Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she’s somehow…flawless. It’s just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected – yet absolutely true.
He tipped his chair forward on two legs, bringing himself closer to her. She held her ground. He was close enough to kiss her. He braced his elbows on his knees, the bottle dangling from his fingers, his ice-grey eyes searching her face. There was a sheen of liquor on his lower lip, the moisture visible in the flickering lantern light. She could taste it on her own tongue, imagined tasting it on his.
Her heart seemed to be crashing in her chest louder than it should, and her stomach felt as it would have on heaving seas. Her control was slipping, and taking with it her judgment and her wits. “Do you think differently of me? Now that you know who I am? The things I’ve done?” The questions
slipped out of their own volition.
“The things you’ve done?” His forehead creased.
“I sold myself, Max.” There. She’d said it. “Before I had enough power to control my own destiny.”
He stared at her. “I know who you are. You are Ivory Moore. You are the woman who redressed a corpse to save my sister. The woman who kissed me to saveme from myself. You are the only one who understands why I can never be put in a prison that was built for me by fate and circumstance.”
She swallowed, emotion clogging her throat.
“You are the woman I trust.” He pushed himself away from her abruptly, and the chair came back down on four legs with a thud. He stood and set the bottle back on the table with great care. Reaching down, he caught her hands in his and pulled her to her feet. He studied her hands before bringing them to his lips. “The woman I want more than anything.”
Desire streaked through her and settled somewhere deep in her belly. Time seemed to have slowed. His lips grazed the insides of her wrists.
“Max.” It came out like a plea, when she had meant it as a protest.
“I lied,” he said. He pressed his mouth to the flesh of her palm, and her knees nearly buckled.
“What?” It was hard to follow the thread of conversation, what with the feel of his lips on her skin.
“I said I wasn’t sure of anything anymore,” he said quietly.
“But that’s not true. I am sure of you.”
Ivory searched his eyes, seeing only a raw vulnerability in those clear grey depths.
“You’ve more courage than anyone I’ve ever met,” he whispered, pulling her closer to him, their hands still joined.
“Not nearly enough. But I wish I was.”
“If I were drunk, it might excuse what I’m about to do.”
Ivory didn’t have time to even respond before he kissed her.
Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.