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Maybe Not

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Simon & Schuster UK
ISBN 10:
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Maybe 1.5
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I absolutely loved this book
27 November 2020 (21:42) 
The Silent patient: a good read about a psychologist who wishes to right his wrongs.

He was the cause of someones silent, not knowing. Its also about love and trust.

19 January 2021 (06:55) 
I Love this book!!! it is funny.. Warren will make u Laugh.
07 May 2021 (22:42) 
Hands down one of my favorite books from this author. It does have lots of cursing and sexual tension between two characters. But I still loved it.
27 June 2021 (16:19) 
I laughed out loud so many times I love this book
10 October 2021 (07:11) 

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Maybe One Day

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Maybe Not

EPUB, 446 KB
5.0 / 0
To Kendall Smith, one of my very best friends. You’ve been by my side since we were kids, and I couldn’t do any of this without you.

Chapter One

			I’m convinced that hell has an intercom system and the buzz of my alarm clock is played at full volume on repeat against the screams of all the lost souls.

			Which is why I’ll never murder anyone, because there’s no way I can live with this sound for eternity. I can’t even live with it for five seconds.

			I reach over and stop the alarm, dreading another day at work. I hate that I have to keep this shitty barista job just to pay for school. At least Ridge lets my sporadic rent checks slide in exchange for my managing his band. It works for now, but God, I hate mornings.

			I stretch my arms, bring my hands to my eyes, and begin rubbing the sleep out of them. When my fingers meet my eyes, for a split second I think maybe my worst fears have come true and I’m actually burning in hell, because SHIT! Motherfucker! I’m going to kill him!

			“Ridge!” I scream.

			Oh, God. It burns.

			I stand up and attempt to open my eyes, but they’re stinging too badly for them to be of any use. It’s the oldest prank in the book, and I can’t believe I fell for it. Again.

			I can’t find my shorts—God it hurts so bad—so I stumble my way to the bathroom in order to wash the pepper juice from my eyes and hands. I find the doorknob and swing the door open, rushing straight to the sink. I’m pretty sure I hear a girl screaming, but that very well could be me screaming.

			I cup my hands beneath the stream of water and bring them up to my eyes, rinsing them over and over until the burn starts to subside. Once my eyes begin to feel relief, my shoulder starts to ache from the repeated blows being delivered to it.

			“Get out, you pervert!”

			I’m awake enough now to know that I actually did hear a girl screaming, and now that girl is hitting me. In my bathroom.

			 I grab a hand towel and press it to my eyes while I shield her punches with my elbow.

			“I was peeing, you ; sick bastard! Get out!”

			Shit, she hits hard. I still can’t really see her, but I can recognize fists when they’re flying at me. I grab both of her wrists to keep her from assaulting me even more.

			“Stop hitting me!” I yell.

			The bathroom door that leads to the living room swings open and my left eye is working enough that I can tell Brennan is standing there. “What the hell is going on?” He walks toward us and removes my hands from her wrists and then stands between us. I bring the towel back to my eyes and squeeze them shut.

			“He barged in on me while I was peeing!” the girl yells. “And he’s naked!”

			I open one eye and glance down. I am, in fact, completely naked.

			“Jesus, Warren. Put on some clothes,” Brennan says.

			“How was I supposed to know I’d be attacked in my own bathroom?” I say, pointing at her. “Why the hell is she using my bathroom, anyway? Your guests can use your bathroom.”

			Brennan immediately holds up two defensive palms. “She didn’t spend the night with me.”

			“Gross,” the girl mutters.

			I don’t know why Ridge thought it would be a good idea to rent a four-bedroom apartment. Even though one of the bedrooms is empty, that’s still two people too many. Especially when guests spend the night and don’t know about the designated bathrooms.

			“Look,” I say, pushing both of them toward the door that leads to the living room. “This is my bathroom and I’d like to use it. I don’t care where she slept or who she slept with; she can use your bathroom. This one’s mine.”

			Brennan holds up a finger and turns to face me. “Actually,” he says. “This is a shared bathroom. With that bedroom.” He points to the door that leads to the other bedroom. “And that bedroom now belongs to . . .” He points to the girl. “Bridgette. Your new roommate.”

			I pause.

			Why did he just call her my roommate?

			“What do you mean, roommate? No one asked me if I wanted a new roommate.”

			Brennan shrugs. “You rarely pay rent, Warren. You don’t really have a say in who lives here.”

			He knows I don’t pay rent because I help manage their band, but Ridge does take on the brunt of the financial expenses. He makes a good point, unfortunately.

			This isn’t good. I can’t share a bathroom with a girl. Especially a girl with that good of an arm. And especially a girl with all that bronzed skin.

			I look away from her. I hate that she’s hot. I hate that she’s a brunette, because I really like her long, light brown hair and the way it’s pulled back, all messy and shit.


			“Well, this has been a really fun bonding moment,” Bridgette says, walking toward me. She shoves my shoulders, pushing me back toward my bedroom. “Now wait your turn, Roomie.”

			The bathroom door closes in my face and I’m standing in my room again. Still naked. And maybe a little emasculated.

			“You can leave, too,” I hear her say to Brennan, right before the door to the living room slams shut. Seconds later, the water begins running in the shower.

			She’s in the shower.

			My shower.

			She’s probably taking off her shirt right now, tossing it on the floor, pulling her panties down over her hips.

			I’m fucked.

			My apartment is my sanctuary. My man cave. The only place I can go where my life isn’t ruled by women. My boss is a woman, all my professors are women, my sister and my mother are both women. Once Bridgette steps into my shower and makes it her own with all her girly shampoos and razors and shit, I’m screwed. That’s my shower.

			I walk to Ridge’s bedroom and flip the light switch a couple of times to give him warning that I’m coming in, since he’s deaf and can’t hear me knocking or stomping toward his room like a kid about to tattle on his little brother.

			I flip the switch two more times and then swing his door open. He’s lifting up onto his elbows, groggy-eyed. He sees the anger on my face and he begins to laugh, incorrectly assuming I’m here about the pepper-juice prank.

			I hate that I fell for it. I’m such a deep sleeper though, and he gets me every damn time.

			“That prank was stupid,” I sign to him. “But I’m not here because of that. We need to talk.”

			He sits up in bed and reaches over to tilt his alarm clock so that he can check the time. He looks back at me, agitated. “It’s six-thirty in the morning,” he signs. “What the hell do you want to talk about at six-thirty in the morning?”

			I point in the direction of the new roommate’s bedroom.


			I hate her name.

			“You let a girl move in?” I make the sign for roommate and continue. “Why in the world would you let a girl move in with us?”

			Ridge makes the sign for Brennan’s name. “That’s all him. I don’t think he would have accepted no for an answer.”

			I laugh. “Since when are girls important to Brennan?”

			“I heard that,” Brennan says from behind me. “And saw you sign it.”

			I face him. “Good. So answer the question.”

			He glares at me and then looks at Ridge. “Go back to sleep. I’ll handle the five-year-old.” He motions for me to follow him into the living room, turning out Ridge’s bedroom light as he exits.

			I like Brennan, but the fact that we’ve known each other for so long makes me feel like he’s my little brother sometimes. My annoying-as-fuck little brother. My little brother who thinks moving his women into our apartment is a good idea.

			“It’s just for a few months,” Brennan says, continuing toward the kitchen. “She’s in a rough spot and needs a place to stay.”

			I follow Brennan into the kitchen. “Since when did you start providing rescue homes? You don’t even let girls spend the night when you’re done with them, much less move in with you. Are you in love with her or something? Because if that’s the case, this is the stupidest decision you’ve ever made. You’ll get tired of her in a week and then what?”

			Brennan faces me and calmly holds up a finger. “I told you earlier, it’s not like that. We aren’t together and we never will be together. But she’s important to me and she’s in a tough spot and we’re going to help her, okay?” He takes a bottle of water out of the fridge and opens the cap. “It won’t be that bad. She’s in school and works full-time, so she’ll hardly ever be here. You won’t even notice.”

			I groan, frustrated, and run my hands down my face. “This is great,” I mumble. “The last thing I need right now is some chick taking over my entire bathroom.”

			Brennan rolls his eyes and begins walking back toward his bedroom. “It’s a bathroom, Warren. You’re acting like a little shit.”

			“She hit me!” I say in defense.

			Brennan turns and cocks an eyebrow. “See what I mean?” He walks into his bedroom and closes the door behind him.

			The water turns off in the shower, and I hear the curtain slide open. As soon as the door to her bedroom shuts, I walk toward the bathroom. My bathroom. I try to open the door from the living room, but it’s locked from the inside. I walk through my bedroom and check that door, but it’s locked, too. I walk out of my room, straight into her bedroom. My eyes catch a glimpse of her before she screams and pulls a towel in front of her.

			“What the hell are you doing?”

			She picks up a shoe and tosses it at me. It hits me in the shoulder, but I don’t even flinch. I ignore her and walk into the bathroom and slam the door shut. I lean against it, lock it behind me, and then close my eyes.

			Dammit, she’s hot.

			Why does she have to be hot?

			And I know it was just a glimpse but . . . she shaves. Everywhere.

			It’s bad enough I have to share a bathroom with a girl, but now I have to share it with a hot girl? A hot girl who has a severe mean streak? A hot girl with a sick tan and hair so long and thick, it covers up her breasts when it’s wet, and shit, shit, shit.

			I hate Brennan. I hate Ridge. I also love them for doing this to me.

			Maybe having her for a roommate could be a good thing.

			“Hey, asshole!” she yells through the door. “I used all the hot water. Have fun.”

			Maybe not.

			I walk to Brennan’s room and swing open the door. He’s packing a suitcase and doesn’t even look at me when I stalk over to him.

			“What now?” he asks, annoyed.

			“I need to ask you something and I need you to be completely honest with me.”

			He sighs and turns to face me. “What is it?”

			“Have you slept with her?”

			He looks at me like I’m an idiot. “I already told you no.”

			I hate that he’s acting so mature and calm about this situation, because my reaction is making me feel really immature. Brennan has always been the immature one. Since the moment I met Ridge . . . God how long ago was that? Ten years? I’m twenty-four, Brennan’s twenty-one . . . yeah. Ten years. I’ve been best friends with them for a decade, and this is the first time I’ve actually felt inferior to Brennan.

			I don’t like it. I’m the responsible one. Well, not as responsible as Ridge, obviously, but no one is. I do manage Brennan’s band, and I do a hell of a good job of it, so why can’t I seem to control my reactions right now?

			Because. I know myself, and if I can’t get rid of the new roommate right away, then I’ll more than likely become infatuated with her. And if I’ll be infatuated with her, I need to make sure Brennan isn’t.

			“You have to be honest with me, because I think you might be in love with her and I need you to tell me you’re not, because I think I might want to kiss her. And touch her. A lot. Like, everywhere.”

			Brennan’s hands fly to his forehead and he looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. He takes several steps back.

