Made for You (The Best Mistake), page 16
“But I don’t have an old duffel bag,” she said in confusion. “They’re bad for your back. The wheeled suitcases are really much better—”
He threw up his hands. “Fine. Where’s your fancy suitcase?”
She was apparently still addled by sleep, because she heard herself directing him to her luggage as she finished her cereal and coffee and tried to figure out what he was up to.
Brynn frowned when she realized he hadn’t come back into the kitchen. “Will?”
She went looking for him and she walked in on her worst nightmare. “What are you doing?” she wailed, dashing toward her suitcase. “Everything will be a wrinkled mess.”
“Kind of the point,” he said with a grin, elbowing her out of the way and dropping a wadded-up pair of jeans into her designer suitcase. “Get some socks. The warmish kind, it’s supposed to be rainy and cool.”
“Just my kind of vacation,” she muttered. Still, she did as instructed, pulling out a few pairs of her comfiest socks. She started to reach for her more comfortable bras and panties, but he stopped her.
“Uh-uh. The sexy stuff.”
Brynn narrowed her eyes. “You’re packing my oldest jeans, rattiest sweatshirts, and tennis shoes, yet you want me to bring silk and lace?”
He dropped a baggy sweater into the suitcase—unfolded—before advancing on her, backing her into the dresser. He backed her into things a lot. She liked it.
“Actually, how about we forget the silk and stockings,” he said, dipping his head to nuzzle her neck. “Let’s go with…nothing at all.”
“Ah, so it’s that kind of vacation,” she said, letting her head dip back so he could have better access to her collarbone.
His thumbs grazed over the center of her breasts, finding her nipples hard and aching beneath the silk of her nightgown. “Definitely that kind of vacation,” he agreed.
He moved his mouth to hers, but she ducked before he could make contact.
“Haven’t brushed yet,” she muttered.
Will paused and let out a soft laugh. “My little wild child. Fine, go brush. But no flossing. We’ve got to get going.”
“Going where? And you said this was a spontaneous trip. Surely it can be delayed a few minutes.”
“Just…go get in the shower, would you?” he said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder toward the bathroom. “I’ll finish packing.”
“I don’t think you can call it that,” she said as she watched him put her dirty shoes on top of a white shirt. Disaster.
“Your five minutes are counting down.”
Her jaw dropped. “Five minutes? I can’t get ready that quickly.”
Will shrugged without looking at her. “Guess I leave without you.”
Brynn’s eyes narrowed, unsure of whether she believed him or not. She decided she didn’t want to risk it, and scampered toward the shower, then showered in record time.
Will Thatcher had planned a romantic getaway with her.
The thought made her smile more than it should have.
The best vacations are the cultural variety.
—Brynn Dalton’s Rules for an
Exemplary Life, #2
You weren’t kidding about the cold and the rainy.”
Will sucked in an appreciative breath of cool ocean air. “But cold and rainy by the sea is much better than cold and rainy in the city, is it not?”
Brynn watched a seagull swoop low over the dark gray water before disappearing into the mist. With the exception of the crashing surf, the seagull was the only moving thing she could see for miles.
“It’s wonderful,” she breathed, bracing her forearms on the deck railing and taking it all in.
Will mimicked her posture. “I thought you might like it.”
She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, watching the way his blue eyes soaked in the quiet, peaceful nature scene just as hers had. “I admit I’m surprised,” she said lightly, bumping him with her hip. “For all your yammering about adventure and rebellion, I was expecting a casino or a nudist colony or something.”
“How about a nudist colony for two?” He wiggled his eyebrows.
“Depends if you can figure out how to get that huge fireplace in commission.”
“Of course I can. I was a Boy Scout.”
The corner of his mouth tilted up. “Definitely not. But I do always carry protection. Wanna see?”
“I’m pretty sure condom supply is not what they’re teaching in Boy Scouts these days.”
Brynn tilted her head up and felt the beginning of drizzle against her cheeks. Normally she would have been ducking for cover at the first sign of moisture in the air, but today she just stayed, loving the coolness against her face.
When she finally straightened, she found Will watching her with an unreadable expression. The look was oddly intense, and she forced a smile to lighten the moment even as she wanted to beg him to kiss her in the rain with the Pacific Ocean crashing noisily in the background.
With every additional moment she spent with Will, she feared more and more that there was nothing easy and casual about what they were doing. Every look, every kiss hinted at more.
And it scared the crap out of her.
“Tell me you brought some food in one of those huge coolers,” Brynn said, trying to lighten the strangely intimate mood.
The old, easy Will returned instantly as he pushed back from the rail and headed inside. “Of course I brought food. Nothing organic, though, and I don’t want to hear one peep about preservatives or nitrates.”
“Exactly how long have you been planning this?” Brynn asked as she trailed after him.
For all his yammering about spontaneity, it was clear that Will had put a decent amount of thought into this little getaway. By the time she’d hurriedly showered and dressed that morning, he’d already loaded her suitcase into his car along with a couple of coolers and his own black leather bag.
The car ride had been complete with a road-mix sound track and a thermos of hot chocolate, and the guy hadn’t once looked at a map to know where they were going. Spontaneous my ass.
