Seb made a production out of yawning, pulled back the covers on his bed and flicked her a quick glance before climbing into bed.
‘I’m going to sleep. Night.’
Rowan narrowed her eyes at him as he punched the pillows before rolling over and snuggling down. No Thanks for a fun time? No See you in the morning? He couldn’t be more clinical about it if he left a couple of notes on the dresser table...
No—no!—that wasn’t fair.
Be honest, here, Dunn. You were the one who set the tone for the way this ended... You were heading out of the door when he returned to the room. You were running scared and saying that you didn’t need the mushy stuff...
And you don’t.
You don’t need anything but to research your netsuke, gather some cash, say a brief hello to your folks and hightail it back to...where? London? Canada? South America?
You need to be free, on the road, responsible to no one but yourself.
Rowan sent Seb one more look—was that snoring she heard? Really?—and half banged, half slammed his bedroom door closed.
Tangling with him had been fun physically, but mentally—huh! A toxic spill...
* * *
His brain, when blood finally reached it, was red-lining, Seb decided as the door banged shut behind Rowan and his eyes flew open. He was doing exactly what she’d said: intellectualising, categorising, analysing. He didn’t understand what had happened earlier—that tsunami of want and need and pure animal instinct. He was a rational and stable guy. He didn’t get caught up in the moment or swept away by passion.
He needed to understand why it had happened tonight with Ro. He had to understand. Because if he could comprehend it then he would regain control of the situation. It was his modus operandi—the way he approached and dealt with life, with his problems. When his mum had left he’d expected her home within a month, then three, then six. The only way for him to deal with the slow-dawning reality that he and Callie had been essentially abandoned by the person who was supposed to love them most had been to rationalise it, to find a plausible—though mostly improbable—explanation.
She was ill and couldn’t come home. She’d been kidnapped by Colombian drug lords and/or an alien space ship. She was an international spy.
He’d think it through, dissect the problem, and in that way he could subdue the bubbling, unpredictable mess emotions generated.
He didn’t cope well with unpredictable and messy emotions.
And Rowan was five-foot-four of unpredictable and messy.
And why on earth did he feel ticked because Rowan didn’t want to spend the rest of the night in his bed? Didn’t want to be held? Her reaction should have him slipping off to sleep guilt-free, with a satisfied body and a huge smile on his face. Instead he was lying here like a freaking moron wanting...what? He cursed. Was he actually considering wading into messy and unpredictable?
Was that what had sent his brain into hyper-drive?
It couldn’t possibly be, he decided. You don’t do emotional and you don’t do connections, Butt-face. And, really, if he decided that was something he suddenly wanted—through alien possession or a punch to his head—why would he choose a world-wanderer who couldn’t stay in one place for more than a heartbeat? Choose a connection with someone who, when the thrill of those first couple of weeks wore off and the excitement of great sex started to fade away, would be on the first plane...
Oh, wait...he was going to lend her the money to do that anyway!
Seb stood up and walked back into the bathroom, gripped the edge of the counter. It shouldn’t be this way, he thought. He should be glad that she’d walked out through that door and left him alone—instead of feeling as if he wanted to go to her, pull her back to his bed, fall asleep and wake her up by making love to her again. Again...why was he wondering whether they could connect on some sort of intellectual level as well as they did in the sack?
It didn’t matter... Bottom line, he shouldn’t be thinking about her this way. She’d been a good way to spend the night—an exceptional way to spend the night.
His junk twitched and pulsed at the memory of her...under him, over him...her hair brushing his chest, her warmth enclosing him like a warm, wet perfect glove...
Oh, hell, now he was never going to get to sleep with those thoughts rattling around in his head.
Seb walked back into his room and saw the shadows of his computers sitting in the far corner of his room.
Okay, well...he might as well give his big brain some work to do.
* * *
The following evening Seb stood just outside his front door and watched as Rowan, standing in front of the antique mirror in the hallway, tugged at the short white T-shirt that showed an inch of her waist above black low-slung jeans. Good grief, she looked hot!