He paused, a taco halfway toward his mouth.

“I kind of wanted to. Do you mind? I can go early in the morning so I don’ t—”

She cut him off with a hand wave.

“No, of course I don’t mind. Go whenever it works best for him. We can figure it out.”

She sat back against the couch, her leg rubbing against his whenever she changed position. What was her underwear situation? He’d never find out until Carlos left.

He caught Carlos’s eye and his “you had better leave my apartment this second or I’ll egg your car on a hot day” threat must have been on his face, because Carlos grinned and stood up.

“Alexa, a pleasure meeting you. I hope it’s the first of many such meetings. Drew, see you Monday.”

Alexa stood up and hugged Carlos.

“Thanks for picking me up, and for the tacos. Great to meet you, too.”

Well, wasn’t that cozy.

The door closed behind Carlos a few seconds later, and when Alexa sat back down next to Drew on the couch, he put his plate on the coffee table.

“Hi,” he said. He’d been dying for Carlos to leave, so why did it feel awkward now? Why did he feel like this? He was never nervous around women.

“Hi.” She smiled back at him. But her hands were clasped together tightly again. It made him feel better that she was nervous, too.

“Sorry I couldn’t pick you up,” he said again. His hand moved up into her hair, and he rubbed his fingers through the strands.

“It’s okay.” She turned so her whole body was facing his. Her hands let go of each other, and one of them came to rest on his thigh.

He moved his hand from her hair to her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned her face into his palm. They sat like that in silence for a minute or so.

Finally, she opened her eyes and looked at him, a dreamy smile on her lips. His hand moved from her cheek to her chin, and he lowered his head to hers.

It had been less than a week, but her lips on his, his arms wrapped around her, her hands in his hair, it all felt like coming home after months away. Like all he needed was this, the gentle pressure of her lips, the soft strokes of her tongue, her touches and sighs, to make him happy.

“I couldn’t wait for Carlos to leave,” she said against his ear.

He laughed and relaxed back on the couch, pulling her with him. She leaned her head on his chest, and he ran his fingers through her hair.

“He was doing that to fuck with me—I know it—but I was so ready to kill him.” He ran his hand down from her hip to her knee over her dress. He paused and slid his hand back up, under her dress this time.

“Did you . . .”

Her wide smile was all the answer he needed. In a flash, he pressed her down on the couch and braced his body over hers.

“Did you plan on telling me this at some point?” He ran his hand up the outside of her leg again, this time pushing her dress up along with it.

She smiled again from beneath him as she caressed his chest, unbuttoning his shirt as she went.

“You seemed to like the surprise so much last time, I didn’t want to spoil it.”

“Mmmm. I liked the surprise last time a LOT, that’s true.” He pushed her legs apart with his knee while she unbuckled his belt.

He kissed her again, harder this time. His thumb ran over her breasts, and she moaned as she kissed him back. She ran her hands up under his shirt. He never wanted her to stop touching him.

Fuck. Condoms were all in his bedroom.

“Hold that thought.” He stood up, pushing the coffee table out of the way. One of the containers of salsa spilled everywhere. He couldn’t care less. He looked down at Alexa on his couch, dress crumpled around her waist, hair every which way, and grinned. It had been a GREAT idea to have her come down for the weekend.

“Wait right there. Don’t move, not one millimeter. I’ll be right back.” He ran into his bedroom and grabbed a condom out of the box in his nightstand. He ran back into the living room a minute later.

“You moved,” he said. She looked up at him, her now-naked body sprawled across his couch.

“You left,” she said. “I had to do something to keep myself occupied while I waited for you.” Goddamn, this woman.

He threw his clothes across the room and crawled up her body.

“Tell me what you want, Alexa,” he said, his naked body suspended over hers.

“I want you to stop asking me stupid questions,” she said, and pulled him down so he was flush against her.

He laughed.

“Point taken,” he said, and pushed her legs open.

Later, as they lay together on the couch, he looked at the wreckage of his living room—three couch pillows on the floor, clothes in every corner, salsa everywhere.

“Welcome to Los Angeles,” he said in her ear. She laughed and turned her face to kiss him.

Alexa woke up the next morning, her back tucked against his chest, his arms cocooning her. She couldn’t fight the warmth that spread through her chest at the way he held her, the way he touched her. He embraced her like he meant it, like he cared.

He was probably always just like this with women. She knew it wasn’t real. But damn, did it feel good.

And then, the times he touched her in other ways . . . holy shit, were those times amazing. What was it about this guy and her reaction to him? She’d never felt so uninhibited around a man before, especially without her clothes on. Her cheeks got hot when she thought about throwing her clothes off on his couch. She hadn’t worried about what he would think of her or the cellulite in her thighs or the way her stomach jiggled or how her boobs drooped—she only thought about his pleasure and her own.

Last weekend she’d thought that it was because it was a one-night stand, that it was the craziness of the wedding and the champagne and the knowledge that she’d never see him again that made her so relaxed around him. But now . . . maybe it was just something about him. Whatever it was, she was going to enjoy it all weekend.

She felt him nuzzle the back of her neck and giggled.

“So she is awake,” he said, his mouth still on her skin.

“Mmmmhmmm,” she responded, not wanting him to move.

But then he started to move, his hands and his lips and his tongue, and it turned out that she didn’t mind so much.

Afterward, she snuggled against him, both of them hot and sweaty and breathless.

“Drew?” she whispered in his ear.

She felt him smile against her cheek.

“I’ll go turn on the coffee in a second.”

They drank coffee in the sun on his balcony, as they looked out at the ocean, him in boxers, her in a flannel robe she’d found in his bathroom. She took her first long sip and sighed. He looked from his own mug to her.

“That was a good sigh, yes?”

She looked at him, then down at her coffee, so she wouldn’t smile at him too much.

“Good, yes. You make good coffee.”

He leaned back in his chair and laughed.

“A skill I had to learn in med school or get my stomach torn apart by the stuff in the cafeteria.”

She laughed and took another sip.

“Hey, Alexa?” Drew said, that little-boy smile back on his face. She would probably do whatever he wanted when he smiled at her like that.

Or any kind of way.

“I’m hungry, too,” was all she said.

“The thing is, I don’t really have much food in the house. I was planning on going to the grocery store before picking you up at the airport, but . . .”

She stood up.

“I’ll jump in the shower.”

Drew had noticed Alexa’s sweet tooth at the wedding, so he brought her to a brunch place where everyone raved about the waffles. She ordered them with blueberries on top, and he stole a few tastes in between bites of his omelet and bacon. When they walked back to his car, he realized how close to the hospital they were.

“We’re only about five minutes from the hospital . . . If you want I can drop you at home first, but I was thinking that I could just run in and say hi to Jack?”

She smiled up at him.

“Sure, of course. You don’t have to just run in, you know. I mean, if you have work to do, I get it.”

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