Breaking the Rules (Page 40)

Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits #1.5)(40)
Author: Katie McGarry

“Stay put.”

Her laughter continues to dance over my skin. “And if I don’t?”

There’s a seductive tease in her voice that causes me to drop my head and moan. I glance over my shoulder, and Echo’s giving me that hooded look. Fuck me. “Then I’ll be forced to kiss you into compliance.”

Her eyes fall to my lips. “Good luck with that.”

Moments like this are how I learned early in the trip to keep two jugs of water nearby. Without responding, I leave the tent and pour water over the dying flames. I then kick enough dirt over it that archeologists won’t be able to find the remains. I’ve got issues with unattended fires.

Echo zips up the inside flap, which means she’s getting ready for bed. A click and the inside of the tent glows like a hot-air balloon. I strain to hear her unzip my pack, but I’ve got no clue if she’s opened it or not.

I stand near the fire pit, occasionally kicking more dirt over it to satisfy that itch beneath my skin.

Echo wanted to pretend that we had no past for the night, and I tell her that I dream of our future. That drawing could freak her out. It could cause her to realize that I’m not playing about the two of us, because I’m not. I need her in my life.

Content the fire’s out, I enter the tent and my breath catches in my throat. Echo sits in the middle of the blankets and pillows. She’s in a black tank top, lace bra and a pair of boy shorts. I’ve seen her in less, I’ve seen her in more, but it’s the first time I’ve been greeted this way this early. It’s not lost on me, that she’s chosen tonight.

In her hands are the plans I designed for our house, and I swear to God there are tears in her eyes.

Her lower lip trembles. “You really aren’t going to leave me, are you?”

Echo

Noah hesitates at the entrance, and his eyes widen. Oh, heck, wrong thing to say. Exact wrong thing to say. In my possession is the most beautiful gift anyone has ever given me, and I’m pushing him.

Oh, holy freaking crap. I’m pushing Noah Hutchins.

Noah Hutchins.

The guy who doesn’t do commitments. The guy who doesn’t fall in love. The guy that somehow broke both those rules and ended up with me, and now I’m being pathetic and saying things like… “I mean, you know, this is a house and you drew it out on a piece of paper, and it looks great and stuff.”

My palms disintegrate from dry to clammy and I worry I’ll smear the pencil marks if I hold the design much longer, but at the same time, I crave to never let go.

Noah zips up the flap, and the two of us are very, very alone. The same tingle from when we enter a hotel room skips through my veins and I shiver.

“Are you cold?” he asks.

I shake my head, but that doesn’t prevent Noah from joining me on top of the mound of blankets, sleeping bags and pillows, and laying an arm around my shoulder. His fingertips slightly graze the bare skin of my shoulder, and I become hyperaware: of him, of his touch, of the paper on the verge of bending in my hands.

“You like it?” he asks quietly.

“Yeah,” I barely breathe out and stare at the squares on the page again. It’s a layout. More math than art, but in my mind I can see what his logic attempts to tell me. Twelve feet one way, ten feet another, and he’s created a room with indentations that indicate outcrops for floor-to-ceiling windows. “A lot.”

Noah slips the paper from my grasp and places it on top of his pack. My foot begins to sway against the blankets in my own silent, internal rhythm. That feeling that everything is twisted and messed up and that I’ve somehow lost control, and that I’m on the verge of losing everything worthwhile in my life…all of that builds inside me.

“Echo,” Noah says in that deep voice I’ve only heard him use with me. Unable to stop myself, I turn to him. That’s the type of voice someone uses when they’re calling you home.

Noah tilts his head, a sign indicating he’s going to tell the truth. Knowing that the truth more often hurts than helps, I have to fight to keep from closing my eyes. My heart picks up speed. He’s pausing, and if Noah Hutchins does anything it’s full throttle and without fear.

“Echo…I will never leave you.”

The tears that had formed when I looked at Noah’s vision of our future threaten to return, and I rapidly blink. “Being with you, it’s the only time when the noises stop. When the chaos ends.” Being with him, loving him…is simple. “I love you.”

* * *

My fingers shake as I reach for the bottom of my tank. I’ve never undressed in front of Noah before. He’s taken my clothes off, sometimes with a little assistance on my part. Noah has always been the confident one, and I’ve always been more than happy to let him set our course.

But not tonight. Not now. Not when he’s opened himself up and showed me that this trip isn’t just about me or just about him, but about us. With a deep breath, I gather the material of my tank over my head, and my curls bounce against the bare skin of my shoulders and back.

Noah freezes, sort of like he went into shock. The right side of my mouth twitches. Mark the date, world. I stunned the great Noah Hutchins.

His eyes spark as his gaze dips to my cleavage, and this gives me courage. I shift forward and slip my hands under his shirt, brushing my fingers against the muscles of his abdomen. Noah sharply inhales and, in seconds, his shirt is off and thrown into the corner of the tent.

I love his naked chest, and I decide to play. Biting my bottom lip, hoping to contain the smile, I nudge Noah’s shoulder, indicating for him to lie down. He flashes his wicked grin and reclines back, except he snags his hand around my wrist and tugs me with him.

I laugh as I come face-to-face with him. My body on top of his and when I wiggle, I close my eyes, liking the pleasure of intimate parts touching. My hips squirm and with the movement, Noah immediately kisses my lips while knotting his fingers in my hair.

There’s no subtlety in our kiss. All of the passion, all of the longing, all of the emotion rush out of us like water hurtling toward a cliff. It’s fast and raw and out of control. My mouth opens, and Noah consumes every part of me. He turns his head and with a strong grip on my hair, he urges me to tilt mine so that he can kiss me more deeply.

I immediately comply, and Noah moans. The sound causes my blood to pump faster. Unable to resist, I move my hips against him again, but this time it’s methodical, it’s in a rhythm. Noah releases my hair, and it falls around us—a silky rain covering us both.