Oh crap. This was bad. Not like bad-sex bad. In fact, what we had just done was nothing like bad sex. Which made it bad in the too-good-sex way. And everyone knew that too-good sex with a guy you barely knew was bad. Because if the sex was that good the first time, you’d want to see what it would be like the second time and the third…and the twenty-third. And then, even if he turned out to be the world’s most horrible person, you were already attached. So you couldn’t just forget about him.
Because, well, yeah, he was an asshole, but he had so much potential, and you believed him when he told you that he couldn’t call because he’d lost his phone and that you should ignore the tan line in the shape of a wedding ring on his finger. Because, sure, obviously, meeting you had made him realize that he was finally ready to move on from his wife’s sudden and tragic death that you’ll find out later never happened.
Just because the guy knew how to give you multiple orgasms.
All of last night and this morning until a few minutes ago, I’d been really close to forgetting that. It was easy to tell myself that each orgasm was unique and having more than one was fine as long as different…tools were used each time.
Honestly, it had never really been an issue before. Let’s be real, all men were not equal when it came to being good with his hands, or his mouth, or his cock. It was completely normal for men to have different areas of expertise.
So, the biggest problem with the man passed out next to me, with his long eyelashes and a body too perfectly formed for even a long-dead, gay Italian to have sculpted, was that this man was really good with all of his tools.
And he had a remarkably large tool belt.
Thankfully, the second I’d felt another orgasm gearing up while he was using the same tool that had given me my last orgasm, I shoved his face away, closed my legs, and I ran into the bathroom, yelling “intermission” before slamming the door shut. After a couple of minutes of forcing myself to think of baseball and oatmeal raisin cookies, I came out, we switched positions, and I made sure his mouth didn’t go lower than my belly button again.
Damn, he had a fantastic mouth. And lips. And…
I needed to leave.
In a second.
It would’ve been so much easier if he wasn’t so warm, and his chest wasn’t so comfortable.
Crap. I hadn’t been tempted to sleep over at a guy’s house in over a year, never even closed my eyes or cuddled after all the tools had been put away. But as this guy pulled me into his side and sleepily brushed his lips across my forehead, using his chest as a pillow and letting the beat of his heart lull me to sleep seemed so natural. So desirable. So perfect.
I should’ve known this time would be different. I’d spent an incredible night with a beautiful man whose name I didn’t know. If anyone ever found out, I’d be almost as embarrassed as I was all night being too chicken-shit to ask him if it was Dylan or Declan. What can I say? The bar where we’d met had been so loud all I heard was that it started with a D, ended with a N, and had two syllables.
We’d started talking, and before I knew what was happening we were on our way to his place. Then we were kissing, hands were rubbing, and hips were moving. Once the hips started moving, I was pretty sure the acceptable time to ask someone to repeat their name had come and gone.
Emotional danger was the worst. Because physical injuries heal a lot quicker than emotional ones do.
So as soon as I caught my breath, I slid out of his bed and went foraging for my clothes.
“What are you doing?” he asked, sitting up.
“I’m going home. It’s past my bedtime.”
Damn, he was gorgeous. His spiky, light brown hair looked even better than it had before the last few hours of full-body wrestling we’d done. A small dimple dented each of his cheeks, even when he wasn’t smiling. I could feel a purr of longing start in my stomach. Okay, fine, it might have started a little lower than that.
“Huh. So, what’d you use me for?”
“I—” I didn’t look up. And I didn’t answer his question.
Then he was in front of me, his hands on my waist. “Is this the first time you’ve done it?”
I laughed. “Wow. Was I that bad?”
“I don’t get it.”
“Look at me.”
Ugh. If someone could reproduce the low grumble of his voice and put it on a ten-minute loop, women wouldn’t need vibrators anymore.
“Sara, look at me,” he repeated when I hesitated, then smiled when I raised my chin and made eye contact. I’d forgotten how tall he was. And oddly, how far from tall I was.
“Well, there has to be a reason you would be so focused on your jeans that you couldn’t even bother to look at me. So, buttoning your pants… It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I’ll show you.” He brushed my hands out of the way and buttoned my jeans, holding my eyes and feeling his way through the process. I tried not to visibly shiver every time he brushed my bare skin.
I shook my head and ran my lip through my teeth. “I probably have terrible morning breath.”
“This is a continuation of last night. You have to sleep to have morning breath. So, kiss me already.”
