Home > Never with Me(8)

Never with Me(8)
Author: Kaylee Ryan

Deacon steps in front of me, giving his sister his back. “What do you think, sweetheart? You up for me holding you on the old blanket?”

“I think I can suffer through it,” I tease.

Who am I right now?

He steps closer. He raises his hand and waits for me to nod. He slides his palm behind my neck and leans in close. “Talking or kissing, Ramsey?”

“What?” I ask, confused.

“She said talk or kiss or whatever. You pick.”

“All of the above.”

He grins. The act has my heart doing flips in my chest. “Equal opportunist. I like it.” He slides his hands down my arms and laces our fingers together. He lifts both to his mouth and kisses my knuckles.

I hear the shutter of the camera, and so does he if the groan that comes from deep within his chest is an indicator. “Palmer, I’m on a date here,” he says. He winks at me, making me laugh.

“A date I arranged, big brother,” she reminds him. “A date you didn’t want to go on,” she says as he turns and guides us toward the blanket.

“I’m glad I did,” he whispers against my temple. “After you.” He motions toward the blanket.

Somehow I manage to sit without showing my ass. Literally, I make sure to tuck my sundress beneath my legs to keep the wind from blowing it up. Deacon lies next to me. He’s on his side, with his head propped up on his elbow.

“Lay with me.”

I take two seconds to think about it before I’m maneuvering into a similar position with my dress tucked in tightly between my thighs. Deacon reaches out and tucks my hair behind my ear. “I’ve had fun with you today.”

“It was definitely better than I expected.”

“Yeah? What were you expecting?”

“Lots of awkward touches and a disappointed Palmer.”

“Yet, you came anyway.”

“She’s my best friend. It took her a couple of days of begging, but in the end, she needed me, so here I am.”

“I’m glad it was you.” He runs his index finger over my jaw.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve never met before now.”

“I work a lot.”

“I do too.” I pause and then toss his words back to him. “I’m glad it was you too. You made today bearable.”

“Bearable enough to steal another kiss?”

“Is it stealing if I freely give it to you?”

“Ramsey.” He leans in closer. “I’ll take anything and everything you’re willing to give me.”

It’s on the tip of my tongue to say everything, but I know that’s not possible. Deacon is my best friend’s older brother. He’s got his shit together, he’s established in life, and he has a family who supports him. He doesn’t need my baggage. So, instead of everything, I give him what I can.


“Hmm?” His hand that’s not holding him up cradles my cheek.

“Kiss me.”

A low growl erupts from his chest as his lips press to mine. This kiss is different from the others. His tongue swipes at my lips, and I open for him, allowing his tongue to peek in and taste me.

The next thing I know, I’m lying flat on my back, with Deacon hovering over me, kissing me like I’ve never been kissed before. I faintly hear the shutter of Palmer’s camera, and did she whistle? I can’t be sure about anything other than how it feels to be in his arms.


It’s not a feeling I’ve ever experienced, and I want to get lost in the tenderness. I want to sit here on this old, faded quilt for the rest of my life as long as he’s sitting next to me. That thought has me pulling out of our kiss.

We’re both laboring to breathe. His golden eyes are locked on mine.

“Holy shit. That was hot!” Palmer exclaims.

That has me sitting up, which forces Deacon to do the same. My hand comes to my lips. They’re swollen, and I can still taste him. I can’t believe I just made out with my best friend’s brother while she took pictures.

“Those are for our eyes only,” Deacon tells her. His voice is no longer teasing.

“Hell no. That was photography magic.”

“Palmer.” There’s an edge to his voice. “Ramsey and I get the final say on what you print.”

“What? I’m the photographer. That’s stunting my creativity,” she argues. There’s a twinkle in her eyes that tells me she’s messing with him.

“Palmer Leigh,” Deacon warns.

“Fine, you big baby.” She sticks her tongue out at him like only a little sister can do. “You can have veto rights.”

“Ramsey too,” he adds.

“Ramsey too,” she concedes. Despite the annoyance in her tone, she’s smiling wide. “I have what I need. We can call it a day. Thank you both for doing this.”

Deacon climbs to his feet and offers me his hand to help me stand. His eyes find mine. He opens his mouth to speak, but Palmer wraps her arms around him.

“Thank you, Deac.” She kisses his cheek.

He hugs her back, kissing the top of her head. “You’re welcome.”

“Rams.” Palmer opens her arms for me, and I meet her embrace. “You did amazing,” she whispers.

She pulls back and reaches down for the blanket. “I’m going to pack up.” With that, she scurries back to the park bench, where she left her bag.

“Come here, darlin’.” Deacon opens his arms for me, and I don’t hesitate to walk into his embrace. “I enjoyed today.”

“Me too.” I lean back and smile up at him.

He angles his head. “Just one more, Ramsey. I need one more,” he says as he presses his lips to mine. I grip his shirt, holding him close, while his lips dance with mine. All too soon, he’s pulling away and taking a step back. Disappointment courses through me. My time with him is over. I was dreading coming here today, and now I don’t want to leave.

“Ready?” Palmer asks. She’s standing next to us.

“You two drive safe,” Deacon says, taking another step away from me- the opposite direction that I want him to go. He points at Palmer. “Call when those are ready to view.”

“Oh, I’m all over that. I can’t wait to start editing.”

“Ramsey.” His voice is thick with something I can’t name. “Good to meet you.”

“I’ll say,” Palmer says under her breath.

“You too.” I give him a wide smile. It’s real and honest, and maybe intentionally a little too wide to hide the sadness that my time with him is over.

I stand still and watch as he gives us a final wave and turns and walks away. I don’t move until I see him climb behind the wheel of his truck and pull away.

“Ramsey!” Palmer jumps up and down. “He’s into you.”

“We were caught up in the moment,” I say, downplaying the connection we shared.

“Oh, you were in the moment, all right.” She bounces her brows. “Come on. I can’t wait to get home and start working on these edits.”

I follow her to her car in a daze. I was scared as hell to come to this photo shoot today. It was nothing that I expected and everything I needed.

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