© Copyright KIMBERLY DEAN, 2012
Laser beams shot through Lexie’s eyes, making the back of her eyelids glow red. The bright color ran through her optic nerve straight to the center of her brain and set it on fire. She winced. Oh God. Light.
She rolled away. The move wasn’t a smart one. Her head spun, her stomach jounced and her back screamed. She went still, holding herself uncertainly. Oh Lord. What hell was this?
Someone cupped the back of her head and guided her back down. Warmth awaited her. Strong, comfortable warmth. She rested against the heat and held herself very, very still.
She hurt all over.
The touch at her head slid down and rubbed the tight muscles of her neck. She sighed. As if they knew just where the pain was centered, the fingers skimmed lower to the spot in the middle of her back. She was afraid to move, afraid to breathe too deep, but that touch coaxed her aching muscles to relax. Bit by bit, she found a more comfortable position. She rested her aching head on a strong shoulder and laid her hand against a hard chest. Her legs tangled with others, and she rubbed her toe against a muscled calf experimentally. He was warm and solid.
Her eyes popped open, and she froze—partly because the morning light reflected off the pale yellow walls and partly because she was in bed with somebody. A male somebody. A male somebody with a body that rocked.
She squeezed her eyes shut, the light too bright. Gradually, she managed to open them to slits. Still afraid to move, she looked across the chest with which she was so up close and personal. It was sculpted with muscles that had no give under the light touch of her fingertips. She glanced down, careful not to move her eyes too fast. There was nothing soft down there either.
Her face heated. She’d been looking at the corrugated six-pack of the man’s abdomen, not the hard bulge pressing against the sheet. The very hard, very big bulge. Her pulse started to race. She wanted desperately to move but knew if she did it would draw more attention to their position. She was cozied up way too intimately against a man she couldn’t even identify.
Her face went from hot to burning as fragmented memories returned. She remembered a hand on her leg…a hand that had been under her skirt. She remembered being picked up and carried to bed. She remembered a kiss. Her breath caught in her throat. She remembered a kiss that had made her toes curl in her shoes and her nipples dig into the cups of her bra.
She’d made out with…
She looked up and found dark eyes watching her, dark hair that was mussed, lips that looked ready to kiss her again…
Rowe? She was in bed with Cameron Rowe?
She surged upright, sitting straight up on the…foldout couch? Pain rocketed through her head, and she gasped. She pressed her hands against her temples in a vain attempt to hold her skull together.
It was Cam, all right. She recognized the voice, and she recognized her reaction to it. Shivers danced across her skin, but this wasn’t right. Where was she? Her headache rang. How had she ended up on a foldout couch with this man? The world’s most uncomfortable foldout couch, nonetheless?
“What happened?” she groaned.
“You had too much to drink.”
Drink? She didn’t drink.
He rubbed her back in comforting circles. Half of her struggled to move farther away, but the other half was in too much pain. Besides, the warm touch was the one good thing she was feeling, even if the hand was connected to the arm connected to the shoulder connected to…him. She couldn’t believe she’d slept with the hatchet man.
They had just slept, hadn’t they?
Her sluggish thoughts ping-ponged around in her hurting head. She couldn’t remember doing anything more. She’d remember doing something more, wouldn’t she? With him? Her lungs began working hard as the kiss in the bar became clearer. She could still feel the press of his body. She could taste his hungry lips and sense the responding ache low in her belly.
“Stop thinking so much.” His morning voice was low and sexy. “Everything’s all right.”
All right? As desperately as she tried to remember last night, it remained fuzzy. She peeked open her eyes. She was still dressed…or half-dressed. The sleepwear her sister had given her didn’t leave much to the imagination.
The billboard. The Ruckus. Her twin.
Lexie’s head snapped towards the bedroom, and the wall wavered before coming into focus. Memories started flooding back in—at least she hoped they were memories. Alcohol couldn’t have caused such vivid dreams, could it? She couldn’t have made up such an outrageous story. She listened carefully, but she didn’t hear anything coming from the bedroom. She couldn’t sense anyone else in the place but her and Cam.
And she sensed everything about him.
He continued stroking her back. “Are you all right?”
“I feel like I’ve been steamrollered.”
“That would be the bourbon.”
She risked looking over her shoulder at him. The sight made her belly squeeze in an uncomfortably pleasant way. Oh, damn. Sex on a stick was right.
He was wickedly inviting, lying back against the white sheets. His one hand was reached out to touch her, but the other was tucked behind his head on the plump pillow. He looked big and tanned, muscled and lazy—like a hunk you’d find on the centerfold of a naughty magazine.
Or a naughty billboard.
Oh this was not good.
Lexie pushed at the covers.
He sat up so smoothly it made her envious. “Slow down. Don’t make it worse.”
Her breath shuddered. He was sitting so close, she could feel his heat. His naked heat. His chest bumped against her shoulder as he settled his hand on the mattress by her hip. He was dangerous enough in black Armani suits. Stripped down, he was lethal.
“Is it your head?” He brushed her hair over her shoulder, and shivers raced down her spine.
“My head. My joints. My back.”
He rubbed that spot in the middle of her back again, and she nearly moaned.
“Mine is crying too. It’s the support bar on this damn thing.”
She clenched the sheet beneath her. What had she done last night to get in such horrid shape? And how could he be sitting there, looking so good, while she felt like the dregs of the earth? “How…how bad was I last night?”
He hesitated. “I caught you dirty dancing atop the bar.”
Her eyes popped open, and the yellow walls glared. He had not! Although… Bits and pieces filtered through her cluttered brainwaves. Foghat’s “Slow Ride” struck a chord, and her entire body flashed hot.
He rubbed lower on her back. “Relax. I got you down from there.”
Somehow, that made it even worse. “Was I that awful?”
The teasing look left his eyes. “I didn’t say that.” His lashes dipped, and he focused on her lips. “You should let Sexy Lexie out to play more often.”
Lexie was off the sofa in a flash, her heart pounding, yet that left her feeling almost more exposed. The shorts she wore were too short, and the top was way too skimpy. Meanwhile, he was still lounging there half-naked on the bed. Ruthless Rowe. Dear God. She’d gotten all warm and cozy with the enemy.