Series: After We Fall #1
Not just back in town, but living in the flat right beneath mine. And he looks good enough to eat, which is just one more reason to stay away from him.
But I can’t resist.
The sex is incredible (pretty sure we’ve shaken the house right off its foundation), but he can’t fool me—not this time. A degree in marketing and five years in advertising have taught me that “true love” is a fairy tale used to sell lipstick, diamonds, and perfume. It doesn’t exist.
He thinks I’m wrong, and he wants to prove it.
I think he’s crazy, so I dare him to try.
It might be the biggest mistake of my life.
I was in the closet.
That’s not a metaphor, by the way—I was literally, physically trapped in a closet. It wasn’t even my closet; it was his. And it had that guy-closet smell, you know? Leather and cologne up front, base notes of sweat
and testosterone lingering beneath. It wasn’t entirely unpleasant. Actually, it was kind of hot in its uniquely masculine way, but I was in no mood and certainly no position to be turned on, crouching like a frog on top of some sneakers. My thighs were aching, I’d failed at pulling the hinged bi-fold doors all the way shut so I was totally visible through the crack, and I had the hiccups.
Did I mention I was drunk?
Oh, Jesus. I’d set my wineglass down somewhere, hadn’t I?
What the hell had I been thinking? And why on earth had I gone for the fucking closet instead of the back door when he came in? I could have easily climbed the back steps to my balcony by now or even snuck around and come in the front door like I was just getting home from work or something. He didn’t know I took the day off.
God, I was so dumb.
And it’s not like I’d learned anything that interesting for all my sleuthing, except that there were two condoms missing from the twelve-count box of Trojans (size XL, if you’re interested) in his nightstand drawer. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d used those since he’d moved in two weeks ago. I lived in the upper flat, so my bedroom was right above his, and I hadn’t heard any sex noises coming through the floor, but then again, I worked all day long and sometimes well into the night…maybe he was the afternoon delight type.
He looked like that type. A meal you could enjoy morning, noon, or night. Like pigs in a blanket from The Pancake House.
Jealousy surged in me as I imagined him sticking his pig in some gorgeous blonde’s blanket, whispering dirty things in her ear, making the bedsprings creak while the grown-ups of the world, the ones with real jobs, were hard at work. Stop it. You have way bigger problems than who he fucks while you’re at the office. Like how you’re going to get out of here.
Oh, God. If he came into the bedroom, I was busted for sure.
Why was he home this early anyway? I happened to know he had a late class on Thursdays. Had it been canceled because of the weather? Did he skip it because he didn’t want to drive in the snow? What a pansy. We were only supposed to get, like, nine or ten inches. Practically nothing in Michigan! California must have softened him.
Oh, fuck. Here he comes.
I heard him enter the room, and I tried to scoot back from the crack a little but fell onto his shoes and my foot bumped the door. Shit! Had he heard it? I held my breath as he walked past the closet and into the bathroom. A moment later I heard a belt being unbuckled. A zipper being lowered.
I rolled my eyes. Jesus. Who doesn’t shut the door when they pee? Men are such pigs.
The toilet flushed, and I heard the faucet run. At least he washes his hands.
“So. How about a hot shower, gorgeous?”
His voice startled me, and I gasped, my heart whacking against my ribs. Was someone else here? Jesus, the only thing worse than being discovered by Quinn Rusek alone would be getting caught in his closet in front of some girl he’d brought home to fork in the shower. But I hadn’t seen anyone else—was he talking to me?
I clapped a hand over my mouth, frantically trying to think of an excuse for myself. My older brother Alex owned the house, and I was sort of the manager of the two apartments in it, so it wasn’t totally unreasonable that I would be there. If only there were some kind of problem…
My brother asked me to check on the…um—
The heat. It’s going to get really cold tonight.
The fridge. Is it still making that humming noise?
The plumbing. My sink is draining slowly.
Yeah, that was it. The plumbing thing.
And I heard someone come in, and I knew you had a late class so it scared me. I ran into the closet, completely freaked out!
Even better. Then he’d feel bad for scaring me. He was Alex’s friend, though, so I could get caught in this lie if I wasn’t careful. I’d have to call Alex right away. And I needed to get rid of these fucking hiccups.
“Yeah, I think getting hot, naked, and wet right now sounds like a good plan for a cold afternoon.”
Smothering the squeal threatening to escape the back of my throat, I got on my hands and knees and poked my head out, solely for the purpose of ascertaining when it would be safe to make my escape, not because I was hoping to catch a glimpse of bare chest. Chiseled abs. XL dick.
Suddenly the navy blue Henley he’d been wearing flew out of the bathroom and landed on the floor in front of me. What the fuck? Was he getting undressed? He’d shut the bathroom door if he was going to get naked, right?
I leaned out farther.
“Fuck, this is gonna feel goooooood.”
And then it hit me—first his white T-shirt, square in the face, before landing atop the Henley—and second, the realization that he was messing with me.
I scrambled back into the closet.
That asshole knows I’m here. He’s playing a game.
It was chicken—just like we used to play in my backyard pool, only with even less clothing. Well, if he thought I was going to give myself up just because he threatened to get naked, he could think again. I could do this all day.
I peeked out again.
Oh. My. God.
My mouth fell open. There he was—shirtless, jeans undone, posing in front of the mirror. Flexing his biceps. His pecs. His abs.
Every curve and line was perfection—the muscular thighs, the round ass, the narrow waist, the sculpted arms. Not that I was surprised. He’d quit modeling months ago, but he still worked out every day like it was his job. Then there were the gifts he was given—the things he didn’t even have to work for. The brain-melting blue eyes, the unforgivable symmetry of his features, the angle of his jaw, the flawless skin.
After dropping a kiss onto each of his biceps—for fuck’s sake, seriously?—he rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, then left it there while the other slid down his rippled abdomen and into the front of his underwear.
My breath caught.
Oh God, oh God, oh God. Would he really go that far?
I was sweating, my entire body on edge. At least my hiccups were gone.
But what should I do? Give myself up?
A good person would, said my conscience.
Was I a good person?
You’re a drunk peeping Tom. All signs point to no.
So then I might as well see it through, right? After all, I’d made it this far. If I gave up now, he’d have something on me. And he’d have the upper hand. So maybe I’d call his bluff—see how far he’d actually go.
Great, now you’re a perv as well as a snoop.
Maybe I was, because when he moved behind the half-open bathroom door and turned the water on, I crawled out a little bit farther to try for a better look. Could I catch his reflection in the mirror? Or see him through the crack?
Suddenly his jeans came sailing out, landing with a dull thump right in front of me.
And then his blue boxer briefs.
But I had no time to ponder, because the door opened wide and Quinn appeared, holding his hands over his crotch like a fucking fig leaf.
“So,” he said, those blue eyes dancing. “Now what?”
Oh my fucking god.
The game of chicken…suddenly involved a cock.