“You taste like butter,” he groaned against her lips, and she flushed. “I like it.”

She placed a hand on his chest, to push him away or pull him forward she wasn’t sure, but then he kissed her once more. Her body—her entire being—was so caught up in the way his lips tasted her and how his hand gripped her shoulder, his fingers flexing like he wanted to move them elsewhere but didn’t, and damn if she didn’t want to arch her back, showing him just exactly where she wanted him to touch her.

This was insane.

When he pulled back, his eyes searched her face for something.

“We shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff,” she whispered, dazed. “No one is looking…”

His eyes were latched onto hers. “I know, but I wanted to and I pretty much do what I want.” Smiling, he turned back to the screen. Someone was chasing someone. “This is a damn good movie.”

“Yeah,” she breathed unsteadily. “It’s a very good movie.”

But what was going to happen when the movie ended… Bridget shivered, seriously doubting her self-control for the umpteenth time that night.

Chapter Fourteen

Saturday night was supposed to be like a slumber party. Not that Chad had ever had a slumber party in his entire life, since the last time he checked in his pants he was a dude. But that’s what Miss Gore said tonight would be like.

They did a late dinner at Tony’s and Tony’s, an Italian-style restaurant Bridget had been convinced was run by the mob. That made Chad laugh before he’d accused her of her Irish blood showing through.

The dinner was good. After a little while, Bridget relaxed and she seemed to be handling the attention a bit better, but every time someone would approach their table, she would grow very still or dip her chin forward, using her hair to shield her face.

He couldn’t figure that out. Bridget was a total babe. Guys were checking her out when they came in the restaurant. One guy was staring at her like she was the finest piece of steak, and that hadn’t made Chad all happy, happy, joy, joy, either.

Which was really strange, he realized as he took care of the check. Normally, he didn’t give two shits about guys checking out his dates.

“Thanks,” he said, handing over the signed check to the waiter. “You ready?”

Bridget picked up her clutch and stood, and hot damn, he wasn’t a big fan of the turtleneck thing she had going on, but he loved how the skirt clung to her legs, and those peekaboo-fuck-me heels were all right in his book, too.

They were going back to his place.

Bridget was going to stay the night.

Tonight was going to be a very, very long night.

“Do you think people are waiting outside?” she asked as they neared the front door.

“Ah…” He stretched up to see beyond some dumbass bronze wall. A light snow fell outside, blanketing the sidewalk. Waiting on the curb were two men huddled down in their jackets, cigarettes in hand and cameras around their necks. Speaking of jackets…

Chad looked down at Bridget and frowned. “Where is your jacket?”

She shrugged. “I don’t like them.”

“It’s snowing outside.”

“Is it?” Her eyes popped wide as she craned her neck. Glee lit up her face. “Oh! It is! I love the snow.”

But not Christmas, apparently, he thought. “You should be wearing a jacket.”

“You’re not,” she pointed out as he led her around the bronze wall and past a group of businessmen who looked like they were seconds away from pouncing on Chad.

“I’m a guy.”

Her answering huff brought a grin to his face. Outside, he pulled her under his arm and tucked her close while the valet got the car. Of course it was just because of the snow and she had to be cold and there were the picture people, snapping away, and no other reason than that. Excuses. Excuses.

“Hey, Chad!” one of the photographers called out.

He turned at the waist, recognizing the young guy who usually covered the games. “What’s up, Morgan? You’re a little far from the stadium, aren’t you?”

Morgan grinned as he swaggered closer, his gaze moving to Bridget and then darting back to Chad, but not fast enough that Chad missed it. “Nothing’s going on tonight, so they got me stalking you.”

“Made your life, didn’t it?” Chad could practically hear Bridget’s eyes roll.

“You’re a big deal.” Morgan glanced at Bridget again. Snow dotted her hair and cheeks like a transparent veil. Morgan extended his hand to her. “I’m Morgan—Chad’s favorite photographer.”

Bridget smiled and shook his hand. “I didn’t know he had favorites.”

“He’s just shy about his affections, especially when it comes to talking about you. Everyone is dying to get your name.”

She glanced up at Chad and then took a deep breath. “Bridget Rodgers. Pleasure to meet Chad’s favorite stalker.”

Morgan laughed, and Chad knew Morgan was filing that name away by the look of eagerness on the photo-hag’s face. Luckily, before more questions could be asked, the valet showed up and Chad got Bridget in the Jeep. He blasted the heat as she ran her hands through her hair and back from her face as she smoothed the tiny snowflakes out of her hair. The motion arched her back, thrusting her chest out. The front of her sweater stretched, and it was a damn good thing he wasn’t driving yet because he was like a sixteen-year-old-boy and—

“There’s no turning back now,” Bridget said, lowering her arms. She looked at him. “Right?”

