Ink closed the door and kept his distance. Her lungs compressed, making breathing difficult. She sucked in air. She’d already ripped out her heart and laid it at his feet, offering to give up everything to be with him.
He’d pushed her away.
She’d learned her lesson.
He continued to look at her without saying a word. She left the security of the wall and walked. Six feet away from him, he hooked his fingers under her belt and whirled her around until she caught herself against his chest.
A broad, solid chest.
A warm, tatted chest.
A chest holding a wildly beating heart that pulsed against the palms of her hands.
“No,” she whispered, unsure if the words made it past her lips.
His pained gaze called to her. “Need you.”
“You can’t,” she said, growing stronger.
If he couldn’t save himself, she’d protect him. He was strong, too strong, and because of that strength, he had no idea what was bad for him.
The club wouldn’t allow him to make another mistake or they’d strip him of his patches, and he’d be gone. She had to make sure he stayed away from her to keep him in her life.
“It’s my risk,” he whispered. “Give me a little, Ace. You’re killing me.”
The nickname he only used when alone with her tipped her off balance. He’d called her Ace since she was fourteen and had slipped him two cards during a poker game. Nobody had caught her, and he’d won a lot of money from the other bikers. The shared smile he gave her after the game thrilled her. The secret they held was not the last one they’d keep.
He leaned down, lowering his chin. Even with her high-heeled boots on, she stretched to her toes to get closer. She moistened her lips, caught between running away and throwing her arms around him.
“Stop thinking shit.” His husky, low voice soothed her. “We’ve never been able to fight this.”