Secrets That We Keep by Linda Kage

Except I was in a solid GG mood.

“Never mind,” I muttered, tossing down my orange and jerking to my feet. “You don’t get it, so I’ll just take care of myself. You probably suck at cuddling, anyway.”

And I left the kitchen.

“Hey now.” Darting after me, he tripped his way into the hall to catch up. Then he nearly tackled me in his haste to grasp my elbow, jerk me around, and heave me into his arms. “I’ve been told I have superb cuddling skills. See.”

“By who?” I asked, my voice muffled against his rock-hard chest as he attempted to suffocate me with the force of his arm muscles alone. “Your crazy, psycho ex? Cut it out.” I shoved at his elbow. “I can’t breathe. This is the worst hug ever.”

The turd didn’t let me go, though. He merely repositioned us until I could turn my face enough to the side to suck in huge gulps of air.

“Just relax, will you? You’re like hugging a cactus.”

I poked him in the ribs with my finger. “Not helping.”

He chuckled, and the sound reverberated through me, causing things to shudder and stir to life inside me. I went completely still, wondering why I kept having this intense reaction.

To him.

The alcohol. Had to be the alcohol. Or the seed Teagan had planted earlier with her sex-praising. Because nothing—and I mean, nothing—had made me crave intimacy lately. At least, not sexual intimacy with a real, live man.

“Just give me a chance here, Bella. I’ll keep you company and help distract you from your bad night if you help distract me and keep me from doing something epically stupid in return. ’Kay?”

I paused.

Huh, you know, he had a point there. We could team up and help each other out.

And maybe, together, we could somehow manage to bounce back from our exes tonight.

Just like Haven was doing with her hot new boy roommate.

My eyes widened. Suddenly, my mind was coming up with all kinds of creative ways we could keep each other company. Oh yeah, this could work.

Relaxing into his arms, I sank my cheek more heavily against his heartbeat, appreciating the steady thump against my jaw.

Breathing in his sturdy presence, I set a hand along his side. He murmured a sound of reassurance, and I closed my eyes, going completely boneless as I let him support my weight.

Maybe he wasn’t such a bad hugger after all. He was really warm. And solid.

And so freaking male.

But the best thing about him: I knew I could trust him to never, ever hurt me.

He was safe. He was solid. He was reliable. He was practically family.

There was a level of familiarity between us I’d never had with anyone I’d dated before. And right now, that felt so very alluring.

It felt dependable. Almost like coming home.

Yes. Home.

My eyelids fluttered open as I peeked up at the strong column of his throat. He did feel like home. Plus, damn, he’d grown up nice.

It’d been too long since I’d felt this feminine and comfortable and safe in the arms of a sexy, capable man. I snuggled even deeper into his intoxicating masculinity and sighed. I bet he could take care of me perfectly, in all kinds of different, delicious ways.

“There you go,” he murmured appreciatively in my ear as he stroked my hair. His low voice caused the muscles deep in my belly to clench. “You’re finally relaxing. See, this isn’t so bad now, is it?”

No. No, it wasn’t.

Would it be too creepy to tell him that it felt like his voice was making love to me? Because, I swear, I legit sensed an echo of him stroking inside me whenever he talked. His exact pitch vibrated against my clit and made my cervix contract.

Yeah, you’re right. Probably best not to mention that super strange detail.

“You smell good,” I did admit, though, as I rubbed my cheek against his shirt like a cat in heat.

With another chuckle, he kissed my temple. “Yeah, I showered today. I do that sometimes.”

Oh, so we were putting our mouths on each other now, were we? Following his lead, I lifted my lips to his throat. “You should shower every day.”

With me.

Humming in delight, I pressed my mouth to the pulse beat on the side of his neck before letting my tongue flick across his flesh.

Mmm. He tasted good, too.

Against me, he went still. His muscles tensed.

I nipped him with my teeth. Not hard, just enough to get his attention.

“Whoa!” Jerking back, he gaped at me a moment, just staring.