The big dose of reality hits me when I wake up and he is sprawled, in all his muscular glory, across my hotel bed. It takes a second for me to remember that I, uh . . . I let Mackenna stay over?
I groan and slap my palm against my forehead. Fuck. Why why why does he weaken my willpower? The mattress squeaks as he shifts in bed, one arm reaching out as he groans in his sleep and seems to search for me. I roll away quickly and watch his hand settle on a pillow.
“Mackenna,” I say, toeing his side with my foot. “Mackenna!” I hiss.
He rolls around and sits up, and thank god the covers are halfway around his waist, because if I see one more inch of bare flesh I might explode from the heat spreading through me. I feel myself blush even deeper when his muscles bulge as he pushes himself up with his arms. His eyes adorably heavy, he blinks to adjust to the light, his mouth as perfect and generous as it was yesterday. And then he looks at me. That gaze is softer silver in the morning, not as sharp or as intimidating, almost . . . intimate when he sees me. Glimmering playfully.
And too late, I realize why he’s fucking grinning. My T-shirt got caught on the waistband of my panties. And he’s taking me in, in one quick sweep. “Well, fuck, someone woke hungry this morning,” he says, his voice bedroom sleepy as he looks at me, and I grab the pillow to cover myself.
“I’m not hungry,” I say.
“I was talking about me. Come over here.”
“No, Mackenna! Come on. Get out of my room already. I told you to leave!”
He grins and gets up, and I toss the pillow and flush as I pull down my T-shirt while he heads to the bathroom. It only takes him a minute to come out. Not enough to comb all my fingers through the tangles in my hair. If I were into that and cared what the asshole thought. Which I don’t.
His eyes run up the length of my legs, continue from the hem of my T-shirt to my neck, then land on my head. “Leave your hair, it looks all right,” he says huskily, stopping to loom before me.
Heat flows through my body as he looks down at me with blatant need. What is wrong with him? With us?
“Nothing’s wrong,” he murmurs.
“I said that out loud?” I groan.
“You’ve been . . . vocal, all night. I like it.”
God. I dreamed. I dreamed . . . I’m not even sure what. I dreamed about the closet again. I dreamed we were in bed. I dreamed he tried to kiss me, and when I turned away, he set a thousand shivery kisses up and down my neck.
The memory makes me flush cherry red. Did that happen during the night? By the intimate way he looks at me, I think he wanted inside me real bad. I didn’t let him, thank god. He fingers the collar of my tee, then watches me as he slowly drags his finger up my neck, his thumb caressing my bottom and top lip. Even though his hold is loose and he’s not physically holding me down, I feel trapped. His gaze alone holds me motionless.
He used to look at me with this same proprietary gleam when he was my boyfriend. My secret boyfriend, who nobody knew about . . . except me. I guess, in the end, my mom knew.
But while the secret lasted, we hid in the janitor’s closet in school and made out until I could hardly walk, my legs unsteady as I headed for class with his taste in my mouth, the scent of his soap clinging to my clothes.
I’m fighting the urge to smell his neck now. It’s a war to just stand here motionless, tracing every inch of his masculine face with my eyes when I want my fingers to do the same. The years become nothing.
The hum between us is just like in the old days, when I was the center of his galaxy. When the girls in school would stare longingly at him when he walked past my locker, having eyes only for me. Sometimes, when the halls were vacant enough, he quickly leaned over me and kissed the back of my ear and every part of my body, from my toes up to the back of my ear. I’d grow hot, and the place between my legs would start pulsing.
Too easily I remember coming home and squealing.
I would play love songs, only to replay the words he said to me and the ways he touched me. I would shower, eat, and sleep Mackenna Jones. . . .
But deep down, my mother’s bitterness and my father’s infidelity poisoned me. I kept all these feelings to myself—kept them from my mother so she wouldn’t take Mackenna from me. But because I didn’t want to lose him, because I feared it wasn’t real, I also kept my feelings from him, and now I’m used to saying nothing. Keeping it bottled up.
Why do I feel like I’m about to burst now?
“Don’t, Kenna,” I say when he uses his thumb to open my lips. He stands dangerously close—his height, his breadth, his size, his do-me-now-woman sex appeal intimidating the hell out of me.
He grins wickedly and strokes a hand over my hip.
“Because it’s not going to happen,” I say breathlessly.
“Yeah, it will.” His smirk says, It definitely will.
He pats my butt slowly, and the familiar way he brushes his lips over mine brings my temper to a boil. Who does he think he is? Does he think because we made out by mistake he gets to play my boyfriend? When I growl and slap his hand away, he chuckles and heads back to the bathroom.
Soon I hear the shower, the sound of the water slapping his delicious man-flesh. Then I hear him hum a tune, a tune I’ve never heard before. My chest moves when I remember he used to do that when we were teens. God, no, stop thinking of those moments. It hurts. Truly it does. Think of the bad ones. When he left. When he left me on my own after making me need him and believe I couldn’t live without him.
Refusing to get all sappy with memories, I grab my phone and think of Melanie.
She’s probably at the office, missing the delightfully bitter morning company that is me.
I quickly text, I kissed him
Every second I wait for her answer, I feel worse and worse, not only about the closet incident but also about falling asleep with him around. When I woke up, the bastard was almost spooning me.
Me: I kissed the bastard! He spent the night. Oh god!!!!! This is suicide!
Melanie: Why? Was he into it? You know what they say about where there was once fire . . .
Me: He was into the kissing, into using me for his selfish reasons and I was selfish too.
Melanie: So what’s the problem?
Me: The problem is he’s going to think he WON!
And he will. He really, really will, because he’s so full of himself I’m surprised he fits inside this building.
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