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.God, this was hard.I wasn’t equipped for any of it.My mom was my rock during hard times, and I wanted to fill that role for her now, but damned if I knew how.Closing my eyes, I took a few calming breaths.It wasn’t time to cry yet.I could hold out for a couple more hours.In the sanctuary of the basement, I’d cry until I was a hiccupping mess.I pulled glasses from the cabinet and set to finding the teabags.Right now, I was going to be good company to Mom on this rainy summer evening.Chapter 9PalmerThe butterflies were back.When I spotted Brady’s truck parked on the side of the gravel road at Derek and Adriane’s house, there was no stopping the fluttering in my stomach.It had been six days since I’d seen him, but it felt like forever.When I approached the house, Brady was talking to one of his employees, gesturing how to do something with his hands.He gave me a sidelong glance as I walked past him and went in the house.What was he thinking? Was he struggling with mixed emotions, too? I’d been bothered by thoughts of him with other women all weekend.And I’d wondered how I stacked up to the ones he’d been with since me.Probably not that great, since he was my first and only.I was on my way to the wine room when I heard footsteps behind me on the stairway.I waited at the bottom, and Brady came hustling down at a pace that definitely would’ve made me fall, his heavy boots pounding against the wood stairs.“Can you make an effort to dress more professionally when you’re on site?” he said in a growl.I wrinkled my face in confusion, glancing down at my gray pencil skirt, black open-toed heels and purple cap-sleeved shirt.“Professional?” I looked back up and met his gaze.“What’s unprofessional about this?”“You’re showing too much skin.” He arched his brows in judgment.“What?” I glared at him.“Just my arms, Brady.”“And your legs.”I rolled my eyes.“Women have been wearing skirts in the workplace for decades, you caveman.”“Not at construction sites, sweetheart.It’s distracting to my crew.”“I seriously doubt my skirt is distracting anyone.”Brady leaned closer and I felt the heat of his body near mine.“It’s distracting me.”I scoffed as though I doubted it, but my heart was pounding like mad.Was he saying he still liked what he saw? I’d stopped feeling like a woman a long time ago.My life consisted of working, caring for my family and sleeping.No one looked at me the way Brady was looking right now – eyes dark, gaze hungry.Maybe I’d been more than just the closest woman in reach the other night.“What do you want me to wear?” I asked weakly, trying to think of something – anything — besides throwing myself against him like an animal in heat.“Jeans and sleeves would be a great start.And tennis shoes.”I cocked my brows at him.“This isn’t the only job I’m doing.I have meetings with clients.I can’t wear jeans and tennis shoes.”He shook his head, obviously frustrated.“I’ve never had to deal with being hard at work, Palmer.Can you help me out and dress more conservatively? And stop wearing that perfume?”“Oh.” I bit my lip, trying not to smile.Looking at me had made him hard.It was impossible not to smile.“It’s not fucking funny, you vixen,” he muttered, running a hand through his hair.I laughed and gave him an apologetic glance.“I’m sorry.It’s not like you think.It’s just … I’m the furthest thing from a vixen.And I’m kind of floored that even though I haven’t been to a hair salon in several months and I’m wearing clothes I’ve owned for years, you still think I’m worth looking at.”“I did a lot more than look the other night.”My face flushed as I remembered it.The way he’d pulled my hair and pounded himself into me with no mercy had made me feel sexier than I ever had.Knowing I brought that out of him brought the same primal desires from me, too.“You loved it, didn’t you?” he said, a cocky grin lighting up his whole face.“Say it.”“I did,” I said, unable to meet his gaze.“Couldn’t you tell?”He stepped closer, speaking in a low tone.“No, say it, baby.Say you loved me fucking you.”I raised my chin and locked eyes with him, willing myself to be bold.“I loved you fucking me.I didn’t know it could hurt and feel so good at the same time.”He ran a hand through his hair and sighed deeply.“I ride my brother’s ass all the time about drugs, but you know what? You’re my drug.You’ve been on my mind nonstop since Friday night.I crave you, Palmer.No one else.My heart’s always belonged to you, and you broke it, but there’s something about knowing your body belongs to me that makes it feel just a little bit better.”My head swam and my heart hammered uncontrollably.Even after being apart so long, he still felt something.I didn’t care if it was only physical – at least that was something.“Please kiss me,” I said, my voice nearly a whisper.He put his large hand on my chin and jaw line, tipping my face up to meet his, and kissed me soft and slow.It was the opposite of the other night.No biting.No pain.Just his tongue dancing lazily with mine, making me want more.I reached for the bulge in his pants and stroked his stiff erection.“I’m sorry for some of the things I said the other night,” I said.“I’ve got no right to be bitter about you being with other women.”A smile tugged up the corner of his lips.“You think I could want any other woman after fucking you like that, Palmer? I’ve jerked off every night since just thinking about it.No other women.Not if I can have you.”I exhaled with relief and unbuttoned his jeans.“Let me make it up to you.”With a small groan, Brady guided my hand away from his erection.“No.”“Oh.” My face warmed with embarrassment.“I’m sorry.”“Don’t misread me,” he said, reaching for a lock of my hair and running his fingers over it.“I would love to see you in front of me on your knees, but not here.Not at work.”I bit my lip, feeling chastised.“Lunch?” he asked, running a thumb over my lip.“In my truck?”I nodded, my skin heating at the thought of being close to him again.I craved him, too.Whether it was right or wrong, a good idea or a bad one, I wanted the escape from sadness that only his body could provide.“Meet me at noon,” he said, turning back to the stairway.I glanced at my watch as he walked back upstairs.Only two hours of forcing myself to think about designing this basement [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]