“Smart-ass.” Grabbing her with an arm around her neck, he pulled her close. Her hands landed on his bare chest, and when he lowered his head, her lips were still parted in the beginnings of a laugh.
The kiss was romantic bullshit… and he found he liked it. Liked the way he could feel her smile, the way her fingers curled into his chest, the softness of her. Shifting until he’d backed her up against the house, he braced one arm over her head, put his other hand on her jaw, and kissed her. He knew he was probably not doing it right, but it felt good and Kit didn’t seem to mind his lack of skill.
When their lips parted, his heart was thumping and her pupils were dilated, her breathing shallow. “I vote for more romantic bullshit.”
He grinned at the husky comment. “Meet you on the couch after dinner.”
Pushing playfully at his chest, she said, “Let’s get this bed up first.”
They did finally complete the bed. Turned out Kit had bought some kind of fancy waterproof canopy cover that looked like fabric.
“Mostly we can keep it like this,” she said, tying off the curtains to each of the four poles. “On the rare occasions it rains, we can close the curtains.”
“What about the stars?” What was the point in sleeping outside if you couldn’t see the stars?
“The top peels back.” She showed him how, and suddenly, the bed had a direct view of the sky, that sky bordered by a frame of curlicued metal.
Throwing himself down on the mattress, he put his hands behind his head and nodded. “I dig it.”
Kit came down on the bed beside him, but when she would’ve lain down, he unfolded an arm so she could put her head on it. He curled it back around her, and they lay there in the sunshine for a while until it got too hot.
“It’ll be great at night,” he said after they went inside, having closed the canopy to protect the mattress from the heat.
“Glad you think so. I got it for you.”
He paused in the act of lifting a juice bottle to his lips. “What?”
“You seem to sleep better in the garden.”
It was true, but he’d figured that was a fluke. Not wanting to disappoint her though, he decided to try it out that night.
Six uninterrupted hours after he’d put down his head, he lifted it up. It was the longest stretch of nightmare-free sleep he’d had in years. Even once he shrugged off the grogginess of such a long sleep, he had no particular desire to get out of bed. Yawning, he lay there and listened to the birds that lived in Kit’s garden and wished she was nearby so he could try some of that romantic bullshit again.
When he asked her to sleep with him on the bed in the garden the next night, she agreed, and yeah, there was some messing around. Kisses mostly. It was normal and romantic, and he actually felt like a goddamn man when he made her moan in the back of her throat.
Maybe this would work, he dared think. Maybe they could make it.
Kit was feeling guardedly optimistic. Not only was Noah sleeping at least a few uninterrupted hours a night, he was working with her to figure out the physical stuff. She’d thought it’d be awkward and hard, but it wasn’t. It was fun, like they were teenagers, cautious and not quite sure what was okay and what wasn’t.
Noah had really gotten into the “romantic bullshit.” Turned out the bad boy of rock liked kissing. Kit had never been so thoroughly kissed in all her life. The night before, he’d pinned her down on the bed outside and, one hand gripping her jaw, kissed her until she’d all but melted into the bed. For a man who’d avoided kissing before, he’d sure picked it up fast.
“I love him so much,” she confessed to Becca when she met her friend for a coffee a week later, a surely silly smile on her face.
Becca laughed, her makeup relatively low-key today, though her hair remained that gorgeous, vibrant blue. “In that case, I’m happy for you, you sappy goof. I will, however, still stab him in delicate places if he hurts you.”
Reaching over, Kit touched Becca’s hand. “It’s different this time, trust me.” Noah remained the same man, but he was no longer using his defenses to block her out, sabotage their relationship. This was the Noah she’d come to know in their hotel room conversations—the sensitive, complicated, talented man who’d written a heartbreaking song about a sparrow with broken wings.
She understood that song now, knew how deeply personal it was, though to anyone who didn’t know his past, it would simply be a sweet, sad, beautiful song.
“Hey,” Becca said with a wry smile. “Boys come and go, but girlfriends are forever, right? I’m not going to mess with our friendship by dissing Noah when you love him.”