“Just going to start the generator so I can get the fans moving some of this hot air.”
“Why don’t we go take another shower?” he said, eyes heavy and locking on to hers. “Or better yet, let’s just go to my house. I probably have electricity.”
“That was a nasty storm, Ryan. The streetlights were still out last night, so I imagine the town is out.”
He lifted up onto an elbow and rested his head on the palm of his hand. “Yeah, but I live outside of town so maybe I didn’t get hit as hard.”
Piper eased up in bed, lacing her hand through his. “You have a problem staying here?”
In a swift move, he snaked his arm around her waist and pulled her back down. “Maybe I just want you in my bed.”
The heat in his eyes this morning was just as intense as she’d seen last night. She’d been worried that, come daylight, some of his enthusiasm for their newfound intimacy would’ve died down, but apparently not.
Yeah, she was so ruined for any other man. God help her.
“Don’t make this weird, Red.” He raked his thumb across her nipple. “We’re just much better friends now.”
“Well, I can honestly say I’ve never slept with a friend before, so this is uncharted territory for me.”
“I’ve never slept with a friend before, either, but I’m sure as hell glad you were my first.”
Piper laughed. “And here I didn’t think you had any firsts left.”
“I think you used up the last one.” He chuckled, still fondling her breast. “I need you to know, I’m more than aware of how the media portrayed me through the years—my personal life on the road—but you surely know that I didn’t sleep with every woman that slithered my way or that I was photographed with.”
Piper held up a hand before he could speak. “We’ve been friends so long, Ryan, I know you’re not one to sleep around. But I really don’t want to hear about what you did or didn’t do with those buckle bunnies.”
He grabbed her hands, all joking aside as he searched her face. “No, it’s important to me that you don’t see me as some man-whore. I can count on one finger the number of one-night stands I’ve had on the road and I can count on my whole hand the number of women I’ve slept with...and that includes you.”
Piper couldn’t stop her gasp, nor could she stop her mouth from dropping open. “You don’t have to say this.”
“Yes, I do. I never cared what people thought about my sex life, the media will say what they want anyway.” He squeezed her hands. “But I care what you think. I care now even more because of this.”
Piper didn’t want to delve too deeply into why it was so important for him to share all his bedroom romps now. She didn’t want to think that maybe he was truly giving up the circuit and settling down. He’d made great progress with the school, which gave her hope that her best friend was indeed staying, but what if he got that itch to travel again? What if he decided that the adventure of home life wasn’t enough?
What if he left like her father always had?
“Let’s throw on the bare minimum of clothes and head to my place,” he suggested, cutting into her thoughts. “It’s quieter out there and there’s more privacy. We can run naked through the house and no neighbors are around to see. Well, there are all the animals I have now, but they won’t say anything.”
Piper swatted his bare shoulder. “You’re pathetic. I can’t just be naked all day, Ryan. I have things to do.”
“Like what? I know you’re off today and with the electricity out, there’s not much you can do on your house.”
The man would tempt the devil himself. How could Piper say no when her body was already responding to him, already eagerly awaiting what talented moves he had yet to show her.
And in his bed? Piper would love nothing more than to wake up in his bed tomorrow morning, but how long would that last?
Her cell rang, breaking the intimacy.
“Let it go to voice mail,” he told her.
“I can’t, Ryan. It may be work or any number of people who need me. It would have to be important considering how early it is.”
“I need you,” he said, grabbing for her as she scooted off the bed. “I’ll hold your place and I expect you to come back.”
Piper smiled and went to her dresser to retrieve her cell. Cara’s name popped up on the screen.
“Cara?” Piper answered. “Is everything okay?”