“Ten more minutes, and I am outta here,” Emily leaned over the desk to look at Mara.
“Yeah, I think we got most of the people who accepted show up, so we can close this hallway party down and join the real one inside.” Mara winked.
“You stay put, and I am going to go put these boxes of excess goodies in the back room, so we can close shop in a few minutes,” she suggested.
“Don’t even think about sneaking away. I know where you live,” Mara issued a friendly threat.
“I’m here, aren’t I?” she retorted reaching under the table for the box of flyers and other sheets of paper. She dragged the box closer and was about to get up when she realized something got tangled in her hair.
She squealed in pain as she felt the tug on her hair, and her heart sank when she realized her fancy updo was now a hopeless mess.
“You okay, Em?” she heard Mara as she hovered over her.
“I’m fine. I just need to free myself from this desk,” she grumbled.
Mara bent down and pushed the box away from her reaching for Emily’s hair that was tangled around a wound-up orphan clamp.
“Looks like a party down there!” A deep male voice interjected making Mara hit her head against the top of the table.
Emily wanted to crawl under the table and hide when she recognized the voice.
“Mara, deal with him, go,” she whispered, but it was too late.
“Evan… Hi… Oh, I can check you in,” Mara stuttered as he came around the table to squat by her inspecting Emily’s tangled messy hair.
“Good to see you, Mara,” he said, and Emily felt him move closer to her.
“Let’s see what we got here… a failed attempt to hide under the table? Very interesting.” She had not laid eyes on him yet, but she felt his eyes on her face.
He took in her chiseled profile as she gritted her teeth and uncomfortably shifted under his gaze. Exactly what she had hoped would not happen—she had secretly hoped he wouldn’t show up and even if he did, she didn’t want to see him.
“Evan, can you help? I am sure my dress will rip if I squat for a few more minutes,” Mara giggled, annoying Emily.
“Sure thing, but I’m not sure if that’s what your friend here wants.” His voice was satirical, and she decided to stay under the table if she had to all night.
“Yes, she does. Right, Em… just nod, please.”
“Fine,” she snarled.
He chuckled, amused by her reaction only to make her even more uncomfortable.
He reached for her silky smooth hair that was partially braided for an evening look, but he knew how beautiful her loose waves framed her delicate face. He hadn’t seen or heard from her in ten years, and one glance her way, he remembered everything.
“Emmi,” he crooned making her body go stiff. She had not heard that word in a decade, and she had forgotten how much she liked it when he called her by that name.
She did not respond. All she could do was take a deep breath inhaling his masculine cologne.
“I’m going to get you out of this mess,” he whispered running his fingers in her hair making her shudder. She didn’t know what he meant by ‘mess’—her hair or her life?
She felt his fingers in her hair for a few seconds before she felt her waves gently screen her face from him—so much for the two-hour-long hair salon appointment. She took a moment hiding behind her hair before standing up and grabbing the box off the floor.
She woke up to the steady and gentle thumping on her cheek. Her body was swaddled in the warmth that felt like heaven, and she took a deep breath lazily opening her lids without moving an inch. It took her a moment to realize she was sprawled on Evan, her leg stretched over his thighs, her arm on his bare chest, and his strong arm possessively held her to him.
She felt the heat creep to her cheeks as she became more aware of his tight body that seemed to be glued to hers; rather, she was glued to him. Her initial reaction was to move away before he woke up, but she convinced herself that she would wake him up if she moved.
She partially laid over him, her every muscle drinking in the heat from his tight body. Her palm moved ever so gently over his smooth skin feeling the dips and peaks.
He winced in his sleep, and she froze and shut her eyes pretending to be asleep. She felt his arm tightening around her as he planted a kiss on the top of her head, and she moved like she was moving in her sleep gripping him tighter and scooting closer to his body.
“So much for staying on her side,” his voice was soft but light. She felt another brush of his lips in her hair before he slid off from under her.
She woke up with her head cradled in his elbow like many times in the past, and the memory only made her crave for the feeling—the feeling of being in love for the first time, her first love, his touch, and everything they had in its purest form. Her body trembled with need while her mind chastised her for wanting him in spite of her unhealed wounds.
