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Nature called, though, and all too soon I was crawling out of bed to use the bathroom and get ready to sleep. My reflection in the mirror was unexpected. My cheeks were flushed, my hair was a mess, but mostly I just looked happy. Huh.

“Are you brushing your teeth in there?” Braydon called. The sound of running water must have given me away.

“Yes,” I said around a garbled mouthful of bubbles.

“I’m so jealous right now,” he admitted.

“You can too if you want.”

“Use your toothbrush?” he asked.

“Why not?” His mouth had been on my most private of parts. Cooties were null and void at this point.

Braydon remained in my bed, though, looking rather comfortable I might add. He somehow knew which side was mine and positioned himself on the opposite one. When I crawled back in beside him, he wrapped me in his arms and whispered goodnight. I settled into his broad, warm body, closed my eyes, and promptly fell into a deep and restful sleep.


A loud blasting sound startled me awake. What the . . . ?

I scrambled from bed, frantically searching for the source of the sound. It was like a damn fire alarm going off. Braydon rolled over and grabbed his cell phone from the bedside table, silencing it with a grunt and then rolling back over and shutting his eyes.

My heart was pounding against my ribs and my fists were tightly balled at my sides. I was coiled as tight as a damn wire. “What the f**k was that?”

One hazy blue eye opened. “Sorry. I can’t hear my alarm unless it’s loud.”

“Loud? Sweetie, I thought Armageddon was here.”

He opened his eyes, slowly blinking at me, and his mouth turned up just a fraction. “Get your sweet ass over here, girl.”

I sighed dramatically like it was some great hardship but crawled back in beside him, letting him spoon his large frame around me.

“Next time I’ll turn the volume down so that it wakes you up but doesn’t freak you out. Then you can wake me up.”

“Next time, huh?” I grinned.

“Yes. And if you’re taking requests, I prefer to be woken up with your mouth on my dick.”

“Ha,” I snorted. “You’re quite demanding. That’s not happening.”

His hand moved under my tank top and splayed flat against my belly. His touch made my stomach jump. “Are you feeling okay?” he murmured, pressing his nose into my hair.

“A little sore,” I admitted.

He planted a tender kiss to the back of my neck. He could be so sweet and tender at times and so intensely passionate at others. My mind flashed to our lovemaking last night . . . when he’d bitten and marked me and suggested I choke him. A shiver raced up my spine.

Not missing a thing, his hands smoothed over my back. “Goose bumps. Are you cold?”

I merely nodded and burrowed deeper into his embrace. He was warm and firm and smelled so good. I didn’t want to move. But remembering what’d woken us in the first place, I rolled to face him. “Do you have somewhere to be this morning?”

He nodded, pushing my messy hair back from my face. “Yes. I have a charity thing.”


“My agent arranged for me to help out with some projects at a veterans’ home today.”

“Are you handy?” I asked. It seemed at odds with his profession.

“With a hammer and nails and a bucket of paint, sure. I don’t think they’ll have me do anything too complex.” He stretched and sat up in bed. “I’m sorry I have to run. Last night was . . .” He shook his head like he couldn’t keep the smile from overtaking his face. “Pretty f**king awesome.”

Heat rose in my cheeks as I watched him move across the room, gathering articles of clothing and dressing as the warm morning sunlight streamed in through my bedroom window. He bent to kiss my forehead and moments later he was gone. The soft sound of my front door closing and the ache deep in my womb were the only evidence he’d been here at all. I rolled over in bed, hugged his still-warm pillow to my chest, and inhaled. His scent lingered. The perfect mixture of natural masculine musk, spicy cologne, and soap. I was warm and still sleepy and let myself drift back off for a few hours.

When I woke for the second time that morning, the tiny ache in my womb reminded me of him. Of where he’d been. Of how he’d claimed me so completely. It was both too much and not enough at the same time. Quieting the silly thoughts running through my head, I stumbled from bed to start my Saturday.

I made coffee alone in my silent kitchen. I missed Emmy. I missed Braydon’s easy company. I hated how lonely I felt. How empty my apartment seemed. I knew I should do something with myself, go for a run, clean my apartment. But instead, I ran a warm bath and sunk inside with a mug of steaming coffee and a gossip magazine. Something mindless to flip through.

Of course I hadn’t counted on spotting Braydon’s photo in an advertisement for men’s cologne. I stopped on that page and stared at it for far too long, even lifting up the flap of paper to smell the intoxicating scent. It wasn’t the cologne he wore, but the scent was still delicious. I lay there soaking in the warm water, letting the spicy masculine scent drift over my senses and lull me into a state of deep relaxation, with thoughts of Braydon swirling in my brain.

I wondered if he’d given me a second thought once he’d left, or if he was used to compartmentalizing his one-night stands until the urge for the next hookup struck him. I didn’t want to feel insecure, but a part of me couldn’t help but dwell on it.

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