Brynn had never heard of Moclips before now, but from the looks of it, it was one of those cute Washington coastal towns that she’d always meant to visit on a whim. Instead, she’d ended up going on elaborate vacations that took eighteen months to plan.
Even the house they were staying in was perfect. From the outside it had looked sort of rustic and plain, but the owner had obviously spared no expense on the inside. Granite countertops in the kitchen, rich dark leather sofas in the living room, and the biggest fireplace she’d ever seen.
She hadn’t seen the bedroom yet, but she’d bet big money that there was a big bed.
“How’d you say you found this place?”
Will opened one of the coolers and pulled out a couple of sandwiches. Brynn’s fingers fumbled a little as she opened the sandwich he gave her and found her favorite combination of all time: turkey, cucumber, and Brie.
It’s not a sandwich that one accidentally threw together. And she was reasonably sure that she’d never told him her favorite sandwich. And yet he’d known.
Her spine tingled a little in warning.
“One of my biz-dev guys bought the house for next to nothing a few years ago and fixed it up. There’s been an open-ended invitation for a while, but I’ve never taken him up on it.”
“You say that like it’s supposed to mean something to me,” Brynn said around a mouthful of sandwich. “‘Biz-dev’…?”
“Business development,” Will said, unwrapping his own sandwich. Brynn had the odd urge to know what kind it was. To know him like he apparently knew her. She pushed the urge aside. Flings didn’t need to know each other’s food preferences.
She shook her head. “Business development? Could you be any more vague?”
He gave her a funny look. “Sounds to me like you might actually be intereste
Brynn lifted a shoulder, feeling oddly embarrassed. “I’d be interested if you had one.”
For a second Will looked completely stunned, and then his face registered something else entirely as he set down his untouched sandwich and stared at her. “You think I don’t have a career?”
The crushed expression on his face paralyzed Brynn. My God, I don’t know him at all.
“I, um…I guess I never thought about it. I mean, you obviously have money, but you never seem to work. I figured it was from an inheritance or taking a shortcut somewhere.”
He leaned back in his chair. “Taking a shortcut?”
The sandwich that had a minute ago tasted like heaven kept wanting to get stuck in her throat. Why had she taken the conversation in this direction? “I mean, you move all over the place whenever you want, you don’t wear suits, you don’t work nine-to-five…”
“Well, gosh, if I don’t have tassels on my shoes and a company-sponsored 401(k), then I must be an unemployable slacker, right?”
“No!” Maybe. “I guess I just never understood what it is that you do. How you make your money…”
His eyes snagged hers and held. “You could have asked.”
“But…I couldn’t have, not really. I mean, when? Amid all that fighting and trying not to kill each other?”
“And what about the past two and a half weeks, Brynn? Have we been fighting then?”
“No…but we both know it’s a temporary reprieve,” she said, her words all coming together in a rush. “It’s not like we entered this thing with a get-to-know-you goal in mind.”
His steady gaze told her what she’d been beginning to suspect. I already know you.
It was she who was clueless. She who was in unfamiliar waters.
The playing field wasn’t nearly as level as she’d thought. And she didn’t like it one bit.
“So tell me, then,” she said, lowering her voice. “What is it that you do?”
Will shook his head. “Eat your sandwich. I’m going to change my clothes, and then we’ll go for a walk on the beach.”
He was already moving toward the bedroom, where he’d put their bags, when she reached out a hand to grab his wrist. “Will, talk to me. I want to know—”
“No, you don’t, Brynn. You think you care now, but in a week, when this is all over, you won’t care whether I’m a billionaire or a bankrupt bum who drinks beer all day in his underwear.”
“Well, at least I’d get a good view from my window,” she said, trying for teasing.
He pulled his arm out of her grasp and walked away.
Brynn picked up the sandwich and took a mechanical bite even as her eyes stared unseeingly straight ahead at the dopey sailboat artwork. She’d been through a gamut of emotions over the past few months, but this was the first time that she felt good and truly ashamed.
She’d put endless energy into making sure she only saw Will as a callous womanizer with no care beyond bra cup size.
But it was Brynn who was the real user in this entire thing.
She’d been treating him like a glorified booty call. The sandwich turned sour in her stomach as she thought of all the times she could have asked him something about himself. Anything about himself.
But she’d been too busy looking for her next lay, worrying about her life, and getting riled up every time he wasn’t at her every beck and call.
She thought he’d wanted it that way, just as she had.
Obviously she’d been wrong.
“You ready?” he asked, coming out of the bedroom wearing faded jeans and a pullover fleece instead of the shorts and T-shirt of before. “You should grab a sweater or something. It’s colder along the water.”
Brynn hadn’t even eaten half of her sandwich, and he hadn’t eaten any of his, but neither of them seemed to care. Brynn dug in her suitcase for a sweatshirt, eager to join him before he changed his mind and went on a walk without her. Or worse, before he turned around and headed back home to find someone who cared about his work life. Or any part of his life.