			“Are you listening to yourself, Warren? I mean, fuck, man! You yell at me three minutes ago because you hate her and don’t want her here, and now you’re saying you want her? Are you bipolar?”

			He makes a good point.

			Jesus, what’s wrong with me?

			I pace the room, trying to figure out a solution. She can’t stay here. But I want her to stay. I can’t share a bathroom with her, but I don’t really want anyone else to share a bathroom with her, either. I’m a little bit selfish, apparently.

			I pause my frantic pacing and look at Brennan. “Why is she so mean?”

			Brennan walks over to me and calmly places two hands on my shoulders. “Warren Russell, you need to calm the hell down. You’re starting to freak me out.”

			I shake my head. “I know. I’m sorry, I just. I don’t want to be attracted to a girl that you’re involved with, so I need to know now if that’s the case because we go too far back to let something like this mess us up. But you also know you can’t just drop a girl that looks like her in my lap, and expect me not to go there in my head. And I just saw her naked and now I’m useless. Ruined. She’s so damn perfect beneath all those clothes and . . .” I look up at him. “I just want to make sure I’m not stepping on any toes when I fantasize about her tonight.”

			Brennan stares at me, mulling over my admission. He pats me twice on the shoulder and returns to his suitcase. “She’s mean, Warren. Probably the meanest girl I’ve ever met in my life. So if she murders you in your sleep, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He closes his suitcase and begins to zip it. “She needed a place to stay and we have an extra room. Her life makes mine and Ridge’s look like a cakewalk, so go easy on her.”

			I take a seat on the edge of his bed. I’m trying to be sympathetic to the situation, but the business manager in me is skeptical. “She just called you out of the blue and asked if she could move in with you? Don’t you think that’s a little suspicious, Brennan? You don’t think it has to do with the band finally making a name for itself?”

			Brennan glares at me. “She’s not an opportunist, Warren. Trust me on that. And hit on her if you want, I couldn’t care less.”

			He walks toward the door and grabs his keys off the dresser. “I’ll be back next week after the last show. Do you have our hotel rooms squared up?”

			I nod. “I emailed you all the confirmation numbers.”

			“Thanks,” he says as he walks out of the room.

			I fall back onto the bed and hate the fact that Brennan isn’t into her. That means she’s fair game.

			I was kind of hoping she wasn’t.

			But then I smile, because she is.

Chapter Two

			“What are you doing?” Ridge signs.

			I walk back to Bridgette’s bedroom with another glass of water. Once I carefully place it on the floor with all the others, I come back to the living room. “She’s lived here two weeks,” I tell Ridge. “If she wants to be a roommate, she has to live with the pranks. It’s the rule.”

			Ridge shakes his head disapprovingly.

			“What?” I say defensively.

			He sighs heavily. “She hardly seems like the type to embrace pranks. This will backfire on you. She hasn’t even spoken to us since she moved in.”

			I disagree with a shake of my head. “She hasn’t spoken to you because you’re deaf and she doesn’t know sign language. She hasn’t spoken to me because I’m pretty sure I intimidate her.”

			“You annoy her,” Ridge signs. “I don’t think that girl is capable of being intimidated.”

			I shake my head. “I don’t annoy her. I think she might be attracted to me and that’s why she’s avoiding me. Because she knows it’s not a good idea for roommates to hook up.”

			Ridge points to her bedroom. “Then why are you making an effort to prank her? Do you want her to speak to you? Because if you think roommates shouldn’t hook up, then you probably shouldn’t be . . .”

			I interrupt him. “I didn’t say I think roommates shouldn’t hook up. I said I think that’s why she’s avoiding me.”

			“So you want to hook up with her?”

			I roll my eyes. “You don’t get it. No, I don’t want to hook up with her. Yes, I like staring at her ass. And I’m only pranking her because if she’s going to live here, she needs to get used to it. When in Rome . . .”

			Ridge throws his hands up in defeat and heads toward his room, just as the front door begins to open. I rush to my bedroom and shut the door before she sees me.

			I sit on the bed and wait.

			And I wait.

			And I wait some more.

			I lie down on the bed. I wait some more.

			She never makes a sound. I don’t hear her getting angry that I just filled over fifty cups of water and placed them strategically around her entire bedroom. I don’t hear her stomping into the kitchen to pour them out. I don’t hear her beating on my door to throw the cups of water at my face in retaliation.

			I’m so confused.

			I stand up and walk out of my bedroom, but she’s not in the kitchen or living room. Her work shoes are by the front door where she keeps them, so I know she came home. I know she went into her room.

			What a disappointment. Her lack of response makes me feel like my prank was a failure, when I know it wasn’t. It was epic. There’s no way she could have made it one foot into her room without having to move all those cups of water.

			I stalk back to my bedroom and lie down on the bed. I want to be pissed at her. I want to hate her for sucking at prank retaliation.

			But I don’t. I can’t stop smiling because I love that her response caught me off guard. She’s unexpected, and I like that.

			• • •


			Her voice sounds so sweet. I must be dreaming.

			“Warren, wake up.”

			So, so sweet. Angelic, even.

			I give myself a few seconds to adjust to her voice, to the fact that she’s waking me up, to the randomness of her being at my bedroom door, calling out my name. I slowly open my eyes and roll onto my back. I lift up onto my elbows and look at her. She’s standing in the doorway between the bedroom and our bathroom. She’s wearing an oversized Sounds of Cedar T-shirt and it doesn’t even look like she’s wearing anything underneath it.

			“What’s up?” I ask her.

			She wants me. She totally wants me.

			She folds her arms tightly over her chest. She tilts her head to the side, and I watch as her eyes narrow into tiny, angry slits. “Don’t ever step foot inside my bedroom again. Asshole.” She straightens up and backs into the bathroom, slamming the door.

			I glance at the clock, and it’s two in the morning. That was an extremely delayed reaction to my prank. Was she just waiting for me to fall asleep so she could wake me up and yell at me? Is that her idea of revenge?

			She’s such an amateur.

			I smile to myself and roll over, shifting on the bed. I gasp when a rush of water pours down on top of me.

			What the fuck?

			I look up, just as an empty cup falls from the edge of the headboard and hits me square between the eyes.

			I close my eyes, ashamed that I didn’t see that coming. I’m so disappointed in myself. And now I’ll have to sleep on towels, because my mattress is soaking wet.

			I throw the covers off and swing my legs over the bed, only for my feet to be met with even more cups of water. I knock several of them over in my attempt to stand and it creates a sort of domino effect. I bend over and try to stop them from falling over, but I just make it worse. She’s placed them so close together, all over my bedroom floor, and I can’t find a safe spot to step.

			I try to reach for the nightstand while at the same time lifting my right leg so that it doesn’t hit any more cups, but I lose my balance in the process and . . . yes. I fall down. Onto the remaining pile of cups that are full of water. Water that is now all over my carpet.

			Touché, Bridgette.

			• • •

			I’m carrying the cups of water from my bedroom to the kitchen, back and forth, back and forth. Ridge is sitting at the table, staring at me. I know he wants to ask why the cups are now in my room, but he better not. I’m sure he can see by the look on my face that I don’t need his, “I told you so.”

			The door to Bridgette’s bedroom opens and she walks out with her backpack slung over her shoulder. I pause and stare at her for a few seconds. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail. She has on a pair of jeans and a blue tank top. She’s usually wearing her Hooters uniform, which, don’t get me wrong, is fantastic. But this? Seeing her dressed down with her flip-flops on and no makeup is just . . . Stop looking at her.

			“Good morning, Warren,” she says, shooting daggers in my direction. She glances at the cups in my hands. “Sleep well?”

			I smile at her with vengeance. “Screw you, Bridgette.”

			She crinkles up her nose and gives her head a quick shake. “No thanks,” she says, heading toward the front door. “Oh, by the way. We’re out of toilet paper. Also, I couldn’t find my razor, so I hope you don’t mind that I used yours.” She opens the front door and turns to face me. “And . . .” She scrunches up her nose again. “I accidentally knocked your toothbrush into the toilet. Sorry. I rinsed it off for you, though.”

			She closes the door right when one of the cups of water flies out of my hand and meets the back of the door.

			She’s such a bitch.

			Ridge calmly walks past me, straight to his bedroom. He doesn’t even look at me, because he knows me better than anyone, and therefore, he knows not to speak to me right now.

			I wish Brennan knew me that well, because he’s laughing, making his way into the kitchen. Every time he glances up at me, he laughs even harder. “I know she’s mean, but Christ, Warren. She hates you.” He’s still laughing as he opens the dishwasher to unload it. “I mean really hates you.”

			I finish the trek across the living room and set the empty cups next to the sink. “I can’t do this anymore,” I say to him. “I can’t live with a girl.”

			Brennan glances at me, amused. He doesn’t think I’m serious.

			“Tonight. I want her out tonight. She can move in with a friend, or with that sister of hers she’s always on the phone with. I want her gone, Brennan.”

			He can see that I’m not kidding. He straightens up and presses his hands onto the counter behind him, eyeing me. He shakes his head. “She’s not leaving.”

			He reaches down and closes the dishwasher and presses the button to start it. He begins to walk away so I follow after him. “You can’t have final say in who lives here. I’ve tried for two weeks to get along with her, and she’s fucking impossible.”

			Brennan glances at all the cups lining the countertop. “You think pranking her is making an effort to get along with her?” He looks back at me. “You have a hell of a lot to learn about women, Warren.” He turns away from me and walks back toward his room. “She’s not leaving. She’s our roommate now so deal with it.”

			He slams his door, and it pisses me off even more because I’m really tired of everyone slamming doors lately. I stomp across the living room and swing his door open. “Either she goes or I go!”

			As soon as I say it, I regret it. Actually, I don’t. I’m not going anywhere, but maybe the threat will change his mind. He shrugs.

			“See ya,” he says casually.

			I turn around and punch the door. “Seriously, Brennan? You would let me leave over her?”

			He stands and walks toward me, not stopping until we’re eye to eye. “Yes, Warren. I would. So go think it over and let me know when you’re moving out.” His hand grips the door and he tries to close it in my face, but I slap my palm against it and push it back open.

			“You’re fucking her,” I say.

			“Stop it, already! I’m not fucking her.”

			My jaw is clenched tightly and I’m nodding my head slowly. That’s the only explanation for why he’s endlessly defending her. “I don’t know why you won’t just admit it, Brennan. It’s fine. You’re in love with Bridgette and you don’t want her to move out. If you would just admit it, I’d stop.”

			Brennan’s jaw tenses and he expels a quick, frustrated breath. He runs his hands through his hair and that’s when I see it. I see it written all over his face.

			Brennan is in love with Bridgette.

			I don’t know how I feel about that, which makes no sense, since I’m trying to kick her out.

			“Warren,” he says calmly. He backs into the room and motions for me to step inside. I don’t know why he thinks he needs privacy when the only other person in this apartment is Ridge. He closes the door behind me once I’m inside his bedroom. He puts his hands on his hips and stares at the floor for several seconds. When his eyes finally meet mine again, they’re full of defeat.

