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Driven (Page 58)

“Nah. I think I’m okay. Thanks, though. For everything.”

She leans over and kisses the top of my head, “What are friends for?” she says as she heads for the door. “Good night, Ry.”

“’Night, Had.”

She closes the door and I sigh deeply, staring at the ceiling, thoughts running wild until sleep pulls me under.


I sleep in late. So exhausted from everything that I’m able to sleep past my normal six-thirty, ingrained wake up. It’s nine by the time I’m in my exercise gear and downstairs.

Haddie is sitting at the little table in the kitchen, bare feet with bright pink painted toes propped on the empty chair across from her. She eyes me cautiously from behind her cup of coffee. “Good morning.”

“Morning,” I mutter, my normal sunny morning self absent. “I’m gonna go for a run,” I tell her as I fasten my audio player to my arm.

“I figured,” she says referring to my attire. “Are you grumpy just because you want to be … or because you are forcing yourself to run after too much alcohol and off-the-charts sex with an Adonis?” Sarcasm is rich in her voice. “I’m surprised you can even walk today.”

I sneer at her. “Sounds like someone is a little jealous,” I counter.

“Damn right I am,” she laughs at me. “I have more cobwebs now than you do.” I laugh out loud at her, my grumpiness abating. “Seriously, though … you okay?”

“Yeah,” I sigh. “I’m going to take your advice. Try and live in the moment … all that stuff.” I shrug.

She nods slowly at me, “Don’t try to sound so convincing!” she says drolly as she stands from her chair, knowing I need to work through things myself. “I’m here if you need me. Have a good run.”



The fresh air, pavement beneath my feat, blaring music in my ears, and moving muscles feels masochistically cathartic as I enter my fifth and final mile. I needed this. Needed to get out, clear my mind, and give myself time to think all at the same time. My muscles, sore from last night from the mixture of dancing and great sex, are now limber and moving on autopilot. As much as I think I should go for an extra mile, my stupidity in overlooking breakfast before my run has my body telling me that I won’t last that far. Pitbull blasts in my ears, the song’s constant beat driving my feet and spinning my head back to thoughts of last night.

Oh, Colton. My head is still trying to wrap itself around what happened. He’s the chance I have been looking for. To be carefree. To live in the moment. To be alive, not just living. I resolve that I can have sex with Colton with emotion. The emotions just have to be fueled by excitement and anticipation and lust rather than love and devotion and the hope of “more.” I just need to keep being the sassy, smart-mouthed woman I’ve been all along because the minute he thinks there’s an inkling of more, he’ll be out the door. And it—him, me, us—will be over.

I ponder this my last quarter of a mile, recalling how he made me feel physically last night. I guess there’s something to be said for lots of experience as I can attest that the man is skilled in the many facets of sexual dexterity. I blush at my thoughts, steeling my resolve that I can be with Colton without falling in love with him. I hope. That I’m going to enjoy every second of it because I know he’s not the staying kind.

Teagan and Sara’s “Closer” fills my head as I turn the corner onto my street, my footsteps faltering as I see a white Range Rover parked in my driveway. The rhythm has been knocked clear out of my stride at the shock of seeing him here. I can’t help the hum that comes from deep in my throat in pure appreciation at the sight of Colton leaning up against the front fender of the car, his dark figure haloed by its white. A navy blue shirt fits snugly over his torso, hinting at the corded muscles underneath. Muscles I can still feel on my fingertips. A pair of printed board shorts sits low on his hips and his long, lean legs cross casually at the ankles completed with a pair of flip-flops. Casual suits Colton very well. It lightens the intensity he instinctively exudes. His head is bent down concentrating on the phone in his hands, and his unruly hair is spiked with gel to perfection in a stylish, messy disarray. The pang of desire that hits my body is so strong, so overwhelming that I almost have to bring a hand to my torso to stifle it. I force myself to remember to breathe as I push my body to start moving again.

To go home. To go to Colton.

Shit. I’m in serious trouble. I admire him from afar, looking so unbelievable and attractive, and I realize that everything I thought about on my run—every stipulation, every rationalization, every justification of why it’s okay to sleep with him—doesn’t matter. Seeing him right here, right now, I know that I’ll do anything it takes, whatever the consequences, to be with him again. To repeat how he made me feel last night.

Almost as if on cue, Colton glances up from his phone and locks eyes with me. A slow, smug grin lights up his face as I run my last few steps, turning up my driveway. I methodically pull my ear buds out, laughing to myself that Christina Aguilera’s “Your Body” is blasting, an anthem to the pure and reckless enjoyment of the male form. I can feel his eyes run up and down the length of my body, taking in my skin-hugging Capri exercise pants and matching razor-back tank top, a V of sweat down the front of my bust.

“Hi,” I say breathlessly, my body still huffing from my exertion.

“Hello, Rylee.” The rasp of his voice saying my name is a hidden aphrodisiac, sending chills down my spine and eliciting a tingling in my belly.

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