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Excerpt from Dakota Willink's Cadence Defined...
Copyright © 2018 by Dakota Willink
I stared down at the ground and drew invisible circles with the toe of my shoe on the concrete sidewalk. I could feel his stare on me as if somehow it was its own entity. Panic welled up inside me, knowing he was slowly taking down my walls brick by brick, but I couldn’t let him in. Not again.
“You’d always been so open and honest about your feelings. Whatever promises or decisions we made all those years ago doesn’t change the fact that I’m here now–that you’re here.” He stepped toward me, his movement lined with power and purpose. He’d always moved that way, his profound presence hitting me like a bolt of lightning. “Look at me, Cadence.”
My body stayed tense, but his tone nearly seduced me into compliance. Refusing to look at him would only make me look unreasonably stubborn or scared. The last thing I wanted to do was give Fitz a reason to believe our breakup mattered. He couldn’t know I measured all potential lovers against him, always finding fault with each.
And I certainly didn’t want him to know, as a result, there had only been him.
Drawing in a breath, I brought my eyes up to meet his.
“What do you want from me, Fitz?”
He took another step closer, wrapped his hand around the back of my neck, and tilted my head up to study my face. His eyes moved to my lips, then back up to meet my gaze.
“I want to kiss you.”
Seventeen years ago, he had asked permission. Today, he didn’t. Before I could react, he covered my mouth in a greedy kiss. He didn’t ease inside or wait for me to accept him. No. Unlike the days from our youth, he prowled in.
I stiffened at first as my mind shouted instructions of protest. I was confused about whether I wanted this or not. Heat clouded my judgment, and my brain seemed to disconnect from my body. It took me less than a second to realize how much I longed for him—and that scared the hell out of me. I anchored my hands on his shoulders knowing full well I should end this madness, yet I didn’t push him away. Without meaning to, I kissed him back and curled my hands around his neck. He plunged in again and I willingly opened, urging him closer and tangling my tongue with his. We had moved way too fast seventeen years ago, and it appeared as though the magnetic force that had once made us impatient lovers was another thing that hadn’t changed with time.
My acceptance of his kiss encouraged him to press deeper into my mouth. Tasting. Possessing. I met every stroke of his tongue as he wrapped his arm around my waist, crushing my torso against his own. The kiss rocked me to my very core. There were so many reasons this kiss was wrong, yet none of them seemed to matter. This was what I needed. It felt so good. It had been too long. For the first time in nearly two decades, I felt complete. Something I thought was long dead seemed to come alive again and I began to wonder if I’d ever been truly feeling for years. Fitz was all that seemed to matter. Somehow, over the miles and years, he’d never lost his hold on me. Now, he was unexpectedly back in my life, and I knew this was what I’d been missing. He was the essence that haunted me. Him. Just him.