Indeed, I must have roused Jensen with my startled awakening, because he sat up beside me, rubbing a warm hand on my back.

I nodded, wiping my face. “I just had an odd dream.”

He pressed his lips to my bare shoulder. “A nightmare?”

“Not exactly.” I lay back down, pulling him beside me and curling on my side to face him. “I have it all the time. At the beginning of the dream, I’m just leaving my flat. I’m wearing a fashionable new dress, and I feel quite smart in it. But the day goes on, and I realize the skirt is shorter than I thought it was, and I’m sort of nervously tugging on it, wondering whether it’s proper for work. Eventually I’m in an important meeting, or stepping into a new classroom, or—you get it—”

“And I register that the dress I thought was a dress is really just a blouse, and I’m naked from the waist down.”

He laughed, leaning forward to kiss my nose. “You woke up with a gasp.”

“It’s shocking to realize you’ve gone to work half naked.”

He closed his eyes, thinking and humming in pleasure when I ran my hand into his hair. He had the softest hair, cut short on the sides and a little longer on top. Just enough to make a tight fist around. I think he rather liked that.

“Mine is usually where I’m enrolled in a class and realize at the end of the semester that I have the final and I haven’t studied—or even been to class—yet.”

“What do those dreams say about us, do you think?” I asked, massaging his scalp.

“Nothing,” he murmured, his voice thick and relaxed. “I think everyone has these exact same dreams.”

“You really aren’t doing this fling right,” I said quietly, watching his face as I moved my attention down his neck, rubbing his shoulders. “Reassuring me after a dream in the middle of the night. Cuddling me. Kissing me like that after we have sex the first time.”

He shrugged against my touch but didn’t say anything.

We fell into silence, and I thought he was asleep until his voice rose from the quiet. “I guess I’m not very good at casual. I’m trying.”

“Well, judging by the way it feels like I was shagged by a jackhammer, I would say there are aspects of it you’re very good at.”

He growled, so low in his throat it made his chest rumble, and something about the sound felt like a current of electricity along my skin. I snuggled into him, and his arm came around me, pulling me tight.

“Is that right?” he asked, lips pressed to my neck.

“I think you know I enjoyed myself.”

“I didn’t expect you to be so shy at first,” he admitted.

“I didn’t, either.” I hummed when he moved his mouth higher, just beneath my jaw. “You’re a perfect lover.”

“Me?” He laughed, a small burst of air. “I nearly passed out when I came.”

With pride, I tilted my chin up. “Was I amazing as all that?”

“Yeah.” He rolled so he was hovering above me, staring down. Thoughtfully, he murmured, “What is it about you?”

The answer to this seemed obvious: “I eat a lot of cheese.”

Jensen ignored this. “You’re silly, and beautiful, and . . .”

He shook his head, all sincerity. “You’re just unexpected.”

“Maybe because you’re not looking for anything expected here?”

He looked at me with the question in his eyes, not understanding.

“I mean,” I clarified, “you’re doing what you should be doing and enjoying this.”

Jensen bent to kiss me, pressing his lips to mine, slowly capturing the bottom one and biting it gently. “You’re the perfect holiday girl.”

Something about that made me twist a little inside, a tiny splinter in the tender flesh of my feelings. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be the perfect holiday girl for him. It was that he was so much better than the perfect holiday boy. He was ideal, in so many ways, really, and would leave this trip refreshed, going off to find someone suitable for him. Someone who wasn’t silly, and daft, and unexpected. And addicted to cheese. I would head home and forever compare the next bloke—and the one after that—to the man above me right now.

And here I was, anyway, on this trip with a group of people I genuinely admired, and who—if I was being honest with myself—I was rather lucky to have stumbled upon in the first place. I wasn’t sure I was of the right caliber for any of them, really.

As if he knew that, or could somehow see this insecurity on my face, he said, “You seem like you’d be a fun best friend.”

I blinked up at him, pushing away the mild unease in my chest. “Does that mean you don’t like me naked?”

Shifting so I felt him, hard again between my legs, he said, “Trust me, I like you naked.”

I couldn’t quite translate his tone in my head. A “fun best friend” and a good shag were essentially all I wanted out of a lover someday. But Jensen’s tone still carried the holiday girl echo.

“I mean . . . every female friend I have is either married or . . . yeah, just strictly platonic.”

He laughed, kissing my neck. “Well, if I want someone, I want to be with her, not be her buddy.”