“You know why.” I’m almost to safety.

“Wasting water is a crime in some states, Jones,” he calls, as I scuttle into the bathroom.


“Good thing we don’t live in one of those states.” I close the door on him.

Despite my hair nightmare, Drew’s shower is heaven. I bend my neck and let the hot water pour down on my aching muscles. But I don’t linger long. I want to be with Drew now.

Putting on enough product to make my hair behave, I look around for my nightshirt and curse. I’ve forgotten it. And while I’m not shy about Drew seeing me naked, it seems like a tease to do it now. Not that going out wrapped in a towel won’t be either. I could put on my clothes, but they stink of hospital too. Then I spy one of his shirts hanging on the back of the bathroom door. It smells clean, so I take it, only to realize that it’s one of his jerseys.

I slip the jersey over my head, and it falls to my knees, the sleeves flopping around my elbows. I dither, wondering whether to keep it on when I hear him from the other room.

“Did you get lost in there, Jones?”

Rolling my eyes, I put some lotion on my legs. “Impatient much?”

“Hey,” he says from the room, “what’s with this little jar here?”

I crack the door open. “It’s olive oil.” I’d left a small jar of it on his bedside table. “The team physical therapist said you might be sore, and I didn’t have any massage oil so…”

“You talked to my PT?” He sounds a bit strangled, surprised, but not angry.

“Of course.” I walk into the room. “I wouldn’t be much help to you if I didn’t. I can massage your leg now if you… What?” I stop at the foot of the bed. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Because he’s hauling himself up from his slouch in the bed, his muscles bunched and tense, and he’s gaping at me. For a moment we simply stare at each other. God, but he’s a sight. The lamplight glows warmly on his golden skin, a sharp contrast to the white bedding that lies low over his narrow hips, the cover more a tease then a barrier.

Drew breaks the silence.

“You…” He clears his throat. “You’re seriously trying to kill me, aren’t you?”

“Are you high?” I laugh softly, but my heart rate has increased to an excited flutter.

“Maybe.” His lips curl into a tilted smile. “You look utterly, spectacularly hot in my jersey, Anna Jones.”

I roll my eyes, but grin. “You are high.”

“Come here.” He holds his hand out to me. “Like now.”

Shaking my head, I go to him, and promptly yelp when he grabs hold of my wrist and yanks me onto the bed. “Easy,” I admonish as I straddle his lap, facing him. “I’m not going to be happy if you make me kick your leg.”

“Screw the leg.” His hands settle on my hips.

Since I have him all to myself, I explore the silken skin of his chest with my hands, loving the dense muscles and the heat he gives off. Drew is always warm. “Feeling all right?” My voice is soft with a protectiveness I hadn’t known myself capable of.

“Feeling pretty damn fine now, Jones.” He lifts a hand and gently traces the iron-on number one over my right breast. My nipple stiffens under his touch, and he lingers there, drifting back and forth. “This looks a lot better on you than it does on me.”

And though heat is in his gaze, I hear the hitch in his voice and the darkness. My insides clench. I try to shift away, but he holds me tight, a frown working between his brows as he looks at me in question.

“I shouldn’t have worn this. It was insensitive.” Why didn’t I realize he’d remember his loss when he saw the stupid jersey?

He gives my hip a squeeze. “Yes, you should. Every damn night, if I have my say.” He fights valiantly for a smile.

Wanting to sooth him, I caress his shoulders. “All right. If you wear this every night.”

“But I’m not wearing anything, Jones.”

“I know.” I give him a soft kiss.

Our lips cling, and he threads a hand through my hair.

“You’re so beautiful to me,” he says against my mouth.

I pull back to look him in the eyes. “To you?”

He often says that, and part of me wonders if others have said something contrary to him.

“To me.” His fingers trace the curve of my shoulder, brushing a lock of hair over it. “When we’re together, it’s just you and me. No one else exists.”

He makes me want to cry, to tell him things I’ve never allowed myself to think, much less say aloud.

“Drew.” I press my fist against his chest. “You can’t keep saying these perfect things to me.” I give him a wobbly smile. “I mean, how am I supposed to match that?”

He chuckles. “Are you giving me grief for being too romantic?”

“No.” I kiss his cheek, high up by the corner of his eye. “Maybe. I find that when it comes to you, I’m competitive too.”

Another laugh rumbles in his chest. “Game on, then?”

“Yeah.” I kiss his other cheek.

He sighs, touches my neck, a light stroke. “Hit me with it, Jones.”

“Drew?” I nuzzle his ear.

“Yeah?”

“I think you’re real cute,” I drawl.

He bursts out laughing. “Oh, wow,” he deadpans. “I’ve just been schooled.”

“You know it.”

I’ve missed him. Happiness is a blade that cuts into my heart.

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