The House Mate Page 17


“And you think it’s that easy to separate it all?” She raised her eyebrows.

“I don’t see why it can’t be,” I shot back. “We both want this. And it only gets tricky if we let it. We like each other. We respect each other. We’re friends who also want to sleep together. So long as we know that’s what it is, surely we can manage to keep it casual.”

“Casual,” she repeated thoughtfully.

“I know what your ex did to you, and I know you’re probably gun-shy after that, but I would never hurt you or make you feel like you weren’t sexy or desirable. Maybe this—” I searched for the right word. “Maybe this arrangement between us would help you feel better about all that. I still meant what I said before.”

“Max,” Addison said on a sigh.

“Don’t overthink it. We’re two adults, and there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy each other’s company without it turning weird. Besides, living like this is hardly less weird, right? Tiptoeing around each other like a couple of teenagers with a crush?”

She pursed her lips, then ran the pink tip of her tongue over her full bottom lip. “Maybe.”

“More than maybe,” I argued, and I closed the space between us again, circling her waist with my arms. Lowering my face to hers, I kissed her again, slower and deeper this time.

Fuck, she tasted good.

She met my lips gently at first, shyly, but when I swept my tongue out, she opened her mouth for me, pushing and pulling along with me as our tongues danced together and our breath became quicker and shorter. My cock pulsed, growing impossibly hard, and I pressed myself against her, wanting her to feel exactly how much I wanted her, how I needed her.

“I have to think about it,” she whispered as she broke away, gasping. “Dylan has to come first.”

“I agree. Dylan comes first.” I nodded.

“So . . . can I think about it? Just for a day. I’ll tell you tomorrow, I promise.” She disengaged from my arms again, her eyes hooded in what I could only hope was lust. “I just don’t want to make a rash decision.”

“I can respect that. So . . . tomorrow, then.”

“Tomorrow.” She nodded.

I backed away, my whole body tense with need, somewhat mollified that she looked as desperate as I felt. If this was what it took, waiting twenty-four hours for a chance to finally touch her the way I’d dreamed of? I’d dig deep and find the patience to wait.

I made for the door and descended the stairs, careful not to make eye contact with my friends. Somehow, I felt like if I looked them in the eye, they’d know what I was up to and try to talk me out of it, and that was the last thing I wanted.

If all went well, tomorrow I would finally get to see Addison naked in my bed.

A rush of need surged to my groin and I crossed my legs at the ankle, desperate to think of something else. Instead, my mind was humming with thoughts of Addison.

How long had it been since she’d actually been with a man who wanted her? I considered this, but the idea of her being with another man at all had me balling up my fists and trying to change the subject inside my mind yet again.

I was so caught up that I flinched when Zach and Matt jumped up, cheering as our team rushed into the end zone. I leaped up to join them but my heart wasn’t in it. When we sat again, Zach turned his attention to me.

“What’s going on with you, man?” he asked.

I frowned in his general direction. “What do you mean?”

“I mean you’re acting weird.”

“I’m not,” I argued.

“You are,” Matt cut in. “What gives?”

“Just have a lot on my mind.” I tried to focus on the TV again, but both my friends continued to stare at me, quietly sipping their beers and watching me like I was the main attraction.

“I think you’ve got nanny on the brain,” Zach teased. “I can definitely understand that.”

“Shut up,” Matt barked at him. “She’ll hear you.”

“Exactly,” I said.

“It doesn’t mean he’s wrong, though,” Matt said. “You’ve clearly got the hots for her.”

“She’s attractive. So what?” I asked with a roll of my eyes.

“Other than the fact you live with her?” Matt asked.

“That’s the least of your problems,” Zach added. “Just look at her. She’s all wholesome and subtly sexy—perfect girl-next-door type. Spells trouble, bro.”

“What in the hell is that supposed to mean?” I shot back.

Zach shrugged. “Listen, just, good luck with that, buddy.”

“No,” I argued. “Spit it out.”

Zach let out a little sigh. “Fine. All I’m saying is you have this gorgeous woman taking care of your house and your daughter. You don’t just want to fuck her. You’re growing dependent on her, and that means things can only get messy.”

“Maybe for you it would,” I said.

“For anyone,” Matt cut in.

I ignored them both and focused on the game. Soon, they stopped yammering and followed suit, but their words stuck with me, playing in my mind on a loop.

Addison had said it, and Zach and Matt had agreed as much. Things between us could get very sticky.

But as my cock throbbed again at the very thought of her soft mouth beneath mine, I knew it was too late for doubts.

Because if I had a chance to get sticky with Addison?

I was sure as fuck going to take it.

Chapter Twelve


There’s a reason he’s still single at thirty-five.

Ever since Max had left my room a couple of hours before, the words had played through my head like a broken record. It didn’t matter what I said or did to try to convince myself; it all just came back to that. He was ten years older than me. And my boss. It could only lead to trouble. Right?

Walking around the backyard, I picked up Dylan’s toys and thought over everything that had happened earlier. It had been so quick—in the space of thirty minutes, I’d gone from being almost fired to being promoted to potential casual sexual partner.


That must be his thing. After all, his tryst with Tiffany had been “casual” before he stopped it. And with Dylan’s mom too. How many women had he been with that way? And how long did it take for him to get bored with them? He’d been with Dylan’s mother for only a few months . . . was that a long stretch for him? Was that what he thought commitment was?

I glanced down at Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head lying together in the grass, their plastic hands touching in wedded bliss.

“How do you guys make it work?” I sighed. They looked at me with their lifeless eyes, and I scooped them up into my tote full of toys with a groan.

Okay, so what if he was a player? He said he wouldn’t hurt me. And so long as I had my head on straight, he couldn’t, could he?

Because what if he was right? What if all I needed to shake off this whole Greg thing wasn’t to stay away from men, but to feel what it was like to be desired and wanted for the first time in years?

I pursed my lips and sank onto the bench of the picnic table where stuffed animals from this morning’s tea party were still seated. All the glossy plastic eyes stared at me, and I picked up the teapot, if only to have something to do.

“I wish this was something stronger than imaginary tea,” I muttered, and then poured myself a cup before offering it to the doll opposite me.

“He’s a good man, a good father.” He cared about Dylan so deeply that I could feel it when I watched them together. But then, if it didn’t work out . . .

I stuffed my teacup into the tote, then ushered the rest of the tea party toys along with it.

How long had it been since I’d been properly laid? Every girl deserved fireworks, didn’t she? Greg had certainly never delivered where that was concerned, and as for the other men in my past . . .

There hadn’t been much of anyone to speak of. A few short relationships here and there, sure, but nobody real. Nobody who made me want to tear off my clothes and ride him like a rodeo bull.

Not like Max.

I’d never even had a one-night stand or one crazy, reckless night. And where had that gotten me?

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