I knew this was risky.

If I stayed, I’d want more than Sunday.

I’d want Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

I’d want every day.

That was the problem.

I was becoming addicted to this man.

And I had to find a way to break my addiction.

It wouldn’t be tonight though.

And it wouldn’t be in the morning either, because I woke up to him curled around me again. To his hard shaft against my back. To his kisses on my neck. And like that, I led him back into me. I guided his erection between my legs, rubbing him against me, where I was ready for him.

We had sleepy early morning sex. Slow and tender.

We took our time.

There was no pounding.

No driving.

Only us, tangled together under the sheets, and it felt dangerously like all the things it wasn’t supposed to be.



That feeling you got when you’ve done something you shouldn’t?

It hit me as the sun cast its rays through the window, illuminating the messy bed, the sprawl of sheets, the sleeping man next to me.

I took a deep, fulfilling breath. I hadn’t felt this good in ages. Maybe I’d see if he wanted to order breakfast or grab a bite at the Egg Slut downstairs. We could order coffee, make our evening plans, then say goodbye for the day.

We were good at this—spending time together.

Satisfied with that plan, I let my eyes roam over him, practically whistling a happy tune. We must have fallen back to sleep after our nookie at the crack of dawn. It was probably nine. Plenty of time to make my meeting.

I glanced at the clock.

Wait. Was that right?

I squinted.

It was eleven in the morning?

I blinked. Checked again.

And the clock still mocked me with its red digital numbers telling me I’d slept far too late.

I sat bolt upright.


I had lunch with Trish in an hour. My heart skittered with panic. I had nothing to wear, my home was twenty minutes away if I was lucky, and even if I wore yesterday’s clothes, I didn’t have clean panties. The ones I wore last night were useless.

Grabbing my phone from the nightstand, I checked my texts, praying that she’d changed her mind about a check-in meeting.

No such luck.

The text from her was the opposite.

Trish: Hi, Kate! Can you meet a touch early? I have an appointment at one, so if we could meet a few minutes ahead of time, that would be great.

I let out a long stream of muttered curses, my frustration bubbling over.

“What’s wrong?”

I swung my gaze to Jake, who yawned, rubbing his eyes.

I dragged a hand through my messy hair. “I have to meet my boss in forty-five minutes, and I have nothing to wear that doesn’t scream walk of shame.”

He blinked. “Let’s go downstairs and go shopping for you.”

I sliced that notion off at the knees. I didn’t need his help. Jumping out of bed, I hunted for my clothes, finding them in a trail across the carpet. “This is my problem. I need to solve it,” I said as I pulled on my useless underwear. “Besides, it’s quicker and easier on my own.”

“But I can—”

His phone buzzed. He grabbed it, groaning as he read the text. “It’s Carson. I told him I’d go to his soccer match. Evidently, sex makes me stupid too. I need to run.” He scrambled out of bed, pulled on his slacks, and tugged me in for a kiss after I jerked my top over my head.

A boyfriend kiss.

One that said I’ll see you later.

Then he left.

Out of bed in one-minute flat.

I didn’t dwell on his swift departure as I grabbed the room key, hustled to the elevator, and darted to The Cosmopolitan’s shops to buy new panties and a basic black top. Then, after rushing back to the elevator, I zipped up to the room for a shower.

What pissed me off wasn’t Jake or how he’d left.

It was me.

I’d messed up.

I’d forgotten.

I’d gotten swept up in a whirlwind of sex and conversation and closeness. I’d been caught up in what felt like dating, getting to know him, getting to like him.

I soaped my body, scrubbing harder, trying to wash off the dirty.

This was supposed to be a weekend of research, not of lolling like a pussycat in the sun, licking my fur and purring.

And it was definitely not meant to be a weekend of feelings.

Of falling.

Of sliding into romance with a man who was clever, charming, a beast in bed . . . and a gentleman outside of it.

My heart stuttered as I thought about our talk last night.

Thought about the way he’d kissed me at the table.

And thought, too, of the intensity with which he’d taken me.

He was relentless, and relentlessly obsessed with making me feel good.

Yet, the morning after, I felt dirty, like I’d done something wrong by seeking real-world experience.

Like I should have relied on brains and research rather than using the excuse to scratch an itch.

Tags: Lauren Blakely The Gift Erotic
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