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Roommate Wars: Chapter 26


Jack grabbed the back of my head and took control of the kiss, deepening it. His fingers in my hair, holding me, his lips soft but demanding… Memories of that night came flooding back.

Tremors took over my body as he brushed his thumb across my cheekbone, and the absolute sexiest hum came from his throat while his lips ran down my neck to my collarbone.

And I remembered the panic I’d experienced the next morning, worried that what we’d shared was too close, too personal. And terrified of what it meant.

But none of that mattered now. All I could think about was Jack and his warm body pressed to mine and how we could get closer.

His hand was on my ass, and then he picked me up and somehow tilted me back and eased us onto the soft carpet.

His hand slid to my breast.

I glanced down. “You said nothing about breasts.”

“It landed there. Want me to remove it?”

“No. Might as well leave it.” I grabbed his jaw and kissed him, loving the feel of his skilled lips. These kisses dragged me under, making me forget all the reasons we should keep some distance in this relationship.

Hand still on my breast, he gently squeezed my nipple, then slid his palm over the sensitive tip, making me squirm. He abruptly stopped and frowned at my outfit. “This apron is cockblocking.”

I glanced down. “Huh. Forgot I still had it on. It’s so cozy.”

“Hot Stuff,” he said, using my apron to address me, the way I’d caught him doing earlier, “you mind if I untie this in the back?”

I rolled to the side, giving him better access. A second later, I felt the tug of him unknotting the apron—and heard the telltale sounds of the keypad to enter our apartment.

What the…?

Jack’s hand froze, and we both looked to the door. Then I scrambled out from under him.

He sat back, staring in confusion.

“Do something!” I whisper-yelled.

He climbed to his feet, but we both merely stood there, unable to break the mental fog of hormones.

Feminine giggles came from the other side. For a split second, I wondered if it was Thalia. Would Jack have given her access to his place? The thought set my blood raging.

Then came the rumbly sound of a male voice, along with a loud pounding on the door. “Jack, open up.”

“Max?” Jack said.

He scanned me and straightened my blouse where it was sticking up out of the top of my apron.

I yanked off the apron and smoothed my hair before looking around. “Was it obvious what we were doing?”

His gaze snagged on my mouth. “You look good…”

My eyes flared. “Stop getting ideas and open the door.”

Max and Sophia didn’t know we were dating for real. All Sophia knew was that I’d accidentally slept in Jack’s bed, which I’d done before, so that wasn’t new. And that I’d made him dinner tonight. She wouldn’t assume we were hooking up. Though we’d done that before too…

Jack gripped the back of his neck, then walked over and opened the door.

Sophia, Max, and a woman with reddish-blonde hair wearing a pretty short-sleeved black jacket and cream business slacks stood on the other side.

Sophia looked past Jack to me, and her eyes narrowed. “Where were you? We’ve been waiting forever.”

A sweat broke out on my back. “Just finishing dinner.” Was my voice quivering?

Soph stormed past Jack and set a bottle of wine on the counter. “Took you long enough to open up. Why’d you change the code?”

Jack grabbed a bag of what looked like groceries out of the arms of the other woman. “Elise, this is our friend Lizzie.”

Lizzie held out her hand. “You must be Jack’s new roommate and Sophia’s sister. Nice to meet you. Elizabeth Crocker, but call me Lizzie. That’s what the guys do.”

This was the friend Jack said was coming over this week. But wasn’t that supposed to happen later? “Nice to meet you too.”

Lizzie looked around and turned to Jack. “This is a huge improvement since before your ex set the place ablaze.”

A low growl came from Jack’s throat. Usually, he reserved his frustration for me. Probably had something to do with friends interrupting our…activities. “Must I be reminded of that every month?”

“Yes,” Lizzie and Max said together.

Lizzie turned to Max, her skin fair with only a light sprinkling of redhead freckles. “This place has your touch. Did you decorate?”

“My designer decorated, but I gave her my Amex Black card. I also may have given her a few suggestions.”

Meaning Max decorated half of it.

I looked between Lizzie, Jack, and Max. They talked like siblings. “How long have you guys known each other?”

Lizzie looked up as though calculating. “Since Max started stealing candy from the front pocket of my backpack. So, what, fifteen, twenty years?”

“Something like that,” Max said. “But you stocked that candy for me, so it wasn’t really stealing.”

Lizzie shook her head and turned to me. “You see what I’ve had to put up with?”

I laughed. “I can imagine.”

“Back then,” Lizzie said, “Max’s ears were bigger than his head, and Jack was five feet, two inches. In tenth grade.” She gave me a pointed look, and Jack dropped his head and groaned.

“Wait,” I said. “Five foot two? Really?” I looked at the man in question. “He’s over six feet now.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, “he is now. Poor kid grew seven inches the next year. None of his clothes fit, and he had a baby face and long, gangly limbs.”

Soph snickered, leaning over the counter and smiling. “Lizzie is my new best friend. She has amazing stories about the guys.”

“I thought I was your best friend.” I frowned in mock affront.

“We were born into our bestie statehood through blood. Lizzie is my not-blood-related bestie.”

I could deal with that.

I turned to Jack. “So you were pretty small in tenth grade, huh?”

He crossed his arms. “I was a late bloomer. Took a few extra years to grow into this magnificence.”

Both Lizzie and Max groaned this time.

“It wasn’t all magnificence,” Lizzie said.

Jack cleared his throat. “Much as I’m enjoying where this conversation is going, what happened to us getting together later in the week?”

Max took off his suit jacket and draped it over one of the barstools at the kitchen counter. “Lizzie dropped by on her way home from work, and we decided to bump up the party.”

“And have it here?” Jack said. “Where it’s tight and cramped? Not at your place?”

Max raised an eyebrow. “Do I detect a problem?”

Lizzie glanced at the dinner and wineglasses set out on the table. “Were we interrupting?” She looked between me and Jack.

“No!” I rushed to clear the dishes. “Not interrupting at all. I owed Jack, so I made him dinner.”

I glanced at Jack on my way to the sink, and his eyes dipped down the front of my body, doing nothing to cool the jets he’d set roaring before we’d been interrupted.

What had we been thinking? That shit had escalated fast.

“Well, in that case,” Lizzie said and grabbed the corkscrew Jack had left out, “let’s get this party started. My first appointment isn’t until ten in the morning.”


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