			I knew it.

			“I’m not in love with Bridgette,” he says calmly. “She’s my sister.”

Chapter Three

			I’m pacing the room, holding my forehead, pausing every few feet to look at Brennan and shake my head, only to continue pacing again.

			I liked it better when I thought he was fucking her.

			“How?” I ask. “How is that even possible?” I pause again and face him. “And why didn’t you guys tell me before now?” I feel slightly excluded, like Ridge and Brennan were trying to keep some big family secret from me. That isn’t right, because I’m their family. They lived with me after they left home. My parents took them in and gave them a roof over their heads and food on the table.

			“Ridge doesn’t know,” Brennan says. “And I don’t want him to know until we find out for sure. We’ll have a paternity test done soon, but our schedules just haven’t worked out yet and it’s kind of expensive.”

			Great. I can’t keep secrets from Ridge. We’ve been best friends since we were ten. I’ve never kept a secret from him, especially one this big.

			“Warren, swear to me you won’t tell him. The last thing he needs right now is more stress, and if he finds out I’ve been in touch with our father, he’ll take it personally.”

			My hands fly up in the air. “Your father, Brennan? Why in the hell would you ever want to contact that bastard again?”

			He shakes his head. “I didn’t. After Bridgette found out that her biological mother had an affair with our father, she found me and asked me to help her find him.” He folds his arms over his chest and looks down at the floor. “I warned her, but she had to see it for herself. I won’t be seeing my father again, but if Ridge knows I even took her to see him, he would think I was going behind his back to reach out to our parents, and I wasn’t.”

			“What did your father say when you showed up after all these years?”

			Ridge and Brennan moved in with me and my parents when they were only seventeen and fourteen, so it’s been about seven years since either of them has had contact with their father.

			Brennan shakes his head. “He hasn’t changed. He barely said two sentences to us before he sent us on our way. I think it disappointed her so much, she’d be fine not having a paternity test completed if it weren’t for Ridge and me possibly being her brothers. I think she just wants someone she can call family, which is why I’m helping her out with all this. I feel bad for her.”

			I can’t believe this. I never would have guessed it. “She doesn’t even look like either of you.” Brennan and Ridge look almost identical, and they both look just like their father. If their father is the common link between them and Bridgette, you would think she’d have some form of similarity to them. Other than her brown hair, there’s nothing about her that looks like Ridge or Brennan. Her green eyes aren’t even close to their dark brown eyes, so if she is their sister, she must have taken a hundred percent after her mother. I could just be justifying the fact that I don’t want them to look alike. That would be a little strange for me.

			Brennan shrugs. “We still don’t know for sure, Warren. If it turns out she’s not his daughter, then Ridge will never even have to know about this.”

			I nod, knowing full well that Brennan is right. Ridge has enough on his plate having to deal with Maggie’s issues, and until they know for sure, this isn’t something he should have to stress over.

			“What happens to Bridgette?” I ask him. “If it turns out she’s not your sister.”

			Brennan shrugs. “Then I guess she’s just our new roommate.”

			I sit down on the bed and try to soak everything in. This changes everything. If she’s Ridge and Brennan’s sister, she won’t just be my roommate. She and her attitude and her tiny little Hooters shorts will be part of our lives forever.

			I don’t really know how I feel about that.

			“Are you sure she’s not just trying to swindle you?”

			Brennan rolls his eyes. “That girl is just trying to survive, Warren. She’s had a really fucked-up life and even if it turns out we’re not related, she just needs someone to give her a chance. So please. You don’t even have to be nice to her. Just be understanding enough to allow her to live here.”

			I nod and fall back onto the bed. Sister?

			“So,” I say to Brennan. “I guess that means you definitely aren’t into her. Which means I can be.”

			Brennan’s pillow meets my face. “You’re disgusting.”

Chapter Four

			Brennan was right. I’m disgusting. I’ve never felt more disappointed in myself than I have these past two weeks. Since the moment I found out she might be Ridge and Brennan’s sister, I haven’t been able to stop staring at her. I keep trying to pinpoint mannerisms they have in common, or physical features, but the only thing I’ve noticed is how hot she looks in that Hooters outfit.

			Which, in turn, makes me disgusted with myself, because thoughts of her in her uniform lead to some really strange dreams. Last night I dreamt I walked into the apartment and she was standing in the kitchen in those tiny orange shorts with her midriff showing. But when my eyes made it to her face, it wasn’t her face I was looking at. It was Brennan’s. He was smiling at me with a shit-eating grin, and right when I started gagging, Ridge walked out of his room wearing the same Hooters outfit.

			I woke up after that and had to immediately go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. I don’t know why I thought brushing my teeth would help me, but whatever. This sibling thing is fucking with my head in more ways than it should. On the one hand, I think it would be cool if Ridge and Brennan had a sister. On the other hand, I don’t want that sister to be Bridgette. Mainly because I’m skeptical of the reasons she’s showing up out of the blue right when Brennan begins to make a name for himself. Does she have ulterior motives? Does she think he’s made of money?

			Because as the band’s manager, I can assure her, he’s not. The money the band brings in goes right back into promotion and travel expenses. It’s at the point where they’re putting in so much time and effort, if it doesn’t start paying off during this next scheduled tour, it may be the last one they go on. Which is why I’m a little bitter when it comes to Bridgette, because I need Brennan’s focus to be on Sounds of Cedar and Ridge’s focus to be on writing the songs. I don’t want them caught up in family drama.

			But dammit. Those shorts.

			I’m standing in my bedroom doorway, watching her. She’s in the kitchen, talking on the phone while she makes herself something to eat. The phone is sitting on the counter and she’s on speaker with whomever is on the other line.

			Bridgette hasn’t noticed I’m standing here, so until she does, I’m staying right here. Because seeing her have a normal, human conversation is something I’ve never witnessed before, and I can’t stop watching. Which is strange, because how many times a day do I see people having typical interactions with other humans? It says a lot about Bridgette’s personality that seeing her do something like this could actually be fascinating. She’d make an interesting anthropological study, considering she doesn’t seem to conform to how society expects a young woman to act.

			“I can’t take living in this dorm,” the voice on speaker says. “My roommate’s a fruit loop dingus.”

			Bridgette tilts her head toward the direction of the phone, but still doesn’t turn around to see me. “You can make it until you graduate.”

			“And then we can get our own place?”

			My ears perk up, hearing her mention the possibility of moving out. “We can’t afford our own place,” Bridgette says.

			“We could if you would go back into doing porn films.”

			“It was one porn,” Bridgette says defensively. “We needed the money. Besides, I was in it for all of three minutes, so will you please stop bringing it up.”

			Holy shit. Please say the name, please say the name. I have to know the name of this porn.

			“Okay, okay,” the girl says, laughing. “I’ll stop bringing it up if you can promise I’ll be out of the dorms in three months.”

			Bridgette shakes her head. “You know I don’t make promises. And are you forgetting about the time we tried living together for three months? Because I’m still shocked either of us came out alive. We get along better with distance, and you’re better off in the dorms, believe me.”

			“Ugh. I know you’re right,” the girl says. “I just need to get off my ass and get a job. How’s that Hooters gig working out for you?”

			Bridgette scoffs. “It’s the worst job I’ve ever had.” She turns around to pick up her phone and her eyes meet mine. I don’t even try to hide the fact that I was listening to her conversation. She glares at me as she picks up the phone and holds it to her mouth. “I’ll call you later, Brandi.” She ends her call and slaps her phone against the counter. “What’s your problem?”

			I shrug. “Nothing,” I say, straightening up and walking toward the kitchen.

			Don’t look at her shorts, don’t look at her shorts.

			“I just didn’t realize you were capable of normal human interaction.”

			Bridgette rolls her eyes and picks up the plate of food she just finished preparing. She begins walking toward her bedroom. “I can be pleasant to people who deserve it.”

			When she reaches her door, she turns around and faces me. “I need you to drop me off at work in an hour. My car’s in the shop.” She disappears into her bedroom.

			I grimace, because for some reason, the thought of taking her to work excites me, and my excitement disappoints me. I feel like I’m two different people right now. I’m a guy who finds his new roommate insanely attractive, but I’m also a guy who can’t stand to be around his bitchy new roommate.

			I’m also a guy who’s about to do some heavy research into the porn industry, because I have to find that movie. Have to. It’s all I’m gonna be able to think about until I see it with my own eyes.

			• • •

			“What’s Bridgette’s last name?” I ask Brennan. I’ve texted him five times in the last half hour, trying to figure it out, but he hasn’t texted me back, so now I’m on the phone with him. I’m sure a little Google search of her name could help me find the title.

			“Cox. Why?”

			I laugh. “Bridgette Cox? Seriously?”

			There’s a pause on his end of the line. “What’s so funny? And why do you need her last name?”

			“No reason,” I say. “Thanks.”

			I hang up the phone without giving him an explanation. The last thing Brennan needs to know is that his possible sister was in a porn film.

			But Cox? That’s way too easy.

			I spend the next fifteen minutes googling her name, looking for anything porn-related. I come up empty-handed. She must have used a fake name.

			I slam my laptop shut when my bedroom door swings open. “Let’s go,” she says.

			I stand up and slip on my shoes. “Ever heard of knocking?” I ask as I follow her through the living room.

			“Really, Warren? Coming from the guy who’s walked in on me in the bathroom no less than three times in the past two weeks?”

			“Ever heard of locking doors?” I say in response.

			She doesn’t reply as she makes her way outside. I grab my keys off the bar and follow her. I am curious as to why she never locks the doors when she’s in the shower. My first thought leads me to believe that maybe she likes it when I walk in on her. Why else would she leave them unlocked?

			Come to think of it, she also wears that damn uniform way longer than she needs to. She puts it on a good two hours before going to work and she leaves it on just as long when she gets home. Most people spend as little time as possible in their work clothes, but Bridgette seems to like flaunting her ass in my face.

			I pause at the bottom of the stairs and watch as her ass makes its way toward my car.

			Holy shit. I think Bridgette is into me.

			She turns around after she tries to open the locked door. She looks at me expectantly and I’m still frozen at the bottom of the stairs, staring at her, my mouth agape.

			Bridgette likes me.

			“Unlock the car, Warren. Jesus.”

			I lift the key fob and point it at the car to unlock the doors. Bridgette slides into her seat and flips the visor down, fingering at her hair. A smile slowly spreads across my face as I make my way to the driver’s side.

			Bridgette wants me.

			This is gonna be fun.

			After I back the car out, I keep half of my focus on the road and half of it on her legs. She has one propped up on the dash and she keeps running her hand up and down her thigh. I can’t tell if she’s doing it in a seductive way or because she likes the sound of her fingernails scraping over her pantyhose.

			I have to adjust in my seat and swallow the lump in my throat, because we’ve never actually been this close before for this long. The tension is thick, and I can’t tell if it’s all mine or if it’s a shared tension. I clear my throat and do what I can to not make this the most awkward ten miles I’ve ever had to drive.

