He just looked at her for a long beat. “Anytime.”
By the next day, Pru was completely over the food poisoning and back to work, which was a good thing for several reasons. One, Jake desperately needed her.
And two, she needed to get over throwing up in front of Finn, and short of a memory scrub, working her ass off was the only way to do it. So she buried herself, banning thoughts of Finn, needing to build up her immunity to his sexy charisma.
This worked for two days but then her efforts to lay low failed when he showed up at the warehouse.
He was waiting for her between two tours, propping up a pillar in the holding area where passengers hung out before and after boarding the ships.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, surprised.
“Need a minute with you.” He took her hand and pulled her outside. He was in low-slung jeans and a dark green henley the exact color of his eyes. His hair had been finger combed at best and he hadn’t shaved, leaving a day’s worth of scruff on his square jaw that she knew personally would feel like sex on a stick against her skin.
“You’ve been avoiding me,” he said.
He put a finger on her lips, his body so close now that she could feel the heat of him, which made her body shift in closer.
“Careful,” he said quietly, dipping his head so that his mouth hovered near hers. “You’re about to fib, and once you do, things change.”
She absorbed that a moment, and wrapping her fingers around his wrist, pulled his finger away from her mouth. “What things?”
His eyes never left hers. “Feelings.”
Any lingering amusement faded away because she knew what he was saying. He didn’t believe in lying. Or in half-truths. Or fibs . . . And if he thought she was the kind of woman who did, then his feelings about her would change.
She’d known this going in, of course. What she hadn’t known was how strongly it would affect their relationship.
Because he didn’t know one important fact.
She’d been lying to him about something since the very beginning. She’d weaved the web, she’d built the brick wall, she’d created this nightmare of a problem and she had no idea what to do about it.
“Okay, so I’ve been avoiding you a little,” she admitted, starting with the one thing she did know what to do about.
She stared at him. The truth shot out of her heart and landed on the tip of her tongue. She wanted to tell him. She wanted it out in the open in the worst way. Holding it in was giving her guilt gut aches. But they’d only known each other a few short weeks. She just needed a little bit more time. To charm him. To somehow get him to do what no one else ever had—fall hard enough for her to want to keep her.
No matter that she’d made a huge mistake. She needed to work him into that, slowly. “I’m not good with this stuff,” she said quietly. Hello, understatement of the year.
“Going to need you to be more specific.”
“I’m not good with . . . the after thing.” And so much more . . .
“The after thing,” he repeated. “You mean after food poisoning? Pru, who is good at that?”
“No. I mean yes, and I don’t know. But I was talking about the after sleeping with someone thing.”
He looked more than a little baffled, and also somewhat amused. “So having sex isn’t the problem, it’s that we’ve actually slept together,” he said.
Knowing it sounded ridiculous, she nodded.
She expected him to try and joke that away but he didn’t. Instead, he wrapped his big hand up in hers and gave her a crooked smile. “I guess that makes us the blind leading the blind then. I don’t do a lot of sleepovers, Pru.”
“But you’ve been in a long relationship before,” she said. “With Mellie.”
He paused. “Someone’s been telling tales.”
“It’s true though, right?” she asked.
“What is it that you’re asking me, Pru?”
Okay, so he clearly didn’t want to discuss Mellie. Got it. Understood it. Hell, she had plenty of things she didn’t want to discuss either. “I’m trying to say that not only am I not good at sleepovers, I . . . haven’t really had any.” She bit her lip. Dammit. That made her sound pathetic. She tried again. “It’s more that you’re my one and only—” Nope, now she was just making it worse. “Okay, you know what? Never mind.” She started to walk off. “I’m going back to work.”