Callie let out a low laugh. “Yeah, he is.” She cocked her head and smiled. “I like him, though.”
He met her gaze, his own heating again. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” she said.
“You like me too?”
She smiled. “Maybe.” Her smile faded. “But I’m trying really hard not to.”
He nodded. “You should stick with that,” he said softly.
Right. Because neither of them wanted this. “Don’t worry,” she said just as softly. “I plan to.”
Tanner woke to a soft, warm woman pressed up to his side like a second skin as she tried to slide out of the bed.
The woman who’d not blinked or flinched when, after tearing up the sheets, they’d reminded each other that this wasn’t going to become a real relationship.
He cracked an eye and watched as Callie moved with exaggerated care, attempting to separate their entangled limbs and—at least going off her expression—sneak away.
It wasn’t an easy escape. She had a leg between his, her arm tucked up into his armpit, and her breasts pressed inside his side.
She started with her leg.
He simply tightened his.
Her gaze flew up to his face and she squeaked when she saw him eyeing her.
“Oh,” she said, all casual-like, in complete opposition to the look of panic on her face. “Didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Where you going?”
“Um…” She tried to free her hand that she had tucked in his pit but he tightened his arm on it. “Yeah, see, I need that to…”
He waited, but she just bit her lower lip and stared at his mouth.
This made him grin.
“Stop that,” she said, pushing at him. “Stop distracting me. Let me go.”
“This first.” He leaned in to kiss her but she slapped a hand on his chest.
“I have to…you know,” she said. “Do stuff. Morning stuff.”
He blew out a sigh, rolled to his back, and let her go.
She scrambled out of the bed before she seemed to realize she was naked. To his great enjoyment, she whirled around, clearly looking for clothes. Apparently nothing came to her immediate vision because she gave up and ran totally, gloriously nude for the bathroom, slamming the door on his laugh.
That was a sight he could get used to waking up to. All those sweet, hot curves bouncing around. He’d be dreaming about it for a good long time to come. Then his gaze landed on the ugly purple stuffed unicorn on her dresser and his smile faded. He thought of the fragile, vulnerable look she’d had on her face standing in front of that game, wanting the prize.
And the reason behind her wanting the prize.
He’d wanted to make things better, wanted to make her smile, and he’d done that.
But he’d done more too, and he couldn’t help but think that even with her reassurances about what this was and what it wasn’t between them, he’d done the wrong thing by her yet again.
When she came out a moment later, he was sorely disappointed to find her wrapped in a towel.
Still the hottest thing he’d ever seen. He watched every move she made, wanting to fully take in this moment. Just in case he never got another moment like it with her.
Carefully not meeting his gaze, she strode to her dresser and pulled out some undies. Then she made his day even better by attempting to pull them on without revealing herself to him.
Sitting up to better see the show, he shoved a pillow behind his head and made himself comfortable.
When the towel dropped for the second time, he grinned from ear to ear. “So is there any fancy lingerie at all?” he asked. “That stuff you claim is such a crucial part of keeping the romance alive between the sheets—and out of them.”
“What did I tell you about reading my site?” she demanded.
“I mean it,” she said, pointing at him. “It’s all crap. Don’t read my crap.”
Laughing, he reached out and tugged her back down onto the bed, pinning her beneath him. When she struggled and sputtered, he grabbed her wrists and pulled them above her head.
She blew a strand of hair from her face. “What’s with all the Fifty Shades moves?”
He made himself at home between her thighs. “Did you do your…morning stuff?”
She blushed. “Yes.”
“Yes. But you’re cuffing my hands.”
“It’s so you won’t distract me from doing my stuff,” he said.
And then he proceeded to show her exactly what that stuff was.
In slow, great detail.
Tanner got to the harbor at the same time as Sam, who took one look at his face and nodded. “Good, you finally got laid. I hope to hell it was good enough to keep you in a better mood for a while.”
“I’m always in a good mood,” Tanner said.
“Yeah, you’re a regular ray of fucking sunshine.” Sam rolled his eyes. “I assume you groveled and made up for your bone-headed move from last night at the bar, right? Oh, and you might want to stay off Tumblr. Lucille’s got a new poll up. She’s asking who’d be a good match for Callie other than you, since you proved yourself unworthy last night.”
“Shit,” Tanner muttered.
“Thanks for the sympathy,” Tanner said.
Sam’s grin never faltered. “Is that what you felt for me when I was so screwed up over Becca? Sympathy?”