They walked in silence down the long winding staircase toward the beach. The rain had died down to a faint mist, but the wind had picked up, whipping around them, carrying away the words they weren’t saying.
Will leaned down to take his shoes off, and Brynn did the same, despite the fact that the wind was cold, and the wet sand would be even colder.
It was colder, but it was also delicious, and Brynn curled her toes into the damp, chilly sand and took in a deep breath.
“I’m surprised you’re not freaking out about hypothermia, or bugs, or stepping on glass.”
Brynn gazed out at the gray, whipping ocean that was so comforting in its intense monotony. Routine could be powerful. But it didn’t have to be dull. She would do well to remember that when she went back to her real life. “I’m not afraid of anything right now.”
Will silently extended a hand toward her, and she took it. He twined his fingers with hers in a way she usually associated with romance and sweetness.
Not Will’s usual cup of tea. But perhaps he’d changed.
Or perhaps she’d been blind.
They walked hand in hand down the deserted beach, far enough to the water that the sand grew firm beneath their feet, but not close enough so that the frigid Pacific waters nipped at their toes. Brynn didn’t know how long they walked, silently, hand in hand.
And it was the calmest she’d felt in weeks. Maybe months. Hell, it was the most at peace she’d felt in years, and she was experiencing it with the person she’d always associated with chaos and crassness.
She almost found herself wanting to confide in him. To explain that she didn’t mean to be so damn focused on doing everything right, but that she was afraid that if she stopped trying, she would be an outcast.
She waited for the usual sense of justification that came from recalling the miserable childhood memories.
Waited to feel the usual sense of recommitment to making sure she never gave anyone anything to criticize.
However, this time, the memories felt stale…like maybe it was time to let them go…
But she couldn’t. Not yet. Those memories had shaped her. Without them…
She didn’t even know what she’d be. Whom she’d be.
Eventually they came across a more populated part of the beach where a rowdy group appeared to be attempting a clambake, even though the weather wasn’t cooperating.
In silent agreement, they turned around and began heading back toward the house. By the time they made it back to their shoes it had started to rain, and between the gritty sand and the continual drizzle, Brynn had a heck of a time trying to put her impractical ballet flats back on.
“Fuck it,” Will finally muttered. He grabbed her shoes from her hands and thrust them at her before scooping her up against his chest, one arm hooked beneath her knees in the classic Rhett Butler style.
“Why, William Thatcher, I didn’t know you had these kinds of moves,” she said, trying for coy and failing miserably.
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”
It was a blatant reminder of their disastrous conversation from earlier, and Brynn’s smile slipped. But Will was apparently ready to forgive and forget, because instead of lapsing into a male sulk, he stamped a hard kiss on her mouth.
Brynn knew what he was offering—forgiveness—and she grasped at it eagerly, hooking a hand behind his neck and keeping his cool lips locked against hers as she slipped her tongue into his mouth and took the kiss deeper.
Their tongues waged a hot, wet war as they kissed as furiously as they’d ever argued. Their teeth bumped, and his stubble burned her chin, but she didn’t let go, not until they were both gasping for air and bursting for more.
Will pulled back with a muttered oath, and he began taking the steps two at a time. She squirmed to be put down when they reached the back door, but he held her still, somehow managing to open the sliding door with
He gently set her on her feet in the bathroom, and she reached eagerly for the hem of his fleece. Will stilled her hands.
“You can shower here. I’ll use the second shower.”
He didn’t meet her eyes as he left the bathroom, and Brynn stood there for several seconds, before she realized she was frigid, and the sand was starting to make her feet itch. Numbly, she stripped, leaving her clothes in a messy pile as she stepped into the open-styled stone shower.
She stood there for long minutes, letting the hot water rush over her, even as she wished it was Will’s deft, capable hands doing the warming.
What was the point of a weekend getaway with sexy lingerie if a guy turned down a prime opportunity for shower sex? And she knew his preferences by now. Will loved shower sex. Loved when she sank to her knees and took him in her mouth…
Brynn let out a frustrated groan as she shut the water off and snatched one of the fluffy blue towels.
She took her sweet time drying her hair, not only to ward off the chill, but to try and gather her thoughts. What the hell was going on here? They’d been angry, they’d been frustrated, and they’d been hot for each other, but they’d never been this. She’d never felt uneasy around him.
And he’d never been wary.
She sensed they were circling something that was both precious and fragile, but damn if she knew what it was.
Pulling on a pair of wrinkled pink-and-white PJ pants and a fuzzy white sweater, she wandered out into the main living area. She was pretty sure she’d seen wine in his arsenal of supplies. Perhaps that would help.
Brynn froze at the scene in front of her.
He must have been a Boy Scout after all, because the fire was huge and crackling. The scene in front of the fire was even more intriguing. Wine. A cheese plate. And a thick, soft-looking blanket that practically advertised writhe on me.
LAUREN LAYNE SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Passion on Park Avenue (The Central Park Pact)Huge Deal (21 Wall Street Book 3)The Prenup: a love storyI Think I Love YouBlurred LinesCuff MeGood Girl (Love Unexpectedly #2)Just One Night: Sex, Love & Stiletto Series
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