“You okay?” He reached out a hand to steady me, gliding it along my upper arm.
“Yeah. Sorry. I just . . . got a little light-headed. The power’s off and you scared me.”
“I’m sorry, kitten,” he whispered, the deep timbre of his voice soothing me.
“It’s fine.” I turned away from him, unwilling to let myself get sucked into his orbit. Yet again. The other night was embarrassing enough. I’d come undone so easily for him. Good thing he didn’t know that no man had ever had such a powerful effect on me.
“How bad is the damage?” he asked, following me into the living room.
“It’s mostly centered in the living room. I think the couch is ruined. And the dining room floor’s a little wet, too.”
“Cool. You want some wine?”
Cool? I spun around to face him. He’d ventured into the kitchen and was raiding their wine cabinet. What the hell?
“I can’t see what’s what in the dark. How picky are you?”
“Um . . .” Was he insane?
“White or red?” he asked.
“We shouldn’t. We’re here to help, right?”
“Oh, we definitely are. I’m ordering us a pizza, too. You hungry?”
“Starving, actually,” I admitted, my stomach grumbling at the mere mention of food and the thought of the uneaten enchilada in my fridge at home. Mmm, pizza sounded fantastic. “What about cleaning up?” I asked, looking from him back to the soggy living room.
Braydon shrugged. “I’ll call someone to come remove the couch, rug, and whatever else tomorrow . . . but since they lured both of us here, I think we should relax and have something to eat. Ben has the best wine collection, too. He gets cases of this shit flown in from Italy. He’s friends with the owner of a vineyard outside of Milan. Trust me, you’ll want some.”
I watched as he set two wineglasses and a bottle on the counter and began pulling open drawers in search of a corkscrew.
“It’s in here.” I pulled open the third drawer on the right and produced the fancy compressed opener I’d seen Emmy use.
“Sexy and talented. Thanks.” He took the device from me and quickly opened the bottle, pouring a healthy measure into each of our glasses. “To water-main breaks.” He lifted his glass to mine.
I smiled at him, feeling the tension and stress of my day melt away just from his closeness. He had one of those magnetic personalities; he was so laid back, like nothing ever bothered him. I found it refreshing and extremely intoxicating. I could use a dose of that in my life. I was wound so damn tight most of the time. I took a sip of the wine and felt it warm a path down my throat and into my belly.
“Since the sofa is out, shall we lounge in the bedroom?” He winked.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said with a snort.
“Why, gorgeous?” He leaned in close, brushing his nose along my jaw and inhaling slowly. “Afraid of what might happen?”
I rolled my eyes and followed him to the bedroom. Braydon situated candles on the dresser and bedside tables, providing a nice glow for the room. “What do you like on your pizza?”
Honestly, I wasn’t picky when it came to pizza, but I blurted, “Sausage and extra onions.” That would ensure I wouldn’t be tempted to kiss him again later. I’d have breath from hell, thanks to those toppings. Genius, Ellie. I gave myself a mental pat on the back.
He shot me a curious glance.
While Braydon called in our order, I sat on the edge of the bed, trying not to feel too out of place, alone with a man I’d unabashedly got it on with last weekend, sitting on my friend’s bed in their dark, utterly silent apartment.
He kept our wineglasses filled and thankfully the conversation flowed as well. We sat cross-legged on the bed, sharing an entire large pizza and two bottles of wine. And he was right. Ben had the best wine.
“So . . . do you like being a model?”
He nodded, taking another bite of the pie. He hadn’t complained once about my choice in toppings. Smart man. “Yeah, it’s not bad.”
“Do you travel a lot?”
He shook his head. “New York’s my biggest market. I tend to do a lot of print work and not as much of the international stuff, like Ben does.”
Good to know. I could never handle being with a man who traveled that much. Not that I should even be entertaining such thoughts. Braydon was never going to be mine. I blamed the errant thought on the wine.
Once I was thoroughly full and tipsy, I fell back against the mountain of pillows piled at the headboard. I was full and nicely buzzed—an altogether pleasant combination. “I could stay here forever.” Oops. I hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
Braydon lay down next to me, bringing his palm to my cheek, his thumb gliding along my cheekbone. “You’re awesome, you know that?”
“How so?” I mumbled.
“You’re so chill, so easy to be around. You’re not afraid to be yourself. Fuck, you’re not afraid to eat more pizza than I did.”
I slugged his shoulder lazily. “Hey! Way to make me feel self-conscious.”
“I’m just impressed, that’s all.” He grinned his beautiful lopsided grin, which lit up his whole face. The one that I was powerless against. Dammit.
“Don’t do that.” I squished his cheeks between my thumb and forefinger.
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