Max hadn’t been able to keep Noah from seeing the bloody smears on the windows or the rusty stains on the porch. The lingering ache that had haunted him for so long had finally faded. But now he felt raw, exposed, as he stood there, ready to bare himself to the woman who was coming to mean everything to him.
If they were going to have any chance at all, this talk had to happen. It had to happen now.
Closing his eyes, he forced a breath past the band that had wrapped around his lungs, and then he turned his head and stared at her. The soft light of the fading day painted her skin a delicate gold and he reached up, cupped her skin.
“I’ve got things I need to tell you,” he said gruffly. “Things that are almost impossible for me to talk about. But before I do . . .”
He dipped his head and pressed a kiss to her lips, felt her soften against him, reach for him. He caught her wrists as she reached up to cup his face, felt the maddening beat of her pulse. “The past twenty years of my life have been nothing but a cloud. Everything was just . . .grey. There was no color, no light, no laughter. All that changed the minute you and Micah came barreling into my life. I don’t want to lose that.”
“There’s nothing you’re going to say that will change what I feel. I . . .” She paused and blew out a breath. “Sometimes I get a little scared about just what I feel, considering that we really haven’t known each other that long. But . . . you felt right to me the first time I looked at you. Whatever you have to say to me isn’t going to change the man you are.”
The words rested on his heart, almost painful yet still enough to make him catch his breath. Hope could cut deep sometimes.