Falling for him would be like cliff diving. It would be either the most exhilarating thing that ever happened to me or the stupidest mistake I’d ever make.
And yes, I’ll admit, I am jealous. I’m jealous of every minute you spend with him, of every concerned expression you send his way, of every tear shed, of every glance, every touch, and every thought. I want to rip him to pieces and purge him from your mind and from your heart. But I can’t.
There are many different types of kisses. There’s a passionate kiss of farewell—like the kind Rhett gave Scarlett when he went off to war. The kiss of I-can’t-really-be-with-you-but-I-want-to-be—like with Superman and Lois Lane. There’s the first kiss—one that is gentle and hesitant, warm and vulnerable. And then there’s the kiss of possession—which was how Ren kissed me now. It went beyond passion, beyond desire. His kiss was full of longing, need, and love, like all those other kisses. But, it was also filled with promises and pledges, some of which seemed sweet and tender while others seemed dangerous and exciting. He was taking me over. Staking a claim. He seized me as boldly as the tiger captured his prey. There was no escape. And I didn’t want to. I would have happily died in his clutches. I was his. And he made sure I knew it. My heart burst with a thousand beautiful blooms, all tiger lilies. And I knew with a certainty more powerful than anything I’d ever felt before that we belonged together.
Were you always such a stubborn, blind, obtuse girl?”“Are you calling me stupid?”“Yes, but in a more poetic way!”“Well, here’s a poem for you. Get lost!
What are you doing?”“Kneeling before a goddess.”“I’m not a goddess.”“You are. A goddess, a princess, a queen. As a soldier, I pledge myself to your service. As a prince, I grant you any boon within my power. As a man, I ask to sit at your feet and worship you. Ask me to do anything for you and I will do it.
A girl can still admire, can’t she? Even those who can’t afford to go in the store can still window-shop. Right? Knowing he wasn’t for me didn’t mean I couldn’t covet the merchandise.
He then put both hands on the door on either side of my head and leaned in close, pinning me against it. I trembled like a downy rabbit caught in the clutches of a wolf. The wolf came closer. He bent his head and began nuzzling my cheek. The problem was…I wanted the wolf to devour me.
You didn’t think I’d let you go alone, did you?”“No, but I’m grateful that I had you with me.”“Grateful is all I’m going to get, isn’t it?”“What else were you hoping for?”“Adoration, devotion, affection, infatuation, or just plain finding me irresistible.”“Sorry, Don Juan. You’ll have to live with my undying gratitude.
Love is not a consequence. Love is not a choice. Love is a thirst. A need as vital to the soul as water is to the body. Love is a precious draught that not only soothes a parched throat, but it vitalizes a man. It fortifies him enough that he is willing to slay dragons for the woman who offers it. Take that draught of love from me and I will shrivel to dust. To take it from a man dying of thirst and give it to another whilst he watches is a cruelty I never thought you capable of.
I am as wrapped up in her as a vine that clings to a tree seeking for sustenance. She’s tied me to her for eternity. She’s my home. She’s my reason for being. To win and hold her heart is my only purpose.
He kissed me wildly, overwhelming me like a giant wave rushing to shore. I was soon lost in the turbulent grasp of his embrace and yet…I knew I was safe. His wild kiss drove me, pushed me, asked me questions I was unwilling to consider. But I was cherished by this dark Poseidon, and though he had the power to crush me utterly, to drown me in the purple depths of his wake, he held me aloft, separate. His passionate kiss changed. It gentled and soothed and entreated. Together we drifted towards a safe harbor. The god of the sea set me down securely on a sandy beach and steadied me as I trembled. Effervescent tingles shot through my limbs delighting me with surges of sparkling sensation like sandy toes tickled by bubbly waves. Finally, the waves moved away and I felt my Poseidon watching me from a distance. We looked at each other knowing we were forever changed by the experience. We both knew that I would always belong to the sea and that I would never be able to part from it and be whole again.
A quiet but indomitable voice behind me said, “I believe this is my dance.” It was him. I could feel his presence. The warmth of him seeped into my back, and I quivered all over like spring leaves in a warm breeze.
For many, love is a two-sided coin. It can strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. When love is returned, we soar. We are taken to heights unseen, where it delights, invigorates, and beautifies. When love is spurned, we feel crippled, disconsolate, and bereaved. Polish the coin and you will see only requited love on both sides. I was destined to love you and I will belong to you forever.
I’ve been working hard to become the kind of man she needs, the kind of man she already believes me to be.
Does that count as an argument? Can we kiss and make up now?”It was only half an argument.”“Fine. Then, you kiss and I’ll make up.”I laughed until he effectively shut me up with his lips.
Okay, then I’ll just say I love you. There is nothing in this world more important to me than you are. I’m only content when you’re near. My whole purpose is to be what you need me to be. It’s not poetry, but it’s from my heart. Will that do?
I could feel the warmth of his presence as if a soft blanket had been wrapped around my soul, around my heart. It held me and protected me. It sheltered me and I knew I wasn’t alone anymore.
