immediately begin to take action. My hands connect with the button on his jeans faster than our mouths connect. He slides his hands up the back of my top and begins to unclasp my bra, but I shake my head.

“Just leave it on,” I say breathlessly. The less clothes we take off, the faster we’ll be able to get dressed if we get caught.

He continues to unfasten it, despite my protest. “I don’t want to be inside you unless I can feel you against me.”

Wow. Okay, then.

“When my bra is undone, he lifts my shirt over my head, and his fingers slide under the straps of my bra. He pulls them down my arms until the bra falls away. He tosses it into the backseat and then pulls his shirt over his head. After his shirt joins my bra in the backseat, he wraps his arms around me and pulls me against him until our bare chests meet.

We both immediately inhale sharp breaths. The warmth of his body creates a sensation that I don’t want to pull away from. He begins kissing his way down my neck, his breath coming in rough waves against my skin.

“You have no idea what you do to me,” he whispers against my throat.

I smile because that same thought just went through my head. “Oh, I think I have an idea,” I reply.

His left-hand palms one of my breasts, and he groans as his right hand dips into my pants.

“Off,” he says simply, tugging at the elastic band.

He doesn’t have to ask twice. I scoot back to my empty seat and begin removing the rest of my clothes while I watch him unzip his jeans. His eyes are all over me as he rips open the condom wrapper with his teeth. When the only article of clothing remaining between us is his unbuttoned pair of jeans, I scoot toward him.

I feel ridiculously self-conscious that I’m in my car in the parking lot of my workplace and I’m completely naked. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never really wanted to do anything like this before. I love how desperate we are for each other right now, but I also know I’ve never felt this kind of chemistry with anyone before.

I place my hands on his shoulders and begin to straddle him while he slides on the condom.

“Keep it quiet,” he says teasingly. “I’d hate to be the reason you get fired.”

I glance at the window, still unable to see outside. “It’s raining too hard for anyone to hear us,” I say. “Besides, you were the louder one last time.”

He dismisses that with a quick laugh and begins kissing me again. His hands grip my hips, and he pulls me to him, readying himself against me. This position would normally cause me to moan, but I’m suddenly feeling stubborn with my noises now that he’s mentioned it.

“There’s no way I was the louder one,” he says with his lips still touching mine. “If anything, we tied.”

I shake my head. “I don’t believe in ending things with a tie. That’s a copout for people who are too scared they might lose.”

His hands meet my hips, and he’s positioned against me in such a way all I would have to do to take him inside me would be to allow it to happen. However, I’m refusing to lower myself onto him simply because I like competition and I feel about to begin.

He lifts his hips, obviously ready to get things going between us. My legs tense, and I pull away just enough.

He laughs at my resistance. “What’s wrong, Tate? Are you scared now?

Afraid once I’m inside you, we’ll both see who the loud one is?”

There’s a challenging gleam in his eyes. I don’t verbally accept his challenge to see who can stay quieter. Instead, I keep my eyes locked with his while I slowly ease myself onto him. Both of us gasp simultaneously, but that’s the only sound that passes between us.

As soon as he’s inside me, his hands meet my back, and he pulls me against him. The only sounds we make are heavy sighs and even heavier gasps. The rain slapping against the windows and the roof magnifies the silence we’re experiencing inside the car.

The strength it takes to hold back is coupled with a need to hold on to each other with more desperation. His arms are around my waist, gripping me so tightly it makes it hard to move. My arms are wrapped around his neck, and my eyes are shut. We’re barely moving now because of the tight grip we have on each other, but I like it. I like how slow and steady our rhythm remains while we both focus on how to continue suppressing the moans caught in our throats.

For several minutes, we continue in the same manner, moving just enough but at the same time not nearly enough. I think we’re both too afraid to make any sudden movements, or the intensity will cause one of us to lose.

