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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
“That must’ve been some hell of a dream the way you were moaning and thrashing about. I’ll know now not to watch any horror movies late at night with you.”
When I continued to keep my face hidden, Rhys hand came to gently pull mine away. “Hey, what’s the matter?”
I bit my lip to keep from blurting that my panties were soaked from having a literal wet dream about him. I sure as hell hoped he couldn’t smell my arousal. Instead, I sighed. “Just embarrassed, that’s all.”
Rhys gave me a genuine smile. “You’ve got nothing to be embarrassed about. Want me to lie here with you until you can go back to sleep?”
I couldn’t believe he was willing to do that. “Please.”
“First order of business is to put on something less depressing to watch than Les Mis. I think a comedy is in order to chase away the nightmares.”
And then he had dug out Robin Hood: Men in Tights from my roommates and my communal DVD collection. He had wrapped me in his arms, and we both fell asleep again. It had been heaven on earth, minus being woken up from the naughty sex dream.
As the days went on, we continued spending more and more time together. When we were together, everything was good—the conversation, the food we ate, the places we went to see. Rhys was the quintessential Renaissance man. He was someone who could be doubled over with laughter at inane comedies like Anchorman and DodgeBall one night and then the very next be thoroughly enraptured at a poetry reading or art gallery opening. You could talk to him about anything—philosophy, history, or literature. He was always well versed and could bring the most interesting aspects to a discussion. He’d won over two of my roommates by being able to help them with their Design Law class. Being with Rhys was like getting to see the very best of both worlds—the society intellectual he had been born as and then the down and dirty, beer-drinking rocker he had become. Rhys’s complexities just made me love him all the more.
In each and every way, we seemed like the perfect loving couple. But we weren’t—there still managed to be a wall between us, preventing us from taking it to the next level. As much as I hated it, Rhys kept things strictly platonic. He never sat too close to me on the couch or held my hand when we were out exploring the city. I was trying to be patient and go with the flow, hoping that things would change, but my patience was starting to wear thin the more time went by.
But tonight was the change I desperately was hoping for. Earlier in the week, I had accepted an invitation to a party at his parents’ house. So far, Rhys had never taken me there. We had hung out strictly at my house. While I had met his mother at the bachelor auction, I couldn’t help thinking that the invitation truly meant something more.
So once again, I found myself living a Cinderella-esque lifestyle where I dashed in from work to get ready for the ball with my handsome prince. After the bitch had made snide comments about my dress last time, I was determined not to face that again this time. While I was completely ready to spend far too much out of my savings on something posh, Cassie once again came through for me. Through her family connections, I was able to borrow a dress from an upscale store. The only catch was I would have to model for them in their fall collection show, which I guess wasn’t so bad. With my height, barely there boobs, and small frame, I had been courted to model before. But just like performing, it wasn’t for me. I was much too shy for the limelight, and I much preferred staying behind the scenes with fashion design.
As I slid the gold tube of lipstick over my lips, I put the final touches on my appearance. With my reflection staring back at me in the full-length mirror, I couldn’t help feeling just like Cinderella. The store had really come through in the most perfect dress imaginable. It was satin and strapless in a deep red, almost wine color. From the bust to the waist, the crisscrossing design fit me like a second skin before flowing out around my hips. Rather than the magnolia necklace, I was wearing the pearls Jake and Abby had given me for my high school graduation. And on my feet were the sexiest strappy heels that matched the color of the dress.
Glancing at the clock on my nightstand, I realized it was almost time for Rhys to pick me up. I grabbed the glittery clutch purse I would be carrying and then hurried down the hall. In the kitchen, I could hear Cassie chattering away with two of our other roommates, Kelly and Tammy. When I appeared in the doorway, I received several whistles. I couldn’t help grinning. “Thank you.”
“You’re going to knock ’em dead tonight,” Cassie said.
Sticking my foot out from beneath the dress, I asked, “Are you sure these heels aren’t too much?”
“No, they’re sexy as hell,” Cassie replied, to which Kelly and Tammy nodded.
“They just don’t feel like me.” Running my hand over the satin, I sighed. “I guess that none of it feels like me.”
Cassie shook her head. “You look absolutely sensational, heels and all. You’re dressing the part that’s expected for you tonight. Be thankful that Rhys seems to appreciate you just as much when you’re in jeans and smelling of tomato sauce after work.”
I laughed. “I guess you’re right.” The sound of a car pulling up interrupted anymore of my self-deprecating tirade.
“Is that him?” Tammy asked.
“I hope so,” I replied.
“Daaaamn, Rhys has one sweet-ass ride!” Cassie exclaimed. When I turned around, she was at the window, peeking outside through the blinds.