			“So,” I say, attempting to think of something to break the ice. “Do you like your job?”

			Bridgette laughs under her breath. “Yes, Warren. I love it. I love when disgusting old men grab my ass night after night, and I especially love it when drunk guys think my boobs are an accessory and not an extension of my body.”

			I shake my head. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to speak to her. I exhale and don’t bother asking her any more questions. She’s impossible to talk to.

			Silence engulfs the car for another two miles. I hear her sigh heavily and I turn and glance at her, but she’s staring out the window. “The tips are good,” she says quietly.

			I smile and look back at the road. I smile, because I know that’s as close to an apology as Bridgette is capable of giving. “That’s good,” I say to her, my way of telling her I accept her apology.

			We’re quiet until we reach her work. I stop out front and she gets out of the car and then leans down and looks at me. “I need you to pick me up at eleven tonight.”

			She slams the door shut without saying please or thank you or goodbye. And even though she’s the most inconsiderate person I’ve ever met in real life, I can’t stop smiling.

			I think we may have just bonded.

			• • •

			After I make it home, the first thing I do is set timers on every single porn on pay-per-view. I spend the next few hours fast-forwarding through most of them, pausing it any time it lands on a girl that even remotely resembles her. I take into account that she may have been wearing a wig, so I can’t rule women out simply based on their hair color.

			Ridge takes a seat next to me on the couch and I consider putting the TV on caption for him, but I don’t. Let’s be honest, pornos aren’t known for their riveting story lines.

			Ridge elbows me to get my attention. “What’s with this new fascination?” he asks, referring to the fact that I’ve done nothing today other than watch porn after porn.

			I don’t want to be honest, so I just shrug. “I like porn.”

			He nods his head slowly and then stands up. “I’m not gonna lie,” he signs. “It’s really awkward. I’ll be out on my balcony if you need me.”

			I pause the TV. “You worked out any new songs yet?”

			Ridge looks frustrated when I ask him this. He shakes his head. “Not yet.” He walks away and I feel bad for asking. I don’t know what’s changed over the last few months, but he’s not the same. He seems more stressed out than usual, and it makes me wonder if he and Maggie have been fighting. He says they’re fine, but he’s never had a problem writing music for the band before, and everyone knows the number one source for musical inspiration comes from relationships.

			Ridge and Brennan are both musically inclined and I’ve always been a little bit jealous in that regard. Granted, I’m jealous of Ridge in a lot of ways. He just seems to have been born with a certain level of maturity, and I’ve always envied that about him. He’s not impulsive like I am and he also seems to take people’s feelings into consideration more than I do. I know Brennan has always looked up to him and I definitely do, too, so seeing him struggling with whatever is going on in that head of his is tough. He knew what he was getting into when he began dating Maggie, so I’m not sure if he’s growing unhappy in his relationship with her or if maybe he’s concerned she’s unhappy with him. Whatever it is, I’m not sure what I can do to help him.

			I don’t think I can help him.

			I give my focus back to the TV and fast-forward through at least three more films before I realize it’s already eleven and I’m late picking up Bridgette.

			Shit. Time flies when you’re watching porn.

			I spend the next several minutes in fast-forward, making it the ten miles to Hooters in record time. When I pull up, she’s standing outside with her arms folded across her chest, shooting daggers at my car. She swings the door open and climbs in. “You’re late.”

			I wait until she slams the door before pressing on the gas. “You’re welcome for the ride, Bridgette.”

			I can feel the anger radiating from her. I don’t know if it’s simply because I’m late picking her up or because she had a shitty night at work, but I’m not about to ask. When we pull into the complex, she jumps out of my car before I even have it in park. She stalks up the stairs and slams the front door shut.

			When I reach the apartment, she’s already in her bedroom. I try to be understanding, but this is just . . . it’s fucking rude. I give her a ride to and from work and all she does is bitch at me? You don’t have to be taught manners to know how inappropriate that kind of behavior is. Hell, I’m one of the most inconsiderate people I know, and I would never treat someone like she’s treating me.

			I walk to my bedroom and head straight for the bathroom. She’s already in there, standing at the sink, washing her face. “Again with the failure to knock?” she says with a dramatic roll of her eyes.

			I ignore her and walk to the toilet. I lift the lid and unzip my pants. I try to keep my smile in check when I hear her scoff at the fact that I just started taking a piss with her in the bathroom.

			“Are you serious?”

			I continue to ignore her comments and flush the toilet when I’m finished. I leave the lid up on purpose and step over to the sink, right next to her. Two can play at this asshole game, Bridgette.

			I grab my toothbrush and squirt toothpaste on it and then start brushing my teeth. She elbows me when I get in the way of the sink, attempting to push me aside. I elbow her right back and continue brushing. I look up at our reflection in the mirror and like what I see. I’m several inches taller than her. My hair is darker than hers, and my eyes are brown compared to her greens. We complement each other, though. Standing next to each other like this, I can see how we could make a good-looking couple. We’d probably even make some good-looking children.


			Why am I allowing thoughts like this to fester in my brain?

			She finishes wiping the makeup from her face before grabbing her own toothbrush. Now we’re both fighting for sink space, brushing with more force than our teeth have probably ever been brushed. We take turns angrily spitting into the sink, throwing elbows at each other between every turn.

			When I’m finished, I rinse off my toothbrush and put it back in the holder. She does the same. I cup my hands under the stream of water and bend forward to take a sip when she shoves me aside, causing me to splash water all over the counter. I wait until she has water in her own hands, then I shove her arms, watching the water splash everywhere.

			She grips the counter and takes a deep, calming breath. It doesn’t help, though, because she splashes her hand through the faucet stream, sending a handful of water straight at my face.

			I close my eyes and try to put myself in her shoes. Maybe she’s had a rough day. Maybe she hates her job. Maybe she hates her life.

			Whatever her reason for acting the way she does doesn’t excuse the fact that she still didn’t say thank you for the ride. She’s treating me like I ruined her life, and all I’ve done is try to accommodate her.

			I open my eyes and don’t even look at her. I reach over, turn the sink faucet off, and then grab the hand towel and begin drying my face. She’s watching me closely, waiting for me to retaliate. I take a slow step toward her, towering over her. She presses her back against the sink and keeps her eyes focused on mine as I lean forward.

			Our chests are almost touching now. I can feel the heat radiating from her as her lips slowly part. She’s not pushing me away this time. In fact, it looks like she’s daring me to keep going. To come closer.

			I place my hands on either side of her, locking her in. She still doesn’t resist and I know if I tried to kiss her right now, she wouldn’t resist that, either. Under any other circumstance, I would be kissing her right now. My tongue would be as far into that mouth as I could get it, because fuck it’s a nice mouth. I don’t know how so much venom can spew from lips as soft as hers.

			“Bridgette,” I say, very calmly.

			I can see the roll of her throat as she swallows, still looking up at me. “Warren,” she says, her voice a mix between resolved and desperate.

			I smile at her, just inches from her face. The fact that she’s allowing me this close only proves that my theory earlier this afternoon is correct. She wants me. She wants me to touch her, to kiss her, to carry her to my bed. I wonder if she’s as mean in the bedroom as she is out of the bedroom.

			I lean in another inch and she gasps quietly, trading glances between my eyes and my lips. I pull my bottom lip into my mouth, slowly sliding my teeth across it. She watches my mouth with fascination. My heart is in my throat and my palms are sweating, because I’m not sure I can do this. I’m not so sure I can resist her.

			I lean in even closer, reaching around her with my right hand until I find the mouthwash on the counter. Just when our lips would meet if I were to kiss her, I pull back and step away, removing the lid from the mouthwash. I keep my eyes focused on hers and take a sip before putting the lid back on it and setting it down on the counter.

			I can see the desire in her eyes become swallowed up by fury. She’s pissed at me, pissed at herself. Possibly even embarrassed. When she sees I was teasing her, the corners of her eyes crinkle with her intense glare. I step up to the sink and spit the mouthwash out, wiping my mouth with the hand towel again. I turn toward my bedroom. “Goodnight, Bridgette.”

			I close the door and lean against it and squeeze my eyes shut. Her bedroom door slams shut and I blow out a steady breath. I’ve never been more turned on than I am right now. I’ve also never been more proud of myself than I am right now. Walking away from that mouth and those hungry eyes was the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but also the most important. I have to keep the upper hand, because that girl has way too much power over me, and she doesn’t even know it.

			I turn out my bedroom light and walk to my bed, trying to get the image of what almost just happened out of my head. After several minutes, I give up trying to fight it. I decide to use the thoughts of her to my advantage as I slip my hand into my boxers, thinking about those orange shorts. That mouth. The small gasp of breath she took when I leaned in toward her.

			I close my eyes and think about what could have happened if I wasn’t so stubborn. If I would have just kissed her. I also think about the fact that she’s just a few feet away, hopefully just as sexually frustrated as I am right now.

			Why does she have to be so damn mean? Mean girls are my weakness, and I think I just now figured that out.

Chapter Five

			It’s been three days since our moment in the bathroom. I’ve noticed she keeps the doors locked now, which is fine. I’m sure she’s pissed off that she allowed herself to have a moment of weakness. She doesn’t seem like the type to give in as easily as she almost did.

			Either way, I can’t decide if I made the right move. Half of me rejoices in the fact that I was able to walk away, but the other half of me can’t believe how stupid I was for passing up an opportunity like that. I could have had her, and now I more than likely won’t ever. But it’s for the best, because the last thing I need is to hook up with a roommate who could potentially be the sister of my best friend. But she makes it hard, pun intended, when she walks into the living room looking like she does right now. She’s not in her work clothes, but what she does have on doesn’t make it any better. She’s wearing a thin tank top over a barely there pair of pajama shorts, and she’s walked between me and the TV more times than I can count.


			Now she’s heading toward me with books in her hands.


			She’s sitting on the couch. Next to me. In that thin tank top. Without a bra.

			I can handle this. I force my eyes on the TV, still in search of whatever porn she was in. I could just ask her, but that’s not a good idea. If she knows I know she was in a porn film, she’d probably do everything she could to make sure I never find out.

			She leans forward and picks up the remote, and then points it at the TV to mute it. I don’t know who she thinks she is, but if she doesn’t want to hear the TV, she can go to her room. I grab the remote and turn the sound back on. She sighs and opens one of her textbooks and begins reading.

			I pretend I’m paying attention to the TV, but I can’t stop stealing glances at her, because holy shit, I can’t believe I walked away from her. I’m an idiot.

			She grabs the remote and mutes the TV again, possibly because one of the girls was screaming at the top of her lungs. I wonder if Bridgette is loud during sex? Probably not. She’s more than likely stubborn, refusing to give up any of her sounds.

			I unmute the TV again and she reaches her breaking point. “I’m trying to study, Warren. For fuck’s sake, you still get the same effect when it’s on mute.”

			I eye her curiously. “How would you know? Are you a porn expert?”

			She glances at me, a flash of suspicion in her eyes. “Can you please, for one night, forgo your addiction so I can study in peace and quiet?”

