I’d always loved her even if she never knew.
Growing up as Avery’s friend was the hardest part of it all, especially when all I wanted to do was claim her as mine. But I was that awkward, geeky kid with the black-rimmed glasses and was a social outcast.
Time and distance had separated us but I never forgot about her. My love for Avery never lessened. It only grew.
Now back in town, working as a firefighter. I doubt she’ll recognize me. I’m big, strong, and confident, so different than what I was all those years ago. Seeing her again after so long has me realizing too much time has passed. I know what has to be done.
I need to let Avery know she’s mine and that nothing and no one would stop me from claiming her.
Warning: This is a friends-to-lovers, double virgin safe romance that also has that spark of filth thrown in. Yes, you read that right … double virgins. No need to wear protection for this one because these two know exactly what they want and that’s each other.
I’d gone to the hospital to check on the little old lady that I’d grabbed out of the fire. She reminded me of my grandmother, and I’d had this desire to make sure she was doing okay.
I made my way down the hall toward her room, gave the door two knocks, and pushed it open. A woman sat in front of the hospital bed, her long dark hair falling over her shoulders in tumbling waves.
She must have heard me enter because she stood up and turned, facing me.
“Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt,” I said, about to turn around, but everything in my body froze.
Everything in me froze, became as still as the calmest waters. Avery, the one woman I’d always loved. The girl I’d grown up around but left so many years ago it now seemed like a distant memory.
But she was here, standing right in front of me, looking like a woman instead of the teenager I’d known back in the day.
I saw the realization filter across her face, knew she was probably just as shocked as I was. Looking over her shoulder at the older woman, it was then that I realized who exactly she was. I hadn’t put two and two together the other day, didn’t even recognize the name at first. What with Avery having a different last name and always calling her grandmother Gigi, it hadn’t even occurred to me that the woman I’d saved was Avery’s grandmother.
I looked back at Avery, every part of me wanting to go to her, to make her mine.
“Oh, my God,” she whispered, lifting her hand and placing it over her mouth. She stood like that for long seconds, then dropped her hand to her side. “Jackson?” She chuckled, but it was one filled with nervousness. “Is that really you?” She shook her head slightly. “I almost didn’t recognize you. You…” She looked me up and down. “You look so different.” She stared into my face again. “But your eyes,” she whispered. “I’d remember them, recognize them anywhere, no matter how many years have passed.”
I didn’t answer right away, just looked my fill of her. She was all curves, the T-shirt she wore fitting her snugly and showing off the large mounds of her breasts and tapering down to her curvy waist. She had that hourglass shape going on to perfection.
“I can’t believe it’s really you,” she said again, taking a step closer to me.
“Yeah, I’m thinking the same thing,” I finally said. I stared into her chocolate brown eyes, ones I’d gotten lost in so many times when we were younger. We’d been friends, but not close enough that I had ever told her how I felt. Hell, I’d been too afraid of myself back then to admit my feelings. I still remembered the day I told her I was leaving, how she’d seemed genuinely sad by it, how I’d felt like my whole world was being ripped from me.
Our letters had tapered off over the years until there were no more. But I never stopped loving her, never stopped wanting her. She was mine. Avery always had been and always would be.
“You look different, Jackson,” she repeated and I saw the way her cheeks turned red.
My heart skipped a beat. Yeah, I knew I looked a hell of a lot different than when she’d last seen me.
Gone was the geeky, scrawny kid who got pushed around. In his place was a man towering at six foot three, heavily muscled from working out and building myself up, and contacts replacing the black-rimmed glasses I used to wear. Gone was the string bean who let asshole jocks like Frankie shoulder check him into lockers. How would she feel if she knew that I’d waited in every aspect of my life to be with her? How would Avery react if she knew that I’d saved myself for her … only her?
I was no longer that skinny kid scared of his own shadow. I was big and strong, a firefighter and back in town to let the only girl I had ever loved know that she was mine.
Mila Crawford is a book lover and has been around them one way or another her whole life. She is a fan of happily ever afters, sassy heroines, over the top alphas, and most of all safe reads.