He moved to nuzzle her forehead. “You didn’t let me finish. I like it when you’re bossy.”
She pushed against his chest and looked him dead in the eye. “Tell me about the nightmare or I’ll put my clothes back on and stand on the far side of the room, where you can’t touch me, if that’s what it takes.”
He sighed. Talking about his dreams and time with the Collector was the last thing he wanted to do. Especially because deep down, he was afraid Sabrina might not be able to forgive him for what he’d done.
A hand brushed his chest and he looked down. Sabrina’s face was soft, and her eyes were full of encouragement. “You can tell me anything. You know about some of the stuff I’ve had to do to keep up my cover ID. I know what it’s like to make the least evil of two bad choices.”
“That’s what people say to make themselves feel better.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Jorge.”
Remember, you’re not inside the Collector’s facilities anymore. Sabrina won’t hurt you for displaying any emotion other than strength and obedience.
He laid his head on top of hers. If he was going to do this, he didn’t want to watch the horror creep into Sabrina’s expression. “In the dream I had the other day, Watkins came into a room with my sister, slit her throat, and said I was no better than him. In a way, I believe it. I’ve killed or kidnapped innocents—fathers, mothers, someone’s sister or husband—all to protect the life of my sister Alejandra. I would do it again to protect her, but I’m aware of how selfish it was to keep ruining people’s lives to protect one person. If I were a better man, I might’ve realized the kidnappings, etc., would never end and I should’ve escaped to expose the Collector and her coerced army. But I wasn’t strong enough to let my sister die.”
He closed his eyes a second and then let out a sigh. “Don’t you see? If I’d been strong enough, I could’ve saved hundreds, maybe even thousands, of humans and Feiru. But I didn’t. You were able to give up everything—your life, your friends, hell, even admitting you’re human—to help make the world a better place.” He opened his eyes and decided he needed to stop being a chickenshit and see what Sabrina was thinking. He looked down at her face, but it wasn’t disgust or disappointment he saw, but rather she was angry. “What’s wrong?”
“Wanting to protect your family isn’t selfish. Part of what I’ve done is for the same reason, to protect my sister. The other part was for far less noble reasons than what you’ve created in your mind.” She turned her body toward him. “I didn’t want to live a life of seclusion. If I’d chosen that path, no one would’ve been hurt and my sister still would’ve been safe. Yet I still chose the life with the Feiru Liaison office and all that went with it. So don’t you go thinking I’m all noble and self-sacrificing, because I’m not. We’ve both done what we thought best at the time, and we’ve learned from it. The cowardly thing to do is to throw that knowledge away and simply give up. So are you going to keep living in the past, blaming yourself for what can’t be changed, or are you going to try to make up for it by making the future better for those still alive?”
Sabrina was part angry, and part ashamed. She’d never admitted how selfish she’d been in her choice to join the Feiru Liaison office, but it was true. If she’d just allowed herself to be locked away, she wouldn’t have blood on her hands.
But, screw that. She’d done good things too, and there was so much more she could do to help both the Feiru and the humans, especially if Jorge was at her side. She just needed to convince him to help her.
The corner of his mouth ticked up. “Now I’m going to have to prove I’m not a coward, aren’t I?”
Her body relaxed a fraction. “As long as it doesn’t mean you’re going to start beating your chest and doing stupid stunts to prove your manliness.”
His eyes were now at half-mast, and full of heat. “I’d rather prove my manliness in other ways.”
Her mouth went dry at his husky tone, but she gave her head a shake and playfully slapped Jorge on the chest. “Stop it. You still haven’t told me what you meant by us working as a team.”
Jorge’s look only grew more intense. Then one second she was sitting next to him, and the next, he’d flipped her onto her back on the bed. He moved and caged her body with his before he said, “We’re going to be partners in DEFEND. We can hash out who’s in charge later. Right now, I want to pleasure my girlfriend until she screams my name loud enough that the guards in
the hall can hear her.”
She stopped breathing. After so many years of wishing she could have someone to confide in, someone she could truly be herself around, she didn’t want to hope she finally had a chance at happiness. The secret agent in her needed to know the unequivocal truth. “Girlfriend?”
He leaned his head down and nipped her jaw. “I want you so much it hurts. You’ve given me a second chance at life, and I don’t plan on taking it for granted. My first act is to make you mine and show you how much I want you because the sex in the front room was barely icing on the cake to my feelings. So say yes, Sabrina, because I want to treasure you in the way you deserve.”
Her heart was pounding in her ears, but she knew she’d heard him correctly. In that second, she knew she would keep fighting to make Jorge the man he could be. Given some time, he would accomplish some of those grand plans she’d heard all those months ago of how he would save the first-borns.
And she would be by his side.
She brushed the hair from his forehead and tucked it behind his ear. “As long as I can do a little ‘treasuring’ of you too, then my answer is yes.”
He smiled. “Baby, you can do whatever you want to me as long as you promise not to cut off certain parts of my anatomy.”
She laughed. “I can’t make any promises, but I will try every other trick I have before it reaches that point.”
As Sabrina stared into his dark brown eyes, she decided they’d done enough talking for now. She reached her hand up, threaded it through his shoulder-length hair, and pulled his head down to hers. “Now, kiss me to seal the deal.”
Jorge lowered his head and kissed her gently. “Is that all you want?”
He grinned and her heart skipped a beat. The man was gorgeous when he full-on smiled.
Jorge let his weight settled on top of her and he whispered into her ear, “Let’s see if I can get you to say my name without the reproof, and much, much louder.”