Page 28


BENEATH THE COVERS where it’s warm and quiet, we can’t stop touching each other. Nothing obvious, just small caresses. A stroke of a finger along a shoulder, a tickle down an arm, a brush of lips across a temple. We face, Drew’s arm snakes under my neck and wraps around my shoulders, holding me close enough that we share the same air, our legs threaded together in a hot tangle. I don’t want to move. I want to keep my hand where it rests upon his sweat-damp chest and feel his heart’s steady rhythm. I want rest. I feel like I’ve been running forever, and I don’t know why or from what.

“Congratulations again on your win tonight.” I speak in hushed tones, not wanting to rupture the fragile little world we’ve cocooned ourselves in.

Drew’s answering smile is one of lazy satisfaction. His big, warm hand curls protectively around my neck and his thumb traces my jaw. “It was the sweetest win ever.” Slowly he pulls me in. His smile grows, even as he gives me an easy, butter-soft kiss. He hums and does it again before easing back. “I finally got Anna Jones to let me kiss her.”

His words take a second to sink in, and then I snort. “Dork.”

Drew chuckles low, but he’s kissing me again, soft, seeking little kisses, like he’s memorizing my lips with his. “Am not,” he murmurs against them. “You think winning a football game compares to that victory? Please.” The tip of his tongue touches the corner of my smiling mouth before his lips follow. “You must be crazy, Jones.”

His hard c**k is a silken weight brushing against my side. And then he’s rolling over onto me, slipping his h*ps between my spreading thighs. I wrap my arms around his shoulders and sigh. “Well, someone’s crazy,” I say. “That’s for sure.”

“Mmm.” Drew kisses my neck, my jaw. “Someone is,” he agrees at my ear, making me shiver, hold on tighter as his h*ps rock gently, sliding along the wetness of my sex. He’ll soon sink into me. But not yet. He likes to tease. And I love it when he does.

But he pauses and lifts his head to smile down at me. In the lambent light of the lone bedroom lamp, his eyes are dark gold. His touch is achingly tender as he brushes a knuckle along my cheek. “Kiss me, Anna,” he whispers, his lips inches from mine.

And I’m lost. My hand feels too heavy, shaky as I reach out to thread my fingers through his silky hair and pull him down. My mouth moves over his, slow, searching, pouring everything I am into him. He responds with a little moan, his h*ps lifting, and then he’s sinking back into me. Filling me up.

“Again,” he demands as soon as the kiss breaks. So I do. I kiss him as he works me, until we’re both too weak to do anything more than hold each other, reduced to a shivering pile of exhausted limbs and mouths.

And when he threads his fingers through mine and whispers “Stay.”

I do.

I’M EXHAUSTED. LONG into the night, Anna and I reached for each other. I’d drift off to sleep, only to slip out of it when smooth hands slid over my ass or a hot tongue licked along my neck before traveling down. Anna, once satisfied, would sigh and fall asleep, all warm and soft against me, my hand cupping her full breast. I’d be unable to resist playing with her nipple, flicking and gently pinching it until she squirmed and turned in my arms with a murmured, “Again?”

Yes, again. Until we couldn’t move any more.

In the early morning hours, I slept with her warm weight against my side, her hand upon my chest as if keeping my heart guarded and safe. The simple act of sleeping has never been so good. I woke her by sinking inside her wet warmth. Anna rewarded me with a wide smile and wrapped her legs around my waist to hold me there as we shared lazy kisses.

Now, after leaving her sleeping under my covers and taking a long, hot shower, I’m in the kitchen, knees weak and c**k sore, my hands mildly shaking as I attempt to make scrambled eggs. I am failing miserably. When they turn brown and clump together in hard balls, I curse and shove the pan off the burner.

“Toast,” I mumble to myself. “I can do toast.”

“What’s that awful smell?” Anna walks out of my room, wearing one of my t-shirts, which engulfs her to mid-thigh, and a pair of black yoga pants. My heart flips over in my chest.

