The Last Awakening Excerpt
Grey propped himself against the inside of the door. He’d given her a few minutes alone after work while he grabbed his bag from his car. In fact, he’d spent at least a good ten convincing himself he could do this. Now, he wasn’t so sure, but he would still fix her door before he left. Damn woman hadn’t even locked it. He’d knocked twice and stepped inside when she didn’t respond.
He’d wait. Through the paper-thin wall he listened to the shower and then the light patter of dainty feet running across her room. This really was the worst apartment he’d ever seen. Worse than some of the military tents he’d lived in.
He sat his bag beside him and tapped his fingers along the door. Any day now. Her bedroom door flew open, and she rushed out. He’d imagined her in silk pajamas with beaded nipples teasing him and begging for his taste—not the sweatshirt or the flannel bottoms. They weren’t bad either and actually may have added to her
appeal—there was something highly erotic about wondering what was beneath.
She sagged a little and dropped a hand across her chest. The smile she’d met him with slipped. “What?”
“You’re beautiful.” Damn, if he didn’t stop putting his foot in his mouth.
She blushed, painting her cheeks with the prettiest shade of pink before she ducked away from him. “What’s in the bag?”
“You need more protection.” He pulled out his wallet and fumbled through the slots for a business card. She leaned in closer and stood on tiptoe, watching his every move. “Nosy?”
When he handed her the card, she frowned.
“What did you think this was?” he asked.
She didn’t answer, but her pink cheeks shouted it loud and clear.
“Did you think I was going for a condom?”
She turned away, sank down onto her sofa, and pouted.
Surely she didn’t think…nah, no way could she want…He burst into a fit of laughter. Christ, how long had it been since he’d laughed? Really laughed? She was feisty as hell. He wanted more than anything to snatch her up and carry her to her creaky bed and let Mike—and whoever else wanted to—listen through her walls as he connected with her in the basest of ways. But first, they had things to get out in the open.
“Don’t laugh at me.”
He chuckled harder and moved closer to her. “I’m sorry to disappoint you. I brought some locks over. Before I leave, I’ll install them.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to.”
She sputtered. Her eyes sparked for a moment, and when she blinked a soft cloud covered the amber. Shit. Smoke floated across her eyes like something straight out of a B movie. He shook his head and pinched the tender skin above his brow. Damn hallucinations. He thought he was past them. “Are you okay?”
“You laugh at me and then want to know if I’m okay? Really?”
“Your eyes. I thought I…never mind.” Shut up, man, before you show her what a fucking freak you are.
Ari spun away from him. She gathered deep breaths, stretching the muscles in her back tight. “I’ll be in my room while you do whatever it is you’re going to do. Come get me when you’re done and can remember your manners, s’il vous plait.”
She didn’t stop for him. Damn, he’d been an ass. Exactly what he said he wasn’t going to do. His plan had been to fix her door. Maybe have a beer with her. Find out how she was dealing with what happened, and possibly share some of his sorrow. But he’d think twice about the drink if he was going to start seeing shit. He’d had all the flashbacks he wanted in a lifetime, but to actually start hallucinating was too much. The alcohol was screwing with his head. Might be time to cut back.
He installed the new deadbolts and loaded his tools. The bedroom door remained shut, but the light peeked from beneath it. He crossed to knock softly on the thin wood. “Ari?”
“I’m done. I’ll let myself out…come lock up after me.”
Yeah, he’d screwed up and he’d be lucky if the one person he could connect with, who’d understand, ever talked to him again.