Free Me (Page 39)

Free Me (The Found Duet #1)(39)
Author: Laurelin Paige

This change in our well-established routine was awkward.

It was also overwhelming. Because despite everything we had done with each other over the last several weeks, waking up together in the morning was at the top of the intimate list. I didn’t smell good and my mouth felt gross. It was too intimate. JC had trained me well that intimate was not in the contract. I pulled the sheet up over my naked body.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

JC rubbed his eyes then stretched his arms over his head while he yawned. “About what?”

God, he still looked delicious in the morning. He could throw on some clothes and walk out of the hotel and look fine.

It pissed me off. Especially since I never woke up well without coffee.

“What are you sorry about?” he asked again, clasping his hands behind his head.

He even smelled good. Musky and manly. Not fair.

“Sleeping,” I said with a sigh. “Dammit. I wasted our whole night.” I fell back on the bed and covered my eyes with my arm. “And now my schedule’s going to be screwed.” I was scheduled to be at work at ten that night, and I wouldn’t get home until six the next morning. It was going to be a long shift.

Plus, I really did feel bad about wasting our night. I enjoyed our time together way too much to not treasure every minute. And I’d slept through practically four hundred and twenty of those minutes.


I groaned at the lost opportunity as I turned to bury my head in the pillow.

“How did I guess you weren’t pleasant in the morning?” JC was as mellow as ever.

“I don’t know. Maybe because I’m never very pleasant.” The weight of the bed shifted as he got up. I peeked to find him heading to the bathroom, completely confident in his nudity. He kept the door open, which was also too intimate, even though he wasn’t visible from my place on the bed. Even though I’d seen and touched his cock plenty of times now.

When he finished, he stood in the doorframe and looked at me. “I don’t think that’s true.” Before I had a chance to form a comeback, he added, “But I’ll order coffee if you’d like.”

“God, yes.”

“I didn’t realize it was so easy to elicit that expression from you. I’ve been doing it wrong.”

I chuckled. “You haven’t been doing anything wrong. Trust me.” Even my aching thigh muscles praised JC’s techniques.

He sat next to me on the bed to dial room service. I forced myself to not freak out. It was…nice, I told myself, having him sit so near, chatting about mundane things, doing ordinary tasks that weren’t at all related to foreplay or midway-through-play.

But it was also unnerving. Confusing. I didn’t know how to react to him. My body was aroused, as it always was when I was near him, yet my desire was background noise rather than the only sound I could hear. The music in the foreground was something new and strange and a little bit wonderful.

JC ordered breakfast along with the coffee then shifted down so he was lying on the bed between the edge and me. He propped his head up with his elbow and brushed my sex-snarled hair out of my face.

Way too intimate.

With as standoffish as he’d always been, why was he letting this cozy morning happen after all these weeks? Was it a test? Or a change of heart? Or was I simply reading things wrong?

“So what will you do for the rest of the day?” he asked. “Stay up?”

I couldn’t think about the rest of my day—I could barely figure out what I’d do now. I turned so I was facing the ceiling, which helped me gain a smidgeon of personal space. “Yeah. I guess so.”

Honestly, I needed to get up, get dressed and get home. Same as always. I’d figure out what next from there.

But now he’d ordered breakfast…

“Take advantage of your morning and maybe just get a quick nap in before you have to go to work,” JC suggested. “Is there anything you were needing to get done?”

No coffee, awkward situation, naked guy next to me—did he really expect me to be able to answer his questions thoughtfully?

Okay, I can do this. I closed my eyes and pinched at the bridge of my nose. So, my day. I’d eat breakfast with him since that’s what he expected. Then do something with my morning. Take a nap later. Go to work.

I opened my eyes again. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea.”

I scooted up so that I was leaning against the headboard and thought out loud. “Tomorrow’s Norma’s birthday. I was thinking it would be nice to make her breakfast before she goes to work. I should go to the Greenmarket and get some fresh veggies to make her an omelet.”

“Who’s Norma?”

“My sister.” I still hadn’t decided what I should give her for a gift. Norma so efficiently took care of herself—it was hard to get her anything she actually wanted.

I’d had one idea that had a low likelihood of coming through. Knowing that any messages I wanted to send to Ben at the hospital had to go through Norma, I’d had to find other methods of reaching him. Fortunately, she’d left his boyfriend’s number on the counter. I’d texted him, told him her birthday was coming up, and let him know how great a present it would be for her to hear from Ben.

It was a selfish present. One I wanted for myself as much as I wanted it for my sister.

But since I’d heard nothing from Eric but a confirmation that he’d received my message, it was looking like I needed something else. So I added, “And I need to get her a present of some sort.”

He nodded, his eyes narrowed as if deciding something. Finally he said, “Sounds boring. I’ll go with you.” Then he stood up and went to the dresser.

I sat up with as much shock as when I’d awoken to sunlight. “You will? You just said it was boring.”

“If I’m there, it won’t be boring. So yes, I’ll go.”

“You really don’t have to.” Then, because that might have sounded rude, I corrected myself. “I mean, don’t you have to work or get a flight back to L.A.?” Immediately, I worried about how that sounded too. Did it seem like I wanted him not to go? Because it wasn’t that. It was just…we’d never done anything together outside of the hotel room, minus the adventure to the piano in the Madison Suite.

He pulled on a pair of boxer briefs before turning back to me. Which was actually a relief. It made the level of intimacy less awkward. “My flight’s tonight,” he said. “And all I usually do on Thursdays lately is catch up on my sleep.”