My honesty is rewarded by her blush. “I didn’t actually cook. Gray did. He made you bean soup.” Her lips twitch. “Said the pain meds might leave you ‘backed up’ and in a state that you’d need some roughage.”
She laughs. “What? No need?”
“Hardly. But I’m starving, so I’m not turning down his damn soup.”
“Shocker.” Her expression is cheeky as she gets a bowl. “I baked.”
“She bakes.” I grin up at the ceiling, earning an eye roll from Anna. “What’d you bake me, Jones?”
“Awesome. Bring that too.” Now that I’m out of the hospital with its disgusting, flavorless food, I’m so hungry I could eat the whole pie. That Anna made it for me makes it even better. Whatever the case may be, she cared enough to clean my house, bake me a pie, and stay by my side.
The sounds of her puttering around my kitchen, reheating the soup and getting a tray ready makes me sleepy. I relax against the couch, my lids growing heavy. It feels right having her here, like the house is suddenly a complete home. A stupid thought to fixate on, because she’s only here for a while. But I know in my bones that I want her here forever. I’m twenty-three years old, my carefully built life has just been smashed to pieces, yet I know with complete clarity that I never want to be parted from Anna Jones.
I watch her walk toward me, and my chest clenches. Pale from lack of sleep, her red hair flying wildly in all directions, she’s not at her finest, and she’s still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.
“You’re supposed to be elevating that leg.” She sets the laden tray on the coffee table before grabbing some couch pillows to stuff under my leg. Not that she gets far. A grunt of annoyance escapes her as she tries to carefully lift my leg and struggles. “Jesus, it’s like a tree limb,” she grumps.
I snort and help her haul the dead weight that is my leg up so she can place the pillows beneath it. “Does that mean you won’t be carrying me to bed?”
She shakes her head, suppressing a smile, but then catches my eye. “Are you tired?”
“Yeah.” Exhaustion has me by the balls. If I allowed myself, I’d sink down and be out for weeks. “But all I’ve been doing is sleeping.”
She nods in understanding and slips another pillow behind my back. “Then we’ll hang out for a while.”
Before we go to bed. Together. And though I’m feeling like shit warmed over, the idea of sleeping in a bed with Anna tightens my gut with longing. I need to touch her. Just feel her next to me. “Sit,” I say. “You’ve done enough for now.”
Anna hands me a bowl of soup then takes her own before complying. Without hesitation, she snuggles down, her shoulder leaning into mine as though she too needs comfort. Before I can say a word, she hands me the remote, and I grin. “You know how to take care of a guy.”
“No,” she assures, “I don’t. I’ve never done this before.”
The soup gets caught up at the sudden lump in my throat.
Anna takes a spoonful of hers before talking again. “I just know guys like their TV.”
But I don’t turn on the TV. Not yet. Frankly, I’m afraid it will be on the sports channel, and I don’t think I can stand seeing any sports right now. I sure as shit don’t want to see a replay of my leg being broken on national TV, or hear the sports casters’ opinions about my chances of recovery and what this means when it comes to the draft.
The soup turns to lead in my stomach, and I bend forward to put it down. Only I can’t reach the table with the bulk of my leg sticking straight out. I grit my teeth and itch to toss the bowl across the room.
Anna takes it out of my hand and neatly sets it on the table. “Lie back,” she says softly.
I do it because the alternative is raging and hitting the side of the couch.
She turns the TV on, hits mute, and then changes the channel before I can register what was on. She knows me too well. And I like it. When the volume comes on again, it’s some cooking show, and she takes up her position at my side. I wrap an arm around her shoulders and draw her close. She rests her head on my chest and places her warm palm on my abdomen.
We eat and watch cooking shows, and Anna grows heavier and softer at my side as she relaxes. It’s quiet, warm, and the most peaceful I’ve felt in ages. With the tips of my fingers, I draw patterns along her arm and the curve of her hip. She’s so quiet that I wonder if she’s nodded off, but then her fingers mimic mine and she’s tracing little circles along my stomach. Lust unfurls like a tinder within me, but I don’t do anything about it. Just hold her.
