Swallowing hard, she parted her lips to speak. Instead, he bent his head and took her mouth. Her legs gave out beneath her, causing her to sink a few inches before he caught her close and lifted her feet from the tiled entry-way.
A deep, hungry growl rumbled up from the man's chest, vibrating softly against her breasts, making her nipples ache. Dizzy and confused, she lifted her hands to push him away, but the scent of his skin intoxicated her. I know him. Her fingers slipped into the silky hair at his nape.
The expert slanting of his lips across hers made her shiver. He hummed a soothing sound and stroked the length of her spine, gentling his kiss. The soft glide of his tongue, the deep licks, the gentle urging of his hips that rocked his erection against her… She moaned into his mouth, "Aidan."
His name came out of nowhere, filled with yearning and heated demands.
"I'm here, Hot Stuff." As if he knew her. As if he had come here for her. And that endearment… She felt as if she'd heard it before. In his voice.
Her chest heaving with panting breaths, Lyssa closed her eyes and rested her cheek on his shoulder. Her breath gusted across his exposed throat, making him shudder and hug her tighter.
"I—I don't remember you," she whispered, inwardly certain they must have met—no, been intimate—at some point in her life.
He nuzzled his cheek against the top of her head and breathed deeply. "Don't you?"
"I don't…" The last time she had felt this disoriented was when she'd polished off a bottle of Captain Morgan with her best friend.
"I'll make the introductions, then." His voice was a rough caress. "You're Lyssa Bates. I'm Aidan Cross."
"You're Aidan… I'm crazy."
His chuckle rumbled upward and made her toes curl. Then he stepped into her house as if he had every right to, and kicked the door closed behind him.
Strangely secure in his embrace, Lyssa leaned back to look at him, which was a mistake. The look he gave her was richly sexual and warmly amused. It was affectionate and appreciative—a lover's look. He wrapped his fist in her hair and tugged her head back to lick and nibble at her throat. Overpowering her with the pure erotic heat he exuded.
She was not as surprised by his actions as she should have been. The gesture was deeply comforting, the touch of his lips to her skin as natural as breathing. He was so arrogantly assured, so confident of his right to touch her as he desired.
"I've lost my mind," she said with a sigh of defeat. "Finally."
"Hmm?" He nipped her earlobe.
"Or maybe I fell asleep and this is my dream? It would be totally okay to make out with hot strangers in dreams."
Aidan paused. "Totally okay to make out with this stranger."
"I've been reading too many romance novels with alpha males," she muttered. Then her tummy growled. Loudly. At first she thought it was JB, but no, he was rubbing up against Aidan Cross's legs and purring like a kitten. Which Jelly Bean had never done even when he was a kitten. The darn cat had been born grumpy
They'd both gone crazy, which was oddly comforting.
"You didn't eat all day again?" Aidan chastised, scowling down at her.
"Uh, dream guys don't scold." As he set her away from him, Lyssa clung to his rock-hard forearms for balance. "I get enough of that from my mother."
"You need scolding to get you to eat regularly. You're going to need your strength." He stepped back and then teetered. "Whoa!"
"Are you okay?" She steadied his significant weight with great difficulty.
"I've got jet lag. I think."
She sighed loudly. Fantasies weren't supposed to get jet lag, so either this was real and she had just made out with a stranger, or this was the oddest dream ever. Of course, she'd only recently started remembering vague pieces of dreams, so maybe all the ones she couldn't recall had been a bit wacky, too. How depressing.
Pushing him toward the sofa, she went along with the weirdness and asked, "Where are you from?"
Aidan smiled, and her heart did a little flip. "San Diego."
"Right. You flew up from San Diego."
"No. I drove up from San Diego." He sat, settling into the down cushions with an appreciative sigh. "It's less than an hour's drive, you know. When there aren't so many cars in the way."
"Traffic. Yes, I know. So how'd you get the jet lag?"
"On the way to San Diego."
"Okay." Lyssa stepped back and crossed her arms. "Where did you come from before San Diego? Ireland? I admit I suck at pinning down accents. And yours is unusually luscious."
Struck by sudden deja vu at her own words, Lyssa stared, arrested, as Aidan's smile widened, making him even more gorgeous. Why do I feel as if I know him so well? As if we've had this conversation before?
