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I lean in close to her, unable to resist, and take a deep breath. She smells of roses. Like her surname. I mean who is called Isla Rose and actually smells of roses? She’s ridiculous.
“You smell of roses.” It comes out like an accusation.
She juts her chin at me. “I like it. I know some people think it’s old fashioned, but my mum used rose perfume and now I do, too. I like to smell like her.”
“Rose by name, rose by nature, eh?” And I tell myself to shut up.
“I know what you think of me? Naïve, stupid. A boring, silly virgin.”
“Stop.” I take her chin in my hand, and it’s tiny. “I don’t think you’re stupid, or silly. Naïve? Maybe a little, but that’s no bad thing.”
“It isn’t?” She sounds genuinely curious.
Christ, she doesn’t know the half of it. This world is so jaded. Full of bitter, bored people who know it all. She’s nothing like them. Simply being in her presence makes me feel younger, less used up and worn out. And those are the reasons I need to walk away from her right now. I’m thirty-two and she’s only twenty-one. She’s a virgin and I’m a whore. Literally. I’ve killed with my bare hands, and she’s one of the gentlest souls I’ve ever met.
But I can’t do it. I’m a selfish bastard, and for one moment, I want to lose myself in something better than me. I keep hold of her chin, and lower my face.
The moment my lips meet hers my world changes. I breathe her in and taste her and I’m lost. And she whimpers against me.