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Edward needed some space the moment they arrived at her house. He sent her inside while he unloaded. "Is Bella even your name?" he asked before she moved too far. So much for space, he thought.

"It was my middle name," she said, shrugging as she unlocked the front door. "My ex said to stick as close to the truth as you can or else you risk messing up."

That had him following her. "Your ex?"

She buttoned up and nearly growled at him. "Will you stop trying to get into my head? I'm not ready to tell you everything!"

"I need to know it all if you want to stay alive."

That fire and passion he'd always admired and cursed at the same time ignited as her fists settled on her hips. She looked like a kitten standing up to a bear; the comparison seemed fitting. "I can do that by leaving right now."


She threw her hands up in the air. "Why not?"

He tugged her closer, slipping inside and caging her against the door, slamming it shut behind them. "I haven't had enough of you, and damn it, I care."

She really tried to contain herself, he could tell. However, her lips twitched at one corner and then the other. She was well aware of what she did to him.

He groaned and pressed his mouth over hers. She laughed a little at the tickle of his beard, lifting her hands to smooth up along his chest and shoulders. His teeth tugged on her bottom lip, eyes opened wide and on hers. His nose slid along hers, his breath warm against her mouth.

"Pack light," he said, having to clear his throat. "You won't have much use for clothes when we get there." That brought a smile to her face and that only seemed to fuel him to kiss her again. He hadn't felt so possessive and out of his element in his entire life. He'd been to war-torn countries all around the world, but facing her seemed more daunting. "You have no fucking shame."

"None." The whispered word was soft, but there was nothing delicate about how her hand stroked his cock over his jeans. He grabbed her wrist, her eyes narrowing slightly. The small flare of her nose and tilt of her chin was a fucking dare.

She expected him to pull away, so instead, he pressed her hand harder over him. He bit his lip to keep from grunting, but there was no mistaking the rumble in his chest. Her lips lifted into another smile, her eyes roaming every inch of his face.

To distract her, he said the first thing that came to mind. "Condoms." Her confusion was clear in her eyes. "We need to stop for condoms."

"I can't get pregnant, but we can." As if she realized she'd said too much, she turned away and her arms fell to her sides. He lifted her chin for him to see a glazed quality to her eyes. He didn't have to ask. "I was in a car accident when I was a kid, but didn't figure out that the damage was basically permanent until I was older."

He knew that hadn't been easy to share, but she did anyway. It was unfair that she kept giving while he fortified his walls. Then again, there wasn't much to offer her. "Basically?"

"I'm on the pill, but that's just a safety measure. I have less than fifteen percent chance of getting pregnant, even in the most optimal of conditions. I'm clean."

He didn't want to tell her, but he had little choice. "I have a clean bill of health in that department, and I haven't been with anyone in years."

By the look on her face, she knew that, as her hands settled on his hips. The tips of her fingers immediately sought his skin, and he held back the hiss successfully.

"Can I bring my camera and equipment?"

He wanted to see her work. "Yeah, bring it. We can take a tour of the property tomorrow morning." He added with a small quirk of his lips, "Make that afternoon." She laughed, a little breathy, and it heated his blood.

Her hands delved under the fabric of his shirts and lightly scratched his abdomen. The smile on her face turned into a downright smirk when he couldn't hold back the need to groan. For the first time in five years, he didn't mind someone touching him. Yet, the idea of her hands on his scars did not appeal to him in the least.

"Bella," he said, pulling her hands away. He held them both between his and needed the distance to breathe a little easier.

"I've seen the scars, Edward. They won't send me running." If she only knew, he thought. "I won't touch them if that's what you need from me." His only response was a tense nod. "Can you tell me where?" His fingers tightened around her wrists for a second, before he released her.

He cleared his throat and closed his eyes, taking another step back. His hands rubbed over his face hard before he pointed to his back with his thumb. She saw those, he was sure of it. His palm ran over the scar that ran from his temple and curled around his ear.

"Keep going," she murmured.

His index finger traced the thin scar along his jawline to the tip of his chin, harder to follow now that his beard was fuller than ever. He noticed how his hand shook as it trailed from his neck and settled on his right thigh and gripped it tight.

"That's it." He barely managed the words, thankful he kept his eyes closed. There was no way he could stand the look in her whiskey-gold gaze. He felt her come closer, her hand resting on his chest, where it was safe. Next, her soft lips were feather-light along his unmarred jawline.

"I'm going to pack very light," she said, whispering the words along with a light nibble. "Then we're going to your cabin, but you'll have to keep me warm when we get there." She pulled back as his eyes opened. "Are you up for that?"

"Yes." His hand settled on hers. "You better hurry."

She nodded and ran upstairs. "If you don't have food, do you mind packing a few things from my kitchen?"

He grunted, because he didn't have much. On the mountain, he kept it simple. Soup, stews, and casseroles his mother made to fill his freezer; he only had to heat them in the oven. "I will." While packing a few things from her fridge and pantry, he called his mother. He explained that Bella was going to stay with him to take some pictures around his property. She wasn't successful in hiding her excitement about the idea of them together.

He didn't have the heart to tell her that it would eventually end.

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