“Hey.” I shift over to block the evidence of my egg debacle. But she isn’t looking my way. She wanders over to the mantle where my Heisman trophy sits. The swell of pride I feel over the fact that she notices it is probably ridiculous, but it’s there all the same. Her slim finger runs along the base where my name is etched.

“Got that my sophomore year,” I say. “When we won our first Championship.”

She glances at me, her eyes bright. “This is kind of a big deal, isn’t it?”

“Ah, yeah.” The biggest in my career so far.

She isn’t fooled by my humble act. “You’re amazing, Drew.”

So are you. I don’t voice that, however. I’m in danger of dropping to my knees and confessing all at this point. Instead, I keep a casual slouch and eye her as she walks towards me.

“Where’d you get the pants?” I ask her, pleased that my voice doesn’t crack.

She glances around the kitchen, her nose wrinkling as if she’s scenting out the crime. But then she stops, runs a hand through her tangled curls, and smiles. “Stuffed in my bag in case of emergencies.”

“Emergencies?” Like unplanned overnights with guys? I’m not going to be jealous.

“After Dave crashed into me with three gallons worth of fruit punch during an alumni picnic, I’ve never gone into work without backup clothing.”

But she’s wearing my shirt.

Anna’s curls tumble about as she shakes her head. “Unfortunately, no hair products, so I couldn’t wash my damn hair.”

It’s then I notice her skin is pink and flushed from a shower. “In case you failed to notice, I do have shampoo.”

She gives me a look as if I’ve just said a dirty word. “I’ll wear secondhand clothes, buy cheap t-shirts from Target, but I am not using drugstore shampoo on this hair. Not if I want to walk among the living.”

I can’t hide my grin. “Oh, well, don’t sugarcoat your distaste.”

“It’s fine for you. You’re a guy. You could probably use soap on your hair and it’d look good. Annoying, tend-to-fuzz-out-of-control curls are a whole other story.” She walks further into the kitchen and sees the eggs. I cross my hands over my chest, feeling distinctly flushed.

“I tried to cook.”

Her lips twitch. “I can see that.”

I shift my weight onto my other foot. “Not sure what happened.”

A small laugh escapes her. Instead of feeling stupid, I find myself laughing too.

“Too high heat would be my guess,” she says, then comes up to me. Her hand lands on my chest, right over my heart, as she goes up on her toes and gives me a kiss that makes my breath hitch. Instantly, my arms wrap around her. She feels warmer in the morning, softer. I kiss her back, exploring deep, and taste my toothpaste on her tongue.

Anna’s voice drifts up between kisses. “You got practice today?”

I hold her just a bit tighter. “Yes. Damn it.”

And she laughs, a slow, contented sound.

For the first time in my life, I want to skip practice. I don’t want to do anything other than spend the day with Anna and convince her to stay another night. I’m seriously considering letting her talk me back into the bedroom right now, but she pulls back and gives my chest a friendly pat.

“Then let’s get some food in you. Eggs, I can make us,” she says. “I just need some coffee first.” She glances around my countertops.

“Uh…” I scratch the back of my head. “I don’t have any.”

It’s like I’ve slapped her. She gasps, her face going pale. “What?”

“I don’t have coffee, or a coffeemaker, for that matter.”

I give her what I hope is an apologetic, peacemaking smile, because Anna starts to bristle. Like a fricking hedgehog getting ready to attack.

“How on earth do you not have a coffeemaker in your house?” Pacing the length of my kitchen, she lifts her hands up in appalled outrage. “In this gorgeous kitchen?”

“I suck at making it and get my coffee at a shop?” I offer helpfully.

Her nostrils flare in a huff. “You can’t make coffee? Oh, come on, Drew. It’s just grinds and water! Gah!”

“Believe me,” I say as I pour her a glass of orange juice, “coffee can be royally f**ked up.”

Her lips quirk as she glances at the mess that used to be eggs. “Oh, I believe you.”

It takes me two strides to reach her. She squeals when I clasp her waist and lift her onto the counter. But her thighs instantly part to make room for me, and I step in closer, setting my hands on the full curve of her hips, as she clutches my shoulders.

