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Author: M.A. Grant



Chapter 1

Nothing ruins a lazy, post-cast party morning more than a phone alarm going off. I don’t bother to open my eyes, just swat half-heartedly at the nightstand. No phone. Huh.

If I let it go on long enough, it’ll shut off on its own. Besides, my bed is warm and comfortable and all I want to do is snuggle in deeper under the comforter.

‘What the hell?’

Adrenaline hits when the rough, masculine grumble reaches my ears. It’s a familiar voice. One I’ve heard before. One I’ve heard often. One that shouldn’t be in my bed.

The phone shuts off and the man answers, ‘Jacobs.’

I flip over and my world crashes down around my head in tiny, burning pieces.

Lying there next to me is a muscular, blond god I’ve simultaneously hated and drooled over for years—Jake Jacobs, my best friend Catherine’s older brother.

He’s still talking into the phone when I grab the sheet and lift it up. Oh crap, he’s naked. Gorgeous and totally, everything-hanging-out, let’s-make-it-a-good-morning naked.

‘Shit!’ he swears into his phone when the sheet disappears from his nether regions. He tries to snag it back at the same moment I fling myself to the furthest edge of my bed, out of range of his … virile man parts.

As a result, I get tangled in the sheet and fly back towards him. He drops his phone as we collide, my elbow slamming into his ribs, my legs flailing and connecting with something I should not ever, ever have come to know as well as I apparently did last night.

‘Let go, let go!’ I protest, struggling to crawl off him. Whether I escape to my side of the bed or fall onto the floor, anything to stop the physical contact between us will work.

His muscles flex under my hands, his hips rock, and we both freeze. My face burns, my nipples tighten, and the fluid heat between my legs is straight out of not-as-drunk-as-I’d-like memories of some really good times a few hours earlier. They’re coming back with a vengeance now.

Even after taking a hit seconds ago, he’s back at attention. His eyes fasten on my breasts, which dangle dangerously close to his talented mouth. Oh, I shouldn’t know that …

‘Jake …’ I warn. My voice only trembles a little.

His brown eyes meet mine and I squirm at the open lust there. Squirming isn’t my best idea ever.

His head pushes back against the pillow as the broad crown of his penis slips inside me. His neck muscles cord and he growls something foul when I accidentally moan.

It’s not my fault. He’s not supposed to feel good.

I can’t decide if I’m grateful or disappointed when his hands clamp down on my hips, arresting any further movement.

‘Maya, I swear to God if you move again, I will not be held responsible for what happens.’

I snort at that. Jake’s always been a control freak. Totally makes sense that even now, in this compromising position, he’d try to boss me around.

‘I don’t remember everything about last night in great detail,’ he continues, ‘but I do remember that we used up all the condoms you had here. So teasing me at this god-awful hour of the morning when my willpower is pretty much non-existent probably wouldn’t be a good idea.’

Ah. Valid point.

I hold still and Jake takes a few deep breaths. After a few seconds, I realise the strange noise I’m hearing is coming from his phone speaker. It sounds shockingly like laughter.

‘Nelson!’ Jake barks at the phone, unable to reach it without me sliding further onto him. ‘Hang up, you son of a—’

Call ended. The screen goes black.

How to start the awkward conversation I know is coming?

‘How the hell did this happen?’

‘We saw each other at the bar last night.’

Right. ‘I was at the cast party.’

‘And the guys and I were taking Travis out to celebrate his news.’

I remember Travis and his wife from some of the barbeques the firefighters have had over at Jake and Catherine’s house. They’re a cute couple, the kind that looks like it could be featured on some Hallmark card. ‘What news?’

‘He and Lisa are having a kid.’

‘Oh, yay for them.’ I genuinely mean it. Still, awkward silence descends.

I clear my throat. ‘So how did we end up in bed together?’

‘Your skeezy ex showed up.’

Oh God, snippets are returning. They’re not pretty. ‘Richard …’

‘I chased him off. You bought me a drink.’

My nose wrinkles. ‘We fought.’

‘We always fight.’

I glare at him and push some of my curls behind my ear. ‘It’s not my fault you’re always such an ass.’

He snorts. ‘Fine. We fought because I’m an ass. Then you grabbed my crotch and kissed me—’

‘Hey, mister! I did not grab your crotch!’

‘Didn’t you know you’re a horny drunk? I could barely pry your fingers off me.’

‘I seem to remember you were the one who did the kissing and my hand just happened to get stuck between us.’

He presses up a little with his hips. ‘What, did you think it was some magic lamp that would grant a wish and set your hand free?’

My hips roll with his in an instinctual reaction. Too bad his smug expression ruins the moment. I arch my back, lifting myself off him. ‘Argh! This is what I mean about you being an ass!’

‘You called me something else last night. Remember?’

Bastard. Mostly because he’s right. Parts of the night are hazy, but the things I remember all too well are the orgasms that rocked through me. His hoarse grunts melded with my cries of pleasure. The salt of sweat on his skin. And the stupid, stupid, insane thought which crossed my mind sometime around two in the morning when we were on condom number four: I really wish we could do this again.

He’s watching too intently for me to lie. I hedge the truth. ‘I remember that last night was … good.’

‘Good?’ His voice is flat, but his arched eyebrow challenges my assessment.

‘Enjoyable,’ I compromise. A strange fluttering sensation works itself up through my stomach. Afraid I’ll give in to the impulse to finish sliding down onto him, I crawl off completely and wrap myself in the sheet. Forcing conviction I don’t really feel into my voice, I tell him, ‘It can never happen again.’

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