Norah drove home in silence, dread filling her. She needed this job. Not just because of the money, although that played a huge role. She liked spending time with Lani and having Kai’s house as a place of peace. If he fired her, she wouldn’t be able to find anything for probably a couple of months. She parked and rested her forehead against the steering wheel.
This day had to qualify as one of the worst ever. Maybe if she asked Kai really nicely tomorrow, he wouldn’t fire her. The car was getting colder, so she opened the door and dragged herself to the house. Then she realized she was still wearing Kai’s sweatshirt. It was comfy and smelled like him. She wondered if he’d miss it.
She rolled her eyes at herself. Of course he would notice it missing. The guy noticed everything. Truth be told, it was a little unnerving. He was like Jimmy that way.
After changing for bed, she plugged her phone into the charger and at the same time it buzzed with power, a text came through. From Kai.
Sorry I yelled at you.
The simple text made her laugh before she responded. I grew up with 4 brothers. I don’t think you know what yelling is.
She lay in bed and waited for him to say something. When nothing came back, she thought that was all she’d get. But she craved more, so she called.
“Hello.” His voice was deep and craggy and she imagined him in bed, his hair loose, his long limbs spread everywhere.
“I’m sorry I invited people over without checking with you first. I wanted to do something nice for your mom.”
“I know. I was an asshole.”
“Why? It couldn’t just be that you had a house full of old ladies.”
He was silent for so long, she thought he wouldn’t answer. “You make me crazy.”
“I don’t mean to. Tell me what it is and I’ll try to stop.” She heard rustling on the line and pictured him sitting up, throwing the blankets off.
His quiet chuckle vibrated across the line and through her, doing delicious things to her body. “You can’t. It’s just you. Who you are.”
The words came like a slap. Had she turned into the epitome of the annoying little sister? She had no other role to play? Then she remembered the way he’d kissed her, the look in his eye when he’d stood surrounding her in the kitchen tonight. “What do you want?” she asked softly.
“That’s the problem, Norah. You make me want. And I don’t like that.”
What she’d thought had been one of the worst days of her life had just turned on its head. His words filled her with a surge of emotions, none of which could she name. “I don’t know what to say.”
“There’s nothing to say.” He paused. “What about your boyfriend?”
She jerked back from her phone. “You mean Avery? We were a brief thing. It’s been over.”
“But he came for you.”
“For the baby. Not me.”
Kai sighed and mumbled something that sounded like “Stupid.”
“If it helps, I feel the same,” she admitted. If he could put it out there, the least she could do was not make him feel alone.
“That doesn’t help a damn bit.”
“I’d apologize, but it would be a lie and you’ve made it clear how you feel about lies.”
“You’re killing me, you know that, right?”
“It’s been a long time since someone made me feel like this.”
“I’m sure I’ll regret asking, feel like what?”
So many things: sexy, wanted, hot—even in her whale-like state. But she settled for “Special.”
“Having this conversation is stupid. It’ll cause trouble. You have to know that.”
Of course she knew. She was pregnant and the only reason she was in his life was because of his mom. But she wanted to hold on to the fantasy for a little while. In the quiet dark of her bedroom, none of that mattered. “I know. Right now I don’t care.”
“You need to care, Norah. I’m not the kind of guy you belong with. I’d only end up hurting you.”
“You wouldn’t be the first and sometimes the hurt is worth it.”
“I don’t think it is.”
“I guess we’ll have to see then.” She smiled because Kai liked her. Maybe he didn’t like the fact he was attracted to her, but it was enough that he admitted it.
Pre-Buy/Buy Links (print and digital)