			Bridgette said please.

			“Go study in your bedroom,” I say.

			Her mouth presses into a tight, thin line. She pushes her book off her lap and stands. She walks toward the TV and reaches behind it, pulling the plug. After returning to the couch, she pulls her book back onto her lap and resumes studying.

			I don’t know how I ever got beyond her horrible attitude enough to even be attracted to her. She’s vile. I don’t care how good she looks, she’ll never find anyone who can put up with her personality.

			“You can be a real bitch sometimes, you know that?”

			She releases an exasperated breath. “Yeah, well. You’re addicted to porn.”

			I laugh under my breath. “At least I wasn’t in a porn.”

			Her eyes swing in my direction. “I knew you were eavesdropping.”

			I shrug. “I couldn’t help it. You were having a conversation like you were an actual human being. It was fascinating.”

			Her focus falls back onto the pages of the textbook. “You’re an asshole.”

			“You’re an opportunist.”

			She slams her book shut and turns to face me on the couch. “An opportunist? Are you kidding me?”

			I pull my knee up and turn and face her. “You don’t think it seems a little fishy that you show up out of the blue and claim to be the long-lost sister to the most popular local band in Austin?”

			She looks capable of murder. “Warren, I suggest you stop making accusations against people you know absolutely nothing about.”

			I grin, because I know that got to her. I might come out victorious again.

			“I’ve learned enough about you to know you don’t deserve to be trusted.” I pick up her book and put it back in her lap and point to her bedroom. “Now take your homework and go back to your borrowed room.”

			“MY borrowed room? You don’t even pay rent, Warren.”

			“Neither do you, Bridgette.”

			“All you do is watch porn and stare at my ass. You’re a lazy pervert.”

			“All you do is flaunt your ass and fantasize about me kissing you.”

			“You’re disgusting,” she says. “As a matter of fact, watch the porn. I’m sure you need all the pointers you can get.”

			Okay, that’s low. She can insult my laziness, my finances, my new porn addiction, but she cannot insult my bedroom skills. Especially when she doesn’t have firsthand experience. “I don’t need pointers to please a woman, Bridgette. I was born with natural talent.”

			She’s eyeing me like she’s about to punch me, but I can’t stop staring at her mouth, hoping she insults me again. Somewhere between being called an asshole and this moment, I’ve become more turned on than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m hoping she’s about to storm off to her bedroom because I’ve already met my quota for restraint when it comes to her.

			She licks her bottom lip, and I have to grip the couch cushion to keep myself from attacking that mouth. Her eyes are focused intensely on mine, and we’re both breathing so heavily from our verbal attacks, I can taste her breath on my lips.

			“I hate you,” she says through clenched teeth.

			“I hated you first,” I hiss back.

			Her focus falls on my mouth and as soon as I see the tiniest flash of desire in her eyes, I lunge forward. I grab her face and press my lips to hers as I shove her back against the couch. She’s pushing me away with her knees while pulling me to her with her hands. My tongue forces through the barrier of her lips and she devours me in response. I kiss her hard, and she kisses me even harder. I’m pulling at a fistful of her hair while she scratches down my neck with her fingernails. Fuck, it hurts. She hurts.

			I want more.

			I’m hovering over her and then pressing myself against her, pulling her knee up so she can wrap it around my waist. Her hands are in my hair, and I don’t want her to move out. I want her to stay. I want her to be my roommate forever. She’s the best fucking roommate I’ve ever had and my God, she’s so nice. How did I ever think she was mean? She’s so, so sweet, and her lips are sweet and Bridgette, I love your name.

			“Bridgette,” I whisper, wanting to say her name out loud. I don’t know how I hated her name before this moment, because it’s the most beautiful name I’ve ever said out loud.

			I pull away from her mouth and begin working my way down her sweet, sweet neck. As soon as I make it to her shoulder, she begins to push me away with her hands.

			Just like that, I snap back to reality and separate from her willingly.

			I move to the other end of the couch, needing the space to wrap my head around what the hell just happened?

			She quickly sits up on the couch. She wipes her mouth and I run my hands through my hair, doing whatever I can to process this.

			She’s an evil vixen. I close my eyes and squeeze my forehead, trying to figure out how I just lost complete control of myself simply because I was kissing her. I think of all the lies that were just passing through my head as my dick tried to convince me she was actually a decent person.

			I’m weak. I’m so weak, and she just gained the upper hand again.

			“Don’t do that again,” she says, angry and breathless.

			Her voice makes me wince. “You started it,” I say defensively.

			Did she? I can’t remember. It might have been mutual.

			“You kiss like you’re trying to resuscitate a dead cat,” she says, disgusted.

			“You kiss like you are a dead cat.”

			She pulls her knees up to her chest and wraps her arms around them. She looks extremely uncomfortable in the silence, so it doesn’t surprise me when she spits out another insult. “You probably fuck like a limp noodle.”

			“I fuck like I’m Thor.”

			I’m not looking at her, but I know that comment had to make her smile. If she’s even capable of smiling. The silence grows heavier and neither of us moves, making it even more apparent that what just happened was a mistake.

			“Why do you taste like onions?” she asks.

			I shrug. “I just ate pizza.”

			She glances into the kitchen. “Is there any left?”

			I nod. “It’s in the fridge.”

			She immediately stands up to walk to the kitchen, and I hate that I’m staring at her shirt. I can see her nipples poking through the thin fabric, and I want to point at her and say, “I did that! That’s all me!”

			Instead, I close my eyes and try to think about whatever will stop my wanting to follow her into that kitchen and bend her over the counter. Luckily, Ridge’s bedroom door opens, so I give my full attention to him as he walks into the living room. He pauses when he sees me sitting on the couch. He glances at the TV that isn’t even on. “Why do you look so guilty?”

			I shake my head shamefully. “I think I just made out with Bridgette,” I sign.

			Ridge looks at Bridgette, who is standing in the kitchen with her back to us. He shakes his head in disappointment. Or confusion.

			“Why?” he asks, perplexed. “Did she do it willingly?”

			I grab one of the couch pillows and throw it at him. “Yes, she did it willingly, asshole. She wants me.”

			“Do you want her?” He seems genuinely shocked, like he didn’t see this coming at all.

			I shake my head. “No I don’t want her,” I sign. “But I feel like I need her. So bad. She’s so . . .” I pause my hands for a few seconds before continuing. “She’s the best worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

			Ridge backs up until his hand is on the front door. “I’m going to Maggie’s for the night,” he signs. “We’ll pray for you.”

			I flip him off as he makes his way out. When I turn back to face Bridgette, she’s walking toward her bedroom. She passes the TV and doesn’t even have the audacity to plug it back in.

			I plug in the TV, because there isn’t a doubt in my mind now. I have to find that porno, because after experiencing that kiss, I’m addicted. Addicted to all things Bridgette.

			• • •

			I barely slept last night. Being in the same apartment with her, knowing Ridge and Brennan were both gone, was too much. It took all I had not to make an excuse to knock on her bedroom door. But I’m learning how her mind works, and I know she’d turn me down in a heartbeat just to stay in control.

			And now, Ridge and Brennan are both still gone and she’s at work and I’ve exhausted all the porn on pay-per-view. I can’t keep track of how much porn I’ve watched in the past two weeks. It’s ridiculous. How many could there possibly be? And I’ve narrowed it down to the ones that have been recorded in the last few years, because she had to be over eighteen when she filmed it. She’s twenty-two now, so that’s four years of porn films to sift through.

			Oh, my God. I’m obsessed.

			I’m like a stalker.

			I am a stalker.

			The front door swings open and Bridgette walks in. She slams it shut so hard, I flinch. She walks to the kitchen and begins opening cabinets and banging them shut. She finally rests her palms on the bar and looks straight at me. “Where the hell do you keep the alcohol?”

			Bad day, I guess.

			I stand up and walk over to the sink. I open the cabinet beneath it and take out the bottle of Pine-Sol. I don’t even bother grabbing her a glass. She looks like the type who can take a good swig.

			“Are you trying to kill me?” she asks, staring at the bottle in my hands.

			I push it into her hand. “Ridge thinks he’s clever by hiding it in old cleaner bottles. He doesn’t like it when I drink all his alcohol.”

			She brings the bottle to her nose and winces. “Is whiskey the only thing you have?”

			I nod. She shrugs and brings the bottle to her lips, tilts her head back, and takes a long swig.

			She hands the bottle back to me as she wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. I take a sip from the bottle myself and then hand it back to her. We do this several times until her anger seems to have subsided, as much as anger can subside in Bridgette’s world. I put the top back on the bottle and return it to the cabinet.

			“Bad day?” I ask.

			She leans against the counter and pulls at the elastic of her orange shorts. “The worst.”

			“Want to talk about it?”

			She looks up at me through her lashes and then rolls her eyes. “No,” she says flatly.

			I don’t push it. I don’t even know that I really want to know about her day. Anything and everything seems to set her off, so she’s probably pissed over something stupid, like a red light on her way home. It has to be exhausting to respond to all aspects of life with so much anger.

			“Why are you always so mad?”

			She laughs under her breath. “That’s easy,” she says. “Assholes, stupid customers, a shitty job, worthless parents, crappy friends, bad weather, annoying roommates who don’t know how to kiss.”

			I laugh at the last comment, which I’m sure was supposed to be a dig, but it felt more like an underhanded flirt.

			“How are you so happy all the time?” she asks. “You think everything is funny.”

			“That’s easy,” I say. “Great parents, being lucky enough to have a job, loyal friends, sunny days, and roommates who starred in porn films.”

			She glances away quickly in an attempt to hide a smile that almost appeared on her face. God, I wish she would let that smile out, because I’m dying to see what it looks like. As long as she’s lived here, I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen her smile.

			“Is that why you watch so much porn? Because you’re hoping to find out which one I was in?”

			I don’t nod, but I don’t shake my head, either. I lean my hip into the counter and fold my arms over my chest. “Just tell me the name of it.”

			“No,” she says quickly. “Besides, I was just an extra. I didn’t even really do anything.”

			An extra. That helps narrow down my search a little.

			“Didn’t really do anything doesn’t mean didn’t.”

			She rolls her eyes at me, but she’s still standing here, so I keep going. “Were you naked?”

			“It was a porn, Warren. I wasn’t wearing a sweater.”

			That means yes.

			“Did you have sex on camera?”

			She shakes her head. “No.”

			“But you made out with a guy?”

			She shakes her head again. “Wasn’t a guy.”

			Holy fuck.

			I turn around and grip the bar with one hand while making the form of a cross over my body with the other. When I turn back around, she’s still standing in the same spot, but she actually looks relaxed. She should drink whiskey every day.

			“So you’re telling me you made out with another girl? And it’s documented somewhere? On film?”

			The corner of her mouth curls up into a ghostly smile.

			“You smiled.”

			She stops smiling immediately. “I did not.”

			I take a step toward her and nod my head. “Yes, you did. I made you smile.”

