“You’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. Do you realize how brave you are? I can’t believe what you’ve endured. It turns my stomach to think of what your father did, what your foster father did, and how alone you’ve been. No other man’s said these same things to you?”
How would they know? Cate texted. Some men are interested in me, but when they find out I can’t speak, they immediately back off. I’ve never been out on a date. Boys in high school always wanted to sleep with me. They figured I couldn’t speak, so I wouldn’t tell. So stupid. And they wondered why I didn’t have sex with them. Ha!
Jake planted his hands on his hips and declared, “This is all so damned wrong!”
It is what it is.
“You don’t expect anything more?”
Why should I?
“Because you should!” he growled. “Because no one should be treated like you’ve been treated or hurt like you were hurt!”
You’re a paramedic. Don’t tell me you’re that naïve. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of victims of domestic violence, neglect, rape, etcetera.
“I’m not naïve at all. I’ve seen a hell of a lot in the past few years. That doesn’t make it right and shouldn’t be accepted by anyone, least of all the victims. You should expect more from life!”
I did, and it got me nowhere. Since then, I expect nothing from life and get the pleasure of being surprised when something good happens.
“If that’s the way you think, then you’re in for a lot of pleasant surprises where I’m concerned.”
Jake took the phone from Cate’s hand and shoved it into one of the back pockets of his jeans. She was indignant – until Jake pulled her against him and slid one hand into her hair. He murmured her name, and she could tell that he was aroused and wondered why he didn’t try to kiss her. Perhaps her limitations and past were causing him to hold back. Then again, she was vulnerable.
“I’m not out to use you,” Jake volunteered as if reading her thoughts. “We’re just getting to know each other. Also, you need to eat. Hell, I’m hungry, and I had breakfast and lunch today, which you didn’t.”
Cate went over to her phone, unplugged it, and texted, I have frozen dinners, remember? We can eat then kiss.
“Slow down!” he exclaimed, but he was laughing as he said it. “I want you, but not all the way right away. That would make me a totally selfish bastard. You deserve better than that.”