She looked him over as well. “A water pipe spray you too?” she asked.
“No, I’ve been running.”
He was surprised to hear himself laugh. “Can I come in?”
“Sure,” she said so agreeably that he was suddenly suspicious.
“So what do you know about plumbing?” she asked.
“Then you’re my man,” she said. “I’ve got a leaky faucet you can fix.”
He was so tired he could hardly hold himself up. “Now?”
“I tried to fix it myself and nearly drowned.” She waved at herself with a knife that looked like it’d been dipped in peanut butter. “I had a shitty afternoon and evening, and all I wanted was a PB&J and some sleep, but the drip-drip-dripping is killing me . . .”
Since she sounded far too close to tears for his liking, he wrapped his hand around her wrist to stop her from waving her knife around. “I’ve got it,” he said quietly and then took her knife because he might be a sucker when it came to her, but he wasn’t stupid.
He shut and locked the door and moved past her into the kitchen. The makings of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sat on the counter. There was water all over the floor and the cabinet beneath the sink was open. “You could have called me,” he said.
“I know how to fix a damn leaky sink for myself.”
He might have argued that she didn’t or they wouldn’t be having this conversation but he’d had a long day too, extremely long, and he wasn’t that far behind her in the bad-mood department. Eyes gritty with exhaustion, he grabbed the wrench and went to work.
It took him two minutes. He set the wrench aside and still flat on his back, took a look at Willa.
She was sitting on the counter licking peanut butter off her thumb with a suction sound that went straight to his favorite appendage. “Done,” he said, voice a little thick as he got to his feet and moved to stand in front of her.
“So it’s not going to drip all night, forcing me to kill it?” she asked.
“There’s no killing on your to-do list tonight.”
She sighed deeply. “Thanks,” she said softly. “Really.”
“You’re welcome. Really.” He stepped in closer so that her knees pressed against his thighs.
She fisted her hands in his shirt and tried to tug him closer but he resisted.
“I want my eight to nine inches,” she whispered.
Somehow he managed to resist. “I need a shower, Willa.”
She tugged harder. “Not for me you don’t.”
“I ran over here, so yes I do.”
She choked out a laugh. “And they call me stubborn and obstinate.” She stared at him and her smile faded as she slowly dragged her teeth over her bottom lip. “I can’t sleep,” she murmured.
Her hair was in her eyes. Her mascara was smudged. Her shirt was still wet and she shivered as she pressed close, and again he had to hold her off. “Careful, I’m all sweaty.”
“Don’t care.” She snuggled into his chest and when she tilted her face to his, it was the most natural thing in the world to kiss her. She tasted like peanut butter and heaven.
“Why can’t you sleep?” he asked against her lips.
“I was grooming a geriatric cat and got complacent but she taught me. She got my back and shoulder pretty good trying to claw her way out of town and it’s all burning like I’m on fire, which means I’ll have to sleep on my left side or my stomach and I’m a right-side sleeper.” She huffed out a sigh, then sucked in a sharp breath and flinched away from his hands as he tried to turn her away from him to get a look. “No, it’s fine—”
Ignoring her protests, he put his hands on her hips and forced her to turn, and then began to peel her shirt gently upward.
He stopped short at the sight of the raw, red, angry gouges deep across her back and shoulder. “Willa, these have to be cleaned.”
“I know, I will.” She tried to pull her shirt back down, but he held firm and then finally just pulled the thing over her head, tossing it across the room.
“Keane!” she gasped, crossing her arms to cover herself, trying to turn to face him, but he held her in place while he surveyed the wounds.
“First aid kit?”
“Hall linen closet,” she said.
He went to hunt down the supplies he needed and when he came back, she hadn’t stayed. Shock.
He found her in her bathroom, holding a towel to her breasts, twisting, trying to see the gouges in the mirror.
The curve of her bare back was smooth and delicate, and so damn sexy to him. He wanted to run his hands down her spine to her ass, bend her over and—
The fantasy was cut short when she reached to touch one of the scratches and winced in pain.
“Hold still,” he said and went to work.
She didn’t speak while he cleaned the scratches. She didn’t breathe either it seemed, but by the end her muscles were quivering, giving away her pain. Leaning forward, he placed his lips at the base of her neck.
A sigh shuddered out of her as she let her head fall forward, giving him better access, and he was a goner.
“Keane . . .”
“Tell me to go and I will,” he whispered against her beautiful skin and then it was him holding his breath, waiting on her response.
Willa turned to face Keane, and caught the same hunger and desire on his face that she knew was all over hers. Going up on tiptoe, she gently brushed her mouth over his. “Don’t go.”
With a rough groan rumbling from his chest, he carefully wrapped her up in his arms and took control of the kiss. And oh God, how he kissed her, like she was the sexiest woman on the planet. It was addicting.
He was addicting.
When they were both breathing like lunatics, he raised his head. Eyes dark on hers, he ran his fingers along her temple, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, letting his thumb brush her jaw, her lower lip.
Melting into him she closed her eyes, but that only made it seem all the more intimate, the way their bodies had sought each other out, pressing close.
Around them, her apartment was still dark beyond the kitchen, the rain drumming against the side of the building the only sound.
Except for her accelerated breathing.