Last night was the best and worst decision of her life. On the one hand, it was ecstasy. On the other hand, disaster.
Veda Darnel couldn’t get her head around it. She had practically sold her soul to spend one sizzling night with a man who had reinvented the word satisfaction. A consummate charmer who’d caused her to swap out her common sense for the thrill of unparalleled pleasure.
Lying together now, front to naked front, Veda studied the cocky cowboy in question as he continued to grab some much-needed sleep. Primal instinct was keeping his hand glued to her behind, pressing her hips against his. Each time he breathed in, that mouthwatering chest expanded and wiry hairs teased her nipples. Whenever his lips twitched with a dream-induced grin, she longed for just one more kiss.
Just one more time.
Well, sorry, universe. Not happening. Not now. Not ever again. Damn it, she knew better. In the future, would do better.
Still asleep, Ajax Rawson drew in a sharp breath at the same time the fingers on her butt flexed, then dug in more. Veda had to bite her lip to stem the groan; her Benedict Arnold body wanted those expert hands everywhere and all at once. And if he woke up now, that could very well be where they’d end up. Making love like nothing else mattered.
As if there weren’t already enough prices to pay.
Tippy-toe quiet, she reached behind her and found the big, hot hand cupping her rear end. She carefully coiled her fingers around his wrist, then tried to lift and shift it.
Seriously? His arm must be made of lead.
Knuckling down, Veda tried again. When she’d finally managed to ease herself away, she held her breath. But he didn’t stir. Not an inch.
So, slide off the bed, dive into your clothes, bolt out the hotel suite’s front door and never look back. Never go back. Still, a knot of bittersweet longing kept her hanging. Ajax was the best she’d ever had—the best there ever was.
And how many other women had thought the exact same thing?
He sucked in another sharp breath, rolled onto his back and scooped his arm under his pillow while his other hand gave those ripped abs a languid rub or two. Then his brow pinched, eyelids flickered open, and Veda’s stomach dropped.
Too late to run now.
Ajax frowned sleepily at the ceiling, getting his bearings, before turning his gaze onto her. When one corner of his wholly kissable mouth eased up—when his lungs expanded on a breath that said, “Oh, yeah…I remember you”—Veda’s resolve to do better wobbled like a thimble full of Jell-O.
Ajax’s dreamy ocean-deep blue eyes smiled into hers as he spoke with a sexy growl that was equal parts playful and deadly serious.
“You need to come over here.” He cocked an eyebrow, smiling wider as the sheet tented over his waist. “On second thought, I can’t wait that long.”
When he rolled back toward her, heat rushed through her blood, pooling deliciously low in her belly. But tempted as she was, Veda didn’t lean in. Didn’t surrender. Instead, she brought her portion of the sheet higher and sat up.
“Actually,” she said, “I have to go.”
Ajax paused, then leaned up on an elbow, head in hand, biceps bulging. “You mean to the bathroom or something?”
“No. Not that.”
“Ah, you need food,” he said. “Me, too. I’ll order up. Maybe some green pepper omelets, hot-off-the-grill bacon and chocolate-chip-banana pancakes drowned in syrup. We can eat breakfast in bed.” He came near enough to brush his gorgeous stubble against her cheek. “Lunch and dinner, too, if you want.”
Ajax was never lost for words—more specifically, the right words. He gave off a vibe that confirmed that everything good fortune had to offer came to him naturally. Like he never had to even think about trying.
If only she could say the same for herself.
Years ago, and more than once, a much younger Veda had watched Ajax from afar while daydreaming about being in this exact situation. Back then, as well as now, she hated to think what her father might say. Drake Darnel had an ax or two to grind with the Rawsons, the first dating back decades to a time when Ajax’s dad, Huxley Rawson, was known as a stud.
What was the saying?
The apple never falls far from the tree.