I opened the door and stepped onto the porch. A soft wind swirled around me, bringing the scent of him. That was Ryker, clean and fresh and strong. A tinge of smoke wafted in on the breeze, and I scrunched my nose. That wasn’t Ryker, or at least I didn’t think it was. “You smoke?”
He pushed off the trunk of the enormous oak tree and tossed his cigarette to the ground, smashing it with the toe of his boot. Out of the shadows, he stepped in front of me. “Generally no. But when I’m stressed, yes.” He dropped his head as if shamed.
I don’t know what compelled me to touch him, but I couldn’t resist laying my hand on his chest. I felt his heart thumping under my fingertips. “What stresses you?”
“Everything stresses me. Sheriff Stuart. This damn house. This damn town. It all stresses me the fuck out.” He kicked at the dead grass under his boot. “You stress me out.”
“Me?” I gripped the edge of his jacket. “Me? Why?”
His gaze lasered into me. “When you dropped me off, I went upstairs and tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. I’m fighting with myself.” He reached for my cheek. His fingers sure and able. His touch soft. “I want you.” He threaded his hand through my hair. “I know if I have you, I’ll destroy you. I destroy everything I touch.”
He leaned closer and then stepped back, but didn’t drop his gaze. Didn’t drop his hold.
I leaned in. I wanted him closer. I wanted the kiss he was denying me.
“Fuck it, I’m weak when it comes to you.” He pulled me into his arms, and his lips crushed mine with a ferocity I’d never experienced. I tried to throttle back the dizzying current that raced through me, but it was no use. If Ryker was intent on destroying me, I was a willing victim.