“Good morning, handsome,” a very sexy voice said from beside my ear.
I rolled over and stretched. “Is it morning already?” I snaked my hand up Stephen’s side and fisted it in his hair. “Maybe we can call in sick today and just stay here all day.”
“As delicious as that sounds, I need to get my ass to work or my boss will call in the cavalry.” Stephen kissed me and then threw the covers off to stand up.
My body fell back against the pillows, but my eyes were locked on his six-foot five-inch frame as it sauntered into the bathroom. “Need some help in there?”
Stephen stopped in the doorway and looked over his shoulder. “You’re insatiable.” Then he turned away. “But I do love having help with washing my back.”
I bolted out of bed so fast. Right as my feet left the carpet and touched the tile floor, the doorbell rang. “Fuck.”
“I can wait,” Stephen said and stepped into the shower.
“Just stay there. I’ll get rid of whoever it is.” My mind was racing as I made my way down the stairs half-naked. There was a man in my bathroom; if it was one of my brothers at the door I was fucked. I looked through the peep-hole and felt the onset of bile rise up in my throat. I swung the door open and stood in the way, trying to prevent Brooks and Charlie from entering. “This is a surprise.”
“Is it?” Brooks made an attempt to step around me. “Are you going to invite us in?”
I glanced at Charlie, hoping to send her a signal it was time to leave. The voice in my head was screaming at her, You remember that secret?
A few months ago, my sister-in-law found me making-out with Stephen in the hallway of Noir Nightclub. I didn’t have to say a word; she told me it was just between us. The subject never came up again, thankfully. Now, as I stood with the door partially open, I was willing to pull the subject out of the vault.
My eyes never left Charlie. I was begging and pleading silently.
“Oh shit,” Charlie blurted and slapped Brooks on his chest. “We need to go.”
“What? Now?” Charlie was holding onto Brooks’s arm and tugging him down the sidewalk. “But we just got here.”
“Yup, and now we’re leaving.” Right before Charlie sat down in the passenger seat, she looked back at me and winked.
I nodded, still feeling afraid to say anything. One thing was true: my sister-in-law was damn intuitive. She knew how to read emotions and that shocked me. I closed the door and leaned against the wood surface. What had just happened? This was the first time I felt brave enough to bring Stephen into my home. Of all the days to feel brave.
I realized in the midst of it all, I had forgotten to ask why they stopped by. I walked into the kitchen to retrieve my phone and send Charlie a thank you message.
Me: Um, thanks.
C: I told Brooks he can’t stop by unannounced.
Me: But he didn’t listen, I see.
C: Does he ever?
Me: Why did he pop in?
C: To have breakfast with you.
C: I’m making him stop at the Peppermill instead. You can join us?
Me: Maybe. Thanks, C.
Now I felt bad. He just wanted to have breakfast. Brooks was my middle brother and we were pretty close. Before he met Charlie, we spent a lot of time together at each other’s places working out or playing video games. Then Charlie came into the picture, and my house felt quiet lately. That was the reason most of my nights had been spent at Noir Nightclub.
“That was a lonely shower.” Stephen pressed his body up against my back and wrapped his arms around my waist. “I can take another one if you need help?”
My head fell back against his shoulder. “I’m sorry. My brother and sister-in-law showed up unannounced.” I turned in his arms and laced my fingers behind his neck. “Brooks has never been great at communicating.” Why was I telling Stephen that? We didn’t share our personal lives. “Sorry, too much information.” I leaned up and kissed him. “Can I get a raincheck?”
“Handsome, you can get more than that anytime.”
“Oh yeah,” I teased and nipped at his bottom lip. “Promise?”
Stephen dropped his head and captured my lips, causing my insides to light up. I moaned as his tongue demanded entrance into my mouth. As he enjoyed a little exploration, I fisted my hands in his short hair. Just as I was about to beg for more, he pulled away. My body felt lonely and I wanted more.
“I have to run.” He placed his hand on the side of my face. “God, I wish I could devour you again.”
“Call in sick.”
“I wish I could, love.” Stephen bent to kiss me. Right as I tried to demand more, he pulled away and turned to head to the front door. “Will you be at Noir this week?”
“Only if you’re there.”
He glanced over his shoulder and winked. “Then I’ll see you Friday.” As he descended the cement steps, I heard him say, “I plan to stay all weekend at your house next time.”
Fuck. I didn’t know how to deal with this situation. It was clearly going to change things in my life. Trying to keep a secret in my family always backfired.
As Stephen’s car pulled out of the driveway, I lifted my hand to wave. Yeah, this situation went from bad to worse in just a matter of twenty-four hours. The thought made me hungry. Stress always made my stomach demand food.
* * *
“You showed up.” Charlie stood from the booth and kissed my cheek.
“How did you know we were here?” Brooks looked between Charlie and me. “You both have any other secrets you need to spit out?”
Charlie rubbed her hand down the side of Brooks’s face. “Hollywood, he’s my brother now. You don’t get to know all the secrets we share.”
“Good thing there are none to share.” I rolled my eyes and opened the menu.
“I was surprised to see we woke you up.” Brooks leaned back in his seat. “Late night sparring at the gym?”
“I do have a life outside of the gym,” I said and set my menu down. “Besides, why is sleeping in a bad thing? I thought we needed our beauty rest.”
From the corner of my eye, I noticed a man walking toward me. When I looked over, my heart must’ve kicked into overdrive because it felt like it would beat its way out of my chest. Stephen had this look that told me he was on a mission. As he approached my table, I was sure he was going to stop and say hi. Right as he was in front of our table he turned and held out his hand to some woman in the booth kitty-corner from me.
I didn’t realize I was holding in my breath as I let out a heavy sigh.
“You know him?” Brooks said, and I noticed my brother scan the guy up and down. “He doesn’t go to the gym.”
Way to look obvious, Ty, I yelled at myself. “I think I’ve seen him at the club. He looks familiar.”
“How many nights a week do you go to that damn club?”
“And this matters, why?”
“We need to keep our eyes on the prize. Drinking, dancing, and staying out late will interrupt that process.”
“You do you, Brooks.” I patted his shoulder. “I will do what works for me.”
I leaned back in my seat and tried not to look obvious when I glanced over at Stephen. Tall, dark, and handsome who was only inches away was giving me exactly what I needed at the moment.