Audrey appears worried as she tries to interpret Jinx’s behavior. When we reach my car, she says, “Did you ever date her?”

Slowly I inhale and exhale, trying to think of how to best approach this subject with her. I’ve never thought of Audrey as the jealous type, but you can never tell with girls. I’ve seen them flip a switch so fast it made my head spin.

“We did,” I finally admit. “It was only a handful of times, but it didn’t go anywhere. At least not for me. We were in no way compatible, although she thinks that something like that can just be fixed.” The entire time I’m speaking, I watch her face for any reaction. A little crease forms on her forehead and I can see sadness behind her eyes, even though she tries to mask it.

Quickly, I rush to say, “We never slept together.” I pull her in against my chest because I can’t stand the distance between us any longer. “Please, don’t be mad.”

She jerks back and looks directly up into my eyes, “Jace, why would I be mad at you for dating someone? We weren’t together.”

“I don’t know...some girls...they don’t like to hear that kind of stuff. But I want to be completely honest with you.”

“I’m only upset because I slept with you before even going out on a date with you. She got a handful of dates. I mean, how easy am I?” her little voice mumbles in my chest. I chuckle to myself, hoping she doesn’t hear because I’m not making fun of her in any way.

“I’m so sorry, babe. I should have wined and dined you before putting my hands on you. It’s just that I’ve never been so damn attracted to any girl in my whole life, like I am to you. It’s so hard to keep my hands off of you.” Slowly, I back her up against the side of the Camaro and lean in toward her mouth. “Even now, all I can think about is reenacting the first time we met, when I practically took you up against my truck.”

She slowly pushes me back, but I can tell she’s affected by my words as she says, “Date first, everything else later.”

It’s crazy how if you aren’t paying attention, an entire month can fly by in a breeze. An entire month of late-night talks with Jace on the phone or with him by my side. An entire month of becoming more and more consumed with each other. I think there have only been a few nights that Jace and I haven’t slept in the same bed together.

Jaxon and Em have been MIA a lot lately. There has been speculation between Quinn and me that they went and rented another apartment together, one that they could escape to alone. Em hasn’t admitted to it yet, because she knows that we would eventually follow her to find out where it’s located.

For the most part, Quinn has been wrapped up in Cole, Em with Jax, and me with Jace. Lane disappears here and there as well, but for now he’s back to his happy-go-lucky-self. The downside is that a whole month has slipped by us without Jace telling Jaxon about our relationship.

A part of me is starting to think he likes the sneaky, espionage-type of game we have created with one another. It really has been fun and exciting. With Jax and Em gone so much, I often slip into Jace’s room at night and sleep in his giant, king-sized bed. It’s probably the most comfortable thing that has ever touched my body. Seriously, I think Jace is becoming a bit jealous of my love affair with his bed. But there’s really no reason for one person to have that much bed all to himself anyway.

Em and Quinn invited me to go see a movie with them today, and when I get to their place, I eventually find both of them down the hall in the boys’ apartment. They’re making food to take to Jaxon and Cole, who are both at football practice. I notice Jace’s car is gone, so at least it won’t be awkward for him to be here while I’m in his place with the girls. Even though they know everything.

“Do you mind if we drop this off for the boys before we go to the theater?” Em asks as I approach the kitchen counter.

“Sure, but y’all aren’t even ready yet...” I gesture at their pajamas and wild hair.

“We’re running a bit behind,” Em mumbles, while stirring two pots at one time.

“Yeah, because Miss Chef over here burned the pasta!” Quinn states, pointing at Em and laughing.

“How do you burn pasta? It’s in water,” I say, laughing along with Quinn.

“Don’t ask, I’m not even sure what happened,” Em confesses.

“Audrey, do you mind scooping the food into Tupperware for us while we get ready?” Quinn asks. “Otherwise, if we don’t hurry up, we’ll miss the movie.”