			She begins to shake her head in disagreement, so I slip my hand behind her neck. Her eyes widen, and I’m almost positive she’s about to push me away, but I can’t help it. That smile.

			“You did smile, Bridgette,” I whisper. “And you need to own it, because it was fucking beautiful.”

			She gasps in shock right before my lips crash against hers. I don’t think she was expecting this kiss to happen, but she certainly isn’t objecting. Her mouth is warm and responsive and when I part her lips with my tongue, she actually lets me.

			I don’t know if it’s the whiskey or her, but my heart is thrashing around in my chest like a caged beast. I slide my hands down her back until they meet her ass and I squeeze as I pick her up and set her back down on the bar.

			Our lips separate, and we stare at each other silently, each of us hesitant to believe that the other isn’t about to walk away again. When I realize that neither of us seems to want to stop this, I bring my hands up to her cheeks and lean in again, taking her lips between mine.

			This is different from our kiss the other night. Our first kiss was quick and frantic, because we knew that’s where it would end.

			This one is slow and deep, and feels like it’s just the beginning of what we’re about to experience tonight. This time when I leave her mouth to taste her neck, she doesn’t push me away. She pulls me closer, wanting me to kiss her harder.

			“Warren,” she whispers, tilting her neck to the side, allowing me free rein of her skin. “If I have sex with you, you have to promise you won’t get clingy afterward.”

			I laugh, but I don’t move away from her neck. “If you have sex with me, Bridgette, you’re the one in danger of becoming clingy. You’ll want so much more of me, I won’t be able to tell the difference between you and Saran Wrap.”

			She laughs, and I pull away from her. I look down at her mouth and then into her eyes. “My God.”

			She shakes her head, confused. “What?”

			“Your laugh.” I kiss her on the lips. “Fucking phenomenal,” I whisper into her mouth. I lift her off the counter and keep her wrapped around me as I make my way across the living room. As soon as we’re in my bedroom, I close the door and push her against it. I keep her pressed against the door with my body while I remove my shirt. I find the hem of her shirt and begin to pull it over her head. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fantasized about this, Bridgette.”

			She helps me pull her shirt over her head. “I haven’t fantasized about it at all,” she says.

			I smile. “Bullshit.”

			I lift her again and carry her to the bed. As soon as I lay her on it and begin to crawl on top of her, she pushes my shoulders and shoves me onto my back. Her hands meet the button on my jeans and she undoes them. I attempt to take control again by pushing her onto her back, but she’s not having it. She straddles me and places her hands on my biceps, pushing my arms against the bed. “I make the calls,” she says.

			I don’t argue. If she wants to be in charge, I’ll absolutely let her.

			She sits up straight and brings her hands around to her back to undo her bra. I lift up and begin to reach around to assist her, but her hands are back on my arms in a flash. She pushes me to the mattress again. “What did I just say, Warren?”

			Holy shit. She’s not kidding.

			I nod and focus my attention back to her bra as she lifts up and unfastens it. She slides the straps slowly down her arms and I can’t keep my eyes off her. I want to touch her, to help her, to be the one to remove her bra, but she’s not allowing me to do anything.

			My breath catches in my chest when she flings the bra away.

			My God, she’s perfect. Her breasts are the perfect size, appearing as if they would fit right in the palms of my hands. But I wouldn’t know, because I’m not allowed to touch them.

			Am I?

			I hesitantly lift my hands to feel the softness of her skin, but she immediately shoves my arms away from her, back to the bed.

			God, it’s torture. Her breasts are right here, inches from me, and I can’t even touch them.

			“Where are your condoms?”

			I point to the nightstand on the opposite side of the bed. She slides off of me and I watch her closely as she walks to my nightstand. She opens the drawer and sifts around until she finds one. She puts it between her teeth as she walks back toward the foot of the bed. She doesn’t climb back on top of me. Instead, she hooks her thumbs into the waistband of her shorts and begins to shimmy out of them.

			I’m harder than I’ve ever been, and I can feel my pulse throbbing throughout my whole body. She needs to hurry the hell up and climb back on top of me.

			She leaves her panties on as she bends over and begins to pull my jeans the rest of the way off. She hooks her hands in my underwear and pulls them down as well, the condom wrapper still dangling between her teeth. Her hair is the perfect length, trailing lightly over my skin like feathers every time she leans over me.

			Once all my clothes are off, her eyes focus on the hardest part of me. A smile tugs at her lips and her eyes meet mine. She pulls the condom out of her mouth.

			“Impressive,” she says. “This definitely explains your inflated ego.”

			I take the insult with the compliment, because I already know Bridgette isn’t the type to dish them out.

			She straddles me again, still wearing her panties. She leans forward and presses her palms into my forearms. Her mouth meets mine, and her breasts press against my chest, causing me to groan. She feels incredible. So good. I’m worried now, because we haven’t even had sex yet and I can already tell I’m ruined.

			I can feel her wetness through her panties as she torturously slides up and down, up and down, as slow as she possibly can. Her tongue is in my mouth, and I keep trying to grab the back of her head, or grip her by the waist, but every time I move, she stops me.

			I imagined she would be bossy in the bedroom, but nothing like this. She won’t even let me touch her, and it’s fucking killing me.

			“Open your mouth,” she whispers into my ear. I do, and she places the condom wrapper between my teeth. I bite down on it and she uses her own teeth to grip the other end of it as she pulls away from me, tearing the wrapper open between both our mouths.

			Okay, that was hot.

			So hot.

			We should quit our jobs and do this full-time.

			She pulls out the condom and sits straight up. She looks down and licks her lips as she slides the condom over me and I moan, because her hands are fuck. They’re too much. I want them everywhere.

			I understand how guys can say stupid shit in the throes of passion, because I want to say so much to her right now. I want to tell her I love her and that we’re soul mates and that she should marry me, because her hands make me think stupid, stupid, untrue thoughts like this.

			She lifts up higher on her knees and pulls her panties to the side, leaving them on as she begins to lower herself on top of me.

			It’s official. She’s the best roommate I’ve ever had in my life.

			She winces slightly when she begins to take me inside of her, and I feel kind of bad that it hurts her. But not bad enough to stop myself from lifting my hips and sliding into her the rest of the way.

			As soon as we’re flush together, we moan in unison.

			I’ve never felt anything like it.

			It’s as if her body contours perfectly to mine, fitting every line and curve and dip. Neither of us moves an inch while we fill the room with heavy gasps, giving ourselves a moment to adjust to the sheer perfection we just created.

			“Fuck,” I whisper.

			“Okay,” she replies.

			She begins to move, and I don’t know what to do with myself. My hands want to hold her by the waist as she slides up and down, but I also know I’m not allowed to touch her. My eyes take her in as she continues her movements, her perfect, methodical, sweet movements.

			After several minutes of watching her on top of me with her eyes closed and her lips parted, I give up. I can’t not touch her. My hands grip her waist and she tries to pull them away but I just grip harder, lifting her when she rises and pulling her down when she falls. She gives up trying to fight me after seeing how much better my strength can make it feel.

			I want to hear her moan and I want to hear her fall apart on top of me, but she’s holding it all back, just like I knew she would.

			I slide my hands up her back and pull her forward until our mouths meet. I keep one hand on the back of her head and one on her waist as she continues her rhythm on top of me.

			I curve my hand around her hip and slowly slide it over her stomach, until I’m touching her. I slide a finger between us, separating her, feeling her warmth and wetness surround me. She moans into my mouth and I begin to rub her, but she immediately stops moving. She grabs my wrist and pulls it away from her, slapping my arm against the mattress again.

			Her eyes open and focus firmly on mine as she slowly begins to move again. “Keep your hands on the mattress, Warren,” she warns.

			Dammit, she’s making this difficult. I need to feel her again, and when I’m done touching her, I want to taste her. I want that wetness and warmth all over my tongue.

			But first, I’ll let her have her way. I close my eyes and stop trying to take control. I focus on her tightness, swallowing me up. I focus on the fact that each time her body meets mine, I’m as deep inside of her as I can possibly go.

			She leans forward and her breasts dance back and forth across my chest as she moves on top of me.

			Heaven is definitely for real.

			My legs begin to tense and my hands are searching for something to grip as I feel myself building. She can sense I’m near release, so she tightens around me and her thrusts become faster and harder. I keep my eyes closed as my body begins to shake beneath her.

			I want to cuss and groan, and let her know how good this feels as I release inside of her, but I don’t make a single noise. If I’m not allowed to touch her while I come, then she’s not allowed to hear how much I fucking love every second of it.

			She continues to move over me as I quietly succumb to the tremors. When it’s over, she comes to a stop on top of me. I open my eyes and look up at her and catch her smiling down at me. As soon as she realizes I’m looking at her, the smile is gone.

			I want her to collapse against my chest. I want to roll her onto her back and take her in my mouth until she’s screaming my name out in ecstasy, rather than anger.

			Instead, she slowly slides off of me. She stands and turns toward the bathroom. “Goodnight, Warren.”

			The door closes behind her and I’m lying here in complete confusion. I would be running after her right about now, but I’m still too weak to move.

			I give myself time to regroup, and then I remove the condom and toss it into the bathroom trash can on my way to her bedroom. I swing open the door just as she’s crawling into her bed. As soon as her head meets her pillow, I’m on top of her, kissing her. As expected, she pushes me away.

			“What did I say about being clingy?” she says, pulling her face from mine.

			“I’m not being clingy,” I say, kissing my way down her neck. “We’re not finished.”

			She pulls away even farther and pushes my face back. “I’m pretty sure we finished, Warren. About three minutes ago.”

			“I finished,” I say, looking her in the eyes. “But you didn’t finish.” I can feel her resistance as she attempts to roll over.

			“Warren, stop,” she says, pushing me away.

			I don’t pull away from her. Instead, I wrap my arm around her and slowly move my hand across her stomach.

			That’s when she slaps me.

			I immediately pull back and look down at her in shock.

			She pushes me away and scoots up on her bed until her back meets the headboard. “I said stop,” she says, defending her slap.

			I work my jaw back and forth, not sure what to do. In all my years of experience with girls and even in all the recent porn I’ve been watching, this isn’t how sex usually goes. People are selfish by nature and the fact that she doesn’t even want me to get her off is confusing the hell out of me.

			“Am I . . .” I pause and look at her. “Am I misreading something here? Because I thought . . .”

			“We fucked, Warren. It’s over, now go to sleep.”

			I shake my head. “No, Bridgette. You fucked. You did all the work and you didn’t even get to enjoy it. I don’t understand why you won’t let me touch you.”

			She groans, frustrated. “Warren, it’s fine. It was fun.” She looks away from me. “I just don’t like the other part, so go to bed.”

			She doesn’t like the other part? The part where she has an amazing, mind-blowing orgasm?

			“Okay,” I say. “I’ll go to bed.”

			“Thank you,” she mutters.

			“But first,” I say, holding up my finger. “I need to know something.”

			She rolls her eyes. “What?”

