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Riding the Night by Jaci Burton
Dawn hadn’t filtered yet through the blinds on Teresa’s windows, only shades of gray announcing it was morning but too early to get up.
It didn’t matter. She hadn’t slept much anyway, had tossed and turned, wondering what Pax and AJ were doing, coupled with random thoughts about the bar fight, what she’d witnessed, and her worry about Joey’s welfare. None of that added up to the ability to get a restful sleep.
She took a shower and got dressed, opening the bedroom door and moving into the living room, surprised to find both the guys there. AJ was asleep on the sofa, Pax sitting in a chair near the front window. He turned to her and smiled, grabbed the pistol sitting on the table next to him and slid it into his pants.
For some reason, knowing they were armed comforted her. Besides, there was something sexy as hell about a guy carrying a weapon who knew how to use it. Not for show or to look tough, but because it was part of his job.
“Heard anything from the police station yet?”
Pax shook his head. “Nothing, but it’s early.” He came over to her, brushed his knuckles along her cheek. “Too early for you to be awake. You didn’t get much sleep.”
She took a step back, not used to the little thrill that shot up her spine at his touch. She liked it, which made her uncomfortable as hell. “I’m fine. I’ll go make coffee.”
“It’s already made.”
“Yeah. I brewed a pot a little while ago. Go kick the couch and wake up AJ. I’ll start breakfast.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
He gave her a look over his shoulder, and a smile that made her toes curl. “I want to.”
A guy who made himself at home in her kitchen. That was also a little disconcerting. And comforting. And sexy.
It had been five years. And maybe it wasn’t freaking her out as much as it used to. She’d wanted to get back in the game again for a long time now. She was tired of being afraid, of letting what had happened rule her life. She wanted to be a woman again, and damn if she was going to let those guys ruin her. Every man wasn’t like they had been.
Every guy wasn’t going to hurt her. And maybe every guy wasn’t going to run away when he found out the truth about her.
She moved over to the sofa. AJ was too big for her average-sized couch. One arm was slung over his head, his booted feet hung over the edge of the arm. Beard stubble peppered his jaw, making his face look dark and ruthless. AJ had never been ruthless. A bad boy, yes, but he’d always been the fun kind of bad boy.
And he’d never hurt her.
Once, he’d loved her. And she’d loved him. But that love hadn’t been enough to keep him out of trouble. They’d just been kids, on the verge of adulthood. Neither of them had known what they were doing back then. It had been innocent and intense, as all teenage romances are.
Ten years later she still didn’t know what she was doing. Nor did she know who AJ really was now, other than he was one of the good guys.
She smiled. She liked that he was one of the good guys. It suited him. But he still carried an edge of danger that fit him well, too.
Startled, she jumped back, realizing he’d moved his arm and his eyelids were partially open, revealing smoky grays studying her. She tried to calm her racing heart. Goddammit, when was she going to relax? “Sorry. I debated waking you.”
“I was already awake. Pax walks like a herd of elephants.”
“Fuck you,” Pax said from the kitchen.
Visit’s Shiloh’s Blog…next up in the September Sizzles contest…
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