There’s no sweet angel named Parker in the cards for me.
Daws is the perfect work companion.
He seems to understand I’ve been struck by inspirational lightning and lets me buzz around him, draping fabrics over his shoulders, around his waist, pinning here, cutting there. I’m lucky we had a bolt of charcoal-colored jersey in the supply closet, because no fabric stores are open this time of night. I sketch, I dive back into action, I pace.
I stare at his insanely sexy body.
I stare a lot.
It’s a wonder I get anything done.
In order to make the fits precise, he has to strip down to his boxers and I wish—I wish—we had time to address the meaty erection that never stops tenting his underwear, but if I don’t get the jacket done tonight, I won’t have time to make the matching pants tomorrow.
I want to drag my tongue through that line of black hair that divides the wide hump of his belly in half. I want to bite his love handles. I want to climb onto his shoulders, just to watch him support my weight with ease. This man is unmovable and beautiful and I think—is it possible?—that I’m falling for him.
My blood pumps faster every time I think about what we did. How he found such unabashed pleasure just from looking at my body. It excites me. How turned on Daws is around me at all times. And what he did to me with his tongue…
Discreetly, I fan my heated face. I’ve given myself orgasms with my own fingers, but I’ve never, ever had anyone do that to me. Never thought anyone could succeed in blowing my mind so thoroughly. The experience was erotic and intense and…right. It felt right because of who it was with. This man who is gentle and reassuring and funny and protective. There wasn’t even a passing hint of self-consciousness.
I feel happy when I’m around him.
Right now, even under this deadline, I’m insanely, stupidly happy.
He tells me stories about the regulars at Mulloy’s while I work. About dirty Pauline, an elderly neighborhood lady who sneaks in every day at the same time, claiming to be hiding from the police. Then there’s Gil and his wife, Geraldine, who spend their summers traveling with an a cappella group, the construction workers who leave dust on the stools and the finance guys who come in to loosen their ties.
I confide my worries about falling short with my first line and he reassures me, telling me I’m going to knock it out of the park…and I believe him. I believe the confidence boosts in me.
While I get sewing on the jacket, Daws leaves and brings back chocolate shakes. Burgers and fries. Until that moment, I don’t realize how hungry I am, and eat mine in approximately ninety seconds while he laughs.
“Do you want to catch some sleep on the couch?” I ask, hurrying back to the sewing machine. “I’ll wake you up when it’s time for a fitting.”
He nods and drops down onto the leather, his feet hanging well over the edge. The very picture of a hibernating bear. His eyes close, but I don’t think he ever really sleeps. Several times while the machine whirs in front of me, I swear I feel his gaze on me from across the room and sparks dance up my neck.
What if there’s something real here?
I’m still a little raw over what happened on the reality show. Not because I had feelings for that jerk, but because I read the situation so wrong. I am naïve. Jocelyn tells me that all the time. I might be reading too much into Daws’s interest. This could just be about sex for him, whereas for me…I want to go on dates with this man. I want to go to baseball games, pull him behind a stall in the farmer’s market for a kiss, show him off to my friends.
Which means I am severely jumping the gun.
I’ve known him for all of five hours.
Reel it in, girl.
Still, I can’t help but continue to sneak looks at him while he naps.
And I’m pretty sure he’s sneaking them at me, too.
It’s five o’clock in the morning when I sew the final stitch and slump back in my chair. I start to get up and go wake Daws for the fitting, but he’s already closing the distance between us. There’s genuine interest on his face to see what I’ve done and it elevates my mood from exhausted to giddy.
“I like that,” he says gruffly, tracing the red gun barrel I’ve stitched onto the lapels. “You made it look like shoulder holsters.”
“Yes,” I breathe, standing up and holding the jacket against him. “It won’t take me long to do the matching pants today and put the same stitching on the pockets. And…hmm. I’m going to have you wear a plain white T-shirt underneath this. You’re a modern twist on a badass western sheriff. Deadwood meets Moulin Rouge.”