			I lean toward her and look at her with fascination. “Is this how sex always is with you? You have to be in complete control, to the point where you don’t even allow someone to get you off?”

			She kicks at me with her foot, trying to get me to leave her bed. “I’m not discussing my sex life with you, Warren. Go back to your room.”

			She scoots down on her bed until her head meets her pillow. She rolls over until her back is to me and she pulls the covers up over her head.

			Holy shit. This is . . . I don’t even know what to think. I’ve never met anyone like her. She has some serious control issues.

			“Bridgette,” I whisper, needing her to roll over and talk to me again. She ignores me, but I can’t leave because this conversation needs to happen. “Are you telling me you’ve never had an orgasm during sex?”

			The covers fly off her head and she rolls onto her back. “It’s never been an issue with anyone until you,” she says angrily.

			I laugh and shake my head and for some reason, feel extremely happy about this. Because she’s apparently been with some really selfish assholes in the past, and I’m about to show her what she’s been missing.

			She pulls the covers back over her head and faces the opposite direction again. Rather than stand and walk back to my room like I know she wants me to do, I lift the covers and slide in behind her. I wrap my arm over her, pressing my palm against her stomach, pulling her against my chest.

			She practically growls at me. “Warren, stop. Believe it or not, I’m perfectly happy with my sex life, and I don’t need you to Oh, my God.” She stops mid-rant as soon as I cup her between the legs.

			I rest my cheek against hers. “I need you to shut up, Bridgette.”

			She doesn’t move, so I roll her onto her stomach and slide on top of her. I pin her arms beneath my hands, just like she did me earlier. “Please don’t resist me,” I whisper into her ear. “I want to be in control, and I want you to do what I say.” I run my tongue across her ear and watch as the chills break out on her neck. “Understood?”

			Her breaths are shallow, and she squeezes her eyes shut with her nod.

			“Thank you,” I tell her. I kiss my way down her neck and shoulder, and then work my kisses slowly across her back. Her entire body is tense and knowing that she’s never experienced an orgasm at the hands of another guy already has me hard again.

			I reach down to her thighs and spread her legs with my hand. She buries her face into her pillow and it makes me smile. She’s never been this vulnerable with someone else, and she doesn’t want to give me the pleasure of seeing how much she enjoys it.

			I keep my eyes focused on her anyway as I slowly push two fingers inside of her, waiting for her to moan into her pillow.

			She doesn’t make a sound, so I pull them out and re-enter her with three fingers this time.

			 I press my forehead into her pillow, right next to her face, and I wait for the sounds to escape.

			Nothing. I laugh quietly, because I really have my work cut out for me.

			I pull my hand away from her and flip her onto her back. Her eyes are still closed tightly so I grab her jaw and press my lips to hers. I kiss her hard and deep, until she begins to kiss me back with just as much anger. She pulls at my hair and spreads her legs for me, wanting me to bury myself inside of her.

			I do. I push her panties aside and shove into her so hard and fast, she lets out a moan and my God, I need more of that. So much more. But I don’t have on a condom, and this time isn’t about me, so I pull out of her. I take one of her breasts in my hands and bring it to my mouth.

			I slowly kiss my way down her stomach and the lower I get, the tenser her body grows. I can feel her hesitation and part of me wants to devour her immediately, but part of me needs to know that I’m not going too far, too fast. I can tell by the stiffness in her posture that she’s nervous now. I position both my hands on her waist and look up at her. She’s chewing nervously on her bottom lip and her eyes are terrified.

			“Have you never let anyone do this to you?” I whisper.

			She releases her bottom lip with the shake of her head. “I don’t like it.”

			“How would you know?”

			She shrugs. “I just know.”

			I pull her hips down several inches on the bed. “You’re too stubborn for your own good.” I lift her and begin to lower my mouth to her, but she pulls back and sits up.

			“Don’t. I don’t want to do this.”

			I grip her hips and pull her back down. “Lie back and close your eyes, Bridgette.”

			She continues to look at me with fear in her eyes, refusing to lie back down, so I lift up onto the palms of my hands. “Will you please stop being so stubborn and just relax? Fuck, woman. I want to give you the best ten minutes you’ve ever had in your life, but you’re making it really difficult.”

			She bites her lip hesitantly, but she does as I say and slowly lowers herself to the bed, relaxing into her pillow.

			I smile triumphantly and press my lips to her stomach again. I start just below her belly button and trail slow kisses all the way down until I meet her panties. I hook my fingers into the waistband and pull them down, over her hips, over her thighs, and I continue to slowly remove them until I’m at her ankles. Once I toss them on the floor, I lift her leg and press a soft kiss against her ankle, then her calf, then the inside of her knee, repeating the kisses all the way up her thigh, until I’m inches from sliding my tongue against her. As soon as I position my mouth over her, I can feel her warmth beckoning me.

			“Warren, please . . .” she begins to protest. As soon as the word please leaves her mouth, my tongue slides against her, separating her. She lifts her hips several inches off the bed and cries out, so I grip her waist and pull her back down to the bed.

			She’s sweet and salty and as soon as my mouth is against her, I’m convinced she could satiate every ounce of hunger I’ll feel for the rest of my life.

			She cries out again, still trying to pull away from me. “What . . . God . . . Warren . . .”

			I continue to lick her, devour her, run my tongue over every bare part of her so that I leave no inch of her untasted. Her hands find their way back to my hair just as my fingers find their way back inside of her. I’m filling her, consuming her with my tongue, and she’s taking every ounce of me she can get. She’s no longer trying to scoot away from me. Now she’s pressing my face into her, begging me to go faster.

			Her hands leave my hair and meet her headboard as she grips it tightly and locks her legs around my shoulders. I keep my fingers buried inside of her as she cries out my name with each tremor that racks her body. I continue to please her until her shudders subside and her moans fade into silence.

			I kiss the inside of her thigh as I pull my fingers out of her. I kiss all the way up her stomach until I’m pressed against her again, wanting to slide inside of her and stay the night.

			I want to kiss her, but I don’t know if she’d want that. Some girls prefer not to be kissed afterward, but my mouth is aching with a need to feel her lips against mine.

			Apparently she wants the same thing, because she doesn’t even hesitate when she pulls my face to hers and kisses me with a moan. There’s so much pressure in every inch of my body, because I want to take her again. The only thing that can relieve that pressure is to push into her, which is exactly what I do.

			She lifts her hips and meets my thrusts and I know I should stop. I have to stop.

			I don’t know why I can’t stop.

			I’ve never been inside a girl without a condom before, but she makes me stupid. She renders my conscience useless, and all I can think about is how incredible she feels.

			And also how much I need to stop.

			Stop, Warren. Stop.

			I somehow pull out of her and press my face against her chest, gasping for air.

			It hurts. God, it hurts. I live in the next room, where there’s a drawer full of condoms, but I’m not sure I’d make it that far if I tried to stand.

			 She pulls my face back to hers and presses her lips to mine. She slides her hands down to my lower back and she pulls me against her, pressing her warmth against me as she urges me to move with her.

			She feels incredible. It’s not the same as being inside her, but the way she’s moving against me feels pretty damn close. I close my eyes and bury my face against her neck as I work to increase the pace between us.

			I grab a fistful of her hair and tilt her face to mine as I look down on her, watching as we both grow nearer to yet another release. She winces and I feel the first of her shudders pass through her. “Warren,” she whispers. “Kiss me.”

			I do.

			I cover her mouth with mine and drown out her moans with my own as I feel the warmth of my release spread between us. I’m holding her as tight as I can, kissing her as hard as I can.

			All my weight is against her now that I’m physically incapable of holding myself up for another second. Her hands slide from my neck and fall to the bed. I’m too weak to speak, or I would be telling her how amazing she is. How good she feels. How perfect her body is and how she just single-handedly got the upper hand for all of eternity.

			I can’t speak, though. My eyes fall shut from pure exhaustion.

			Pure, blissful exhaustion.

			• • •


			I try to open my eyes, but I can’t. Or I just don’t want to. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced as deep of a sleep as the one I’m being torn from right now.

			Her hand is on my shoulder and she’s shaking me. I lift my head and turn to face her, curious if she’s ready for another round. I smile at her through sleepy eyes.

			“Go to your room,” she says, kicking me with her feet. “You’re snoring.”

			My eyes fall shut again but they fly open when her cold feet meet my stomach. She uses the strength of her legs to try and push me out of her bed. “Go,” she groans. “I can’t sleep.”

			I somehow push myself into a standing position. I look down at her and she rolls onto her stomach, flips her pillow over, and sprawls out across her mattress.

			I shuffle my way across her bedroom, through our bathroom and to my own bed. I fall onto it and close my eyes, taking all of three seconds to fall right back to sleep.

Chapter Six

			I’m convinced that I’ve never slept as well as I did last night. And even though she kicked me out of her bed, I still feel victorious. Like royalty.

			After I’m showered and dressed, I join Ridge in the kitchen. He’s cleaning up what looks like breakfast, which is odd, because neither of us ever cooks breakfast. But then I understand when Maggie emerges from his room.

			“Morning, Maggie,” I say to her with a smile.

			She eyes me cautiously. “What’s with you?”

			Right at that moment, Bridgette’s bedroom door opens. We all watch her walk into the living room. She pauses when she looks up and sees us all staring at her.

			“Morning, Bridgette,” I say with a triumphant smile. “Sleep well?”

			She sees the look on my face and immediately rolls her eyes. “Screw you, Warren.” She walks into the kitchen and begins rummaging through the refrigerator, searching for something to eat. I watch her the entire time, until Ridge taps me on the shoulder.

			“You had sex with her?” he signs.

			I immediately shake my head in defense. “No,” I sign back. “Maybe. I don’t know. It was an accident.”

			Maggie and Ridge both laugh. He grabs Maggie’s hand and pulls her toward his bedroom. “Come on,” he signs. “I don’t want to be in here when Bridgette realizes her mistake.”

			I watch them retreat back to Ridge’s room, and then I turn and face Bridgette. She’s glaring at me.

			“Did you just tell him we had sex?”

			I find myself once again shaking my head. “He already knew. I told him the other day.”

			Bridgette tilts her head to the side. “We had sex last night. How did you tell him before it happened?”

			I grin. “I had a good feeling.”

			She lets her head drop back in defeat, until she’s staring up at the ceiling. “I knew it was a bad idea.”

			“It was a great idea,” I interject.

			She looks at me with as much seriousness as she can muster. “It was a onetime thing, Warren.”

			I hold up two fingers. “It was twice, actually.”

			She makes a face that lets me know just how much I’m irritating her. “I’m serious, Warren. We’re not doing it again.”

			“Thank God,” I say, slowly stepping toward her. “Because it was awful, wasn’t it? I could tell you weren’t enjoying it.” I continue across the kitchen until I’m less than a foot from touching her. “You especially weren’t enjoying the part when you were on your back, and my tongue was . . .”

			She slaps her hand over my mouth to shut me up. She’s looking at me, narrow-eyed. “I’m serious, Warren. This changes nothing. We aren’t a couple. In fact, I’ll probably bring other guys home and you need to be prepared for that.”

