Billy sat forward. “Bad time?” He scrutinized me, his look grew angry. “You sounded out of breath. Were you fighting with someone? Was someone hurting you?”
I stared up at the ceiling. “No. I was … I was doing things.”
“Things?” questioned Billy, clearly bewildered. I dropped my chin, gaze meeting his. Understanding dawned all over his happy face. “Oh, you were …”
“Yes,” I hissed. “Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to—”
Billy set his chin. “I don’t know how I feel about that.”
“I’m sorry?” Too bad nobody asked you, I thought.
He shook his head, stood and sauntered to me. “No, I don’t think I care for that at all.” He stopped inches from me, drink still in hand. “What kind of example does that set for little bird?” His breath smelled of whiskey and cinnamon and pumpkin. The pumpkin did it for me. I licked my lips.
“Addy was states away,” I reasoned. My hands clenched and unclenched, energy sparked between us.
Billy swallowed the last of his drink and sat it on a nearby glass-topped table with a decisive thunk. “Still, can’t have you flaunting your extracurriculars around my daughter. One of us has to be the responsible one, flower.” He ran a finger down my cheek. I wished I hadn’t refused the drink. I could use some liquid courage.
“If I’m the responsible one, who are you then?”
He smiled, wicked and charming, the way I’d seen him do around so many groupies, and Svetlana. Poor Svetlana. Billy had broken it off with her. They’d lasted three weeks, just enough time for Svetlana to emotionally invest and Billy to freak out. “I’m the fun one, flower.”
“I’m sorry I asked.”
He chuckled, a husky timbre I felt all the way down to my toes. I’d witnessed Billy in seduction mode, but I’d never been on the receiving end of it. Even when he’d hit on me during my interview, a part of him seemed reserved, like he was holding back. The mood he was in tonight was unusual, broody, and something else I couldn’t put my finger on. He just wasn’t quite his irreverent self. Did the holidays make Billy melancholy? “So who was he?” he asked.
My thoughts were muddled, a pile of pudding under Billy’s sensual assault. “Who?”
“The guy you were with, flower.”
I swallowed. “His name is Colin.” I could still feel the burn from his stubble on my breasts.
“Colin,” Billy scoffed. He stepped back and crossed his arms. “Sounds like a namby pamby. I’ve never met a Colin I liked.”
Breathing came easier. Without Billy standing so close I could focus. My thoughts cleared, sharpened. “Well it’s a good thing you’ve never met him.” And you never will.
“What does Colin do anyway? The last Colin I met still lived in his mother’s house, in the basement, and had very pale skin, kind of like a vampire. I hope this chap isn’t the same one.”
“Actually he’s a Navy SEAL.” I threw my shoulders back, put my chin up.
Billy wandered the living room, arriving back at the expensive bottle of whiskey. He took a swig straight from the bottle. I guess he’d moved past the need for glasses. “A Navy SEAL? I’m not familiar. And I’m not intimidated by a man who’s a member of some porpoise group.”
“Actually they’re kind of known in the states as elite warriors.”
Another scoff from Billy. “You should suggest they change their name to the pirates.” He waited a beat. “Or the honey badgers, those are some bad motherfuckers.” He chugged the bottle, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “On second thought, maybe I should meet him if he’s going to be in our lives.”
I stared at my now slightly drunk boss. “He’s not going to be in your lives.”
One blond eyebrow quirked imperiously at me. “No?”
“No, he’s in my life.” I wish he was inside me right now. “I am in your life. But you two will never cross paths. It’s like a Venn diagram.” I spied a pad of paper and box of markers. Addy liked to draw before bedtime. I sketched out a Venn diagram, two circles overlapping in the middle. Above the left circle I put my name and above the right Billy’s. At the intersection I placed Addy. Then I wrote Colin’s name, complete with a heart over the i, inside my circle. “See.” I held the paper up, showing it to Billy. “Billy and Colin no meet, ever.”
Billy was in front of me in seconds, he tore the diagram from my fingers. He set the paper down and drew a large circle around the diagram. “You’ve got it all wrong, flower.” He scratched out his name and scribbled it back in the much larger circle, the one encompassing my circle. “I’m your universe, you just don’t know it yet.”
My mouth parted.
“Ah, you’re speechless, finally.” He cupped my cheek and his palm was warm, even against my flushed skin. I blinked slowly then drew my eyes up to meet his. His eyes were the color of jade and charcoal rimmed, as if they’d been charred at the edges.
“Billy,” I whispered.
“Yes, flower?” He regarded me through half-lidded eyes.
“Addy wasn’t really upset was she?”
“No,” he simply said. “She missed you but I prompted her to call.”
“Why?” My throat felt dry.
“I needed you to come back. I can’t sleep without the sound of your snoring in the other room.”
I scrunched up my nose. “I don’t snore.”
“You do. And sometimes you even giggle, sounds kind of like that insane tiger from the show Addy used to love, the one about the fat bear obsessed with honey.”
“Winnie the Pooh.”
“That’s the one. Now, if you don’t mind shutting your pretty mouth, I’m going to kiss you.” He bent down and his lips pressed against mine. He kissed my top lip, then my bottom, nibbling them. “Let me in, flower,” he said against my mouth. This was wrong. So wrong. Addy was sleeping in the next room. Despite my reservations, my hands went to his chest, fisting his t-shirt and pulling him closer. Underneath the thin fabric, I could feel his hard chest and beneath that the thunder of his heart. Its beat matched mine. Billy swiped my lips with his tongue and I opened my mouth, pressing my body against his, wrapping my arms around his neck. I dreamt of us kissing before but it hadn’t ever been like this. Wet and hot, with the force of a million suns.
Down-on-her-luck teacher, Daisy Clemmens, is about to learn some hard lessons. (Not like that, you perv.)
No matter how broke you are, never agree to a job that includes a rabid eight-year-old, requires a tetanus shot or where your boss is a sexy (and cranky) rock ‘n’ roll god.
Do not, do not start to have tender, gooey feelings for the sexy commitment-phobe rock ‘n’ roll god. You'll only get hurt.
Okay so you've slept with the sexy rock ‘n’ roll god. But it's not too late. Just whatever you do, don't fall in love. Whoops. Too late.
Never love someone, even if they are a sexy rock ‘n’ roll god, more than yourself.
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She has a degree in Science and a Master's in Education, neither of which she is currently using but is still paying for. Occasionally, she moonlights as a YA author.