Kiss Me Like This
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Zane looked at him like he was nuts. “What’s up with you, man? You’ve been living like a monk for weeks. Ever since those pictures with you and the supermodel—” At Sean’s hard look, he remembered not to call her that. “I mean, the pictures with you and Serena came out in that magazine.”
Damned glad that no one knew she was upstairs right now, Sean walked into the kitchen, grabbed a plate, and opened the fridge. “You should have told me you were missing me this much. I would have brought you some roses, taken you out for a nice dinner somewhere.”
“Asshole,” Zane muttered good-naturedly, but Sean was glad to see that he was already past his questions about Serena and was uncapping a bottle of beer.
It turned out, though, that Zane wasn’t the only one who wanted to shoot the shit tonight, and in the end, Sean figured it was better to stick around for a little longer rather than make them wonder why he was in such a rush to get back up to his room. A dozen off-color jokes later, he finally picked up the plate of food and a bottle of water and took it upstairs. Stepping inside his room, he locked the door behind him so that they wouldn’t risk one of his frat brothers barging in on them, and put the plate down on his desk.
“I brought some of every—”
His words fell away as he realized Serena was fast asleep. His heart turned over in his chest at just how soft and sweet and vulnerable she looked cuddling his pillow against her chest. Her long eyelashes dusted the tops of her cheekbones. Her full lips were slightly parted. And her hair was spread all across his pillows like someone had posed her for a sexy magazine shoot.
But no one had orchestrated the picture she presented for him. She just really was that beautiful. So beautiful that he could still hardly believe she’d chosen him to date, to kiss...and to trust.
Clearly, she wasn’t going to be eating anything tonight, but at the very least he could make her more comfortable while she slept. She barely stirred when he unlaced her shoes and pulled them off. Though he knew most girls didn’t like to sleep in their bras, and that no one liked to wear jeans to bed, he didn’t let himself take either excuse to strip off anything more.
But he did need to get her beneath the covers, which meant the pleasure of lifting her into his arms so that he could pull back his covers and slide her onto the sheets.
“Shhh.” He breathed the word against her cheek as he slowly let go of her so that he could pull his dark-blue comforter over her. “I’m here if you need me.”
Her eyes opened and they were such a clear, striking blue that he knew no photo, regardless of how talented the photographer or how good the equipment, would ever do her justice.
“I do need you,” she whispered. “So bad that it hurts sometimes.”
And when she held out her arms for him, how could he do anything but give her what she needed? By the time he’d gathered her into his arms, her head nestled into the crook of his arm, she was fast asleep again.
He doubted he’d be able to get much sleep of his own tonight, but he wasn’t complaining. Not when holding the girl he loved, and feeling her heart beat against his, was the best thing he’d ever felt in his life. So good that even the thought of collateral damage no longer mattered.
Whatever came, he’d deal with it.
They both would.
* * *
Serena woke just as the sun began to rise outside the window. Years of early shoots to catch the sunrise still made it impossible for her to sleep in...even when her head felt like someone had been hitting it repeatedly with a sledgehammer. She groaned as she lifted her hands to her face, but the sound died in her throat when she realized she wasn’t alone in her bed.
And that it wasn’t her bed.
Her heart immediately started to race as she slowly turned her head on the pillow and saw Sean sleeping beside her.
Oh God, yesterday had been her big “let’s get drunk together on tequila” plan. Obviously, given the throbbing in her head, she’d managed the get drunk part, no problem.
But what else had she done while she was at it?
Like, say, Sean Morrison?
Just as panic started to whip up inside her, she belatedly realized that she was still wearing her sweatshirt and jeans. Relief promptly stole away her panic.
Last night she’d thought that she might be ready to sleep with Sean, but the morning after, she now knew that doing it after drinking would have been the world’s worst idea.
Not, she thought as her brain started to slowly fill in the gaps, that she hadn’t given seducing him a shot. Surely she’d provided him with at least a couple of good openings to sleep with her if he’d wanted to. But that was exactly why she’d felt safe enough to take her first-ever drinks with him—she could always trust him to make good decisions, even if her own judgment became impaired.
For weeks she’d been wondering what it would be like to come up here, to his room. To his bed. Of course, she thought with a small smile, she hadn’t thought it would finally happen because she’d been too tipsy to make it back to her own.
Smiling made her realize just how dry her lips and tongue were, and that she was desperate for a drink of water. She didn’t want to wake Sean—not when he looked to be sleeping the sleep of the truly exhausted—so she moved as carefully as possible from under the covers he must have pulled over her last night.
But once both feet were on the floor, instead of tiptoeing into his adjoining bathroom right away, she couldn’t stop staring at him while he slept. And all the while, her heart tumbled in her chest.
Was this what love felt like?
From the start, she’d been stunned by the strength of her feelings for him. Still, it might have been easy enough to convince herself that it was nothing more than a physical reaction to his kisses, especially when he was so amazing at giving them to her.
But this morning, she couldn’t deny any longer that her feelings went far deeper than just bodies and kisses. And she couldn’t fight the desire to want to go even deeper, to know him even better. So much better than she did right now.
For the past few weeks they’d grown more and more comfortable with each other on their Friday night dates, and had definitely shared things with each other that they didn’t share with others. But at the same time, they’d also both been careful to keep their biggest secrets to themselves.