			She removes her hand from my mouth and I disagree. “You will not.”

			She looks at me with a competitive gleam in her eyes. “I will. This is why I warned you not to get clingy.”

			Ha. She thinks this is clingy? If she smiles and laughs like she did last night, she’ll find out just how clingy I can be.

			“If you don’t want me to want you anymore, it’s not that hard,” I tell her. “Just don’t smile at me.” I lean forward until my lips are at her ear. “If you don’t smile at me, I won’t have the urge to do all those bad things to you. Because your smile is incredible, Bridgette.”

			I pull away slowly and look down at her. She’s attempting to control the rise and fall of her chest, but she’s not fooling me. I grin, and the faintest of smiles appears on her lips. I reach my hand up and touch the corner of her mouth with my finger. “You’re such a tease.”

			She pulls away from me and calmly pushes against my chest. She grabs her drink and returns to her bedroom without another word.

			I press my head against the cabinet door and sigh heavily. What have I done? What in God’s name have I done to myself?

			• • •

			Bridgette and I both had the day off today, and I was positive that after our interaction this morning, and especially after last night, that she’d be all over me by nightfall. However, she completely ignored me. She stayed in her room most of the day, and she wouldn’t even acknowledge me. Now it’s after eleven at night. I have to be at work tomorrow morning, and I know she has an early class, so my hope for a round three is swiftly dwindling.

			She even locked the door when she took a shower earlier.

			I sit on the edge of my bed and contemplate the night before, going over every single move in my head, wondering where I went wrong. The only thing I can conclude is that I did nothing wrong. I did everything right, and this scared her, because she’s not used to guys taking control over her. I made her feel weak.

			She doesn’t like to feel weak. She obviously has serious power issues and I messed with her head. This should probably make me feel guilty, but actually I’m proud. I love that I got to her. I love that I’m slowly figuring her out. And the best part is, I have a feeling that she’ll be coming back for a repeat. Maybe not tonight, but she’ll be back, because she’s human. Every human has a weakness and I think I just discovered what hers is.


			I crawl under the covers and close my eyes, but I can already tell I won’t be able to sleep. It’s as if last night awakened this hunger inside of me and if I don’t feed it every night before I go to bed, I’ll never fall asleep. I count sheep, I count stars, I repeat Bible verses in my head that I learned when I was five. None of it works, because I’m still here an hour later and I’m still wide awake.

			I wonder if she’s awake.

			I wonder if she would open her door if I knocked.

			I toss the covers off and begin to walk to my door, but immediately U-turn to the nightstand for a condom. All I have on are boxers, so I slip it beneath the elastic band and open my bedroom door.


			Her boobs.

			They’re right here.

			Her hand is in the air, poised to knock on my door. She looks just as shocked that I opened it as I am that she’s standing here. She’s wearing a black lace bra and the tiniest pair of panties I’ve ever seen in my life. She lowers her arm and we stare at each other for a solid five seconds before I’m pulling her inside, slamming my door and pushing her up against it. Her tongue is in my mouth faster than I can slip my hand beneath her bra.

			“Is this what you sleep in?” I say against her mouth, pulling the straps of her bra down.

			“Yes,” she says breathlessly. She tilts her head and pushes my face against her neck. “But sometimes I sleep naked.”

			I groan and press myself against her, ready to sink myself inside of her. “I like it.” I spin her around until her chest is pressed against the door and her back is to me. I wrap my arm around her and grab one of her breasts while I slide my other hand down to her ass. She’s in a thong. A teeny, tiny, black, lacy, beautiful thong. I rub my hand over her and then slip my fingers beneath the thin veil of fabric, pulling it down to her knees. I watch as her thong falls to her ankles and she kicks it aside.

			I position myself directly behind her and run my hands down her back and to her waist. “Put your palms against the door.”

			She doesn’t move them right away. I can feel her hesitation. I’m sure she doesn’t want to hand over control again, but she needs to realize she lost control the second she showed up at my bedroom door.

			I watch as she slowly presses her palms against my bedroom door. I lean forward and brush her hair away from her neck, dropping it over her shoulder. “Thank you,” I whisper against her neck. I pull her hips until she’s flush against me, and then I remove my boxers and open the condom.

			“Bend over a little more,” I tell her.

			She does. She’s such a fast learner.

			I wrap my fingers in her hair and twist my hand around until I have a fistful of it, and then I tug just enough to get her to lift her face. She whimpers when I do this, and that little whimper is all it takes for me to push into her, as far as I can go until she’s completely full.

			“Make that sound again,” I whisper.

			She doesn’t, so I tug at her hair. The noise escapes her throat and it’s so beautiful and full of desire. I pull out and push back into her, and the same sound passes her lips. I can’t take it. I don’t know if I can do this standing up, because that sound is making me dizzy.

			I cover one of her hands with mine and squeeze, giving myself the wall support I need to continue moving in and out of her. Every time she whimpers, I push into her a little bit harder. She begins to whimper, over and over, occasionally replacing that sound with my name, and I already know I’m gonna sleep like a rock tonight.

			Right when I feel myself growing close to release, I pull out of her and reposition her so that her back is against the door. I lift her legs and wrap them around my waist, sliding back inside of her with ease. I keep one arm wrapped around her waist to hold her up and my other hand pressed against the door for support. My tongue is fighting hers, and I’m swallowing every sound she’s willing to give me.

			Her hands are gripping my neck, so I reach behind me and pull one of her hands away. I press her palm against her chest and slide it slowly down her stomach. My forehead meets hers, and I look her hard in the eyes. “Touch yourself.”

			Her eyes grow wide, and she begins to shake her head. I place my hand on top of hers and I look down at where are bodies join together. I move her hand a few more inches until her fingers are right where I want them. “Please,” I breathe out, desperately.

			I need my hand for support, so I pull it away and press it against the door beside her head. I’m still holding her around the waist with my other arm and slowly pushing in and out of her. Our foreheads are still pressed together, but now my eyes are planted on her hand as she timidly begins to move her fingers in a slow, circular motion.

			“Holy shit,” I exhale. I watch her for a minute longer, until she starts to relax against her hand, and then I move my eyes back to her face. I pull away and stare down at her, watching as her head falls back against the door. Her eyes are closed and her lips are slightly parted and all I can feel in my heart is kiss her, kiss her.

			My lips come down gently against hers and she moans softly into my mouth. I tease her lips with the tip of my tongue, sliding it across her top lip and then her bottom. Her moans are becoming more frequent, and the more I press her against the door, the better I can feel her hand moving between us.

			I can’t believe this is real life. I can’t believe she lives five feet away from me and she’s willing to give me this part of her. I’m the luckiest man in the world.

			She starts to whimper again, but this time my mouth is resting against hers and I take in every single one of the sounds she makes. She tilts her face more and more to mine, wanting me to kiss her hard, but I’m enjoying this too much. I love the way she looks right now, eyes closed, mouth open, heart exposed. I don’t want to kiss her. I want to keep my eyes open and watch every second of this.

			I stop moving inside of her and wait for her to finish, because if I keep moving, I won’t last another second. She begins to open her eyes, wondering why I stopped, so I lean in to her ear. “You’re almost there,” I whisper. “I just want to watch you.”

			She relaxes again and I continue to watch her, soaking up every whimper and every moan and every movement she makes like I’m a sponge and she’s my water.

			As soon as her legs begin to tighten around my waist, I grip her hips with both hands and resume moving inside of her. Her whimpers turn into moans, and her moans turn into my name and it takes us all of ten seconds before we’re both shaking and gasping for breath and kissing and groping and then finally, sighing.

			Her body weakens in my arms and she lays her head against my chest. I bring my hand up to her neck and kiss her softly on top of the head.

			After a solid minute of working to catch our breath and regain the ability to move, I slowly begin to pull out of her. She lowers her feet to the floor and looks up at me. She’s not smiling, but I can see the calmness behind her eyes. This was exactly what she needed. Exactly what I needed.

			“Thank you,” she says, matter-of-factly.

			I grin. “You’re welcome.”

			She ducks her head as soon as she begins to smile, and slips under my arm. She enters the bathroom and closes the door behind her. I lean against the wall and slide down to the floor, completely unable to will my legs to make it back to the bed. If I didn’t have to wait on her to finish in the bathroom, I’d fall asleep right here on the floor.

Chapter Seven

			Three solid weeks.

			Twenty-one nights.

			Over thirty times we’ve had sex.

			Absolutely zero interaction during the day.

			I don’t really understand her. I don’t know her well enough to know what sets her off or, in turn, what makes her so quiet. I don’t know why she refuses to treat what’s going on between us like it’s anything remotely significant, but I’m not complaining. I mean, come on. We have sex every night and I don’t have to dote on her during the day. I would have the perfect setup if I didn’t want just a little bit more from her. But until I can get to another level with Bridgette, I know nothing better come in between us. Especially a new roommate, which is what I’m afraid might happen. Brennan has officially gone on tour and moved out, which means his room is now up for grabs. I can’t take the idea of Bridgette’s sister moving in, which is something I’ve heard them discussing on the phone. I don’t know what or whom Ridge has in mind, but I for sure don’t think I can take the possibility of another guy moving in. As much as I want to pretend I’m as casual with this arrangement as Bridgette is, if another guy even looks at her ass in those shorts, I won’t be able to refrain from beating his ass. And I’m not even the type of guy who fights other guys, but Bridgette makes me want to fight everyone. Even the nerdy guys. I’ll hit all the humans if it means keeping up the arrangement I’ve got going with her.

			Which is why I can’t stop staring at the couch right now. There’s a person on it. I think it’s a girl, because I see blond hair peeking out from under the pillow pulled over her face, but it could be a long-haired guy. A guy I don’t want to be our next roommate. I continue to watch the couch, waiting for the person to wake up. I’m loud enough in the kitchen to wake up the whole apartment, but whoever is on this couch is sleeping like a rock.

			I finish pouring my bowl of cereal and bring it into the living room. Since whoever this is has decided to take up residence where I eat breakfast, I take a seat on the floor, right in front of the couch. I begin eating, crunching as loud as I can.

			I wonder if she or he is a friend of Bridgette’s.

			No, Bridgette didn’t bring anyone home last night. I know this because I picked her up after I got off work and we came straight home and went straight to my bed. Come to think of it, we didn’t even turn on the living room lights, so I’m pretty sure whoever this is was probably on the couch last night, we just didn’t notice.

			Oh, man. I wonder if we were loud? We never have to worry about how loud we are when Ridge is home.

			A groan comes from beneath the pillow and the body rolls over, facing me so I can see it is, in fact, a girl. I continue to sit on the floor, eating my cereal. I watch her attempt to open her eyes.

			“Who are you and why are you asleep on my couch?” I finally ask her.

			Her whole body jerks at the sound of my voice. She lifts the pillow and backs away, making eye contact with me. I have to stifle a laugh, because someone has written Someone wrote on your forehead on h