“Mmm.” Her blue eyes rake up and down my torso. “Very happy.” Then she turns back to her computer and continues to tap her pink-tipped nails on her keyboard.
“Seriously?” I laugh.
“What?” She doesn’t even look my way, but her lips are set in a smug line.
“I just got half-naked and you’re going back to work?”
“I told you, I needed you to strip for research.”
“Research for what?” I ask curiously.
“My character has tattoos up and down his arm, and I wanted to see yours.”
Well, what in the hell am I supposed to say to that?
“Of course,” she continues with a perfectly straight face, “I have yours memorized. I just wanted you to be half-naked.”
She’s so fucking funny.
I laugh and stand, setting my computer aside, and pull her out of her chair and into my arms, carrying her back to the chaise lounge. I settle her in my lap and nuzzle her neck. “I think we need a break.”
“I was hoping you’d say that.” She sighs, relaxes against me, and brushes her fingertip over the ink on my arm. “These are sexy.”
“I had no idea you were into tattoos.”
“I didn’t either.” She laughs. “I like them on you.”
I love the way she touches me.
“What is this one for?” She traces the yin and yang on my biceps.
“It’s Zack and Josh.”
She purses her lips. “That’s appropriate.”
“I think so.” I smile. Zack and Josh King are identical twins and have been my best friends since early childhood.
“And this one?” She traces the crown across my shoulder.
“It’s for Jilly.” I kiss Lo’s forehead and breathe her in. She smells like peaches and cream.
“Why a crown?”
“I’ve always called her princess.” I shrug and smile down at Lo. “She’s always acted like one. She’s the baby, and we all spoiled her.”
I frown and Lo sees it immediately. “What?”
“I am pretty protective when it comes to the women in my life.”
Lauren chuckles and continues to softly slide her fingertip over my skin. “You don’t say,” she murmurs dryly.
“She had a bad marriage,” I murmur softly, my gut tightening in anger when I think of the asshole who hurt my baby sister. “She doesn’t talk about it, and she won’t tell me what happened, but she got hurt.”
“And that pisses you off,” Lauren whispers.
“Hell yes, it pisses me off. I was just thinking that we all spoiled her, and the one person who was supposed to take care of her was a douche bag.”
Lo cups my cheek in her hand and I instinctively turn my face into her touch and kiss her palm.
“She’s home,” she croons, and kisses my shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m happy she’s home.”
Lauren goes back to concentrating on my ink. I have a feeling our whole break is going to be consumed with talking about each tat.
When what I wanted to do was make love to her here on this chaise.
“This?” Lo asks with a chuckle.
“It’s a skull, Lo. It’s because I’m badass, naturally.”
“Naturally.” She laughs loudly.
I nod and hug her close.
“I’m assuming this one is for your mom,” she says dryly, pointing to the heart with MOM written though the middle of it.
“Okay”—she trails her finger down my forearm, sending chills through me—“what’s with the bluebird?”
Lo’s head snaps up and she narrows her eyes on my face. “Why?” Her cheeks have reddened and she looks . . . pissed.
“Because she’s important to me. She’s been in my life a long time, and she was there for me when some bad shit went down.”
“How was she there for you?” Lo asks quietly.
Well, fuck me, she’s jealous. “She just offered me the comfort I needed in a really difficult time in my life.”
Lo stiffens, and I cradle her face in my palm, tilt her head up to meet my gaze. “Cara is like my sister, Lauren. She’s never been in my bed, I’ve never had a romantic relationship with her.”
Lo deflates in my arms, but she says simply, “I didn’t ask.”
God, women are so fucking difficult. “Okay, well, I’m letting you know anyway.”
She nods and buries her face in my neck, hugging me tight. I wrap my arms around her, press my hands to her back, and hold her close to me.
Finally, she backs away and grins. She scurries off my lap and snatches my shirt up off the floor, slipping it over her head as she saunters back to her desk chair.
“Hey,” I protest. She can have the fucking shirt if she’ll wear it for me every time I’m here.
She’s sexy as hell in it.
“You need to stay naked, not me,” she smirks, and turns her attention to her computer.
“What if I’m cold?” I ask with a laugh.
“Man up, Sullivan,” she retorts.
My phone vibrates at my hip. “I’m right here, Lo. Seriously, you don’t have to text me.”
“I’m not.” She frowns.
I glance at my phone and see a text. “Speak of the devil, it’s Cara.”
Her eyes narrow on my face.
I just chuckle and open the message: Bring Lo out to the ranch tonight. Jill and I are having ’ritas on the deck. My eyes meet Lo’s across the room.
“What is it?”
“Do you feel up to going out to Josh and Cara’s tonight? Jill’s gonna be there, and the girls are planning to have drinks on the deck.”
Lo looks shocked at the invitation, and part of me softens. Does she never receive invitations to hang out with friends? Probably not, now that she’s finally cut that bitch Misty out of her life.
“Do you want to go?”
“Sure.” I shrug, trying not to sound too eager. I’d love for her to become friends with the people who mean the most to me. She means the world to me and I don’t ever plan to let her slip through my fingers. “But we don’t have to, if you’d rather not. Although I think you’ll have fun.”
“Where will you and Josh be?”
“There is plenty for us to get into trouble with out at the ranch, sweetness. I won’t be far.”
A shy smile moves across her face and she nods happily. “Yeah, let’s go.”