Page 27

When they ran out of air, he made his way along her jaw and she found himself tilting her head to expose her throat to him, loving the feel of his lips and teeth running over her skin. He bit down gently and a shock ran through her body, all the way to her toes, just as Vinnie trotted back into the living room and dropped something at their feet.

Breaking free, Kylie started to smile, so proud. “Yes! You’ve finally learned to fetch—” She broke off in horror as Joe burst out laughing.

Vinnie had “fetched” her vibrator.

Face flaming, she bent and scooped it up and shoved it beneath a couch cushion. “I have no idea how he got ahold of that . . . light saber.”

At that, Joe only laughed harder. He had to bend over and put his hands on his knees, and by the time he’d finished and straightened back up, swiping at his eyes, she was hands on hips, definitely cooled off . . . and so embarrassed she could hardly talk. “You have to go now,” she managed.

“Because you don’t need me since you have a vibrator?”

“Light saber!” She opened the front door. “Out.”

He came toe-to-toe with her and, eyes on hers, reached out and shut the door. “Hey,” he said. “If a person isn’t at least having a one-some every night, then you’re squandering your pre-apocalypse time.”

She closed her eyes and moaned, and he laughed again. “Kylie,” he said, clearly having to work hard to get ahold of himself. “I love that you have a . . . light saber. I love it so much I’m hoping you let me watch you play with it.”

“Ohmigod.” She shoved him away and covered her face.

He gently peeled her fingers from her cheeks. She met his gaze with effort. “I shouldn’t have brought you in on this,” she murmured. “Things really do seem even crazier now than they were.”

She expected him to make fun of her and continue to tease her, but instead he shook his head. “We’re making progress. You’ve just got to be patient.”

She was so not good at being patient. The amused look on his face said he knew it too.

“And as for the crazy,” he said and let loose a small smile, “maybe it’s you. Maybe you’re a crazy magnet.”

“Yeah? Then what does that make you?”

He flashed a full-out grin now and blew the rest of her brain cells. Then he vanished into her kitchen. “Got popcorn?” he called out. “Hot chocolate?”

“Of course. They’re both very important food groups. Why?”

“Because we’re going to watch a movie.”

“At the risk of repeating myself,” she said, “why?”

“Because you’re unsettled and you’re not ready to be alone.”

And he was going to sit here with her until she was ready. She tried not to let that warm her, but it was too late. Heart warmed. And other parts too, parts that had previously warmed only for her “light saber.”

Five minutes later they were watching a Fast & Furious movie and eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate, Vinnie sprawled in Joe’s lap.

When the movie ended, Kylie turned to Joe. “You were a perfect gentleman. How come?”

“I’m trying to be good.”

She stared at him. “Good isn’t exactly what comes to mind when I think of you.”

“I’m trying to be good for you,” he said. “But sometimes I lose it.”

“You do?”

“Yeah,” he said on a small smile. “Have you seen you? A dead man would respond to you. And I’m not dead, Kylie.” He stroked a finger along her temple. “At first I thought it might’ve been the wig. Hell, maybe it’s your light saber.”

“Ha ha,” she muttered, patting her head. Damn, she was indeed still wearing the wig. Great.

He was smiling when he leaned in and kissed her, slow and deep. He groaned low in his throat, a heady, masculine sound, and she pulled back. “Are you still trying to be good?” she asked softly.

He stared at her mouth, eyes so hot she was shocked her clothes hadn’t gone up in flames. “Yeah, but being good isn’t my first nature so don’t tease me.” He tugged her up from the couch, took her to her kitchen table, and pulled something from his pocket.

“A lock?” she asked, confused.

“One last thing on the program for the night. You asked me to teach you basic B&E skills.”

And here he was, following through on his word.

He paused, head cocked. “You didn’t expect me to do what I said I would,” he said, not sounding thrilled about that.

“Honestly?” She shook her head. “No, I didn’t.”

He shook his head, gestured her closer, and showed her the tool. He then picked the lock in about two seconds right in front of her and she still had no idea how he did it.

“Again,” she said.

He went much slower, carefully and thoroughly explaining each move. When his phone buzzed, he took a quick second to glance at the screen.

“What?” she asked.

“I need to help Archer with something.” But he stayed where he was, gesturing that it was her turn to work the lock.

She was on her tenth—unsuccessful—attempt and getting pissy all over again when he came up behind her to watch over her shoulder, making her screw up attempt number eleven and twelve. “Dammit!”

She felt his body contract in a silent laugh as he brushed a kiss along her jaw.

“Relax,” he said in her ear.

With his solid, warm body pressing up against her back? Not likely. But not wanting to reveal how much he affected her, she continued to try to work the lock.

“Patience.” He then slid his hands over hers, guiding her through the process until the lock clicked open.

His doing, not hers.

“Thought you had to go,” she said quietly, feeling anything but quiet.

“I do.”

Joe took the lock and the tool she still held and set them both on the table. Then he turned her to face him and pressed up against her. Her lungs stopped working as every inch of her went on high alert, quivering with need.

“Kylie,” he said, voice thick with desire.

“Yeah?”

“I’m about to lose it again.”

“Okay,” she whispered.

“Okay,” he whispered back and lowered his mouth to an inch from hers. They shared a breath before he closed the gap and kissed her, slow and intense.

Someone moaned. Her, she realized, and then he deepened the kiss, a hot, intense tangle of tongues and teeth that would’ve had her sagging backward if she hadn’t been sandwiched between her kitchen table and Joe’s hard, hot body. One of his hands moved to her hip, the other cupped the nape of her neck, pinning her to him as he continued to kiss her until she was clutching him, panting, whimpering for more. She wanted this—oh God, how she wanted it—but he was needed at work, so she put a hand to his chest and slowly pulled back.

He chased her mouth with his but she pressed on his chest until he opened his eyes and met hers.

“You’ve got to go,” she whispered.

“Right.” He pulled in a slow, unsteady breath before letting it out in a way that sounded suspiciously like a sigh as he rested his forehead on hers. “One of these days you’ll have to explain to me how it is that you suddenly have all the power in this relationship.”

She smiled and he shook his head at the both of them. “You’re going to be okay,” he said.

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