One of his hands glides around to my lower back, and the other hand meets the back of my head. He takes a handful of my hair and gently tugs it until my throat is exposed to his mouth. I wince the second his lips meet my neck because staying quiet is a lot more challenging than I imagined it would be. Especially since he’s at an advantage with the way we’re positioned. His hands are free to roam anywhere they want, and that’s exactly what they’re doing right now.

Roaming, caressing, trailing down my stomach so that he can touch the one place that could make me cede victory.

I feel like he’s cheating somehow.

As soon as his fingers find the exact spot that would normally make me scream his name, I tighten my hold around his shoulders and reposition my knees so that I have more control of my movements. I want to put him through just as much torture as he’s putting me through right now.

As soon as I’m repositioned and able to ease myself further onto him, the slow-and-steady disappears. His mouth meets mine in a frantic kiss -one with more need and more force than any kiss before it. It’s as if we’re attempting to kiss away our natural desire to verbalize just how good this feels.

I’m suddenly hit with a sensation that ripples through my entire body, and I have to lift myself off of him and hold still before I lose. Despite my need to slow things down, he does the opposite and applies more pressure on me with his hand. I bury my face against his neck and bite down gently on his shoulder to stop myself from moaning his name.

The second my teeth meet his skin, I hear the hitch in his breath and feel the stiffening in his legs.

He almost loses.


If he moves inside me even an inch more while he’s touching me this way, he’ll win. I don’t want him to win.

Then again, I kind of do want him to win, and I think he wants to win with the way he breathes against my neck, gently lowering me back down onto him.

Miles, Miles, Miles.

He can sense that this isn’t about to end in a tie, so he adds more pressure against me with his fingers at the same time as his tongue meets my ear.

Oh, wow.

I’m about to lose. Any second now. Oh, my word.

He lifts his hips when he pulls me against him, forcing an involuntary “Miles!” out of my mouth, along with a gasp and a moan. I lift off of him, but as soon as he realizes he just won, he exhales heavily and pulls me back onto him with more force.

“Finally,” he says breathlessly against my neck. “I didn’t think I could last another second.”

Now that the competition is over, both of us let loose completely until we’re being so loud, we have to kiss again to stifle our sounds. Our bodies are moving in sync, speeding up, crashing harder together. We continue our frantic pace for a few more minutes, escalating in intensity until I’m positive I can’t take another second of him.

“Tate,” he says against my mouth, slowing the rhythm of my hips with his hands. “I want us to come together.”

Oh, holy hell.

If he wants me to last any longer, he can’t say things like that. I nod my head, unable to form a coherent response.

“Are you almost there?” he asks.

I nod again and try my best to speak this time, but nothing comes out other than another moan.

“Is that a, yes?”

His lips have stopped kissing mine, and he’s focused on my response now. I bring my hands to the back of his head and press my cheek to his. “Yes,” I somehow utter, “Yes, Miles. Yes.” I feel myself begin to tense at the same time as he sucks in a sharp breath.

I thought we were holding each other tightly before, but that doesn’t begin to compare to this moment. It feels as if all our senses have magically melded together and we’re feeling the same sensations, making the same noises, experiencing the same intensity, and sharing the same response.

Our rhythm gradually begins to slow, right along with the tremors in our bodies. The tight grips we have around each other begin to loosen. He buries his face into his hair and exhales heavily.

“Loser,” he whispers.

I laugh and move to bite him playfully on his neck. “You cheated,” I say. “You brought in illegal reinforcement when you started using your hands.”

He laughs with a shake of his head. “Hands are fair game. But if you think I cheated, maybe we should have a rematch.”

I raise my eyebrows. “Best two out of three?”

He lifts me by my waist and begins to push me toward the passenger door as he struggles to get behind the steering wheel. He hands me my clothes, pulls his shirt back over his head, and buttons his jeans. Once he’s situated, I adjust myself in the passenger seat and finish dressing while he cranks the car. He throws it in reverse and begins backing out. “Buckle up,” he says with a wink.


We barely made it out of the elevator, much less to his bed. He almost took me right there in the hallway. The sad part is, I wouldn’t have minded.

