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|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
Once he was finished, he eased out of me. I felt so physically wasted that I could barely hold my head up. After Rhys disposed of the condom in the wastebasket beside the bed, he urged me to get back up. “No, no more. I can’t now. I’m too tired.”
He chuckled. “I was trying to get you up so we could get under the covers.”
“Oh,” I replied, before I sat up. Rhys tugged the comforter and sheet back, and then I dove underneath them, stretching out on the luxurious cotton. Rhys slipped in beside me and spooned up against my back. His breathing began to grow shallower and shallower, until he was finally asleep. Feeling utterly satisfied, I found myself falling into a deep sleep, enveloped in the warmth of Rhys’s strong embrace.
I knew I loved Rhys before tonight. But, after making love with him, I was completely gone. He had always owned my heart. Now he owned my body as well.
As the morning sunlight streamed across my face, I shifted in the bed. When I started to roll over to get the sun out of my eyes, I found myself entangled in a mass of dark hair. I tried desperately to process where I was and who I was with. And then I realized it was Allison lying beside me. My mind was assaulted with John Milton’s phrase, “Hide me from day’s garish eye” and its somewhat bastardization of “everything looked different in the garish light of day.”
Fucking hell, what had I done? Somewhere between the tequila and what had happened with Ellie, I’d completely let my guard down and allowed myself to give in to the worst temptation. A reel of X-rated images flickered through my mind of doing body shots off Allison, making out with her in the pool, and then taking her to my bed.
The realization crashed over me, causing me to shudder. I’d f**ked Jake’s little sister. I’d f**ked her in multiple positions and had used way too many condoms. I’d defiled a perfectly sweet and angelic girl who had been the only bright spot in my world, besides Ellie, the last few weeks. Bringing my forearm over my eyes, I groaned. How could she ever forgive me?
“Hey, are you okay?” a small voice asked beside me.
Drawing my arm away, I met Allison’s expectant gaze. Even though she should’ve looked ridden hard and put up wet after all we had done, she was so f**king radiant she glowed. The sunlight hit the back of her hair and shot down her body, illuminating her small curves under the stark white sheet.
With a tentative smile, she placed her hand on my chest over my heart. “Talk to me, Rhys.”
At that moment, former coherent thoughts seemed to evaporate instantaneously. Just the sight of Allison stirred something within me. Fucking hell. No! I could not go there again. Groaning once more, I pulled myself up in the bed and leaned back against the headboard. Desperately I searched to find the right words in this moment. “God, Allison, I’m so, so sorry about last night.”
Her brows lined in confusion. “Why would you be sorry?”
I furiously rubbed my face. “I took advantage of you when you were just being kind and compassionate. I got you drunk. I—”
She interrupted me by bringing her hand over my mouth. “Stop it. There is nothing to apologize for or to beat yourself up over. Last night was about two consenting adults. And I certainly remember giving my permission.”
Vaguely another grainy image flickered in my head of Allison telling me to kiss her again. She certainly seemed to have a good time without coercion last night. But even if she was on board, I knew better than to touch her. “Even if you were okay with it, it wasn’t right,” I protested.
Rising up in the bed, Allison didn’t bother to keep the sheet wrapped around her chest. I pinched my eyes shut to avoid the delicious eyeful of her br**sts. “Your head is still too cloudy to process everything. Go get us some coffee, and we’ll talk this through.”
In the light of morning, Allison appeared so much older. She certainly spoke with such assurance that I was willing to accept or believe anything she said. “Okay?” she prodded.
“All right. I’ll throw on some clothes and run up to the main house.” As I pulled back the sheet, Allison’s eyes stared appreciatively at my dick, and it took everything within me not to flip her onto her back and pound her again. “You should put some clothes on.”
“Do you have something I can borrow?”
She gave me a beaming smile, one that lit me afire from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. At the same time, it comforted me. It was like Allison possessed the answers to all the questions and worries I had about my life. I couldn’t imagine why the hell I was thinking that about her. She was just a friend…a friend I had now had sex with. Fuuuuck!
Shaking off the weird feelings swimming around in my head, I went to the chest of drawers and took out a T-shirt and some shorts. “Here.”
“Thank you.” She took them in her hands and then slipped out from under the sheet. I couldn’t believe how uninhibited she was in front of me. When she ducked into the bathroom, I headed out the side door to the house.
When I let myself in the backdoor, the kitchen was empty. Knowing my mother, she had asked the cook to bring her a breakfast tray after feigning exhaustion from the party. That or she had insisted on taking her meal outside on the veranda, so she could survey any potential damage done by the partygoers. It was always about her, not what was convenient to others.
I dug a thermos out of the back of the pantry, and then filled it with steaming coffee. Several different types of muffins and fruit were laid out on the island. I grabbed a plate and starting piling up a sampling in case Allison was hungry.