We looked at each other for a minute, not saying anything, but I could feel the air between us shift. It became thick, sultry, and tangible—like when the air changes right before a storm. I could feel its power envelop me as it brushed across my skin. Even though I couldn’t see it, I knew a storm was coming.
I’m not the kind of man to bottle up my feelings, Kells. I don’t sit up in my room pining away, writing love poems. I’m not a dreamer. I’m a fighter. I’m a man of action, and it will take all of my self-control not to fight for this. When something needs to be done, I do it. When I feel something, I act on it. I don’t see any reason why Ren deserves to get the girl of his dreams and I don’t. It doesn’t seem fair that this happens to me twice.
I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t expect a first kiss to be so…life altering. In a few brief moments, the rule book of my universe had been rewritten. Suddenly I was a brand new person. I was as fragile as a newborn, but instead of the doctor placing me in my mother’s arms, he’d put me in Ren’s. What would Ren do with me? Would he draw me near, soothe me, and teach me about this new world or would he reject me and tell the doctor there must be some mistake. There was no way to know. What a breakable and delicate thing a heart was, no wonder I’d kept mine locked away.
He studied my appearance carefully. “You cut your hair.” “Yes. Do you like it?” “That depends. How long is it?” I pulled a curl down and showed him it ended just past my shoulder. He grunted, “That’s still long enough, so I like it.” “Long enough for what?” “Long enough for a man to run his hands through.
Wow. I didn’t think it was possible for him to look any more intoxicating than he already did. But a leather clad Ren standing next to the gorgeous racing motorcycle holding his helmet made my brain go numb. I had kind of a this-is-your-brain-on-drugs moment, only mine was more like a this-is-your-brain-on-seeing-Ren-in-tight-leather moment. If they’d been smart, the Ducati Company should have used him in a commercial and given him the bike for free.
Hmm…now that I think about it, housecats are often coddled and petted. You don’t pet me nearly enough. You must be a lax owner. How selfish of you to deprive your cat of attention.
You were on the other side of the world, but I often woke with the scent of you surrounding me. I ached for you, Kells. No matter how much Kishan thrashed me, it couldn’t diminish the pain of losing you. I’d dream of you and reach out to touch you, but you were always just out of reach.
I warn you, Kelsey, that I’m an extremely patient man. I’ve had extensive practice in waiting out the enemy. My life as a tiger has taught me that attentive persistence and focused diligence always pay off. Consider yourself forewarned, priyatama. I’m on the hunt. I’ve caught your scent, and I won’t be thwarted in my course.
I could still feel the ghost of him hovering in the quiet, dark recess of my heart. It was as if he was just waiting for me to be lonely, or to let my guard down, so that he could surface and fill my mind again with thoughts of him.
It’s like this…a starving man would gladly eat a radish, right? In fact, a radish would be a feast if that’s all he had. But if he had a buffet in front of him, the radish would never be chosen.
That dress…was a very, very good decision. I could write an entire poem on the virtues of your legs alone. You are a feast for the senses.” I laughed. “I don’t know about a feast. Maybe just an hors d'oeuvre.” He took my hand and wrapped it around his arm. “Not an hors d'oeuvre. The dessert. And I plan to spoil my appetite.
He looks like a runway model. How in the world am I going to be able to reject that? The world is so unfair. Seriously, it's like turning Brad Pitt down for a date. The girl who could actually do it should win an award for idiot of the century.
A tiger only needs three things to be comfortable. Lots of food, sleep, and…actually, no it’s just those two things.
Why, aren’t you just about as sweet as syrup on a sundae? I sure would appreciate that, ma’am.” He winked. “How’d you like ta stroll the deck of this fine ship with me and watch the sunset? I need a purty girl to put her arm around me and steady this bow-legged cowboy as he finds his sea legs.” I raised an eyebrow and affected a southern accent. “Why, I think you’re a pullin’ my leg there, Texas. You’ve had your sea legs a lot longer than I have.” He rubbed the stubble on his face. “You might be right at that. Well then, how about you taggin’ along to keep me warm?” “It’s about eighty degrees.” “Shoot, you’re a smart one, you are. Then how ‘bout I jes say that a feller can get pretty lonesome by hisself in a strange country and he’d like to keep compn’y with you fer a while longer.
Looks like Kelsey wins the award for early riser. And doesn’t she look purtier than a pat of butter meltin’ all over a stack of griddle cakes?
How poor are they that have no patients! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?'Shakespeare isn't going to save you this time, Superman. Your time's run out.!
I decided to find you, throw myself at your feet, and beg you to have mercy on me. Honestly, I’ll accept whatever you choose, Kelsey. Just don’t ask me to live apart from you again. Because...I can’t.
His eyes drifted leisurely back up to my face and he smiled at me appreciatively, “Kelsey, when a man spends time with a beautiful woman, he needs to pace himself. I quirked my eyebrow at him and laughed. “Yeah, I’m a regular marathon alright.” He kissed my fingers. “Exactly. A wise man never sprints…in a marathon.