“So,” I nip her upper lip, then her bottom one. “Now that we’ve established that you turn into raging beast without your morning coffee—”

“I wouldn’t say ‘raging beast’…” She pauses with a grin and a blush. “Okay, fine, I’m a raging beast.”

“A cute one, though.” I kiss her once. Twice. “So if you had your choice of coffee, what would it be?”

Her legs wrap around my hips, drawing me in as she explores my neck with soft lips. When she hits that spot, that damn spot that I feel down to my balls, I groan. Her smile imprints on my skin. “Espresso,” she murmurs, still busy with that spot. “Most mornings, though, I like lattes or a cappuccino.”

“I could be wrong,” I lift a section of her heavy curls and kiss behind her ear, “but I don’t think a simple coffeemaker would do the trick.”

“You’re right. You’d need a moka pot.”

“What the heck is that?” I kiss my way to her jaw.

Humor warms her voice when she answers. “It’s a pot for making espresso.” Anna pulls back with a slight frown. “Sadly, I can’t make it nearly as well as my mom. I really need one of those fancy espresso machines to achieve perfection. But I can’t afford that.”

“Well then,” I say, “let’s go get you some coffee.”

“We’re doing carry out,” Anna says against my shoulder. “I’m a freaking hair-catastrophe.”

“What? You’re crazy.”

“Drew,” she says in exasperation, “my hair looks as if I’ve been wind tunnel testing.”

I lean back to inspect her, and she crosses her arm over her chest, her chin lifting in defiance. Okay, so her hair is a bit wild, swarming around her delicate face in a dark red, angry cloud. But that only makes her look like she’s spent hours in my bed. I approve.

Wrapping my arms around her shoulders, I pull her in close, because, really, I can’t keep my hands or mouth off her. “You’re beautiful.”

I’m not surprised when Anna rolls her eyes. My prickly girl.

“Beautiful.” She says the word like it’s a disease. “Typical.”

“Why typical?” I fight a smile. She thinks I don’t know her. But I do. And I know exactly where she’ll go with this.

Her nose wrinkles, which makes her cheeks plump. Though I’ve caged her in with my arms, she manages to lift a hand and tick off her points on her fingers. “Why not funny, or smart, or interesting?”

I grab a finger with my lips and suck it in my mouth, making her shiver. Slowly, I draw back releasing her finger with care.

“You know all of that.” I run my thumb along the crest of her cheek. “But I don’t think you know how beautiful you are. So that’s what I chose to tell you.”

A slow smile curls the corners of her pouty lips. She’s fighting it, though, which means I’ve touched a nerve. “Because I need to know I’m beautiful?” she asks.

“Yeah.” I press a slow, lazy kiss on her mouth. “Yeah, you do.”

Anna has confidence and has never hidden her body from me, which is a huge turn on. But I don’t think she’s been appreciated for all that she is.

Her green eyes shine up at me with pleasure, and my heart clenches. Then her long lashes flutter closed as she kisses me back with gentle, languid attention, and my head spins. A small hum rumbles in her throat.

“And what do you need to know?” she asks, running her fingers through my hair. God, that feels good.

I sag into her, nuzzling the warm, fragrant spot on her neck where it curves towards her collarbone. My words come out muffled. “It’s not my place to tell you.”

“A challenge?” She sounds way too pleased about that.

“Maybe.” I lick a path across her collarbone.

“Hmm…” Her hands cup my cheeks. She lifts my head and looks into my eyes as if she’s searching for some hidden secret. “Well then, you’re funny. Smart. Interesting.”

While I’m happy she thinks that, it isn’t what I need to hear from her. I’m beginning to regret challenging her. Because I can’t tell her what I need without exposing my underbelly. So I resort to the safety of quips. “Not beautiful?”

“You are.” Her grin turns cheeky. “But you know that already, don’t you?”


“You do.”

I nip the tip of her nose. “Not as important to guys as it is to girls, I’m afraid.”

“You’re probably right.” She snuggles closer, wrapping her arms around my neck, her hands playing with my hair again. I love the glint in her eyes. “Oh,” she says lightly. “There’s one other thing.”