And when she makes a soft, half-stilted yawn, I kiss the top of her head. “Why don’t you lie down? Rest your head in my lap.”
Her green eyes look up at me, hesitant.
“I promise to behave.” It’s sort of the truth.
She scoots down. “You say that like it’s a good thing.” Then she’s resting her head in my lap with a satisfied sigh. “Forget I said that. I want to rest here for about forty weeks, if that’s okay.”
“Anything you want, baby.” I mean it to sound like a tease but it comes out husky. I clear my throat and grab the remote to change the channel.
Absently, I stroke her hair. The wild curls are thick silk, springing around my fingers with a life of their own. The mass of dark red is so dense that I can only concentrate on a section. I let myself indulge; I’ve wanted to touch her hair like this for ages.
“You’re going to make me look like a clown,” she says quietly, but she’s not moving.
“Do you want me to stop?” The strands rub along my skin with pleasurable friction.
“No.” Her lids flutter. “Never.”
Which is fine by me. My favorite girl and my favorite show. Sometimes life is good. It gets better when Anna smiles as the show starts. “Top Gear. Excellent.”
“You like Top Gear?” I continue to run my fingers through her hair.
Her mouth curls, which pushes her plump upper lip out in that upside down pout that makes me insane. “Yeah,” She turns her head slightly to glance up at me. “Is that so surprising?”
“Kind of.” I shrug. “I haven’t met a girl who has before you.”
“Mmm.” Green eyes narrow, but they’re still warm and relaxed, amused. “What in our acquaintance makes you think I’m anything like the girls you’ve known?”
Softly, I laugh. I’m warm all over now. “Good point.”
She snuggles down deeper into my lap; I love the sensation, love feeling like I’m protecting her by providing her a place to rest. “So let me guess,” I say. “George turned you on to it?”
“Actually, it was Iris.”
The leather squeaks as she turns on her back, her head now fully cradled in my crotch, which has the expected effect on my dick. It stirs, and I will the horny bastard down. If she notices, she isn’t saying anything. Instead, she looks up at me with wide, green eyes the color of holly leaves.
“Ewan McGregor was a guest star on one episode, so Iris had to watch.”
“His documentary The Long Way Down was great.”
Anna’s eyes glint. “Where do you think I got the desire to by my little Vespa?”
Inwardly, I groan for the woman who appreciates all things automotive.
Then she shrugs, not meeting my eyes, as if she’s shy. “I used to fantasize about doing something like that.”
“What? Getting on a motorcycle and just riding off?”
Maybe I’ll do the same thing. Take Anna with me. As soon as this f**king leg heals. Panic touches the edges of my mind with black fingers. Her light laugh brings me back.
“Not quite.” Her hair pools against her shoulder as she turns toward me. “I used to think about how fun it would be to document something like that, you know?” She laughs again, an uncomfortable sound. “Or maybe it was the idea of following Ewan McGregor around.”
I play with one of her red curls. “Bet you’d kick ass at film production.”
Anna’s cheeks pink. “I don’t know anything about film.”
“So you learn. We all start off ignorant.”
She shrugs again. “Maybe.”
I place my palm against her cheek. “Babe, whatever you set your mind to doing, you’ll nail it. You’re so perfect and you don’t even know it.”
“Pish.” She rolls her eyes. “You’re forgetting that I can’t stand watching sports.”
I haven’t forgotten a thing. Unease settles over my shoulders, but I shrug it off. I don’t want to think about why we’d broken up, but it’s there, and it will need to be addressed, but not now when I’m finally relaxed.
“What I don’t get is Iris,” I say instead. “Ewan McGregor, really? I pegged her as more a lover of boy band types.”
The corners of those gorgeous eyes crinkle as she smiles. “Iris loves boy bands. But she has a major thing for blond guys.”
“But that guy she was with… Henry, right?”