I did, lightly, until his lips demanded more. My arms stayed by my sides, stuck there immobile—the only thing with any control whatsoever it seemed because the rest of my body responded to his every touch. His tongue slipped inside my mouth, and his arms wrapped tightly around me, lifting me up onto my tiptoes.
He pulled away slightly and lowered me to the ground. “You’re right. You have terrible morning breath.” His smile was wicked. “That was such a horrible experience I’d like to do it again. Right now and then intermittently throughout the rest of the day.”
Oh no, that couldn’t happen. “Actually, I need to go.”
He released me, sighing. “If I asked you for your number so we could see each other again, would you give me a fake one?”
I shook my head. “I’d just say no.”
“You shouldn’t. You were great, and you seem like…” a smart, sweet, and generous guy who I connected with almost immediately. Not to mention a few other adjectives that proved how easy it would be to get attached if we spent any more time together.
“Like a really great guy.” Wow, that was one of the most inadequate descriptions I’d ever used. “It’s nothing personal, I swear. I don’t give my number to anyone.”
“Huh. So, either you’re already involved with someone, or you have serious issues. Which is it?”
“I’m not already involved with someone.”
He grimaced and then went to his dresser. “Well, if you ever want to be, give me a call.” He took a business card out of his wallet, wrote something down on it, and handed it to me. “It’s not my card, but my number’s on the back. Call me.”
“Me and my issues?”
“We all have issues, Sara. And we all have ways to cope.”
“Self-destructively. I’m really good at it. Last night, for example, I went to a bar looking for an amazing woman who would want nothing to do with me in the morning. All so I could spend the next few days pounding my head against the wall, wondering what happened, and where I went wrong. Totally successful endeavor, by the way. In fact, it’s probably better you don’t give me your number because I’m going to be busy telling myself what a fuck-up I am until…at least Thursday or Friday.”
I curled my fingers around his card instead of giving it back like I’d planned. “I don’t do the relationship thing.”
“Obviously.” He held up his hands and motioned to himself. “’Cause if you did, how could you possibly pass this mess up?”
“Maybe we could just…” I shrugged. Damn it. He was ten times as gorgeous as anyone I’d ever been with, had an incredible body he knew exactly how to use, and a sense of humor I could definitely get used to. Shit, for the first time in forever, I’d actually enjoyed our conversations between bouts of sex more than the bouts of sex themselves. At a couple of points, I’d caught myself thinking about getting to know him better, maybe even letting him know more about me. All of which added up to more complications than I could carry.
Another hookup would be dangerous, regardless of how much I wanted to.
“Okay, I think I got your hint,” he said, nodding. “Well, Sara. It was nice to meet you, it was great to fuck you, and I wish you, your issues, and your coping mechanisms long and happy lives.”
“Same to you. I’m gonna…I mean, I could…” Situations like these were exactly why I liked rules. Rules limited my options. Sometimes they even got rid of them altogether. I don’t give out my number. I don’t share too much about myself. I don’t—
“Look,” he said. “If you want to leave, leave. If you want to stay, then great! Because I’d love you to stay. Shit, if you need a coin to toss, I’ll give you one. But I’m feeling slightly insecure right now, so I would appreciate it if you could make a decision without any more of the mixed signals.”
He was right—my actions defined mixed signals. It seemed like that was all my mind could manage right now. What needed to happen was a decision. The same one I always made. In the past year, at least.
Not really…I didn’t think.
No. It wasn’t him. It wasn’t any of them. The only person I could count on was myself. I was the only one who could keep me safe. I was the only person I could trust.
When I got to the sidewalk, I took out the card he’d given me and smoothed it on my leg. Some guy who was a music executive of some kind. But on the other side, there was a name and a number—Declan. Declan. It was a nice name. Nice guy. A nice guy with a nice name who I would never see again.
Besides, Declan was wrong—one-nighters weren’t coping mechanisms. They were distractions, something to relieve the pressure and blow off steam. Two people getting what they wanted without the inevitable hurt that trusting someone led to.
Did my friends think I had trust issues? Hell, yes. Trust, intimacy, you name it. But I saw myself as a realist. No one should trust anyone. That was a fact.
No one saw pain coming, or it wouldn’t hurt so much when it happened. You wouldn’t feel humiliated and spend weeks in shock, living in a blurred reality. That wouldn’t happen if you were prepared, stayed vigilant, didn’t look for things that weren’t real. The only thing you could trust was that people were liars and did whatever the hell they wanted to do without concern for anyone else.