It was surreal to be hovering over a stranger who'd just kissed her senseless. But no matter what she told herself, she couldn't convince herself that she had done something wrong.
"You're very sexy when you're grumpy," he said.
"Yeah? Well, you're very sexy when you're grinning like an idiot. And I'm not grumpy. Now, where did you come from?"
"Okay. Now I know I'm asleep. Real-life hot guys don't say corny shit like that." It hadn't really sounded corny, though. It had sounded sweet, kind of breathless, as if he was really happy to see her.
He caught her hand and tugged her into his lap. She considered a token protest, then thought, Screw it. He was hot and nice, and she was insane.
"Did we date in kindergarten or something?" she asked, studying his features with a frown.
"Or something," he replied evasively. "As a doctor, you're trained to look for specific signs and then, based on those, you narrow it down to a diagnosis."
Lyssa arched a brow at her dream guy "Something like that."
"But sometimes you just have to go with your gut, right? Like now. You don't remember me, but you're pretty sure about me anyway."
"No. The only thing I'm sure about is that I'm certifiable."
Aidan closed his eyes and shook his head. Released from the snare of that intense gaze, Lyssa was able to look at the rest of his features more closely. His cheeks were flushed, his lips red. She touched his forehead with her inner wrist and detected fever.
"You're burning up."
"It's not contagious," he assured her, his eyes opening and his arms tightening when she tried to stand. "I'm just adjusting, I think."
"To what? Let me up." Wiggling, she broke free. "You should be in bed. We can reminisce about where we know each other from some other time."
"I could really use a bed. I haven't slept in two days."
Lyssa stared at Aidan's upturned face with wide eyes. "Long flight, huh? Do you need help finding a hotel?"
"The only thing I need is to be with you." He sank into the sofa back and groaned. "I ache all over."
"Shit." What the hell was she supposed to do with him? "This is where I call the police, right?"
Hello? 911 ? The hottest man I've ever seen (also the best kisser and best-smelling guy ever) just accosted me and is now passed out on my—
She watched with mouth agape as JB crawled into Aidan's lap and settled comfortably, nuzzling his gray and black head into her dream guy's abdomen. Aidan lifted his hand and rubbed her cat behind the ears, even though he was obviously sick as a dog. The tender gesture made her feel all mushy inside.
"Please don't," he breathed, his head falling back. "You know me. You… me… you and I…" He yawned, and looked adorable. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to fall asleep like this. I've never felt this crappy in my life. And your couch is comfortable."
"Yeah, well… Don't mention it," she said lamely. "But you should take something for that fever." Before she knew what she was doing, Lyssa walked into the kitchen and fetched a bottle of Tylenol. Her hands shook as she opened it.
She had known his name. Surely that meant she knew him. Why the hell couldn't she remember?
The ringing of the phone caused her to jump and drop the bottle on the floor. Lucky for her, the childproof cap hung in there. She leaned over the sink and grabbed the receiver, glancing aside to see her guest fast asleep on her couch. The sight of him, so large and formidable, now sprawled and relaxed, made her sigh. Even wearing ill-fitting clothes, Aidan Cross made her mouth water.
"Dr. Bates," she said in muted tones as she set the phone to her ear.
"Hey, Doc." Stacey's cheerful voice was like a lifeline thrown to a drowning woman. "I'm just reminding you that we're opening late tomorrow, because of Justin's birthday thing at school."
"Gotcha. Thanks. I forgot. Again." Lyssa rounded the breakfast bar and slid onto her customary stool so she could drink in Aidan's dark good looks while he slept. "Stace?"
"Something weird is going on over here."
"Hot monkey sex?"
Lyssa snorted. "Since when is hot monkey sex weird?"
"Weird to me is when the doorbell rings and the most delicious man you've ever seen walks in, kisses you senseless, and then camps out on your couch."
"Oh my god!" Stacey squealed, forcing Lyssa to hold the phone away from her ear. "Chad finally got you to let him spend the night?! Go, you! Or go, Chad!"
"Uh… no. It's not Chad," she whispered furiously, cupping her hand over her mouth and receiver.
The stunned silence on the other end made Lyssa wince.
"Wow…" Stacey gave a surprised little laugh. "No judgment here, but you know I'm dying of curiosity. Who's the hunk on the couch?"
"Well… you see… That's the thing. I'm not sure."