“Sure, go ahead.” After the door closes behind them, it occurs to me that I’m in my boyfriend’s apartment… alone. It’s kind of a weird feeling, like I’m about to be caught doing something I shouldn’t be doing.

As I scoop the newly-cooked, un-burned pasta into the plastic dish, a key turns in the lock. When whoever is coming in realizes the door is already unlocked, he continues inside. My gorgeous boyfriend stands there looking confused and sexier than hell. I assume he’s coming back from the gym because his shirt is sticking to his sweaty body and he has a black gym bag slung over his shoulder. The front of his wet shirt is tucked into a pair of faded and worn blue jeans.

“I’m going to the movies with the girls,” I rush to respond, sounding guilty. I point to the door, hoping he knows that I’m gesturing down the hall.

“So, you’re in my kitchen...cooking?” His voice is low and gravelly. He steps up to the bar top and looks over at all the food in front of me.

“Well, Em and Quinn cooked. They had to go change...so I...” My words begin to stammer as he rounds the counter and starts heading toward me. “I’m supposed...to put this food in...the containers.” When he reaches me, his hands latch on to my h*ps and I know that look in his eyes. “What are you doing?” I ask in a whisper.

“I just kicked ass in the gym today and after a hard work out I come home to find my girl in my kitchen. That’s the last thing I ever thought I would find, but the only thing I’ve ever wanted.”

He continues pushing me backward. “That sounds a bit chauvinistic. Wanting your woman in the kitchen and all,” I softly say.

He blinks hard and subtly shakes his head, but the hunger in his eyes is still very apparent. “No, you could be anywhere in the house. I just never knew how good it could feel to come home to you.” With his last few words, he pushes me into the pantry, which also serves as their laundry room.

Once we’re in the darkened room, I add, “But this isn’t my home.” He closes the door and immediately we are bathed in darkness. There’s a small strip of light filtering in through the bottom of the door, but it’s still too dark to even be able to see my hand in front of my face.

When I feel his lips begin to graze my neck, I whisper, “Jace, the girls are coming back when they’re done.”

“Guess this will have to be fast,” he whispers into my neck. The scruffy facial hair he keeps trimmed close scratches lightly across my skin, forcing a shiver to wrack my body. “I missed you last night and today.” My hands wrap around his neck and I drag my fingers through his hair, as he continues showering my neck with attention.

“I missed you too. Thank you for my coffee. Again. You don’t have to leave one for me every day though.”

“Do you like it?” he asks between kisses.

I grab his face and kiss his lips for the first time today. He slept over here last night and I missed waking up next to him. He tastes salty and his skin is still damp from his workout. My hands graze down his chest and stomach, enjoying the fruits of his labor. He slides his hands up under my skirt and tucks his fingers beneath my panties.

“This skirt is too short to wear without me around,” he growls in my ear.

“Jace, you picked it out,” I squeak, as he drags the lace undergarment down my legs with one finger. I take a step so he can work them over my feet.

“The only thing I was thinking at the time was that you were going to have to try it on in the dressing room. And well...you know where that led.” He comes back up to nibble behind my ear.

At the memory of our tryst in the fitting room, I grab his shirt and pull it over his head. Quickly, I reach for his belt buckle, not able to contain my need for him any longer. He halts my impatient hands and raises them above my head. Slowly, he urges both hands to grab onto the pantry shelf behind us. The level he wants me to hold onto is a bit taller than I can comfortably reach, so I have to stand on my tiptoes.

“Don’t move your hands or I’ll find something to restrain them with.” I know from experience that he’s resourceful enough to find something, even in the pitch black dark. I can’t decide if I’d prefer him to do just that or not.

Slowly, I let my heels drop back to the ground, causing my hands to slip. He catches them instantly above my head and without a word, he whips his belt off, wraps it around my wrists, and then ties it around one of the vertical support beams on the shelving unit. He doesn’t pulls it tight; it isn’t meant to hurt.

