“Not the table. I’ve been dreaming about all the things I want to do to you and I don’t want to be interrupted.”
“There’s more . . . things?” she asked a little breathlessly.
While she quivered at the thought of that, he rose and carried her to his bedroom, where he kicked the door closed, hit the lock, and dumped her onto his bed.
Elle expected Archer to quickly strip her out of her clothes but instead he made himself at home between her thighs and nudged her face to his. “I want in your life, Elle. All the way in.”
“Well if I’m not mistaken . . .” She rocked against an impressive erection. “You’re about to get as far in me as you can.”
But he wasn’t playing. “You know what I mean. I’m trying to give you the time you need but I need a hint on how this is going.”
“The fact that I’m halfway to orgasmic bliss in your bed should be a pretty big hint,” she said.
He smiled. “So you’re halfway to orgasmic bliss already, huh? Damn, I’m good.”
She kissed his jaw and nuzzled his throat. “You are.” She pulled back and cupped his face. “You’re going to be able to stop manipulating me?”
He sighed. “I manipulate everyone.”
“Yes, but I’m not everyone.”
Their gazes locked and held. The silence stretched and finally he spoke. “Stay with me.” It was worded like a command but he said it softly. Probably as close to asking as he would come, she thought, her heart pounding hard. God. Was she really going to do this, give him the power she’d never really given anyone by falling for him? “How about if we go one night at a time?”
“Works for me,” Archer murmured. And closing the distance between their mouths, he kissed her.
The next morning Elle walked into the kitchen followed by a dressed for general badassery Archer. He headed straight to the oven, turned it on, and set a bagel on the rack. He looked at Elle questioningly but she shook her head.
Carbs were the devil.
Instead she hit the coffeepot and poured two cups, handing one to the big, silent alpha leaning against the counter while he waited for the bagel to heat up. He gave her one of those smiles that made her knees wobble.
Morgan came in and eyed them both. “Cozy,” she noted.
Ignoring that, Elle found an orange in the fridge and commandeered it.
“Seriously,” Morgan said. “The big guy’s even smiling.” She turned to Elle. “Nicely done.”
Elle rolled her eyes. “Gotta get to class,” she said as she grabbed her purse.
“I’ll take you.” Archer looked at Morgan. “And you.”
“I can call a cab.”
Archer shook his head. “I got a call from Trev. They managed to triangulate the last calls from the burner phone, which were all placed from the Tenderloin District. We have a job we can’t get out of this morning but this afternoon we’re going to try to root Lars out. Until then, I need you two to stay in the Pacific Pier Building.”
They drove in silence, everyone apparently locked in their own thoughts. As for Elle, hers bounced all over the place, from the danger Morgan had brought to their door to giving Archer another shot at her heart—which was possibly the most terrifying.
When they’d parked and were walking through the courtyard, Morgan turned to Elle and said quietly under her breath, “I’m really not okay with you all putting yourselves in danger to keep me safe.”
“I get that,” Elle said. “But I don’t see another choice right now. The guys will get to the bottom of this soon.”
“They’ll find Lars.”
Morgan looked worried. “He’ll hurt them.” She reached for Elle’s hand. “Can we talk?” She glanced at Archer, who’d gone on ahead of them. “Alone?”
A bad feeling went through Elle. “Yes, but I have a class and then two meetings. Can it wait until after?”
“I’ll come to you at lunch.”
Elle nodded and caught Morgan’s hand, in which she held her phone. “You trust me, right?”
Morgan blinked. “Um . . . yes?”
Uh-huh. “If that’s really true, you won’t mind loading the Find My Friends app on your phone so we can keep track of each other.”
To her credit, Morgan barely hesitated before relinquishing her phone to Elle so she could load the app. Elle decided to accept that gesture as a giant step in the Trusting Each Other Program . . .
Until Morgan didn’t show for lunch.
At twelve thirty, Elle called Mollie, looking to see if her sister was maybe caught working through lunch. She’d gotten a text from Archer several hours earlier reminding her that he and the guys were leaving the building and he didn’t want her going anywhere alone.
Mollie told Elle that Morgan had vanished about thirty minutes ago without a word.
Since it took two minutes tops to walk from Archer’s office to Elle’s, this wasn’t good news. What was Morgan thinking? That she could really take down a dangerous man on her own?
Oh shit. That’s exactly what Morgan was thinking. Elle brought up the Find My Friends app on her phone and sat there, heart pounding while it loaded Morgan’s approximate whereabouts.
She called Archer but she went straight to voice mail. She tried Spence next. “I’ve got a problem,” she said.
“Your problems are my problems,” Spence said.
She’d been hoping he’d say that. “It’s about Morgan.”
“I need you to come with me to stop her from being stupid.”
“Meet me out front in five,” he said.
When she got out to the street, Spence was there in an old beat-up Ford truck. He leaned over and pushed open the passenger door.
It took her a minute to figure out how to climb up into the truck without flashing the world her goodies and when she did, she found Old Man Eddie squished into the backseat.
“It’s his truck,” Spence said. “He’s not allowed to drive it anymore, hasn’t been since the seventies when he got his license taken away.”