Anna’s head moves against my c**k as she nods, and I repress the urge to squirm.
“She’s back with him. The idiot.”
“Henry or Iris?” I quip, but it bothers me how we’ve missed out on each other’s lives.
“Both?” she offers.
I can’t help but smile at her disgruntled look. “Henry has dark hair,” I point out.
“Yeah, well,” she says with a frown, “I keep waiting for her to realize she’s going against type.”
Her cheek is silken against my fingertips. I stroke along her temple and then trace the curved arch of her brow. And she simply watches me as if she takes pleasure in the act. Her breathing is soft and steady, her body warm where it meets mine.
The bruised area around my heart begins to ache. The sack, the leg break, all of it has left me unsettled and just touching her, just lounging here with her like this affects me. I want to cry. I want to laugh. I want to bury myself so deep inside of Anna that I’ll forget my name. A lump fills my throat, and I let my palm rest against her cheek. Fucking fluctuating emotions. The doc warned me about them. But, hell, at this rate, I’m going to be a wreck by the end of the week.
“And what’s your type?” I find myself asking. Part of me curses myself for looking weak and needy. But, f**k it, the other part of me is needy. I know why I left. I don’t truly know why she came back.
Her eyes darken as she searches my face, as if she knows I’m no longer teasing. It’s too quiet between us, the sound of the TV blaring in the background. Slowly, she reaches up and runs her fingers along my jaw. Her expression changes, opening. Fear, I can see it flickering in her green irises, but something more, something that makes my insides clench.
“You are.” Her voice is low and smoky. But her touch grows stronger as she wraps her fingers around the base of my throat where my pulse is beating hard. Her chin lifts, stubborn, sure. “You are the only one I want, Drew. In all things.”
Nothing can stop me from slipping my arm under her shoulders and pulling her up to me. Her lips are soft and yielding, but I haven’t truly kissed her in so long that it hits me like a punch to the gut. I suck in a sharp breath, stealing one of hers, and angle my mouth to go deeper. Her tongue slides against mine, and I’m dizzy. I feel like I’m falling into her. My abs tense on a shudder, but I can’t stop the kiss. I need more. Always more.
And she’s giving it to me, kissing me back with the same need. I’m happy to give her anything she wants, but when I move to bring her further into my lap, a sharp pain shoots through my leg. It’s enough for me to draw back and take a breath. But I don’t let her go.
Her fingers run through my hair, as I cup her cheek and hold her close. For a long moment we just breathe, and then I find the strength to talk. “I’ve missed you.”
Her lips tickle the corner of mine. “I’ve missed you too. So much it hurt.”
I shouldn’t feel satisfaction, but I do. Not that I want her to hurt. In fact, nothing would please me more than to bring her pleasure. Right now would be nice. Lying here on the couch is no longer enough. If I had the strength, I’d pick her up and carry her into my room. But I can’t, which sucks. I need help getting there. While I’d ordinarily hate asking for help, this is Anna, which makes all the difference. If any guy tells you that he doesn’t like the woman he’s gone over taking care of him when he’s hurting, he’s probably lying.
“Take me to bed,” I whisper against her cheek.
“Or lose you forever?” There’s a smile in her voice.
I grin, slow and wide. “Did you just quote Top Gun to me?”
This girl. Jesus, she does it for me.
All those luscious curves move at once and she’s up, reaching for my crutches. I hate the sight of them, hate the way that my leg throbs, that I am helpless. But I push it all aside because she’s here. I’m not alone, and I don’t care if I have to down five painkillers, I’m having her tonight.
DESPITE THE FACT that he’s on crutches, Drew makes short work of getting into his room. A familiar gleam is in his eyes, one that makes me go all hot and fluttery inside. Though I have my concerns about ha**ng s*x with him right now. He’s got to be hurting. Inadvertently jostling his leg and injuring him further is the last thing I want to do. Then again, kissing him on the couch has me so worked up, I know that if he touches me all my good intentions will topple like a house of cards in a stiff breeze.