Seb nodded, his gorgeous eyes holding hers. ‘I love sleeping with you, I like you, and I don’t want you to stay.’

Why did that sting? Rowan asked herself. It shouldn’t—couldn’t. He was saying what she wanted him to say! Stupid, stupid girl...


Rowan tipped her head at his hard tone, his intractable face.

‘While we are sleeping together we’re together. There’s only me and you. No one else. No colouring outside the lines.’

She could live with that—wouldn’t actually accept anything else. Rowan pushed her shoulders back and tossed her hair. ‘Just so you know, I won’t act like your girlfriend.’

‘Good. I won’t act like yours...boyfriend, that is.’ Seb pulled a face. ‘That’s such a juvenile term. How come the word boyfriend sounds so much worse than girlfriend?’

‘It’s a moot point, since we’re not either,’ Rowan said firmly as Seb swung his legs off the bed, stood up and walked over to her, all long, lean, masculine grace.

‘What time will you be home from your shift at the bar?’ he asked, running a possessive hand down her arm.

‘My shift ends at twelve. So around half past twelve,’ Rowan replied as he put his hands on her hips and backed her into the steaming shower.

He bent his head to her breast and tongued her nipple.

‘That sounded remarkably like a question a boyfriend would ask, Hollis,’ Rowan said, streaking her hands over his broad shoulders.

Seb picked up his head and sent her a wicked look that had her toes curling.

‘Nope, just trying to work out how much time I have to buy some more condoms.’ A foil packet appeared as if by magic between his thumb and finger. ‘This is the last one. Shower sex?’

Rowan sighed. She was definitely going to have to buy herself a toy when she left... Then she’d be able to drift back to memories of what Seb was doing to her. And why did that thought make her feel instinctively sad?

‘Ro?’ Seb lifted his head and his hand stilled on her breast. ‘You okay to go again?’

She needed to make as many memories as she could. ‘Yes, please.’

* * *

It was past three in the morning when Rowan parked her car—Yas’s car—in the carport next to the three-car garage. Seb’s hog sat in one spot, Patch’s Jag in the other and his SUV in the last space. Poor little car, Rowan thought, left out in the cold. She glanced up at the house and saw that the light was off in Seb’s room. Rowan considered slipping quietly into bed with him, snuggling down for the night, with his back warm against her chest, her legs tucked in behind his knees. And if he woke up so much the better...

No! Rowan shook her head. That would be a girlfriendy thing to do, and she wasn’t going to act like that. She and Seb were having sex, for a defined period, then she was leaving and he was staying. Getting cosy was a sure way to get her heart involved, and that would be a disaster of magnificent proportions! Leaving would be so much harder than it needed to be, and settling back into her transient life would take more effort than normal.

Was that why she’d accepted the offer from a couple of the pub’s regulars to accompany them into the city and listen to a blues band in a late-night café? Because it was an impulsive decision? Because it was something that she’d do if she was on her own...accept a random invitation from strangers to try something different?

She sometimes felt that she was too comfortable in Seb’s house—in his bed, his arms.

She couldn’t afford to get too attached to him, to his house or this city, Rowan told herself as she climbed out of the car and headed towards the front door. She had a little over a ten days left here; her parents were due back at the end of next week and she’d spend the weekend with them. Hopefully, if she could land the boat party gig, she’d have enough money to feed and house herself when she got back to London.

Of course if she actually did some work researching those netsukes she could be out of here sooner. She knew Grayson wanted them, and she suspected that, judging by his increasingly frequent e-mails on the subject, and as long as she could prove that they weren’t stolen, he might buy them unseen. At the very least she’d recover the cash she’d laid out and then she could go anywhere she wanted to...

She should start with researching the Laughing Buddha—the miniature she’d spotted first in the shop, instantly recognising that it was the stand-out piece of the collection—so why wasn’t she carving out some time to research the wretched thing? Sure, it would take a bite out of her money-collecting time, but she wasn’t a total numpty on the computer, as she’d made herself out to be to Seb.