He growls and reaches for me, wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me to him in a bone-melting kiss. His hands spread over my back and hold me against him while his mouth sinks over mine, tasting and teasing, nibbling my lips. I brace my hands on his shoulders as I inhale deeply. He smells of sweat and oil, but he also still smells like Ty, and damn if it’s not the best smell in the world.
Just as I soften against him, he pulls back, still holding me close, and leans his forehead against mine. “I’m sorry, I smell,” he whispers.
“Nah.” I smile. “You smell like flowers on a spring day.”
He chuckles and plants his lips on my forehead, takes a deep breath, then backs away from me.
“I should go get my car and get to work.” I bite my lip and watch him as I back down his driveway. “I’ll see you on Thursday.”
“Do you have plans tonight?” he asks to my surprise.
“I’m under deadline,” I reply regretfully. “I have to write half of this book in three weeks. That’s why I was so deep in the writing cave this week.”
“Writing cave?” He laughs. “Is that anything like the Batcave?”
I shrug and smirk. “Maybe.”
“You have to eat sometime. And I owe you a home-cooked meal.”
“You don’t owe me anything,” I reply honestly. “But if you showed up, I wouldn’t turn you away.” Did that just come out of my mouth? What is it about this man that makes me say things that are so out of the ordinary for me?
“I’ll remember that. Hey, what did you and Cara talk about this morning?”
I just laugh and wave at him as I set off down the block back toward downtown. “Have a good day!”
“I’ll find out sooner or later!” he calls after me.
The sound of his laugh follows me down the block, and I smile in anticipation. I wonder, will he show up for dinner tonight?
He doesn’t show up that night, but at around seven thirty, my phone pings with a text, pulling me out of my writing rhythm and alerting me that it’s dark outside and the only light in the room is from my computer screen.
Ty: I’m sorry, can’t make it over tonight. Jill is having a crisis. Don’t lose yourself in the cave and forget to eat!
I smile widely and then reply, No problem. Hope Jill’s okay. Have a good night.
I stand and stretch, reaching for the ceiling, then bend over and touch my toes before walking to the doorway and flipping the light switch.
Just a few moments later, my phone pings again.
Ty: You’re not going to eat, are you?
I laugh and then respond, I will eat.
There’s no response and I lose myself back into the story. It’s been flowing well ever since I returned home earlier today. The walk back was nice. It cleared my head, and I’ve decided to follow Cara’s and Emily’s advice and give Ty the benefit of the doubt. He’s a nice guy.
And he’s handsome.
I shake my head and settle back in my chair, rereading the last paragraph and picking up where I left off, losing myself in my characters and their world.
Suddenly, my doorbell rings. I frown as I pad across the floor. Did Ty change his mind?
I open the door with a wide smile, but instead of Ty, I find a tall, young boy standing on my porch holding a large pizza box.
“Hi, Miz Cunningham.”
“Hi, Jordan. I didn’t order a pizza tonight.”
He shifts on his feet. “I know, but Mr. Sullivan called it in and asked us to deliver it to you. He said to send you whatever your favorite is.”
Oh my. “Oh, okay. Thanks, Jordan.”
He nods and skips down to his beat-up Toyota as I set the alarm and walk back into the office. The pizza smells heavenly. I didn’t realize how hungry I was.
When I reach my desk, my phone pings.
Ty: Did dinner arrive?
Rather than answer, I call his number and chew on my bottom lip while it rings.
“Hey.” His voice is strong yet tender.
“I don’t want you to waste away. You need to eat.” I hear the smile in his voice. “And since I couldn’t be there, this is the next best thing.”
“It’s very thoughtful, Ty.”
“Hold on,” he mutters, then pulls the phone away from his mouth but doesn’t cover the receiver, allowing me to hear everything that’s happening. “No, I’m not going to tell you who I’m talking to. Shut up, I’ll be right there.”
He brings the phone back to his mouth and sighs in exasperation. “I have a sister for sale.”
“I heard that!” Jill yells in the background.
“Good!” he replies. “Sorry.”
“It’s fine.” I chuckle. “I’ll let you go. I have a delicious-smelling pizza to dig into.”
“Enjoy it. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
My eyebrows climb into my hairline in surprise. “You will?”
“Yes, Lauren, I will. Sorry about tonight. Jill had car trouble.”
“It’s fine, Ty. Have a good night.”
He hangs up and I reach for the pizza box.
Hawaiian with olives.
A girl could get used to this.
“You canceled on a date to come help me change my tire?” Jill asks with surprise.
“You’re my sister. Of course I did. Besides, we didn’t really have a date. There were no concrete plans.” I pocket my phone and drop into Jill’s couch with a sigh.
“So, how long have you been seeing Lauren?” She grins smugly.
“It’s new.” I glare over at her. “I suppose Cara called you.”
“Of course she did.” She waves me off and rolls her eyes. “I like her.”
“You do?” I’m surprised.
“Yeah. I don’t know her very well, but she seems nice.” Jill narrows her eyes and focuses on something over my shoulder.
“You and Cara always said that you hated that group of girls.”
“Oh, she hung out with bitches, that’s for sure.”
“But how do you really feel?” I ask sarcastically.
“I guess we can’t judge her for her inability to choose better friends. Besides”—Jill smiles—“I hear that events from this past summer made her take stock of the people in her life and get rid of the toxic ones. Good for her.”
I scowl and cross my arms. “Just what did she say to Cara?”