Chad dragged his gaze to her face. Yeah, there was no turning back.

“Now that they know my name?” she added, brows arched. “There’s no turning back.”

Oh. Yeah. Right. She wasn’t talking about her and him, heading back to his place. Chad nodded. “No. There’s probably no turning back.”

As he pulled into traffic, Bridget twisted in her seat. They went about a block and her brows furrowed as she faced the front. “Are we being followed?”

His gaze flicked to the rearview mirror. A dark Suburban that had been parked along the curb at Tony’s and Tony’s was right behind them. “It’s not Morgan. Probably the guy who was outside with him.”

“Man, Miss Gore really knows her stuff.“

It was why Bridget was staying the night and would be for at least three more weekends. “If they can get pictures of you going into my place and leaving in the morning, then it’s the real deal.”

Distaste pulled at her full lips. “Are you okay with this?”


“Okay with people following you around all the time? Knowing when you have people staying over and stuff like that?” she elaborated. “You have an army of stalkers.”

“I don’t know. Warmed up?” When she nodded, he hit the down arrow on the thermostat. “I really don’t think about it.”

She appeared to consider that. “Because you’re used to it?”

Chad nodded. “I guess you can say that.”

“Well, you’ve been playing ball since you were twenty, right? That’s ten years of this, so I guess you would be.” She paused, and he was surprised that she knew when he’d started playing ball. Had to be Maddie. “Still seems like a total violation of privacy.”

“Comes along with the job, though.”

Bridget didn’t respond to that and a companionable silence lasted until he pulled into the parking garage. They swung by her car to grab her overnight bag. Of course, the thing was the size of a small van and featured a kaleidoscope of colors.

“Bag?” he asked, offering his hand.


He smiled. “Trying out the gentleman thing and was going to carry it for you.”

“There’re no cameras around.” Then she lowered her voice. “Are there? Oh my God, are they inside?”

“Just give me the bag.”

Bridget handed it over, and he steered them toward the door. “No one is inside. The security won’t let them into the garage or the doors downstairs.”

She followed him into his building and down the empty hall. Once inside his toasty apartment, he dropped his keys on the counter and then dug out his cell, leaving it there.

“Which guest bedroom do you want?” he asked. “There’s one downstairs, but the bathroom is out in the hall. The two upstairs have their—”

“I remember,” she said, eyeing the stairs. “I’ll take the bedroom downstairs.”

“Suit yourself.” He carried her bag over to the door under the stairs and nudged it open with his hip. The room was really bare. Just a bedside table, a bed with two pillows and a thin cover, and a small TV mounted to the wall.

“I like the walls,” she said, following him in.

Chad smiled to himself. It was the only thing with color—red walls. “I’ll get you a heavier blanket. I turn the heat down at night,” he offered as an explanation. He put the bag on the bed and shoved his hands into his jeans. “You can also order any movies you want.”

She looked around, her gaze dropping to the hardwood floors. “Is this what you do when you normally bring women back to your place?”

Hell no. Usually he took them straight to one of the guest rooms—never his—or they didn’t even make it that far. Bridget had been the first woman he’d taken to his bedroom, and he hadn’t even realized that until now.

“No, Bridget, this isn’t what I normally do. You should remember what I normally do.”

She let out a soft, low laugh that had his stomach muscles clenching. “This is so awkward.”

Chad stared at her a moment, his gaze soaking up the deep red of her hair, the delicate arches of her cheekbones, and the lush swell of her breasts. He forced himself to look away before he took her to the floor and buried himself in her so deeply that he wouldn’t know where he ended and she began. “Want a drink?”

“Yeah, that would be great.”

They went back into the kitchen, and he opened the cabinet where he stored the drinks. “Your choice.”

Bridget peered over his shoulder. “I better stick with wine. Something sweet, if you have it.”

He found some bubbly champagne that Maddie had given him but he’d never drunk. While he poured her a glass and got a little scotch out for himself, he watched her wander aimlessly through the kitchen and into the living room once she had her drink.

Chad took a few moments in the kitchen to himself. Closing his eyes, he swore under his breath. All night he’d been fighting the urge to crush his mouth and his body to hers. He strolled into the living room and checked out the window. A wry grin pulled at his lips. “We’ve got company.”

She came to his side, and he inhaled her jasmine scent. “Is that the Suburban that was following us?”


“And he’s going to sit out there all night?”


She backed away from the window, eyes narrowed as she took a sip of her champagne. “You’ve been through this a lot, haven’t you? With other women you were…well, you weren’t pretending with?”

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