“Why are you here?” It was the correct thing to say, although she knew very well why he was here. He was here to make amends, to try to make it right. Well, it was too late for that. About nine years too late.
“Please look at me, Kimmie.”
The soft plea was far too close for her liking—and the nickname, the same one he’d given their child. As much as she didn’t want to open her eyes, she couldn’t seem to keep them closed.
Time had been kind to Holden. Whereas he had always been handsome to the point of almost being beautiful, now he had a ruggedness that enhanced his natural looks. He was incredibly virile; his muscles had thickened, making him appear stronger, more manly. There was a wisdom in his blue-gray eyes, replacing the optimism that had once been there. And pain.
The pain offended her. What the hell did he feel pain about? He hadn’t lost a child. He hadn’t spent untold sleepless nights in tears, wondering where that child was, or even if that child even existed. He’d held their baby whenever she cried, seen her first smile, heard her first words. All of these things Kimber had been robbed of. How dare he feel pain!
“Why are you here?” Contempt laced every word, surprising Holden a bit.
Good! Did he think she would welcome him with open arms?
“I thought you gave her up.”
Just when she thought the anger had run its course, seething resentment came back with a fierceness even she was unprepared for. The grief and pain crashed into her so hard she couldn’t breathe. She wanted to hurt him, to make him feel at least a tiny amount of the anguish she felt. But there were no words, no way to convey her need to see him aching like she ached. Maybe then he would understand the waking nightmare she had been living through. Instead of slapping him this time, she lunged, throwing her body on top of his. Never had she hated the way she hated right this second. Never had she wanted to wrap her hands around someone’s throat and choke the living shit out of them.
But as soon as their bodies collided, memories returned in a rush, washing over her like a tidal wave.
He didn’t bother to try to protect himself; he just cushioned her fall when they landed on the floor, his arms surrounding her with a gentleness she hadn’t felt in so damn long. She froze, unable to hit him, as was her intention. When his large hand began caressing her back, she was a goner. No one had touched her with gentleness in nine long years. No one had held her so gently, or spoke as softly as he did now. In fact, the last time she had been held, it had been Holden who held her.
“Damn, Kimmie, I missed you so much.”