She heard the sound of water from the bathroom and then his footsteps as he made his way back to the bed. He walked around to the other side, and a second later, she felt the mattress dip to his weight, but the warmth was way out of reach as he went back to sleep. Her body was becoming antsy, and she needed to feed on his heat. Her heart and her mind lost the battle as she twirled her body, moaning like she was deep in sleep, and stretched her legs into his back. If he thought she kicked in her sleep, she should.
“Not again,” he growled making her bite her lip to suppress her laugh. He turned around to move her legs toward the foot of the bed and pulled her into his arms, and she crashed into his body like a rag doll.
“Evan,” she growled. “What are you doing?”
“Waking you up so you stop kicking me,” he laughed lying on his back. She pulled away from him but lay next to him looking up into his gray eyes in the morning light, her head cradled in his elbow.
“Sorry,” she sounded sheepish as she fought to resolve her internal turmoil. She was surprised with the reaction her body was having to being close to him. Butterflies took off in her stomach, and her heart thudded so loud she hoped he couldn’t hear it.
He laughed pulling her closer. “Don’t beat yourself up; it’s like a back massage… a pretty bad one.”
“Whatever,” she wiggled out of his arms acting extremely casual as if she was unaffected by his touch.
She pulled the lounge pants higher on her waist and turned to look at him. “I promise to clean up by tomorrow. Can I please get my clothes? I feel like ‘Casper the friendly ghost’ in your white t-shirt.”
He laughed rolling on the bed. “We can go shopping.”
“I still can’t believe you left my bag in the rental car.”
“You were a riot, and I wasn’t thinking straight,” he snickered.
“What are you talking about?”
“Never mind. I was glad you had the night shirt in your tote.” He rolled to his side to sit up on the bed.
“Did you change me?” she blurted out.
He looked at her, his eyes slightly narrowed. “I did.”
She felt her cheeks turn crimson as she lowered her gaze, unable to look at him. He was her first and had explored every inch of her, but just the idea of his eyes on her creamy skin that molded over her beautiful curves made her wonder about his reaction.
“I need my lone undergarment to dry before we can go,” she sheepishly said.
Excerpt – 3
Thirty minutes later, she stood in front of the mirror looking at herself. A wicked smile crept up her face as she ran her palms on the smooth material of Evan’s football jersey she had put on with a bright colored bra that peeked through the perforated material screaming for attention— thanks to Josie’s quirky bra collection at her boutique.
The football jersey was long enough for the hem to hit right above her knees, so she decided to skip wearing the skinny jeans she had set out on the bed. Her dark hair hung wildly, and her eyes were impatient to take in Evan’s look when he sees her in the jersey.
The house was awfully quiet as she stepped out of her room to go back to the study. It was a few minutes past six in the morning when she stood to look at the mess in the study as she put a plan together in her mind to put everything back in order. She went to the other jersey that lay on the floor and pinned it back on the wall.
“You are mine and will be forever, Thompson.” She ran her fingers on the letters stitched onto the sheer material.
An hour later, she was sitting on the floor putting the last set of his coin collection back in the lowest drawer when she heard footsteps approach the study.
She turned to look at him as he stood by the glass doors leading to the study taking a sip of his coffee.
She smiled at him without getting off the floor, and she knew he hadn’t seen what she had on as the desk was blocking his view.
“You clean up real good,” he smirked looking around the study.
“Do I?” she purred as she slowly stood up revealing herself in the loose football gear that drowned her but did not fail to show off her ample curves as she swayed toward him.
She suppressed a chuckle when she saw him swallow with great difficulty.
“Good morning,” she reached up on her toes and brushed her lips on his jawline right below the tip of his mouth making sure her breasts brushed against his arm.
“Didn’t you buy enough clothes yesterday?” His voice was shaky enough to encourage her.
“I might have… I couldn’t remember how it felt to wear your jersey. It was so long ago.” She put one arm around him and placed her palm over his fingers that held his coffee mug.
She held his gaze as she brought his coffee mug to take a sip of the steaming liquid and smiled, licking her lips.
“Thanks for the coffee,” she said and walked away from him toward the kitchen enjoying his burning gaze on her back. He was thrown off, and she knew he would eventually give in, but it was going to take a lot more effort from her.
She expected him to grab her, but she could tell he was exercising a lot of restraint, and she had to crack it before she ran out of time.