“Not necessarily, but I wouldn’t mind,” Zeke replied truthfully. “Honor, darlin, you’re a gorgeous woman.”
“Not without my clothes,” she mumbled, bending her head to stare at her clenched fists. “Ugly,” she muttered. “I’m ugly.”
Tensing, Zeke’s jaw clenched. “I don’t know why the hell you’re saying that, but there’s not a single ugly thing about you. Not when you’re naked. Not when you’re tryin’ to bring yourself to release. Not ever, Honor Grace. You do not ever have to be ashamed of your body.”
Honor slowly lifted her mortified gaze to him. “You’ve never seen me without my clothes, Zeke. There are scars. So many scars. They’re raised and bumpy. Some are red and raw. It’s disgusting, Ezekiel.”
“Bullshit. Every single one of those marks remind me of one thing, Honor. One,” he growled, holding up a finger between them. “You lived. You survived. When all the odds were stacked against you, you defied modern medicine and every one of those damned doctors predictions, and you lived. And all those scars will ever do is remind me of how lucky I am to still have you. Don’t you ever tell me you’re ugly because you’re the most beautiful thing in my world. You wanna be scared to share your body with me because of what happened to you? I get that. I can accept that. But worrying about some marks on your flesh? I love you, baby, but that’s insane.”
Honor stared at him a long time, gauging his sincerity. “It doesn’t feel silly,” she finally grumbled.
“You need to reassess your feelings then because I assure you, it’s one of the silliest concerns you ever had. Christ, baby, how long have you been agonizing of a worry as pointless as your scars?” he asked, shoving a frustrated hand through his dark hair. “I could have put these fears to rest ages ago, Honor, if I’d known about it.”
“It’s hard to talk about,” she revealed in a low voice as her head twisted to look at him.
“Yeah? Is feeling like shit alone better than talking it over together with me?” he returned calmly, reaching up to tenderly tuck her hair behind one ear. “Baby, you gotta start getting this. When you hurt, I hurt. When you suffer, I suffer right along with you. Don’t make either one of us feel that way needlessly, Kitten. Just talk to me. I know you have scars. You’ve got them on your body, and you’ve got them on your soul. I’ve sat by your hospital bed too many times to count and watched you while you did your damnedest to heal them both. Those wounds are not new information to me and they don’t change shit. I still love you, and I don’t allow those scars to do anything other than remind me to treasure every day I have with you. Okay?”
Honor’s eyes were soft as they locked with Zeke’s. “You really do love me a lot, don’t you?” she asked in a small voice.
“So much that I ache with it, Honor.”