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She shivered in anticipation. “Do we get to skip a condom this time, too?” she asked hopefully. “Cuz I don’t have one.”

“Shh.” He possessively palmed a breast, lazily stroking his thumb over her nipple.

“That feels good,” she whispered.

His body shook as he laughed at her. “Darcy, shut up and close your eyes.”

“But I’m not tired anymore. Or mad.” She added a butt wriggle against his erection to prove it. “And neither are you.”

“Close ’em.”

“Okay,” she grumbled, “but I hope this means you’re about to do something really kinky.”

He was laughing again and she closed her eyes and sighed. “I really do like the sound of your laugh,” she whispered, and that was the last thing she remembered.

At some point—the muted light coming through the window suggested six-ish—she woke up draped all over AJ’s warm, hard, gorgeous body and heard herself moan.

Still asleep, he pulled her in closer and brushed his mouth to her forehead.

Nice, but not what she was looking for. She rolled over on top of him and then it was his turn to groan as his hands slid to the curve of her ass and squeezed.

Needing more, needing him, all of him, Darcy straddled his hips and sheathed him inside of her.

“Darcy.” AJ’s voice was sleep-roughened and so sexy she nearly came from the rough timbre alone. “I’ve got to get up and get to work—”

“No going. Only coming for you.” And then she started a slow grind, having to close her eyes as the hunger and desire rose up and began to overtake her as it always did with him.

AJ laced his fingers through hers and straightened his arms up above his head. This forced her lower, stretching her out over the top of him so that he could take her mouth with his. “You’re going to come, too,” he said against her lips. “In fact, you’re going to come first.” Having effortlessly wrestled control from her, he playfully tortured her with every stroke of his tongue and his body.

But she wasn’t done yet. Maybe he was the stronger, badder one, but she still had some moves, and she rocked her hips, taking him deeper. He sucked in a breath as he met her with a thrust of his own, over and over again, each sending a hard jolt of pleasure pulsing out from her core.

The low burn started at her toes and worked its way north. Slipping his hands from hers, AJ grabbed her hips, moving her in a rhythm that made them both moan as they stared at each other. Her eyes never left his as they rode together to climax.

After, she fell forward onto his chest, boneless, sated as she tried to catch her breath, smiling as his hand settled possessively on her ass. She managed to lift her head and blow her hair from her face. “Sorry to keep you,” she said, not sorry at all.

He flashed a sexy grin. “Believe me when I say this—anytime.”

When she woke up six hours later—six hours!!—she was alone and had a note pinned to her pillow right next to where she’d been drooling.


She stared at the note for a full five minutes before she spoke out loud in shock. “Love, AJ?” she asked the room.

The room didn’t have an opinion on the matter.

Well, she thought with a calming breath, there were all kinds of love, right? She loved Zoe and Wyatt, for instance. She loved Adam and the entire gang at Belle Haven. She loved dogs. She loved Xander. Hell, she even loved her distant parents. She loved Gummy Bears. She loved Christmas. Okay, more accurately she loved presents. She loved the beach.

AJ loved a lot of things and people, too, so really, the note meant nothing.

But still, she stared at the words for another few minutes. So did he love her the way he loved healthy food? The way he loved her brother? The way he loved … Ariana?

At that thought she grinded her back teeth together. She didn’t want him to love her in the same way he loved Ariana.

Which didn’t make this any more clear to her.

Her stomach rumbled so loud she had no choice but to follow its demand that she hit the kitchen. She looked inside AJ’s refrigerator with the same expression she’d face a veggie smoothie—gag. Indeed, there were a lot of veggies, and she resigned herself to eating twigs and berries for breakfast.

But hold on a minute.

There was a brown bakery bag with her name on it. Be still her beating heart. “Please be brownies,” she whispered, and peeked inside.

Not brownies, but a banana nut granola muffin. She slathered it in butter and nuked it. “Here goes nothing,” she said, and took a bite. And then she moaned out loud and stared in surprise at the muffin. “Okay,” she told it. “I owe you an apology.”

And very possibly she owed AJ a lot more than that. She texted him a thank-you and got an immediate response.


For everything, she could have replied, because he always knew. How did he always know? She had no idea but decided on something more specific: For the bed, the sleep, the food …

She could have also said the orgasms but refrained. The man had skills, but he knew he had skills. No sense in stroking his ego any more than she already had.

His reply took fifteen minutes, which told her he was with a client. And then when the response came, she laughed out loud.

You owe me.

Oh so now we’re keeping tabs? she texted back.