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He stared at her and she had no idea what he was thinking. She rarely did. AJ kept his own council. But clearly he’d decided on one thing—he didn’t mind keeping them on par with their normal relationship, which was to say competitive and combative.

He smiled. “You’re afraid you can’t control yourself.”

God help her, she knew she couldn’t. “You wish!” And with that brilliant comeback, she strode into the bathroom, shut the door, and stared at herself in the mirror. “You will not jump his bones, you hear me?” she whispered to herself. Then she hauled the door open and strode back out there carrying a bath towel. This she rolled up and placed in the middle of the mattress before pointing to one side of the bed. “Stay,” she said.

He arched a brow and crossed his arms over his chest, making his biceps bulge.

Stupid sexy biceps.

“Stay?” he repeated in disbelief. “I’m not a dog.”


He looked amused. “What is that supposed to mean?”

“It means the jury is still out. What about pj’s?” she asked. “You packing pj’s?”

“I don’t wear any,” he said.

Oh boy. Now she had that image in her head, AJ all sprawled out in her bed wearing nothing but what God had given him, and God had been generous. And if that wasn’t just perfect, now her heart was pumping but good, and judging by his smug expression, he knew it, too. Rat-fink bastard. “A toothbrush,” she said desperately. “You don’t have a toothbrush.”

“You’re stalling the inevitable,” he said. “You must really be worried you can’t control yourself.”

Dammit! “Just … don’t touch my side!” She stormed back into the bathroom because she needed a moment to find her composure. She took her time, slathering on lotion, combing her hair, doing everything she could think of to stall, hoping he’d be asleep when she ventured out there. When she finally did, the lights were off.

Good sign.

She tiptoed to her side of the bed and stared at the vague outline of one damn fine and damn annoying man.

He didn’t speak.

And she wasn’t about to. Near as she could tell, he’d left the rolled towel in place and was on his side facing away from her. Not moving. Steady breathing. Hopefully dead to the world. She gingerly climbed into the bed still wearing the only pj’s she’d brought. A man’s large, beefy tee.


She’d stolen it from his office locker at the wellness center because it was soft. And okay, because it smelled like him. Luckily he’d never noticed, and she really didn’t want to explain why she had it. She could just remove it, because honestly? Being naked seemed a lot less revealing than him finding out she’d stolen his shirt.

But getting naked again seemed like tempting fate.

And she was done with the tempting-fate portion of her life.

She tried to calm her mind but her mind didn’t get the memo. Did he really sleep naked, or had he been just teasing her? She couldn’t tell but this was suddenly an issue bigger than world peace. She needed to know.

He seems like he’s deeply asleep, a little voice said inside her head. You could take a teeny, tiny, little peek …

Bad idea. No way would she do that. Nope. Biting her lip, she stared at AJ’s still form. Very still. Ah, damn. She was totally going to peek. Carefully she shifted and … lifted the covers.

Too dark to see anything.

She rolled to her back and tried to fall asleep, but the alcohol had juiced her up a little bit and her thoughts raced, making her toss and turn.

When the light suddenly came on, she squeaked.

AJ had sat up and hit the bedside switch. The covers slipped and pooled at his waist, revealing his bare chest and a set of ripped abs that made her want to drag her tongue from his chin to his belly button and beyond—way beyond.

Not a single sign of clothing, either. Which meant she now had her answer to the burning question.


“What’s wrong?” he asked, sounding fully awake and alert.

She didn’t know if this was because he could come awake in a blink, or if he’d never been asleep. Hell, maybe he didn’t need sleep. Maybe he wasn’t even human. That would explain a lot. “Nothing’s wrong.”

“Then why aren’t we sleeping?”

“No reason. Shh,” she said. “Let’s go back to sleep.”

“Did you want to try to get another peek at me first, now that the light’s on?”

She narrowed her eyes. “I knew you were awake, you big faker!”

“Whatever, Peeping Tomina. And what were you hoping to see anyway? Or should I guess?”

She felt herself flush. “Don’t flatter yourself, I don’t need to peek at you. All guys look the same in the buff.”

“I can promise you that’s not true,” he said.

Oh boy. If she’d ever needed a subject change, it was now. “If you must know,” she said. “The truth is I can’t get comfortable.”

He didn’t blink. “And?”

She sighed and admitted the real truth. “And I stiffen up at night and get all achy. I can’t fall asleep unless I take something. Which I didn’t do tonight.”

He did blink at that. His jaw got all bunchy, too.

She lifted her chin. “Not like you think,” she said. “Not the pain meds.”