Chris jolts. “Yeah. I’ll…make sure Sonia doesn’t break anything.

Their sly smiles tell me what they’re thinking. That only one bedroom in this apartment gets occupied at night. I can’t even blame them for making that assumption. But I’ve been in love—and I know what I have with Addison is even better. No one understands this thing between Addison and me. No one but us. And I’m just fine with that.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Addison

The all-cereal diet ruined my life: one woman’s claim.

—Southern Insider News

I hop off the bus at the Meeting Street stop, picking up the pace once the disembarking passengers thin, everyone heading in their own direction, me zipping toward the market. It’s a gorgeous April day—but it’s a hot one. Businessmen amble past, fanning themselves with newspapers. Sidewalk vendors can’t sell cold bottles of water fast enough—and it’s only the morning. Still, I can’t find it in me to complain. Not after last night.

Elijah brought his friends to meet me. I got angry with him and he…came through. Fixed it. Apparently he missed the memo that men are only supposed to make things worse.

Not only did he make this gesture and apologize, but I really liked his friends. Sonia with her adorable rambling and Lydia with her soothing wisdom voice. Chris watching them both like he’s the luckiest man alive. And most of the time…I’m pretty sure I watched Elijah. It’s hard not to on a regular basis, but throw in people he feels comfortable around and he’s even more incredible. Halfway through our meal of Chinese takeout, I had to lock myself in the bathroom for a reality check. It was not a double date. No matter how much it felt like one, with Chris trying to embarrass Elijah by telling stories from their days at the Citadel. The way a friend might try to do in front of his friend’s love interest.

I turn the corner and take a deep whiff of the boiled peanuts scent hanging in the air. Smelling them is almost as good as eating them, which is a good thing, because I’m too stuffed full of cereal to fit even one little peanut. For some reason, more and more boxes keep appearing in my cabinets and I can’t resist that second bowl in the mornings.

Maybe the faux-date scenario is the reason I had a sex dream about Elijah last night.

In the dream, he blew into my apartment and didn’t say a word, barely bothering to close the front door before shedding his tie. His eyes were hard, hungry. All of him was. I stood in the living room—naked as the day I was born. Exposed. Unable to breathe. He looked at me and knew everything. The feelings I’ve been suppressing with no success. How much I want him inside me, pinning me down, using me. One sweep of his eyes and he knew.

Dream Elijah reached me, now shirtless. So aggressively male and muscular and big all over. “Are you ready for your fuck?”

“Yes.”

He ran a hand down his stomach. “Come and get it, sugar.”

Even in sleep, I could feel my tether snap and I wasted no time unfastening his pants with shaking fingers and taking out his waiting erection. I climbed him, whimpering and sobbing, sinking down onto his rigid inches while he watched me, his lips curled in a cocky way. For a while, he let me struggle around on him, bouncing and trying to get an advantageous angle. And then he laughed. Laughed, turned, slammed me against the wall and fucked me like a man who’d chosen me as his last meal.

God, I can still feel him thrusting in and out of me as I turn the corner toward the market, sidestepping a woman pushing a stroller as I go. When I woke up from the dream in the dim morning light, I was already halfway to an orgasm, a pillow stuffed between my legs. I’ve never been desperate enough to hump a pillow, but yes I did turn over and ride it like a rodeo bull, peaking less than ten seconds later. Yes, I did.

I stop at the corner and take a deep breath, not wanting to walk past a bunch of vendors with flushed cheeks. I’m already wondering how I’m going to manage the feat later when I see Elijah. Will I ever be able to look him in the eye again and not think of him in beast mode, taking me up against a wall?

Oh who are you kidding? You’ve been imagining that for a month.

“True facts,” I mutter, stepping into the street—

—just in time for three reporters with cameras and microphones to rush me.

“Getaway Girl!”

“Miss Potts!”

“Is it true you’re related to Naomi Clemons?”

I drop my purse and stoop down to pick it up, my pulse going bananas in my ears. Okay. Okay, they made the connection finally. To be honest, I’m a little surprised it took them this long, but I was enjoying the delusion they’d lost all interest in me. At least it doesn’t seem like they’re speculating about Naomi and I sharing a father—that’s a huge plus. “Um…” Doing my best to gather my thoughts, I stand, put my head down and look for a way through the reporters. “Excuse me, please. I have to get to work.”

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