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Virginia knew exactly what he was up to—egging her on with some ridiculous taunt. How stupid does he think I am? She refused to be sucked in. Nonetheless, her eyes betrayed her as they latched onto his lips.

She liked his lips. Who wouldn't? They were wide, well-proportioned, and sensual—lips that got things done. As she blinked, her good conscience screamed at her like a coach on the sidelines who had lost all control over his team. Get your head back in the game!

"Kiss me, Ginny," Mark whispered, "even if it's just to say goodbye."

Goodbye. That word had new meaning now, weighed down by so much sorrow and emptiness. She came up with her own justification. One little kiss and walk away. Leave him standing alone like he did to you. That'll teach him! Deep down, she knew that was a lame excuse for what she was about to do. Deep down, she knew she really wanted to kiss him.

Leaning in, she placed a chaste kiss on those perfect lips. There, she thought, drawing back much slower than she had planned. His eyes were ablaze with a lustful yearning that was waaaay more persuasive than any childish goading ever could be. Just one more, she promised herself, stepping closer this time as she angled her head up to his.

But before she could make contact, hands had reached around her back to haul her against him. With his lips only inches from hers, he murmured, "I know you can do better than that, Ginny."

Oh, shiiiiiit.

His mouth came down on hers with ownership, his tongue sliding in with a familiarity that she knew she should be protesting. Instead, she dropped the T-shirt to move her arms up and around his neck.

That "coach" in her head admitted defeat and left. Game over.

God, he had ruined her for all other men. This was what she craved, had missed, had thought was gone forever—desire rushing in and stealing her breath, rippling through her stomach, pooling between her legs. She couldn't possibly try to substitute less and tell herself it was all right.

A tearing sound hit her ears. She brought her hands down to his chest and pushed away, backing up a few steps to find her shirt hanging at her sides. She looked to him for an explanation.

The smile was sly. "Sorry, did you want to keep that?" Blue eyes shifted downward, and his expression went from devilish to licentious in an instant, making her pulse race even faster than it already was.

No playing hard to get now.

Virginia shrugged the material from her shoulders and stepped forward, grabbing his shirt and wrenching it over his head. She was in a rush. Rampaging hormones will do that. His belt was next. She ripped open the buckle, yanked the leather through all the loops, and tossed it to the floor. He peeled off the knife holster, the big muscles in his chest and arms flexing and shifting with the effort. She stood frozen, unable to tear her eyes away, making her aware of how much she had missed having the right to watch the play of his powerful body as he moved.

The holster landed on the bathroom tiles with a muffled clank.

"You are going to have to take that off." Mark pointed at her waist. "Isn't it booby trapped or something?"

What? She looked down, her mind still caught up in the show. Oh, right. Her hands got busy, having to undo the belt keepers and buckle before placing the duty belt on the floor. She undid her trouser belt next while kicking off her shoes and socks. Her pants landed in a pile at her feet, and she stepped out of them. Down to only her bra and underwear, she felt the heat spread over her skin.

The Silent Ones [✔️] (#2 in the Chilvati Series)Read this story for FREE!