“Better?” he whispers in my ear and I nod my head up and down. All the stress and pressure melts off of me like butter, as I allow Jace to make the decisions for me. Sex has never been this full-bodied affair for me until Jace. Before, it was always a blip on the radar. A short moment in time, but nothing ever memorable. Maybe it’s the way he looks at me when he doesn’t think I notice, or the way he seems to know exactly what I always need, but I can’t imagine experiencing this any other way now and hopefully never with anyone else.

Slowly, he unbuttons my shirt down the middle and leaves it hanging open. I arch my back so my body can fuse against his. I need more friction and more of his na**d skin. He reads my mind, like always, and I hear the telltale sign of his zipper being pulled down. I don’t hear the rustle of clothing, so in my head I try to picture how he looks with his shirt off and jeans unzipped and open, just enough to free himself.

“I wish I could see you right now,” I whisper.

“Then you would know when I’m about to do this...” he trails off and rubs two fingers down the apex between my legs. A sharp stream of air whistles past my teeth.

He works me up over and over, but never lets me fall over the crest. When I’m panting and begging Jace for more, we hear the front door open and close. My whole body freezes. Em and Quinn begin talking in the kitchen, and I vaguely hear one of them ask where I could be. At that very moment, Jace thrusts inside of me. A strangled cry escapes my throat, but apparently he was anticipating it, because one of his hands is already covering my mouth.

My body locks up, I clench my fists together, and my legs tighten to uncomfortable levels. Jace cups my face with both of his hands and begins to kiss me slowly, while moving in and out.

“Shh, be here with me, babe. Don’t worry about them,” he says into my ear.

“They could come in. They could see us,” I nervously whisper back.

“Trust me.” When I don’t respond, he continues, “I can reach the door from here. If they try to come in, I’ll hold it closed. Be. With. Me.” The last sentence is whispered so longingly, I almost forget everything else around me. All of a sudden having the use of my hands sounds like a much better idea.

“I want to touch you,” I gasp at his relentless rhythm.

He reaches up and begins to unwind the leather around my wrists. “I swear to God, if you go into your head and try to hold back, I’ll keep you here all night.”

“That’s not much of a threat,” I murmur, as my finally free hands run through his hair.

“Behave,” he whispers threateningly into my ear.

The sad part is, the only reason we’re doing this here and now is because he knows Jaxon is at practice and won’t be home for another couple of hours. As much as I’ve tried to be patient with him, I’m getting tired of lying low. I push the thoughts back and teach myself to be in this moment with him like he commanded.

His hand grips one of my thighs and he pulls it up, hitching the leg around his waist. I stand on the tiptoe of my opposite leg and lean all of my weight into him. He picks up a relentless pounding pace that makes me forget to breathe. My back digs into the shelves behind me, but it’s all a distant feeling with him in front of me. He’s already so familiar with my body that he knows how to push me over the threshold and how to make me teeter along the edge. He reaches between our bodies and his finger circles exactly where I need it.

With my toe-curling, shooting release, I bite into his shoulder to muffle my cries. Surprisingly, he bites down into mine as well to dampen his own sounds of pleasure a few minutes later. Slowly we pull apart, panting heavily. I wish I could turn the light on in here. Jace’s post-sex face is the most glorious sight to see, especially when he’s staring right at me, letting me know he feels everything I am in that moment. I love knowing I’m not alone.

I feel him bend down and then a little tap on my foot indicates for me to lift it. Leisurely, he drags my panties back up my legs and secures them onto my hips. I stifle a chuckle as he tries to pull my skirt down lower and swears when he realizes my shirt isn’t long enough now to cover my stomach. I feel him inche my skirt back up until it touches the edge of my shirt.

“You’re killing me,” he rasps into my ear.

“Well, maybe now you’ll think about me all night,” I tease quietly.

“That was already a f**king guarantee, babe,” he grumbles.