He won again. I’m beginning to realize that competing for who can stay the quietest isn’t a good idea when my competitor is naturally the quietest person I’ve ever met.

I’ll get him in round three. Just not tonight, because Corbin will more than likely be heading home soon.

Miles is staring at me. He’s on his stomach, with his hands folded across his pillow and his head resting on his arms. I’m getting dressed because I want to beat Corbin to our apartment so I don’t have to lie about where I’ve been.

Miles follows me around his bedroom with his eyes as I dress.

“I think your bra is still in the hallway,” he says with a laugh. “Might want to grab it before Corbin finds it.”

I crinkle up my nose at the thought. “Good idea,” I say. I kneel on the bed and kiss him on the cheek, but he wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me forward as he rolls onto his back. He gives me an even better kiss than the one I was just giving him.

“Can I ask you a question?”

He nods, but it’s a forced nod. He’s nervous about my questions. “Why don’t you ever make eye contact when we’re having sex?”

My question throws him for a loop. He regards me for several silent moments until I pull even farther away and sit next to him on the bed, waiting for his answer.

He pushes himself up and leans back against his headboard, staring down at his hands. “People are vulnerable during sex,” he says with a shrug. “It’s easy to confuse feelings and emotions for something they aren’t, especially when eye contact is involved.” He lifts his eyes to mine. “Does it bother you?”

I’m shaking my head no, but my heart is crying Yes.’ “I’ll get used to it, I guess. I was just curious.”

I love being with him but hate myself more and more with each new lie that passes my lips.

He smiles and pulls me back to his mouth, kissing me with more finality this time. “Good night, Tate.”

I back away and walk out of his room, feeling his eyes on me the entire time. It’s funny how he refuses to make eye contact during sex yet can’t seem to keep his eyes off me the rest of the time.

I don’t feel like going back to the apartment yet, so after retrieving my bra, I walk to the elevators and make my way down to the lobby to see if Cap is still around. I barely had a chance to wave at him earlier before Miles shoved me onto the elevator and ravished me.

Sure enough, Cap is still planted in his chair, even though it’s after ten o’clock at night

“Do you ever sleep?” I ask as I make my way to the chair next to him. “People are more interesting at night,” he says. “I like to sleep late.

Avoid all the fools who are in too much of a rush in the mornings.”

I sigh a lot louder than I intend to when I lean my head back into the chair. Cap notices and turns to look at me.

“Oh, no,” he says. “Trouble with the boy? Looked like the two of you were getting along fine a couple of hours ago. Think I might have even seen a hint of a smile on his face when he walked in with you.”

“Things are fine,” I say. I pause for a few seconds, gathering my thoughts. “Have you ever been in love, Cap?”

A slow smile spreads across his face. “Oh, yes,” he says. “Her name was Wanda.”

“How long were you married?”

He looks at me and cocks an eyebrow. “I ain’t never been married,” he says. “Wanda’s marriage lasted about forty years before she passed, though i thought.”

I tilt my head, trying to understand what he’s saying. “You have to give me more than that.”

He sits up straighter in his chair, the smile still on his face. “She lived in one of the buildings I did maintenance for. She was married to a bastard of a man who was only home about two weeks out of the month. I fell in love with her when I was around thirty years old. She was in her mid-twenties. People just didn’t get divorced back then once they got married. Especially women like her who came from the type of family she came from. So, I spent the next twenty-five years loving her as hard as I could for two weeks out of every month.”

I stare at him, not sure how to respond to that. It’s not the typical love story people usually tell. I’m not even sure if it can be considered a love story.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he says. “Sounds depressing. More like a tragedy.”

I nod, confirming his assumption.

“Love isn’t always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it’ll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you’re back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.”

I stop looking at him and face forward. I don’t want him to see the frown that I can’t seem to remove from my face.

Is that what I’m doing? Waiting for things with Miles to become something different? Something better? I contemplate his words for way too long. So long, I hear snoring. I cut my eyes in Cap’s direction, and his chin has dropped to his chest. His mouth is wide open, and he’s sound asleep.

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